Coconut Lime Cheese Cake with Cashew and Graham Cracker Crust! Summer Indulgence!

I came across this great recipe on Lick My Spoon.

This is a great recipe because it was easy to follow and the cake came out perfectly on the first try.

I don’t know why but I am always surprised when that happens!

Also, I have been on this kick lately with coconut, limes and mango.

This recipe calls for Key Limes but I used just regular limes and it worked out fine.

I’m sure that the unique and delicate taste of Key Limes adds a whole new dimension of flavor but any ripe fragrant fruit is just so beautiful to me.

After a long winter, Lime is the flavor I’m craving!

I did make a few adjustments.

Instead of 1/4 cup Malibu I used 1/4 cup Coco Lopez.

This cake has a very Lime forward flavor, which is lovely, however, I wanted to taste the coconut, as well.

Key Lime Coconut Cheesecake
Makes: One (10 inch) cheesecake, serves 8-10
Recipe Courtesy of Lick My Spoon

Ingredients:

Crust
1 package graham crackers (approx. 1 cup)
1 cup cashews
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Filling
1 (12 oz.) container sour cream
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
½ cup lime juice (if you can’t find key limes, substitute with regular limes)
¼ cup Malibu (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Topping
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted
Slices of lime for garnish

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Butter or spray the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the outside of the pan in foil. Finely grind the graham crackers and cashews in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

3. Mix together the sour cream, cream cheese, and sugar. Blend in the lime zest, lime juice, Malibu, and vanilla. Add eggs in one at a time.

4. Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the pan in a large roasting pan. Create a hot water bath by pouring enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour.

5. Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top. I just toast the coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat. Keep stirring it so it doesn’t burn; it will toast up quickly. Garnish with lime slices.

6. Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold and firm, at least 8 hours (best overnight).

I used my artistic discretion to garnish the cake.

These gorgeous limes were my inspiration.

We’ve been eating limes with everything lately!

We’ve been making lime juice cocktails and garnishing every meal with limes!

The crust calls for lemon zest.

Fantastic!

The crust is delicious.

The lemon adds just the right amount of flavour.

Sugar, cream cheese and vanilla…..

Sounds like a good start to me.

The scent of this crust in the food processor was driving us insane.

We wanted to spoon it into our mouths.

I am happy that it made it’s way into the springform pan.

Eggs, sour cream, coco lopez and the lime zest go into the batter.

It has a mouth-watering aroma.

The cake baked perfectly.

Maybe one of my best.

The water bath is a must to avoid cracks.

Lots of toasted coconut!

Sweet and crunchy toasted coconut is divine with rich and creamy lime lovliness!

And a few more photos of my handy work.

I was so happy with the way this cake turned out.

I will be making many more of these.

I have the feeling that this will be the Summertime go-to cheese cake for picnics, parties or whatever comes our way!

Celebrating Winter Sunshine with Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Green Curry Coconut, Red Pepper and Asparagus!

074green curry soba noodles

This is not so much a recipe as one woman’s quest for a fresh and spicy meal on an unusually warm and sunny winter day!

079green curry soba noodles

A trip to the neighborhood grocer yeilded fresh ginger, avocados, limes a jar of green curry paste, soba noodles….
You get the idea.

033green curry noodles

This dish is quick and easy to prepare.

I can’t get everything cleaned, cut, chopped and sauteed before the noodles are finished cooking.

You will want to time it so that you don’t overcook them.

I sliced some ginger with the red pepper and asparagus and added a little coconut oil to lightly sautee the veggies.

051green curry noodles

You can put this together pretty fast.

Squeeze fresh lime juice over everything before serving, it really brightens the flavors!

Toss chopped cilantro into the draining noodles to gather just enough heat to bring out the herb’s pungent aroma!

055green curry noodles

Fresh avocado is creamy and perfect with the spicy green curry and coconut sauce.

073green curry soba noodles

I also made a batch of whole wheat linguine but the soba were slightly better.

Not in flavor but in texture.

076green curry soba noodles

Try this for a nice meatless meal that is flavorful and filling.

Toasted Oatmeal with Walnuts, Raisins and Coconut Milk!

092toasted oatmeal

It is hard to find a better breakfast than oatmeal.

For the money it is a big nutritious bang for the buck.

It is also tasty, filling and healthy!

I lightly toasted 2 cups of steel cut oats in 2 Tbspns of unsalted butter.

Then add 1 cup raisins and 1 cup walnuts.

Let everything toast until it smells like popcorn and has a deep golden brown color.

I then added 6 cups of water and 2 cups of light coconut milk.

Add a pinch of sea salt; nutmeg and cinnamon to taste!

Allow to cook on medium to low heat for about 1/2 hour or until all the liquid is absorbed.

069toasted oatmeal

070toasted oatmeal

077toasted oatmeal

084toasted oatmeal

I added some shredded coconut.

This breakfast will get you through your day with energy to spare!

I will even have a bowl for dinner or a snack.
It’s that delicious and satisfying!

