Get new posts by email:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shouldn't You Just...?

String festive holiday lights all about the place?

Modern advice on etiquette for the not-so-new-millennium.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coconut-Sweet Potato Cheesecake

I nabbed this recipe from and it was a big hit a few Thanksgivings ago. It really is fabulous. I decided to make it again this year and as several friends asked for the recipe, I thought I'd share it here on Evenings With Peter. It's separated into three parts--the sweet potato mixture, the crumb coating, and the filling. It's a little time intensive but I think you'll agree it's worth the effort. Do enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Coconut-Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2004
Makes 10 servings

Sweet potatoes
4 cups 1/3-inch cubes peeled red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
1 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated orange peel
1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whipping cream

Crumb coating:
Powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 15-ounce can sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López)*
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Additional sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

For sweet potatoes:
Combine first 13 ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until potatoes are very tender and most of liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Transfer mixture to processor; puree until smooth. Whisk egg and cream in medium bowl to blend. Add 2 1/3 cups sweet potato puree and whisk to blend well. Cover and chill sweet potato mixture until cold.

For crumb coating:
Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 1/2- to 2 3/4-inch-high sides; dust with powdered sugar. Mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in medium bowl until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture evenly over bottom and up sides of pan (coating will be thin). Chill 30 minutes. (Sweet potato mixture and crumb coating can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover; chill separately.)

For filling:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add cream of coconut, lemon juice, lemon peel, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Fold in 1 cup flaked coconut and sweet potato mixture. Pour filling into prepared pan. Place pan on rimmed baking sheet and bake cake until filling is just set in center, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Transfer cheesecake directly to refrigerator and chill uncovered overnight (center may sink). (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.) Run small knife between cake and pan sides to loosen cake; remove sides. Place cake on platter. Sprinkle toasted unsweetened coconut over top edge of cheesecake. Serve chilled.

*Available in the liquor section of most supermarkets.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Peanut Butter & Candied Bacon Ice Cream!

A friend recently told me the reason why her marriage has lasted for so long is because her husband never questions her. Don't question me on this. Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Candied Bacon. Serve it with small glasses of blueberry port as we did for our guests, like a deconstructed PBB&J sandwich. That's all you need to know. And do enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baby's Cranberry Compote

Baby's been making this combination of dried fruits and juices for years. This year we also added a good throttle of blueberry port! It's a perfect complement for turkey and any leftover compote you have may be served on top of ice cream for dessert.

Baby's Cranberry Compote
Serves 12 generously

12 oz dried cranberries
4 oz each dried sour cherries, dried currants, golden raisins
1 vanilla bean, split
Zest and juice of one lemon
Zest and juice of one orange
4 whole cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly grated cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground grains of paradise
1 tsp real vanilla extract
Pomegranate juice (any Pom Wonderful variety will do) and orange juice

Combine first 12 ingredients in 4-quart Dutch oven. Add the pomegranate and orange juices to cover. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Let simmer 3 minutes and then cover. Turn off flame and let sit for 4 hours to cool. Place in refrigerator overnight.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Friend Writes...

Just in time for Thanksgiving!

"This is a really simple recipe and it's quick and still tasty."

Pumpkin Chiffon
3.5 cups graham cracker crumbs (1 box of crackers equals 4 cups of crumbs)
½ cup sugar
1 cup melted butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup milk
2 3-ounce packages of vanilla instant pudding mix
2 cups canned pumpkin
Cinnamon to taste
Large container whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 3 ingredients in 9x13-inch dish. Press over bottom. Beat cream cheese, eggs and ¾ cup sugar in bowl until smooth. Pour over crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool. Combine milk with pudding mix in bowl. Beat for 2 minutes. Add pumpkin and cinnamon. Stir in 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over cooled cream cheese layer. Spread remaining whipped topping over pudding mixture. Chill until serving time. Sprinkle top with cinnamon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Beer Chicken

I don't know about you, but peanut butter, beer, and chicken are certainly three of my favorite things. Here they are gloriously combined in one delicious dish!

Thanks to Chad Carns, author of The Gourmet Bachelor cookbook, for sharing with me here on Evenings With Peter!

Peanut Butter Beer Chicken
Adapted from

½ eggplant, cubed
4 T olive oil
1 lb chicken breast, cubed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 T crushed red pepper flakes
1 pt Stout (Guinness Beer)
2 T brown sugar
¼ c peanut butter
2 oz cilantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS: Coat eggplant with 2 tablespoons olive oil and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Sear chicken in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until golden brown. Remove. Saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, red pepper, beer, brown sugar and peanut butter. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in chicken, eggplant and cilantro.

