Buttermilk Archives - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Skinny Cheesecake for SRC and New Weight Watchers Fresh Meals

March 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Healthy, Rainbow, SRC | 60 Comments
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For this months Secret Recipe Club, I decided to keep it skinny, since I also happen to be reviewing a few new Weight Watchers Fresh Meals in this post.  When I saw this Cheesecake with Sour Cream at Cook Book of Trial and Error, the blog I was assigned for March, I knew I had to try it.  Look at how creamy and decadent it looks!  Would you believe it has almost 5 times less calories than a full fat cheesecake?  Trust me, you’d never know it.  It’s lighter in texture, more like a a mix between a ricotta cheesecake and full-fat cheesecake, but the flavor is closer to fatty the cheesecake, I was pleasantly surprised.


I was a bit devious, though.  I had a few questions about the recipe and since it’s supposed to be a ‘secret’ when you have someone’s blog, I left an innocuous comment asking those questions.  When she quickly responded with the answers (less butter and crumbs in lieu of powder), she asked me to let her know how it turns out.  I told I would definitely let her know – 100%.  Now, I’m letting her know – It turned out amazing and everyone who tried it cannot believe it’s a skinny cheesecake!

Then again, I didn’t post as Guest or Anonymous, so I’m sure she put two and two together and figured it outAlso, I tried to emulate the cinnamon zigzag in her photo, freehand, but it didn’t quite work out – so excuse the strip that looks like dirt. 

That said, please be sure to visit her blog, she’s got some really fantastic recipes!

On another skinny note..

Remember last September when I reviewed Weight Watchers Fresh Meals and Deli Salads?  Well, Catherine Bowen Brophy of Greencore/Weight Watchers sent me 5 new fresh meals to try and tell you about.  Like I mentioned in the previous review, I like Weight Watchers because it’s a sensible way to diet and the food is delicious and filling.  The meals I received, in order from favorite to least favorite, are;

Photos above courtesy Weight Watchers

Beef Steak Tips with Potatoes and Vegetables - This was my favorite of the 5.  I wanted to lick the carton clean when I was finished.  20 minutes later I realized I was full and satisfied.  This is what I love about Weight Watchers.

Southwestern Style Turkey Chili - I loved the heartiness and flavor of this chili, but it needed a bit more spice.  But, again, it filled me up, so that’s a gold star.

Teryaki Chicken - The sauce was really good, and it tasted pretty close to what you might get at a good Japanese restaurant.  However, it needed salt and teryaki should never,ever need salt.

Chicken Curry - Again, like with the chili, I felt it needed more kick, but I love really hot and spicy food, so maybe it’s just me.  Nice flavor and the sauce was silky.

Wild Alaskan Salmon - This was the least of my favorites.  The salmon was bland, dry and the texture not pleasing at all, but, what do you excpect from pre-frozen packaged fish?  That’s a tough one to pull off. I wanted to dredge each side in cajun seasoning and give it a quick sear, THEN, smother it with some kind of sauce, but that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? They need to rework this one.

You can always add extra spice to kick up the heat, so I’m giving these 5 new Fresh Meals a 7.5 out of 10, the main caveat being the salmon.  You won’t get 5-star caliber food here, but you will get tasty food that fills you up, without deprivation . My favorite diet plan out there, by far.

Before I get to the cheesecake recipe, I’d like to thank my friend, Mandy, from What the Fruitcake?! - for converting the measurements in this recipe from metrics to US for me.  Also, to see all the delicious dishes my fellow SRC’ers made from their assigned blogs, click on the blue frog below.


