Saturday, July 03, 2010

Green Chile Cheesecake with Papaya Salsa (Page 68)

RECIPE #1176

  • Date: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Westerville, OH
  • Kitchen: Karen and Dave's House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Brad, Deniz, Karen H, Dave, Phil H, Kayla, Wes, and Jinx
  • Recipe Rating: B-

I made this dish as an appetizer for a dinner with my special gentleman's family last month. The concept of this dish was a little unusual. It was a savory cheesecake on a blue corn chip crumb crust, studded with chopped roasted poblano chiles. Slices of the cheesecake were served with a papaya salsa. I first made the crust, in the usual fashion that you would make a graham cracker crumb crust, but using blue corn chips rather than graham crackers. I baked the crust for 10 minutes. I then roasted some poblano chiles in the broiler, then peeled, seeded, and chopped them. I made the filling for the cheesecake by blending together sour cream, eggs, cream cheese, and softened butter then stirring in the poblano chiles, grated Monterey Jack, grated sharp Chedder, minced fresh dill, chopped cilantro, and salt. I poured the filling over the crust and baked until the center was set. Then I let it cool for several hours. Meanwhile, I made the papaya salsa. I combined chopped papaya, minced garlic, finely chopped red onion, finely chopped red bell pepper, cilantro, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper. I served the cheesecake with the salsa.

On the upside, the papaya salsa was excellent. It was well-balanced and flavorful with nice textural contrast. It would have been tasty not only on this cheesecake but also with chips or in a taco. The cheesecake, however, left something to be desired. I had two major complaints. One, the filling was very bland. With so much cheese and so many roasted poblanos I expected the filling to be flavorful and spicy. Unfortunately this was not the case. I think it just desperately needed more salt to bring out the flavors. As it was it tasted quite dull. My other complaint was that the crust had a bad texture. The idea of a blue corn chip crust really appealed to me, but in practice the crust came out kind of chewy and stale tasting (although the chips had been neither stale nor chewy before they went into the crust). So although the salsa was very tasty the cheesecake was disappointing and the whole dish together was only OK.

The recipe in The Book is similar to this one, but the one online has a cornmeal crust rather than a corn chip crust.

Well, we are finally home in East Lansing! We arrived on Wednesday evening after a fairly smooth day of moving. The last few days have been a blur of unpacking, organizing, and administrative things for my new job. The weather has been incredibly perfect and it is wonderful to have windows open throughout the house as we unpack. We have been eating every meal out on our screened in porch. I had hoped/suspected that summer in Michigan would be lovely and I wasn't wrong!

There are still boxes to be unpacked, but they are no longer stacked high along the walls. And after much effort, I think I have gotten my kitchen supplies mostly organized. Luckily we have a fairly large kitchen, with a pantry. And my special gentleman made me a second pantry in the basement. He took the job very seriously. We have a little room at the bottom of the basement stairs which I suppose is meant to be for storage. It was dusty and a little gross in there, but he spent hours cleaning it out. He then declared that we should repaint it. So we did! We gave the walls and the floor in there a fresh new coat of paint. He then set up rows of shelving and a freezer. And so it came to be: kitchen pantry number 2! Between the many cupboards in the kitchen itself and the two pantries, I think everything has a home. There is still more organization to be done (at moment the cookware and dinnerware is mostly organized but the food is a mess!), but I am confident that I will feel very at home in my new kitchen. To celebrate, today I even did some cooking amidst the unpacking. I made three recipes from The Book!

Tomorrow I am hoping to finish off the unpacking, make a couple more recipes, and take care of some yard work! Sounds like a great way to spend a summer Sunday!

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