Monthly Archives: November 2006

Dishes of Comfort: Mom’s NY Style Cheesecake

In Dishes of Comfort, a one-off event co-hosted by Cream Puffs in Venice and Viaggi & Sapori, we’re asked to “share nostalgia about dishes that we were eating when we were kids and that had a special meaning for us, about dishes that our grandmas and moms were preparing for us and we have a special memory of…and maybe we have not got the chance to eat them for a long time.”

NY Cheesecake

In my case, I chose my mom’s NY Style Cheesecake, a little worse for wear in the picture above because it’s what’s left of the whole cake I got to myself (squee!!) for my birthday this year, and it has been frozen for posterity (and later eating) about 3 months ago. It’s much prettier when it’s freshly baked, I assure you. 🙂

My mom has been making this cake for as long as I remember, usually for her work potlucks – we kids were usually left drooling at the whole cake before she took it in, and if she was lucky enough to bring home leftovers, we fought over each scrumptious morsel. We still fight over it when she makes it, even though we have the recipe ourselves now, because no one makes it quite like mom does.

Nice crunchy candy-like crust, creamy cheesecake, and sweet topping – it all goes together so well, I’ve never had anything quite like it, and no other cheesecake I’ve ever had even comes close. I’ve made it a few times for potlucks myself, and have never had any leftovers – as a matter of fact, it pretty much disappears within 10 minutes of me setting it down.

Great memories for me with this cake, and when she baked me my own this year, it was like a hug in springform pan. 🙂

(Note: I’ve updated the picture in September 2008 with a much better one! 🙂 )

Mom’s NY Style Cheesecake

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter

4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
5 eggs

2 c. sour cream
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

Lightly oil bottom of pan. Combine crumbs, sugar, and butter until thoroughly mixed. Press into bottom of springform pan. Bake 5 minutes in 350 degree pre-heated oven. Place on rack to cool.

For filling, cream cheese until light. Add sugar and vanilla and cream again. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Pour over cooled crust. Bake (at least) 40 minutes (note: or until done – check after 40 minutes, sometimes for me it can take a hour or so). Cool 15 minutes on rack (note: it may crack during this part, don’t worry because they will compact as it cools).

For topping, thoroughly mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Pour carefully over cheesecake. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool to room temperature. Chill 12-24 hours before serving. Remove side piece and cut into 16 servings.

Technorati tag: dishes of comfort

Destination: Cleveland

We’re about to head out on the road to go to the Queensryche concert in Cleveland tonight. I had been meaning to make a trip to the West Side Market to stock up on ‘rogies and bridies, but I just found out they’re closed today. 🙁

Instead, I’ll have to get my ‘rogie fix by stopping for dinner tonight at Babushka’s Kitchen in Northfield, about a half hour southeast of downtown Cleveland. I’ll be sure to post a full report tomorrow. 🙂

Maybe if we get done eating early enough, we can make it to Gaelic Imports before they close at 5 anyway, and I’d be able to get the bridies I’m craving. We’ll see.


Burrito Fix at La Bamba

Update July 2012: The campus location (as well as the chain’s other locations) have closed. They will definitely be missed!

Update: The Georgesville Rd. location has closed, but you can still get La Bamba at their OSU Campus location.

I have a confession to make. I have become a burrito junkie. I make my poor husband stop nearly every night on his way home to buy me a burrito. Not just *any* burrito. The king of burritos. A burrito AS BIG AS MY HEAD (no, I’m not kidding).

At $6.97 (adjusted for the price of extra avocado and sour cream, natch), La Bamba‘s Jumbo Burrito is a deal of epic proportions. Chock full of flavorful pork, rice, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, sour cream and salsa verde, it is heaven in a wrapper. It makes Chipotle look like mass produced flavorless crap. They take the whole thing and then grill it before wrapping it in foil, making sure that it arrives at your destination (or table, if you’re eating in) piping hot.

Until recently, the only La Bamba outpost was on campus. Recently, they opened up a store on the west side on Georgesville Rd, up by Old Sullivant. Visit. Visit soon. Visit often. You know you want to. 🙂

La Bamba has 2 Ohio locations:
West Side – 421 Georgesville Rd, Cols. 614.586.0693 *CLOSED*
OSU Campus – 1956 N. High St, Cols. 614.294.5004

La Bamba on Urbanspoon


I must be blessed. For the second time in a couple of weeks, my husband took charge of cooking tonight, this time making Dolmades from scratch, using this Recipezaar recipe.

