Monday, May 18, 2009

A Congratulatory Dinner

A good friend of mine told me a few weeks ago that she got into law school. I was thrilled by the news, knowing she was really keen on going to law school, and was really anxious about the results. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time lately to celebrate her good news. A long weekend meant some extra time on my hands, so I invited her over to my place last night and cooked her a congratulatory dinner.

I always walk by display case after display case of beautiful meat during my trips to the market, so I couldn’t resist picking up a rack of lamb from the market. I also picked up some fiddleheads, which are in season at the moment, and du Puy lentils to go alongside my lamb.

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Did a classic treatment of the lamb, searing it on a hot pan to give it some colour and flavour before brushing it with some Dijon and coating it with an herb and breadcrumb mixture. Pop in a hot oven for 20 minutes and they are perfect! So incredibly moist and melt-in-your-mouth tender. I served them on a bed of braised lentils (the bacon adds smokiness and lots of flavour to it!), sautéed fiddleheads with lemon and garlic, and blistered cherry tomatoes on the vine.

For dessert, I decided to make cheesecake, since my friend loves cheesecake. I wanted to use whatever ingredients I had in my fridge and pantry, considering the bulk of my budget went to the main course. Luckily I had cream cheese, and with the extra limes leftover from last week’s guacamole, I knew lime cheesecake was in the making. I also thought it would be fun to make a coconut-almond crust for a base, since I had the ingredients on hand and it would be a great tropical pairing with the lime flavour. My friend loved dinner and dessert, so I’d say it was a success! Oh, how I miss cooking for people!

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Mini Lime Cheesecake
Makes 8

For the crust
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
½ cup slivered almonds (you can use blanched almonds—I only used slivered because that’s what I had on hand)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
1 package (250 g) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
Zest and juice of 1 lime
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with 8 muffin cups, and fill the empty cups halfway with water.

In a food processor, pulse the coconut flakes and slivered almonds until they are finely ground. Tip into a small bowl, pour over the melted butter and mix until combined. Press 1 teaspoon of the coconut-almond mixture into prepared muffins cups and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the edges start to brown a little.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high for 3 minutes. Add egg and beat. Mix in lime zest, lime juice and vanilla. Fill each cup with the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they look puffy and the centres have a slight jiggle. Turn off the oven and let cool in the oven for about half an hour, leaving the oven door ajar. (This ensures that your cheesecakes don’t sink down too quickly and create cracks on the top.)

Remove from muffin tin and cool on a rack. Once completely cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

3 comments:

The Scootabaker May 18, 2009 at 9:54 PM  

oh crazy crazy! I just made these very cheesecakes with black-bottoms and raspberry glaze! Muy delicioso! Yours look perdy!

A Baked Creation May 20, 2009 at 9:42 PM  

Yum cheesecake! Love lime too!!

Bonita May 29, 2009 at 8:54 PM  

Scootabaker - Oooh, your version sounds delicious! I originally wanted to these ones with a ginger snap base, but looking at what they were charging in the stores, and not having enough time to make my own, I opted for this route instead. Turned out pretty well!

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