Skinny Sour Cream Topped Cheesecake
Recipe from Cooking with Trial and Error, via her friend’s Mom, with my revisions for an 8-inch springform pan
Approximately 2950 calories, 12 servings, 245 calories per serving

Crust
4.6 ounces animal or graham cracker crumbs (I forgot to measure after I weighed, but I will do that later with remaining crumbs)
3 to 5 tablespoons melted butter (it could get too greasy with 5, so start with 3, which worked for me)

Cheesecake Filling
1 3/4 cups Farmers Cheese *
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Buttermilk or Yogurt *
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar

Topping
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar

*  The Farmer’s Cheese plus buttermilk amounts can be substituted with all Quark or Greek Yogurt – 500 grams total.  Next time I’m going to make yogurt cheese with the Greek yogurt, and try this recipe with that instead of the farmer’s cheese and buttermilk.  I’m pretty sure it will be closer in texture to full fat cheesecake since it’s creamy.  Strain about 600 to 700 grams low-fat or regular Greek Yogurt so you end up with 500 grams yogurt cheese, which is about 2 cups.

UPDATE - I made it with the yogurt cheese and it’s exactly like a full-fat creamy cheesecake.  If you use cottage or farmer’s cheese, you get more of a ricotta cheesecake, which is also delicious, of course.

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place the animal or graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until you get fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a clean bowl and drizzle in the melted butter, stirring, until it holds together somewhat.  As mentioned above, you shouldn’t need all 5 tablespoons, the cheesecake filling will bind it together when baking.

2. Press the crumbs into a greased 9-inch cake pan – just the bottom. Use the bottom of a glass to really pack it in.  Place in the freezer while you make the filling. You can also use a 5”x7” square Pyrex pan, if you want to make cheese cake squares.  *I used an 8-inch springform pan, which doubled the baking time.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the cheese filling until uniform and silky. Remove the graham cracker crust from the freezer, and pour the filling on top of it.

3. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 350 degreees F and bake for 15 minutes.

4. Combine the sour cream with the sugar. After the cheesecake has baked for 15 minutes at 350F, remove it from the oven and spread the sour cream on top evenly – be gentle, as it will be slightly jiggly in the middle. Bake for another 5 minutes.

5. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.  I topped my mini cheesecakes (I cut them out of the leftover large cheesecake with a round biscuit cutter) with a melange of cut up fruits and honey.

* As i mentioned above, I used a 7 1/2 to  8-inch round springform pan.  The baking time was 10 minutes at 400 degrees F, then 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees F, and another 10 minutes with the sour cream topping.

I was not compensated monetarily for my Weight Watchers Fresh Meals review, only sent the meals free of charge.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Skinny Cheesecake made with Cottage or Yogurt Cheese.  Super creamy and delicious - you'd never know it was only 245 calories a slice!

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Berries and Buttermilk Puddings and my First GIVEAWAY!

February 3, 2010 at 10:56 am | Posted in Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Gluten Free, Healthy, Puddings | 59 Comments
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You know, I’ve had this blog going for almost 2 years, and I have yet to present a giveaway.  I feel left out, I feel cheap, I feel like the kid in the lunchroom with the sandwich that will no one will trade for.  OK, that’s overreacting to the 100th degree.  Let’s just say that I have tons and tons of goodies, most of which I’ll never use, that I’d like to share with you all.

Well, I’ll get to that part after I touch on these luscious, decadent buttermilk puddings with a strawberry-red wine sauce, and fresh, succulent berries.  The pudding sounds really fattening, doesn’t it?  I mean, some perceive buttermilk to be loaded with butter -but  it’s not.   It’s the sour liquid that remains after the butterfat has been removed from whole milk or cream by churning when making butter.  However, most commercial buttermilk is now produced by other means, mainly cultured –  aka cow’s milk with lactic acid bacteria added to it.

Alright enough with the scientific mishmash.  This pudding tastes like cheesecake – I mean it, creamy, rich cheesecake pudding, but again..it’s not..it’s actually low in fat, and even lower if you use low fat milk!  I had half a quart of buttermilk left from some muffins I made (coming soon) and I’m so bad when it comes to buttermilk – a certified buttermilk ‘waster’.  I buy it for one recipe (yes, I know, milk plus lemon juice or vinegar, but sometimes I feel like using something that is what it is), then it sits in the back of my fridge until it becomes it’s own life form..bacteria babies multiplying like bunny rabbits, then starting their own families, and so on and so forth.