We ended up with more meat than we had grape leaves, so he rolled the rest into meatballs and cooked them along with the dolmades. It tasted just like the ones we get at the Greek restaurant. We paired it with some previously made and frozen moussaka, and baklava for dessert. It was delicious! I should let him cook more often…

Events 11/11/06 to 11/18/06

Honestly, with the growing season over, and the holiday season not quite here yet, there’s not too much going on in Columbus that’s related to food. Here’s the few items I came up with for this week:

  • Today (Saturday the 11th) is North Market Turkey Daze from 9am-5pm. “The North Market honors America’s founding holiday with a festival celebrating Thanksgiving food. Cooking demonstrations, live music and kid’s activities round out this day.” Admission is FREE. Call 614.463.9664 for more information.
  • Sunday, November 12th is French Culture Day at the Columbus Museum of Art. “French art, French music, and French food will fill the halls of the museum on this special Sunday of programming for adults and families”. Food related activities include Sur La Table demonstrating gourmet French cooking techniques and the Palette Cafe will feature a special French lunch menu. Admission is FREE. CoMA is located at 480 E. Broad St. in Columbus, and the events will be held from 1-5pm. Call 614.221.4848 or 614.221.6801 for more information.

As always, if there’s an event you’d like to promote, drop me an email at columbusfoodieATgmailDOTcom and I’ll be sure to mention it here.

Friday Roundup 11/10/06

There’s a new Columbus food blogger in town – Jule from The Food Mill. If you get a chance, check out her site. It’s fairly new, but has some good recipes and food porn. I still say that we locals all need to get together for a potluck. Maybe sometime in mid-December? Any one else interested?

I also stumbled across another Columbus food-related blog – The Hot Zone Online. While I’m not a huge spicy food person, I did love their review of the local chicken wing joints. And not in Columbus, but nearby in Cincinnati, is Sorry Fugu. Check them out!

Lots of talk about Thanksgiving, with it coming up so soon now. There was a good article this week in the Dispatch about local Thanksgiving boxes and turkeys, and different options for locals. I’m personally purchasing my turkey and Thanksgiving box from my CSA, Just This Farm. I love the focus on eating local in this article.

Lisa the Restaurant Widow put together a nice list of local sources for Thanksgiving ingredients and places that will cook for you in addition to the Dispatch’s list of restaurants that are offering Thanksgiving dinners. If you’re cooking at home, check out the list of USDA Turkey Cooking Guidelines that was posted on Slashfood. And mental note: before I die, I must try a turducken.

Speaking of the Dispatch, they wrote a review on one of my favorite local brewpubs, Barley’s. We haven’t been for a while, but I’m having a craving for their sauerkraut balls and naked wings. Yum. Also, a nice mention of one of my favorite local bakeries, Pistachio, which I wrote an entry about not too long ago. Speaking of Pistachio, I just noticed that they’ve updated their menu to reflect the fall season. It looks like my husband will be making a stop there on his way home tonight! 🙂

So last week, Dispatch readers chose China Dynasty as the best Chinese food in town. I’ve probably passed the place a million times, but have never tried it. Now I think I’ll have to, since good Chinese is so hard to find. What I find hard to believe, though, is that a chain (P.F. Chang’s) won out over Hunan Lion. Although P.F. Chang’s is good, I have to respectfully disagree.

This week, they want to know which restaurant offers the city’s best Beat Michigan Gameday Party? Unfortunately, this is another one I’ll have to abstain from. As a New Jersey transplant, I don’t bleed Buckeye red (could care less about football, actually), so I’ve never been anywhere near a restaurant during the Michigan game. But all of you die-hard football fans, give them your input and you enter into the draw to win a $25 gift card.

With fall in full swing, and winter right around the corner, most of the recipes posted by others have been just the right thing for the cold days ahead. I’ve bookmarked a ton. Here’s this weeks keepers: Brown Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Bars from [Gluten Free] Goddess, Apple and Pear Flognarde from Cook & Eat, Chocolate Stout Cake from Smitten Kitchen, Applesauce from Gluten-Free Girl, Roasted Kobocha with Brown Butter from Oishii Eats, and Pear Clafoutis from Slashfood.

In informational posts, Chrispy of Experimentation of Taste tells us everything you ever wanted to know about winter squash, Kalyn’s Kitchen posts an archive of South Beach Diet friendly recipes, Jenny of Lox, Stock and Barrel show us how to roast garlic (old link, but first time I’m seeing it), and Slashfood provides us with a list of surprisingly healthy foods.

