Monthly Archives: October 2009

Northwest Cheesecake Supreme Epic

I am the two left feet dancer of baking. Every time I try to make a pastry, I end up failing royally: I tend to cook with ingredients based on need or how I see fit, and there is something about specific quantities and temperatures as well as timing that put me on the edge. So I was a tad nervous about this challenge.

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Challenge 3: Northwest Cheesecake Supreme

For this challenge I decided to post an old favorite of mine from a cheesecake cook book I have had for some time.  As a former chemist, I tend to work better with recipes that require well-defined amounts, times, temperatures, and techniques. I have always found that baking desserts fits this bill. This cheesecake is not too complex for those of us that do not make desserts so much, but it will be exciting to see what kind of spin each challenger will put on it! The basic recipe can be found here: NW Cheesecake Supreme Best of luck!

Sweet Paprika Chicken in Wine

I made this recipe for my kids and I last weekend. They are not that fond of paprika, and I am not that fond of mushrooms, so I made a few adjustments to suit our tastes.

I started by cooking some finely minced garlic (about 3 cloves) and shallots (2) in a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. I try not to use too much butter if I can help it and of course I have something of a love affair for garlic! After the garlic became somewhat translucent,  I added 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to the pan. I cooked the chicken for about 7 minutes on each side, then I added one sliced green bell pepper to the pan. I like to add vegetables like this later on in the recipe so that they maintain some of their original crispiness.

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Paprika Chicken, Mushrooms and Potatoes

I have made this recipe before, so I felt comfortable to make it again, and be more adventurous with the amount of seasoning.

I did not use chicken breasts, but rather leg pieces, as my family do not eat breasts unless in a pasta. I also did not skin the legs, and as unhealthy as this is, I enjoy the taste the skin gives to the food. I seasoned the chicken pieces in a bowl with salt and pepper, but did not use the prescribed amount of paprika. Instead, I sprinkled the paprika until it covered all the chicken. I also used ground garlic because I did not have garlic powder. I used about a teaspoon and a half for luck. I love garlic, so I do tend to use more.

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Parmesan Chicken Paprika with Apple and Raisin Salad

I got to cook the chicken paprika as lunch for my family today.  I decided to serve it with apple and raisin salad which oddly enough was to my dad’s taste. For those who know my father, they would be extremely surprised to hear that he said a dish is good. The chicken was approved also, but everyone mostly liked the caramelized onions and mushrooms.

I did not cook the recipe exactly as in the posted challenge.

First I made little pouches in the chicken breasts and stuffed them with Parmesan. Although, next time I would cover the chicken with the cheese and bake them for like five minutes in the oven.

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Challenge 2: Paprika Chicken with Mushrooms

I’ve been asked to set the next challenge. I decided to go for a paprika chicken recipe I recently discovered. Follow the link for the recipe. It has lovely strong flavours which I really enjoy. As a beginner, I have been choosing easy recipes that are versatile. Have fun with this one!

Whole Grain Spaghettini with Fresh Tomatoes, Olives and Garlic

I had been trying to find the time to prepare a dish all week! I finally found my window of opportunity at lunch today and set out to find my ingredients.

When I arrived to the store, there were bright red Hot House tomatoes staring me in the face that looked to be at their peak of ripeness! I’m thankful to live in California at times because of the fresh produce available throughout the year.  As I continued, I was able to find all of the ingredients listed on the original recipe, but I used a whole grain Barilla spaghettini (thin spaghetti) in place of the standard pasta.

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A Greek Twist

I’m excited about this first challenge, although an easy recipe, I’m keen to see what my friends have done with it. This is my interpretation. Enjoy!

tomatoe, olive, feta pasta

I decided to change the recipe a bit, since I am not a fan of cold food. The praise however, goes to a very good friend of mine, who showed me this recipe.

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Linguine with Fresh Tomatoes, Olives and Garlic

Today was my chosen day to finally make the recipe or maybe I should say complete it. Since the tomato base has been in the fridge for two days already. Actually this turned out to be a great idea. I peeled, cored and cut the tomatoes, added the salt and pepper, although I used white instead of red chili as it said in the recipe. I let all rest in a sealed container in the fridge.


To my surprise when I opened the container, the tomatoes were all mushy and juicy and looked wonderful. So I smashed the garlic and added the oil and I was set.

But before that I put some of the chopped tomatoes in a small bowl: I wanted to make Bruschetta.

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Challenge 1: Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Olives and Garlic Challenge

Before I speak of our first challenge, I will explain the rules we agreed to work by. After posting a challenge we have a week to make it, whether it is a dish or a dessert. Then after we meet the challenge, we post our pictures and our comments and adaptations.

So the challenge we start with is a recipe I am very familiar with, since it is one of the first I ever made. So it is like finding an old friend. It is a recipe I got from a Barilla box and here is the recipe:

Spaghetti with tomato sauce

Ingredients for 4:

  • 400 g spaghetti
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 150 g pitted black olives
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2- 3 Tbsp Pecorino Romano (or any other cheese you like)
  • pepper Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp oil


  1. Peel the tomatoes and remove the seeds, put them in a bowl with the chopped garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Mix.
  2. Let cool for half an hour in the refrigerator.
  3. Cook the spaghetti “al dente” in plenty of salted water, drain well.

Put the spaghetti on a plate, season with tomato sauce.

Garnish with black olives and Pecorino.

So all to our pots and pans…