18 July 2008

Shortcut to Mushrooms' First Birthday!

Pull up a seat! Stay a while! Have some cake! That's right, today marks one year of Shortcut to Mushrooms. It's still a small blog with a small (but loyal) following, but I've enjoyed getting to know so many of you in the foodie community this year, and of course trying so many new recipes. To mark the occasion, I'd like to share some of my goals with you, and also unveil some changes. As you can see, my site layout has changed to what I think is a little more friendly. I've been paying attention to what it is I like visually about my favourite sites, and I'm going to try to incorporate some of those things here.

When I started the blog, I was using a format where I would put the recipe at the end, after whatever story I had to tell you or comments I had to make. I'm going to go back to that format, because as much as I've always liked having the measurements directly in the recipe, I realise that it doesn't make it the most accessible! I've also started using YummySoup, a Mac recipe program, and I can't import recipes from my own blog because they aren't in the right format. Argh!

I'm also going to try to post more frequently, and to attract more visitors by commenting on blogs, using foodie forums more frequently, and participating in more foodie events. I hope to keep my three "features" going, as well as A Vegetarian Feast. I decided that the "bottom line" thing doesn't work very well, especially for multiple recipes in one post, but I'll do a little section of my thoughts after the recipe, again like some of my favourite bloggers. So I hope you'll stick around, enjoy the changes around here, and send some friends. Happy birthday, blog!

No-Bake Cheesecake with Cherry Sauce
Crust and Cake adapted from here

1 individual package honey graham crackers (about six)
3 cinnamon graham grackers
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

16 oz cream cheese
2 t lemon juice
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar

1/2 pound fresh cherries, halved and pitted
2 t lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Put the cream cheese out about half an hour to soften. Melt the butter in a mug in the microwave and cool. Put the graham crackers in a Zip lock bag and crush. Make sure all the air in the bag is gone and pound with your hands, then squeeze the bigger pieces until it's a fine crumb. Add the sugar, close the bag, and shake to mix. Add the cooled butter and shake until well incorporated. Press into an 8" springform and chill.

Beat the cream cheese and lemon juice with an electric mixer until soft. You may have to push the cream cheese out of the beaters a few times. Scrape the sides, then beat in the whipping cream a little at a time until thick. Add the sugar and beat until very stiff. Spoon into the crust and smooth out. Chill at least four hours, preferably overnight.

To be perfectly honest, the site with the sauce recipe was taken down and I don't quite remember what I did. I remember a couple of squirts of lemon juice and some sugar - I think a quarter cup is right. I can't recall whether there was water, but I think there might have been. I know I simmered it for about five minutes. Just use your judgement, or find a real recipe. Cool completely and pour over the cake. Remove the sides of the pan carefully. If crumbs fall off, just press them back in place. Getting the cake off the bottom of the pan will really be a challenge, but it can happen if you use your knife to loosen and are very careful.

My Thoughts

I had been in the mood for an English style cheesecake, because it's been so hot and baking isn't an option. I also bought ten ounces of fresh cherries from the Farmer's Market for $4, because I'm weak, and needed to use them. When I poured the sauce onto the cake, apparently the crust wasn't firm enough around the bottom because it leaked. Use a plate! The texture is dense but fluffy - tasty, but by the time the cake was done I was a little sick of whipped cream. The crust is also very loose, so I might bake just the crust if I were to do it again. Still, a tasty cake overall.


Carver said...

I like the changes on your blog. I think for text the lighter background works better and I'm glad you switched. I liked the look of the black background and white letters but it was harder for my old eyes to read. This way is much easier to read. That cake looks GREAT. Love, Mom who wishes she was there to eat it with you.

Annie & Nate said...

Hey thanks for the red velvet recipe. Annie says that the Food Network one wasn't any better than Em's one so we'll try out yours next.

Happy Bloggerversary to you!

What other foodie forums do you hang out in?

Melody said...

Happy Birthday! Don't you just love cheesecake?

Did you know you are a "random" foodie blog in the blogroll today? Good timing, hey?

Holler said...

Happy Blog Birthday Judith :)
I like the new layout of your blog. It is looking good! I sometimes wonder if the black I am using is too harsh on the eyes? It would mean a rethink of everything if I was to change it though. *Sigh* How brave of you!

Holler said...

Oh and gorgeous, gorgeous cheesecake! A slice for me, if you will :)

LisaRene said...

May you enjoy many, many more years of blogging!

The no-bake graham cracker crusts are my favorite. Your cheese cake looks HUGE, I hope you had some friends over to help you eat it :)

nicisme said...

The blog is looking super Judith!
Happy first blog birthday to you, and hopefully many more!!

Tim said...

Ooh, fresh cherries! They're turning up on blogs everywhere I've noticed. Damn southern hemisphere, our cherry season's already passed this year...

Tim said...

Ooh, fresh cherries! They're turning up on blogs everywhere I've noticed. Damn southern hemisphere, our cherry season's already passed this year...

Judith said...

Nate - Thanks! I hang out in the Leftover Queen's forum, but I keep seeing other ones popping up that I'd like to join. We'll see how much time there actually is for forums.

Melody - Thanks, and yes, yes I do ;-) I didn't realise that. What good timing indeed!

Holler - Thanks! I don't think the contrast is a big problem for most people, at least under the age of 40 or 50. For young blind folks, like me, it's more the text size that makes things hard to read, not white-on-black. *cuts you a slice and hands through the computer*

Lisa - Well, it was eight inches! Unfortunately no friends to help. That's the problem with most of my desserts; after eating two slices of cheesecake a day I get kind of sick of it! Yesterday, though, I made cookie dough and only made two cookies in the toaster oven, wrapping the rest in two-cookie packages for later and freezing. That worked really well.

Nicisme - Thank you so much, and thank you for reading!

Tim - Hehe, yeah, that is true, but I know how you feel. I'm jealous of the West Coasters in the US who always have not only plenty of produce, but inexpensive, too.