Recipe search time. This is a new feature in the round-ups, where I’ll post what I’m looking for, and maybe one of you can point me to a recipe for it. If I’m posting it here, trust me – I’ve searched high and low for a recipe and haven’t found one. This week? I’m looking for a recipe for bassma (Middle Eastern pistachio pastry) and roast stuffed breast of veal (w/ a bread stuffing). Also, anyone know of a local source for veal breast?

Gastroville wrote an entry about their experience at the French Laundry. What surprised me was the cost of the meal. $900 to $1500?? For one meal?? Good Lord. My mortgage payment is less than that. Even the cost of the meal before extras and beverages ($420 for a couple) is more than I usually spend on groceries in a month.

I fancy myself a foodie, and in the social circles I run in, my tastes are a little more “gourmetish” than most of my family and friends, but…lets face it folks, I’m no gourmet. And I never will be. I like food that tastes good. I could afford to eat at The French Laundry if I wanted to – but (and bring on the flames here if ya’ll want) I don’t think I want to. The descriptions of most of the food really didn’t do much for me. I’d love to try Waygu beef, but not if it’s going to cost me $100 extra on top of the $210 I’m already paying for two tiny little slices (not even a whole steak!). Give me a nicely marbled ribeye from Bluescreek anyday over that stuff.

I’m not crazy about gourmet food, which is probably why I’ll never be a regular at The Refectory or L’Antibes or any restaurants of that type. It’s pretty to look at, and it tastes good (at least most of the time), but I feel out of place eating there. It’s just not me. I’m all about comfort food, food that reaches out and hugs you in the memories that are wrapped in it. It’s all about the nostalgia factor for me. Like reproducing my Oma’s dishes in her honor and to get back some of what I lost when she died. My favorite restaurants have comfort food on the menu, almost exclusively.

I’m not crazy about wine. I, for the most part, just don’t like it. But we get strange looks in nice restaurants when we order water or pop with our meal. I’m no less of a foodie because I’m not asking for the wine list.

So even though I love to experiment, and try new things, most of what you’ll see here is the embodiment of me – simple, unassuming, excited about food and my love of sharing stuff with other people and cooking for those that I love. Plain and simple. It may never make a top 10 list of best food blogs, but it is what it is. Enjoy the ride. 🙂

Not to disparage those who do molecular gastronomy or high end gourmet. I love to look at your pictures, read about your experiences. I love to live vicariously through your entries. You’ll just probably never find those entries on my blog.

We’re off to Cleveland for a concert on Tuesday. Any suggestions for a good place to eat?

Until next week, folks…

Carnitas Topped Arepa

Oh. my. God. I think I’ve just died and gone to Heaven. I, through sheer luck, stumbled on a combination of different flavors that are absolutely sublime. By themselves they aren’t stellar, but the way this all came together – I must have more. Must. It might just be a subjective thing, but this combination of sweet and savory just rocked my world.

Carnitas Topped Arepa

First, I made Linda from Kayaksoup’s recipe for Crock Pot Carnitas that she blogged about a while back. Absolutely amazing. Moist. Fork tender. Flavorful. You can’t tell there was ever beer in there, all the ingredients melded together in perfection. While this would have been delicious alone, or even with some tortillas, I was feeling sort of inspired.

So I had been planning on making a recipe for Tamale Corn Cakes that I had seen in Cuisine at Home magazine, but while searching through my freezer, I had come across a box of frozen arepas stuffed with cheese (I had thought they were Goya, but a search of the Goya web site doesn’t show frozen arepas, and I’ve already threw away the box) that I purchased at Jungle Jims near Cincinnati a while back. I figured it would make more sense to use up something that I had already (since I had mentally been saving those for when I made some shredded meat) rather than cooking something new from scratch. 12 minutes in the toaster oven later, they were done.

So in my fridge, I had some salsa from Trader Joe’s, and a pint of sour cream. I used the arepa sort of as a delivery system for everything else. Took the first bite, and – oh my. I wasn’t expecting the arepa to be sweet at all, but it was. It played off the flavors in everything else perfectly. Unfortunately, I only had two arepas. So today will be spent trying to find a sweet delivery system that will hold together well (arepas call for a special kind of masa, and I only have the masa de harina) – sweet cornbread is straight out since it basically fell apart. Any suggestions, anyone? I have so much meat left, I have room to experiment. 🙂


WBW #27: Icy Desserts

I’ll be the first to admit. I’m not much of a wine drinker. My palate interpets pretty much all the wine I taste into one category – blech. You know how they say that some people think that cilantro tastes like soap? To me, pretty much all wine tastes like vinegar.

