Birthday Martini

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Birthday Martini

Well, technically it was a few days after my birthday (28th in case you are wondering). I do get a tad picky when it comes to certain things and I was on the hunt for martini glasses that had a certain look/feel to them.
Once found and purchased, then it was time to obtain some ingredients and there you have it…Sour appletini with a slice of Granny Smith.

Enjoy.

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Hanger Steak with a Shrimp Topping, Brussel Sprouts, and Potatoes au Gratin

Last night was kind of a mid-week celebration for Jenn’s birthday (just the two of us) as the upcoming weekend we are having a joint birthday celebration with her brother-in-law and last weekend was somewhat similar when we went down to Atlantic City (love restaurant week). So I figured somewhere in the middle I would do my own thing. Since you can never go wrong with steak, or shrimp- or why not just use a little of both, here is dinner:

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The steak I had initially marinated in some sugar, tequila, chile powder, and some worsteshire sauce. I seared it in the pan and used a little bit of honey-brown sugar bbq sauce to make a nice “sticky” coating. The shrimp I did in a oil-soy based combination along with some fresh chopped garlic and ginger.

For the first side, I cut the brussel sprouts in half, steamed them, and ran under cold water to stop the cooking process. I then took some oil, butter, rosemary, and sage, and tossed in the bruseel sprouts and gave them a nice saute until just starting to brown on the outer layer.

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For the second side, i busted out my Kobra V-slicer to make nice thin potato slices. I first poured in some oil and heavy cream into the bottom of th dish, then did a layer of potatoes followed by grating some Emmantal cheese, added some rosemary and did this for 4-5 layers (whenever I ran out of potatoes). For some color and added flavor on the top layer I added in some sharp cheddar and some panko breadcrumbs. I then proceeded to bake in the oven at 375 for about 40-45 minutes.

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Enjoy.

Quick Pic Birthday Cake

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At the beginning of the month my older brother had turned 30. We had a nice little get together (had a surprise as my parents came down as well) and we had a nice little meal (crab stuffed shrimp, filet mignon, and a good amount of homemade Sangria, champagne, wine…). It all ended with a cake I had made. It is an Italian style cheesecake in 3 different sections: plain, chocolate glaze, and cannoli.

A good week

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A good week

Just wanted to say I hope everyone had a great week. Most of mine was down the Jersey Shore helping out with the rebuilding of houses. Dealt with a variety of tasks ranging from electrical to installing flooring to going under houses and cutting out some piping. Glad to get people back into their homes sooner. Friday was fun, went to a book signing, met Bobby Flay- got a picture and a signed book. Rest of weekend was my birthday weekend. Was a lot of fun. Time to get back to cooking sometime this week.

Enjoy.

Happy Birthday…Well not to me.

This past weekend we had celebrated my father’s birthday. Traditionally, as it is his favorite type of cake, he always wants a cheesecake for his birthday. I obliged and went along to make a nice Italian style cheesecake which is a bit different than the more traditional New-York style cheesecake typically seen.

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As the above photo shows, this was done in a 9 inch spring-form pan. For the bottom crust all that was needed was almond slivers or slices, graham crackers (I used the cinnamon ones), some unsalted butter, and my optional unsweetened cocoa powder. They are all blended together (I used my magic bullet) until fine ground and slightly moist. It was then spread over the bottom of the pan and baked in the oven for 15 minutes at 350.

Now for the filling, it was 16 ounces, cream cheese, 16 ounces mascarpone cheese, 1 cup sugar (I used fine grain), some lemon juice, some cinnamon, and I flavored it with a white port which was infused with chocolate.

After the crust was baked on its own, I let it cool and then poured in the above mentioned mixture after I mixed it until smooth. The spring-form pan was placed in a turkey roaster which was then filled with water up to about 3/4 up the side of the cake pan. This was then places in the oven at 325 for just over an hour.

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Upon completion of cooking, I let it sit on the counter for one hour to cool and then put into the refrigerator to settle (at least 8 hours). After that period, I then made a light cream with mascarpone and whipping cream for the outer edge and then used a rubber spatula to place almond slices along the sides.

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For the top, I had taken pecans and roasted them in some oil and spices in the oven for about 20 minutes, let them cool, and ground them a little in my magic bullet. I also proceeded to make a caramel sauce which was just a little bit of water, sugar (used both regular and brown), some heavy cream and some vanilla extract to flavor. I spread a little bit of this over the top (allowed for a surface for the pecans to stick too) and used the excess to drizzle over the individual slices.

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Enjoy.