January 3, 2011
This week begins the slow trot back into reality. I am actually thankful that CHET had a snow day on the last day of scheduled classes in December because that makes tomorrow the make-up day and the rest of my classes don't start until next week. That will help get me going a little bit. It has been a nice break, but I am looking forward to getting back into the routine of classes... and grading papers :)
I have made a key lime cheesecake for the last 3 years. It is simply yummy... until I made a few alterations this year - kind of by accident - and so I am a bit disappointed with how this one came out. The recipe calls for a sour cream mixture to be spread on the cake before the last 10 minutes of cooking time. I should have made sure the cake was really cooked before I put that on. It wasn't and the sour cream kind of sits in the middle. Lesson learned. My friend Sheridan got me a Cuisinart citrus juicer for my birthday this year and it was very helpful with those little key limes. One year I didn't have any type of juicer, reamer, or squeezer and I did them all by hand. Those suckers are TINY!! Another lesson learned! Also, when I bought the cream cheese I wasn't paying attention and bought the lower fat kind and it definitely made a taste and texture difference. This is cheesecake, for Pete's sake! Why on earth would you make it low-fat? Who are you trying to fool?? Yet another lesson learned. Ok, so these are not LIFE lessons... or are they? Patience, advance preparation, pay attention and don't make exceptions or excuses. Oh, but they are!
Patience - I have been waiting on something in particular for over a year. It is hard to sit back and wait, to trust that God is working when it seems He is not. It's hard not to jump in and try to push things along. I will continue to wait knowing that He loves me beyond anything I could ever imagine, His plan is way better if I wait for Him to work it out in His own time rather than mine. I definitely mess it up everytime my impatience gets the better of me and I try to take over. I will wait.
Advanced Preparation - I can't be prepared if I am not reading my Bible, spending time in prayer and praise of Him who made me and loves me. I can't be ready with an answer for someone else, much less myself if I don't take time each day. I will not receive all of the blessings He has in store for me if I do not prepare my heart to receive them.
Pay attention - I can't assume that I know what I am doing and just blindly move forward. When I do that, when I move on my own, I make mistakes. My selfishness, my pride, my "humanity" always gets in the way. I am ashamed of the words I sometimes say, the choices I sometimes make. I need to pay attention to where God is working, how He is working and what He wants me to do for Him.
No exceptions/excuses... enough said. Just do it, as the Nike commercial says. Each day is a new day!
Don't let cheesecake scare you. It really is simple. It takes a few steps but they are all easy and anyone can do it in about the same time it takes to make one of those "abominations from a box"! When you see how easy it is, you will never go back! Key limes are those tiny limes about the size of a ping-pong ball and they come in a net bag. The flavor is much different than the regular large limes. I am sure it makes a difference, but since I learned my lesson on making exceptions, I don't intend to find out what the difference iS :)
KEY LIME CHEESECAKE
12 whole graham crackers
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted
6 large egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
6 T. key lime juice
1 t. lime zest
2 pkg. cream cheese (full-fat REMEMBER - don't skimp!)
2/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs
3 T. key lime juice
1 T. lime zest
2 c. sour cream
3 T. sugar
For crust: Preheat oven to 350'. In food processor, combine crackers, salt and sugar until crackers are thoroughly crushed. Drizzle in the butter until well combined. Press firmly in the bottom and about 1-inch up the sides of a springform pan. I lay a piece of plastic wrap on the crums and push them in that way so I don't get them all over my hands. Bake 5 minutes. Cool completely.
For curd: In medium saucepan, over medium heat, whisk all ingredients and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 30 seconds then remove from heat. Allow it to cool completely, stirring occasionally. It will take about 30 minutes. You can speed this process by setting the saucepan on some ice to cool.
For filling: Blend all of the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
For topping: Combine the sour cream and sugar and set aside.
Wrap the outside of the springform pan in aluminum foil. Spread the curd over the graham cracker crust and then pour the cheesecake mixture on top. Set the cake in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with about 1 inch of hot water. Bake at 350' for approximately 45 minutes - 1 hour. When the cake is firm in the center (jiggle the pan slightly) pour the sour cream over the top and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and then allow to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
Give it a shot. Let me know how it comes out and what lessons you learned along the way :)