Sunday, May 13, 2007



1 cup vanilla wafers (or shortbread)
2 tbsp of flour
2 tbsp of sugar
4 tbsp of butter, melted

12 oz bag of Butterscotch chips
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
16 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the good stuff—no imitation!)

Use either 8 oz of homemade caramel sauce or 8 oz of store-brought caramel sauce, warmed or find your favorite 8oz. bag of caramel/chocolate candies and chop them up to go with the caramel topping (w/nuts if preferred).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a spring form pan (9 inch).

To make the crust: In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs, flour, and sugar, and stir in butter till blended completely. Press crust over bottom of buttered spring form pan and 1/4 of way up sides. Bake for 15 minutes, then set pan aside to cool.

To make the filling: Melt butterscotch chips in glass bowl, with heavy cream, in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Beat brown sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat till smooth (make sure not to over mix). Add eggs one at a time, stirring for 20 seconds after each addition. Then add sour cream, flour, and vanilla extract, beating only till incorporated. Add butterscotch mixture, beating on low speed till blended.

Wrap aluminum foil around bottom and sides of spring form pan, until watertight, before putting cheesecake mixture in. Pour mixture into spring form pan evenly, smoothing the top. Bake cake in water bath (I use an aluminum roasting pan fit for a large turkey, that can be bought from any supermarket) for 1 hour.

Remove cheesecake from water bath. Turn oven off and leave cake in for another hour with oven door closed. Then remove cake from oven and place on rack to cool to room temperature. Cover cake with foil and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve: Drizzle half the caramel sauce over cheesecake. Then sprinkle chopped caramel/chocolate candies over the caramel sauce. Then drizzle the rest of the caramel sauce over the cake. Transfer cake to serving plate and serve. Enjoy!

This recipe came from my dear friend Kathy DeCristoforo. She embarked on a quest for the perfect cheesecake recipes in preparation for her younger sister’s wedding. Her cheesecakes were so well received that by the time I made my way to the desserts, the only cheesecake left was the butterscotch. Now, I’m not a butterscotch fan. My life experience says that only senior citizens seem to have affection for this flavor. So I tried it and YUMMY is the only way to describe it. Silky smooth, not too heavy or dense. It’s really one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever eaten.

So I guess this type of cheesecake is the exception to the butterscotch rule just as my thin as a rail brother-in-law’s golfing hobby is the exception to my belief that golf is a fat boy’s game.

Cheesecake baking is truly is an art, so be sure to read and follow the preparation instructions exactly. You will not regret the extra effort one single bite!

Come on, it’s cheesecake. Not an everyday food. Full of fat and sugar. Make this for a party/dinner/event so you don’t have a whole cake to tempt you for a week.

Sunday, December 31, 2006


1 4 to 5 lb boneless pork loin roast
butcher’s string (100% cotton, not dyed)
salt and pepper

1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 to 5 cloves of garlic finely minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic or herbed vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp raw honey
6 to 8 oz dried cranberries

10 oz chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp pre-sifted flour

Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the onions become golden brown at the edges. Add the garlic, reduce heat to medium and continue stirring for five minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer for five minutes. Add the red wine, honey and cranberries and simmer until the liquid is mostly absorbed (about 15 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the pork.

Preheat oven to 325°. Butterfly the pork loin as if you are opening a book flat. Use the smooth end of a meat hammer to flatten the loin until it is 1” thick. Salt and pepper the fat side and flip over so that the unseasoned side is up. Spread cranberry mixture all over the unseasoned side. Roll the loin from the long end and use the butcher’s string to tie about every two inches. Place pork roll on rack of roasting pan and roast uncovered for about 1.5 hours, turning once during cooking.

Remove the roast from the pan and wrap in aluminum foil while you prepare the gravy. Strain the liquid from roasting pan, being sure to remove any loose cranberries or chunks that are burned or may burn easily. Pour the strained liquid back into the roasting pan and make the gravy right there in the roasting pan on your stovetop over medium heat. Add the presifted flour to the liquid until it’s blended. Add the chicken broth and scrape all those lovely brown bits on the bottom of the pan into the broth. Add the white wine and reduce for about ten minutes. Add the honey and reduce until the gravy is slightly thickened and syrupy in texture.

Cut the strings out of your pork loin and slice into 1” thick sections. Let your eaters ladle their own gravy to their individual tastes.

Santa left a little Better Homes and Gardens cookbook in my stocking this year and I came across a recipe for a stuffed pork loin. Of course, I had to monkey with the recipe and make it my own as I always do—and the results were really excellent. The biggest challenge for me was that I had a head cold and could barely taste anything. But both my mother and brother were happy to help me out in that department. This dish would make an excellent substitute for the traditional holiday turkey or ham. I served it with salad, soft dinner rolls, homemade gravenstein applesauce and oven-roasted Yukon gold potatoes. The gravy was a great accent for the potatoes too. It was a real crowd pleaser and will probably usurp the turkey at Christmas dinner next year.

Depending upon the length of your loin roll and the dimensions of your roaster, you may have to cut the roll in half.

For those of you who worry about undercooked meat, feel free to use a meat thermometer. Pork should reach 155° while cooking. If you are cooking a smaller or larger roast, a meat thermometer will help you adjust the cooking time.

This is a fairly low fat dish, especially if you opt for a leaner loin cut. It’s also fairly low on carbs so it would work well as the entrée in a low carb dinner—try serving it with grilled asparagus and a big salad.