I get that there are differences between types of wine. I can detect the differences easily with things like olive oil. Is it that I just haven’t given wine enough of a chance? I’m a wine plebe. When it comes to wine, I think Manischewitz is palatable. I guess you could say that I like my wine sweet. But even Manischewitz is a stretch for me.

So when I saw that this edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday was all about ice wine, I thought, now HERE’s my one and only chance to participate! Ice wine! I can *do* ice wine!

For those of you who are not familiar with ice wine, according to Wikipedia, it’s a “dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, so the result is a concentrated, often very sweet wine.” Dessert? Sweet? Oh boy, I’m so there!

We were having steak for dinner that night, and since my previous experiences with icewine had been a sip of a white icewine, we decided to go with an icebox zinfandel.


This bottle of 2003 Frozin ($24.95 for a 375ml bottle at The Anderson’s), out of Meeker Vineyards in Sonoma County, California, was absolutely fantastic. It is the only wine in my life that I have ever wanted to drink more than a sip of. I’m going to attempt to describe what I thought of it, so bear with me if the jargon is off – I’m a wine newbie so I’m not really sure if I’m describing it correctly.

I’ll start by giving you Wine Library’s definition – “sweet, zippy, spicy red zinfandel, made in a faux-ice wine style. Sweet cherry, strawberry and raspberry have a dominant flavor, with white pepper and fresh acidity on the finish. Perfect with chocolate!”

I’ll agree with most of that. I found it to be rather full-bodied, with a berry undertone – not dry at all, but not overly lush either. It’s nose was very floral and fruity – the best way I can describe the taste is that it had almost a raisiny flavor, or kind of like what a really good sweet syrupy balsamic vinegar would taste like. I never got to try it with chocolate. We finished the bottle together in one sitting, which is a feat in and of itself considering that neither myself or my husband has ever done that before.

All in all, this is on the VERY short list of wines I’d drink happily. At about $12 per glass, it wasn’t cheap – but it was well worth every penny.

Gruyere, Apple and Ham Panini

Inspired by this recipe for Gruyere Apple Grilled Cheese at Just Braise, and the Paris Bistro Grilled Hot Wrap (yummy honey wheat tortilla with ham, brie, green apples, spinach, tomatoes, red onions and honey mustard) from Camille’s, I was craving something that had elements of both, but was something completely different.

Gruyere Apple Panini

I decided on a panini sandwich, on good white bread from the bakery at Weiland’s, stuffed with some leftover Gruyere from Whole Foods, dijon mustard, thinly sliced Honeycrisp apple, and a slice of the fantastic smoked ham from Thurn’s Specialty Meats (the link is to a fantastic review of the place done by Rosie). Served with the remaining Honeycrisp apples, it really hit the spot.

Lesson learned: Gruyere doesn’t freeze well. When it thaws, it crumbles rather than slices. Still tastes good, though! 🙂 I’ll probably use the rest in some mac and cheese I’m making tonight.

Anniversary Dinner

My 10-year wedding anniversary was on November 1st, and my husband and I celebrated with a nice quiet dinner at home. Nothing fancy, just a nice three course meal over a bottle of ice-style wine (more about that on Wednesday), with a little candlelight to set the mood.


We were looking for a mild-tasting cheese that would be great for dipping, and Mike from Curds & Whey at the North Market recommended a young French cheese called Fromager des Clarines by Jean Perrin. He suggested we heat it up in the oven (you can heat it right in the wood container it comes in) at 225 degrees for 10 minutes.

More Cheese

Served with baguette and thinly sliced Honeycrisp apples, it was absolutely divine!

Filet Mignon, Potatoes, Spinach

For our entree, we had filet mignon with a creamy red-wine and onion (I was out of shallots) sauce, served with mashed potatoes and some spinach that was sauteed in butter and garlic. Ever since I’ve started searing my steak Alton Brown style on the stovetop and finishing it in the oven, steak has come out perfectly for me every single time.

Chocolate Boule

For dessert, rather than make our own, we picked up a couple of Chocolate Boules at Whole Foods. Filled with a thick rich mousse and yellow cake, and covered in chocolate ganache, it was a sweet ending to a very good meal. Who needs to go to a restaurant when you can eat like this at home?