089toasted oatmeal

Summer Fun! The Best Drink Ever! Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka Cocktails with Bruschetta!

whipped cream vodka cocktails PD

The possibilities are endless with this Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka from Pinnacle.

We mixed ours with fresh pineapple, coconut milk and pineapple/coconut juice.

The secret to the amazing taste was, of course, the vodka but we were careful not to add anything too sweet.

Fresh ingredients are a must. And the juice we used from Hortex is great because they are natural with no added sugars.

012bruschetta with fresh mozzerella

070whipped cream vodka cocktails PD

This recipe was fairly “freehand”.

I used one fresh pineapple which I cut the night before and placed in the freezer; huge tip! Freezing the pineapple make the drinks amazing!

In the blender place half of the cut and frozen pineapple

1/2 can of coconut milk

1 cup of juice

1 cup of Pinnacle Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka

Blend until creamy and frothy

Some enjoyed some whipped cream on top!

072whipped cream vodka cocktails

073whippped cream vodka cocktails PD

075whipped cream vodka cocktails PD

014whipped cream vodka cocktails PD

009bruschetta with fresh mozzerella PD

These brushetta are fantastic! My friend has this recipe down to a science and we are able to whip these up really fast:

1 baguette sliced about 1/4 peices

olive oil

3-4 fresh garlic cloves

3-4 tomatoes

fresh basil leaves

fresh mozzerella

Slice the bread and rub with garlic cloves on bothe sides

Use enough olive oil to lightly cover both sides

Toast lightly under the broiler

Chop tomatoes and basil and mix with some olive oil and salt to taste

Top toasted bread with tomato mixture and shredded fresh mozzerella and serve!

Tuna Tartare, Passion Fruit Martinis and a Magical Night at Le Colonial, Chicago!

033chicago

Le Colonial, Chicago is a treat for the senses.

The exotically luxurious atmosphere is the first hint that you are in for something special.

041drinks at Le Colonial

These Passion Fruit Martinis were incredibly fresh and delicious! Floral and fruity yet light and refreshing on a warm summer night.

049tuna tartare at Le Colonial

Tuna Tartare with wonton crisps was light and satisfying and tasted fantastic with our cocktails….round 2!

044Le Colonial

Romance was in the air so sharing an entree of vermicelli and seafood in coconut curry seemed like the right thing to do!

038drinks at Le Colonial

What put this dish over the top for me were the copious amounts of fresh basil and cilantro; a garnish, I know, but for me a side dish or side salad!

The aroma of fresh herbs and the delicacy of the spicy coconut broth made my tastebuds tingle!

053vermicelli with fresh cilantro and basil

The music, the martinis, the warm summer breeze…

069vermicelli with coconut seafood

Pink Girlie Cocktails and Hot Smoked Salmon Spread!

097salmon spread

Hot smoked salmon is the key ingredient to this light, savory dish that is tasty and sooo girlie!

We topped whole wheat crackers with the delicate creamy and sublte flavors of the salmon spread.

096salmon spread

My dear, BFF shared her favorite recipe with me and I will share it with you.

Ingredients
6-8oz hot smoked salmon finely chopped
1 Tbspn fresh dill finely chopped
1 Tbspn fresh parsley finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
1/4- 1/2 cup of Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove crushed
A sqeeze of fresh lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

The real secret to the success of this recipe is to mix the mayo, garlic and lemon together very well before adding to the salmon.

Mix well and serve chilled!

063girls getting ready to party

Pink and girlie all around when friends just want to have fun!

090girlie cocktails are delish

This delicious pink cocktail was inspired by a magical elixir we had at Le Colonial.

We tried to approximate the light tropical flavors of the passion fruit martinis we ordered and serve them “family style”!

We mixed a high quality, low sugar coconut pineapple juice with a light berry juice mix, and added vodka and fresh lime.

The result was sublime!

093salmon spread

Mango, Macadamia and Coconut Dessert

019mangoes PD

Sprin Break is less than two weeks away and there is no room for any excess baggage on this trip!

The markets are bursting with produce and I just couldn’t pass up these mangoes and pineapple.

After a light dinner this mango with a few macadamia nuts and shredded coconut hit the spot.

017Mango Macedemia nut PD

Spicy Peanut Veggies and Pasta

007Broccoli and spinach with crushed red pepper and peanut sauce

OK. I know that some of my posts will seem really boring. I eat pretty much the same thing every day.

I follow a vegan diet and my children are primarily vegetarians; eating cheese and eggs.

But I am truly on a mission to make vegan meals tasty and completely nutritious and enjoyable for everyone. I also, try to keep these meals as inexpensive as possible.

I realize that there is a big emphasis on inexpensive meals, but keeping them nutritious is the real challange.

Adding veggies to everything is a great habit to get into and you will find that your cravings for less than healthy foods will decrease if you’re meeting your nutritional needs regularly.

Today I have put together some of my favorite flavors; garlic, coconut, peanut , and crushed red pepper.