When I dare to look, it’s actually moving and chunky. One sniff and well, I don’t think I need to elaborate any more than that.  Down the drain it goes, with a teeming shower of steaming hot water to melt the chunky parts.  Have I grossed anyone out yet?  It wasn’t my intention, but if you ask anyone who knows me, I’m not one to hold back when it comes to saying what’s on my mind..chunky bits or not.

                   Darn shiny glasses and fake lighting – couldn’t avoid the glare.

With that said, this time I wasn’t going to waste the damn buttermilk.  I surfed to epicurious.com, typed in buttermilk, and this was the first recipe that came up.  Usually, I need to sift for a while, but nope, this was right up my alley, especially after all the rich holiday food still clogging every artery, organ, pore etc.  I was not disappointed – you have to try these, and it’s truly, truly nowhere near as fattening as it tastes.  INDULGE!

Now to the fun part – my GIVEAWAY – YAY!  I’m starting slow, as I don’t want to overdo it, since it’s my first one.  This isn’t stuff sent to me by a company to plug, this is from my humble, little kitchen. It’s simply something I want to give away because, well, friends and family give me a lot of food and kitchen related stuff as gifts, and as mentioned above, I’ll never use it all…so who better to pass it on to than my fellow food fanatics?

To put it simply, most of my giveaways will be akin to you coming over and while we chat, eat, cook/bake, play Twister, whatever, I keep piling stuff on you

“Here, take this, you’ll love it!”. ..”Oh, look, 10 different kinds of flavored oils, 9 of which I’ll never use..take them..please!”.

Granted, everything is brand spanking new..I’m not one of those types.   I once worked with a woman who actually saved half a sub sandwich she didn’t eat (2 days old), a little nibble off the corner, and brought it into work to pawn off on someone because she didn’t like to waste food.  If Wordpress had a disgusted/WTH?? emoticon, you’d see it right HERE.  That was the look on all of our faces when she decided we were no different than her dog.

OK, onto the haul.  I have enough panko breadcrumbs to bread enough food to feed almost all of Manhattan..seriously – SO, one, lucky reader..please take these!  Oh, here’s the cool part..they’re flavored panko, fusion panko!  We’ve got South West panko, Garlic panko, and Teriyaki panko..a three pack – NO mustard or plain.  Just leave a comment and I’ll use that random integer thingamahjig to choose a winner.  The winner will be announced one week from today.  By the way, this is not just limited to the USA..I will ship anywhere in the world.  Fair is fair, and whatever number comes up is where it goes!

Berries and Buttermilk Puddings
Gourmet Magazine via Epicrurious.com

For buttermilk puddings:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup whole milk, divided
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For sauce:
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoon sugar
1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest
1 (3-inch) strip orange zest
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 cup quartered strawberries
2 cups mixed berries

Equipment: 4 (6-to 8-ounce) bowls or wide glasses

DIRECTIONS FOR PUDDINGS:
1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl and let soften 1 minute.

2. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a small heavy saucepan and add pod. Add remaining 3/4 cup milk and sugar and bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture to hot milk mixture, stirring until dissolved. Quick- chill in an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until cold but not thickened, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in buttermilk, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large glass measure, discarding solids. Pour into bowls and chill until set, at least 8 hours.

DIRECTIONS FOR SAUCE:
1. Bring wine, water, sugar, zests, and bay leaf to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes.

2. Add strawberries and simmer 5 minutes. Discard zests and bay leaf, then purée strawberry mixture in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Force through clean fine-mesh sieve and discard solids.

3. Chill sauce, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 1 hour.

To serve:
Spoon sauce over puddings and top with remaining berries.

Outrageously Creamy Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Puddings with Fresh Berry Sauce. Low-Fat and Low Sugar


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