Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Roasted White Bean Salad and Pear Cheesecake

Roasted White Bean and Arugula Salad:
(the amounts are all estimates except the can of beans - this is a forgiving recipe and should be cooked to the cook's own tastes. Just make sure you have enough oil in your pan so you don't burn the beans.)

1 can white beans, drained thoroughly
2 large cloves of garlic or 4 small (or as much garlic as you like...), chopped.
2 tbsp neutral-flavoured oil
handful of arugula (complimentary amount to the amount of beans you have)
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 olive oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar or to taste
mustard seeds, black pepper and salt.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Heat up the neutral-flavoured oil in a large oven safe skillet over medium heat. I used my largest cast iron - it needs to be big enough for all the beans to all lie flat on the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the beans, garlic, a pinch of salt and some fresh ground black pepper (and make sure the beans are all flat on the bottom...). Once those have gotten going, move them to the oven. They should be nice and browned up in about 15 -20 minutes, but check on them in 10 just to be sure.

While those are in the oven, prepare your vinaigrette. Red wine, olive oil, salt, fresh ground black pepper and mustard seeds, and sugar all in a peanut butter jar* with the lid on. Shake until it emulsifies, taste add more of anything it might need.

Prepare your arugula (rinse as needed) and put it in a bowl with the chopped sundried tomatoes. Once the beans are done, pull them out of the oven and let them cool down otherwise you will end up cooking your arugula. They don't have to be room temperature, just not 400 degrees!

Once they've cooled down to warm instead of really hot, combine with the arugula and tomatoes. A few minutes before serving, add the vinaigrette. Yum.

*Ryan and I use peanut butter jars instead of drinking glasses and I save the lids. They also serve as storage vessels for things like dried beans or grains and as vinaigrette shakers. Also, when they break you aren't sad because you can just eat some more peanut butter to replace them.

Eggless Pear Cheesecake take 1.

I had some frozen cream cheese from a long time ago. I also had one pear and no eggs. And some almond flour that I love, but never remember to use up.

So, this is what I did:

8oz cream cheese
1 pear, chopped but not necessarily peeled (I didn't)
1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c almond flour
1/3 c butter
1/2 c sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the almond flour and sugar. Melt the butter and then pour into the almond flour and sugar mixture. Give it a good stir to combine but don't "mix thoroughly". Press it into the bottom of a spring form pan. Put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes.

While this is in the oven, combine the cream cheese, chopped pear, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch in a food processor until smooth. Once this is ready and the crust is done toasting, pour the filling into the spring form pan.

Put in the oven for 20 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and cooked-looking. This is a thin cheesecake - the crust and the filling are about equal parts. If you want a thicker, on the more filling side, you could easily make more filling - maybe half again what I have called for here or perhaps even doubling the filling recipe. Of course this will require more cooking time.

Once it is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature, then put it in the fridge for at least an hour, to set.

I wasn't completely happy with this version. Or rather I was happy with it, but I think I will tweak it a bit in the future. Mainly, I want it to be fruitier.

*Edit: I tried again. Doubled the cream cheese, added a bit more cornstarch and this time, used frozen raspberries that I tossed in the food processor to chop up finely before anything else, instead of the pear. YUM.

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