Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer so far . . .

For weeks, Middle has been very concerned that it's not actually summer yet and she was so excited to learn that today is the summer solstice and technically the season of summer has begun.  Despite that, we've been on summer vacation from school for 2 weeks and have filled them with some local adventures.

A visit to the CA Science Center

S'Mores and a poolside movie

Wonderful tea at Chado Pasadena with a friend (and no kids!)

Our first visit to SkyZone in Covina

Picnic lunch

Floating in the pool and new pool toys

First week of Tennis & Mini Camp

I have never made cheesecake with great success but last week I attempted it again for a friend's birthday and hit upon a recipe that I really liked.  It's light and not too heavy and the lime flavor is more subtle.  A traditional graham cracker crust would work fine too but I thought the vanilla almond one here was delicious.  It takes some time so plan ahead - I put the cream cheese and eggs on the counter the night before and made it in the morning to serve the following day.  Juicing key limes can be a little tedious - I really like the "Nellie and Joe's Famous Key Lime Juice" which is just the juice and can be found at major grocery stores.

Key Lime Cheesecake (12 servings)
adapted from Bon Appetit May '06

1.5 cups finely ground Nilla wafers
1.5 cups finely ground almonds (almond flour)
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. melted butter

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream
3/4 c. sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh key lime juice
2 tsp. finely grated key lime peel
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray (or butter).  Place 3 large sheets of heavy-duty foil on the work surface.  Place the pan in the center and wrap foil snugly around the side of the pan.  

With a fork, mix together the first 4 ingredients until well combined.  Press in the bottom and about an inch up the side of the prepared pan.  I used a measuring cup to press it down evenly.  Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in sour cream, then sugar.  Beat in eggs 1 at a time, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Beat in lime juice, lime peel, and vanilla.  Pour bater over the crust.  

Place the wrapped cheesecake in a large roasting pan.  Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pan.  Cover the cheesecake pan (not the roasting pan) loosely with foil.  Place the roasting pan with the covered cheesecake in it (carefully!) into the oven.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and continue to bake until just set in the center when the cake pan is gently shaken, about 15-20 minutes more.  Turn oven off and open the door and let it cool for about 20 minutes.  Remove to counter (taking pan out of water bath) and cool for 30 minutes more.  Place uncovered in the refrigerator and chill overnight.

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