PAIRING: Stout, Ireland

Chad Carns author of The Gourmet Bachelor: Global Flavor, Local Ingredients cookbook invites you into his Greenwich Village kitchen every Friday night to show you how easy it is to cook gourmet! Chad picks up a few fresh, local ingredients from his Bleecker Street markets and shows you how to prepare a quick and easy gourmet dinner paired with wine for your next Friday night date. Stop by every Friday for a new Date Night Recipe!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shouldn't You Just...?

Set a proper table with as much room and resources as you have?

Modern advice on etiquette for the not-so-new millennium

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Next Magazine Review - Macao Trading Co.

Macao Trading Co.
311 Church St (btwn Walker/Lispenard Sts)

Although Executive Chef Joshua Blakely’s wide ranging influences at Macao Trading Co. in Tribeca stem from China, Spain and Portugal, the highly skilled and adorable firecracker himself hails from North Carolina. Blakely formerly trod the culinary boards at Babbo, Tia Pol and Employees Only and based on our experience the night we dined at Macao Trading Co., it’s all a perfectly good arrangement.

Despite the dim, subterranean recesses to which we were ushered, we were able to observe the various touches of Orientalia and things admirably scattered about us as we sipped a gorgeous Mai Tai ($15), crafted with Santa Teresa 1796 Rum. Several of them in fact went down quite smoothly as mint and lime garnishes tickled our noses.

From Small Plates, loosely formed Bacalhau Fresco Tartar ($12) was a tasty starter but it took some doing to eat even given our nimble fingers. Chicken Dumplings ($9) were delicious although we felt the dipping sauce was largely salty regardless of chili oil’s fiery intentions. Giant Grilled Blue Hawaiian Prawns ($15) were wonderful and except for the head and tail, I ate shells and all!

From Large Plates, sumptuous Sauteed Diver Scallops ($26) had just the proper consideration of curry and the dish was furthered by country ham, smartly taking a cue from one of our cocktail party favorites, bacon-wrapped scallops.

How to praise the Braised Heritage Pork Belly ($15)? Kale and mustard greens shared the plate with a wondrous complement of grapefruit and balsamic dressing and it was all rather divine with the white Grapes of Roth Riesling ($50/bottle) from Long Island. Grilled Lamb Chops ($16) narrowly escaped being overly gamey, but we did like the green mango slaw that accompanied. Crispy Fried Whole Fish (MP) arrived, eyeing us curiously. It was good, but we just couldn’t look back at it. The house-cured bacalhau fried rice that came with however was an entirely different matter and we graciously devoured it.

We had to leave before Malasadas ($8), Portuguese style doughnuts, with guava and rum sauce were thrust upon us. So, until our next excursion, ciao for now, Macao!

First published in part in Next magazine.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Brunch of Bourbon

Can’t decide what to serve for brunch? Kentucky’s Knob Creek is here to help. We at Next have adapted several suitable recipes featuring the excellent, small batch bourbon to create a cheeky menu that is as filling as it is fabulously smooth—but please, brunch responsibly.

Begin with a morning constitutional; something fizzy that is not an Alka-Seltzer.

Knob Creek Mimosa
1.5 part Knob Creek Bourbon
Chilled sparkling apple cider
Apple for garnish
In a fluted glass, add Knob Creek and then a floater of apple cider. Garnish with a thinly sliced bit of apple and perch it on the rim. Feel free to actually eat the rest of the apple. You know what they say about an apple a day.

For a second course, try the hearty version of Knob Creek’s Bloody Mary—it’s got bacon and cheese in it!

Mary 9

1.5 part Knob Creek Bourbon
4 parts Bloody Mary mix (try to make your own)
Celery salt
2 slices of thick sliced crisp bacon
Bacon salt (yes, this really is a thing) mixed with kosher salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese for rimming the glass
Fresh basil for garnish
Dip a tall glass rim slightly in to Bloody Mary mix and then into the bacon salt mixture and rim the glass.
Make a Bloody as you do, but sub Knob Creek for vodka.
Garnish with fresh, fragrant basil sprigs, crisscross the bacon and insert it into the glass, much as you would a straw.

Naturally, you’ll want a tasty dessert.

Bernie’s Bourbon Cream
3 parts vanilla ice cream
1.5 parts Knob Creek Bourbon
Simply spoon ice cream into a nifty snifter, and pour the Knob Creek on top.

Bon appetite and a votre santé!

First published in Next magazine.