I simply steamed the broccoli, spinach, and garlic. When that was done I added the crushed red pepper and the peanut sauce.

It was fantastic.

You can boil whole wheat pasta and add more of the peanut sauce and toss in the vegetables for a great meal or a side dish.

Use the pepper to taste. I love things hot and spicy but you could modify this.

Enjoy!
006 Broccoli and spinach with crushed red pepper and peanut sauce

…It all started with cake!

006 Chocolate Cake with raspberry and whipped cream PD

It all started with cake and a snow storm and the gorgeous organic produce in my refrigerator.

Sometimes when I’m shopping I don’t have any particular recipe in mind. I simply pick up things that catch my eye, are in season, especially ripe, smell good or are just pretty.

So that is how I ended up with a coconut, that gorgeous ginger root and a million organic carrots!

What to do with carrots on a cold snowy day in the middle of winter? Soup, of course!

But to begin my day, baking a cake seemed to be the most natural thing in the world to do to get things rolling. Chocolate, raspberry and fresh whipped cream was beckoning.

Cake would be a nice treat at the end of a long day.

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate (cool)

Method

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour baking pan, 13x9x2 inches, or two 9-inch or three 8-inch round layer pans.

Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly.

Beat 3 minutes high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.

Pour into pan(s). Bake oblong 40 to 45 minutes, layers 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool.

013Coconut Carrot Ginger Soup PD

Coconut Carrot Ginger Soup

Ingredients

About 20-30 carrots
5-6 cloves of garlic
A nice sized piece of fresh ginger root 5-6 inches long
2 tsp ginger powder
1 can organic coconut milk
One whole coconut ( use the water and flesh)
2-3 cups vegetarian stock
2-3 Tbsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro, for garnish
Avocado, for garnish

Method

Peel and chop the carrots then sauté with garlic and coconut oil.

Start grating the ginger and add to sautéing carrots.

Add the ginger powder.

Let things start to lightly caramelize then add the stock.

Allow to cool then transfer the mixture to the food processor and puree.

Add the coconut milk to the mixture and continue to puree.

Transfer to a soup pot and add the coconut water and flesh.

Add ginger powder if necessary.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm with fresh cilantro and avocado garnish.

Enjoy!

037 Carrot soup and empenada PD

Empenada dough PD
I added curry powder to the dough
017 Kale potato coconut Curry PD
Kale, yellow waxy potatoes, garlic, coconut oil, coconut milk, red curry paste, curry powder

Courtesy of Laylita’s Recipes

Making empanada dough is not as hard as it sounds, especially if you have a food processor, and even if you don’t it is still pretty easy because the dough should not be overworked and requires minimal kneading. Also, these days it is very easy to find the empanada discs already made (frozen) in Latin grocery store, and even though I was skeptical at first they are actually quite good, but it also always fun to have them homemade and you can also customize the dough by adding spices, herbs, etc that will complement or contrast with the fillings.

Ingredients for 15 medium size or 25 small empanada discs:

3 cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
6 oz unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), cold and cut into 12 pieces
1 egg
4-5 tbs water
Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.
Add the butter, egg and water until a clumpy dough forms.
Form a ball and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate).
Use immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer to use later.

042 Kale Potato curry empenada PD

032 Empenada PD

035 Carrot inger Coconut soup and empenada PD

044 Chocolate raspberry cake PD

Magical Coconut Bars

Vegan Coconut Bars

This recipe comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz of the Post Punk Kitchen who has a new vegan cookbook out; Vegan With a Vengence which features 150 vegan recipes including desserts, cookies, main dishes and snacks.

These look amazing to me and I am anxious to try this recipe.

Recipe courtesy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz

These bars require a good overnight chilling to really firm them up before slicing, so plan accordingly.

Tip: You’ll want to use only sweetened, fluffy white flaked coconut for these. Save the natural shredded stuff for a healthy curry.

Tip: Press the graham cracker crumb crust like crazy into the pan; the more you pat it down the firmer the resulting crust will be.

Ingredients

One 14 oz can (regular or lite) coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Method

In a large saucepan whisk together coconut milk and brown sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mixture may form a thin skin on the surface; just stir it back into the liquid. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the crust.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, melted margarine and sugar; mix well to moisten crumbs completely. Firmly press mixture into prepared pan, pressing evenly from center to sides of pan.

Pour warm coconut milk mixture evenly over crumb base. Top with an even layer of chocolate chips, flaked coconut and nuts, in that order. Firmly pat everything down until coconut milk mixture soaks upward into the toppings. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until coconut is deeply golden and filling is bubbling, remove from oven and let entire pan cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Transfer pan to the refrigerator to completely cool and firm up for at least 4 hours, even better overnight or until very firm. Use a sharp, heavy knife to run along the edges of bars, slide bars on parchment paper out of pan onto a cutting board then to slice into 24 squares.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. These also freeze well, tightly wrapped and allowed to thaw for 20 minutes before serving.

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