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Foodie Friday! — Knives and Cheesecake

June 20, 2008

Kitchen

I think i owe you an explanation, since i skirted the issue last week: knives.

Really nice kitchen knives make me all lusty. Especially this one. Yeah, that’s totally what i’d have if i had a few thousand to blow on a set of knives.

So…instead i just go to the kitchen store and drool a little, and am really quite thrilled with the (very good) knife set i do have. It has the priorities: chef’s knife, all-purpose doohickey knife, paring knife and steel; the only thing i’m missing is a bread knife.

On the right (is my brand shiny new cheese plane that i’m totally excited about…) is the set of knives i got when i moved into my (and Jake’s) own place and needed things that would cut stuff. They were like 20 bucks at Target, they cut stuff, and they’re pretty. Six months later they weren’t cutting so hot and Jake got me the honing steel (long pointy, center) for Christmas. Two years later they were still trucking fine, and my folks got me some really nice knives (on the left). I only keep the other ones now because the symmetry is so pretty – and for stuff i don’t want to dull the others on. They are Furi brand, which i know nothing about. But the one-piece (no separate attached handle) thing makes them super easy to clean.

By the by, always hand-wash good knives; the dishwasher will fuck up the edge. Then dry them and put them back on the magnetic strip. Which is the only good way to store knives. By which i mean it’s totally sexy and doesn’t take up counter space (which i am way short on). I also hear (though i haven’t been able to verify) that keeping everything magnetized makes honing them work better.

If you don’t have the money for nice knives, a good steel is a really good runner up. It’s put you back $40(ish, i’m kind of guessing), and you can keep using your crummy knives without really noticing. The secret is that a honing steel doesn’t sharpen. That means that if your knife is already hopelessly dull you have to get it sharpened (or replace it) first. But after that, if you give your knife one round on the steel every time you get ready to use it it will stay quite handy for quite a while (even if it’s not a good knife). If it is a good knife, you had damn well better hone it regularly – it will keep it sexy, but moreover, there’s no excuse for letting your awesome knives go to pot.

Okay, so what the fuck am i talking about? Here’s a quickie how-to on honing a knife. I picked this one ’cause that’s how i do it (“backwards” it seems, but i can’t find any reason either way is better or worse) and it’s super short.

There’s a rather more in depth explanation by an old British dude here if that was a bit too slapdash.

Cooking

After all that, one of the few recipes that needs exactly no cutting:

Grand Old-Fashioned Cheesecake
(c/o Sunset Pies and Pastries cookbook)

Because i made cheesecake last night. I didn’t actually use this recipe (it was daquiri cheesecake…mmm), but this is the bestest plain cheesecake ever. Which is saying a lot ’cause that’s the bestest desert. Jamie has pictures – i’ll put some up if i can get ahold of them.

Pie crust (i’m partial to graham-cracker crusts for cheesecakes, but any pie crust will do).

Crust a 10-inch springform pan. You can crust the whole thing, or just the bottom, as you like. You can totally make cheesecake in a normal pie pan (and then you don’t have to make your own crust), and it will still taste awesome, but note a few things: it won’t be as pretty; this is a *big* recipe, it will easily make a pie and a half if you’re not using a really deep pan like a springform; and don’t forget to keep an eye on it ’cause it will bake faster with less filling.

Filling
5 8oz. packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 325. Beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add flour, lemon peel, salt, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat until just smooth (don’t overdo it). Stir in whipping cream. Pour filling in pan. Bake 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours (’till the top isn’t shiny and wet looking – or ’till a knife put halfway to the center comes out clean). Let the cheesecake cool in the oven (door ajar) for an hour. Loosen the edges of the crust or cake from the edges of the pan. (This is to keep the cake from cracking when it cools. The slow cooling is for the same reason, but if all that fails the topping does a good job of hiding it.) Cool to room temperature. Refridgerate. Or eat. Or a little of both.

Topping
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together while the cake’s baking. Pour/spread on top when it’s done (before it cools).

Lady Brett.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2008 11:02 pm

    Is it bad or just perverted that I saw a post about knives, and didn’t for one single second think about anything involving cooking???

  2. June 22, 2008 10:23 am

    I’m with essinem. I have a feeling that your obsession with knives doesn’t stay in the kitchen…

  3. linaria permalink
    June 22, 2008 6:09 pm

    When we moved into our new together-apartment, one of the first things we did was go to the specialty cooking store and look at the clearance knives. We ended up getting a very nice vegetable slicer, a 8″ Calphalon knife that scared the crap out of me the first ten times I washed it. It’s still the best thing I’ve ever used. Carrots? No problem. Squash? Sure. Cabbages as big as your head? Bring it on.

    Heaven.

  4. June 23, 2008 9:42 am

    dirty kids!

    e – no, not bad at all! really, i had to put a little effort into keeping it pg. but now that y’all have busted that wall down, i will mention the sharpening steel bonus: the omg-sexy sound! totally gives me shivers. good shivers

    d – …i have rather the same feeling. but i think i’ll have to wait to find out for sure.

    and, oh, look, someone talking about food! thanks for bringing us back on topic linaria =D

  5. linaria permalink
    June 23, 2008 11:47 am

    oh, but what if I told you that this lovely knife did not spend *all* of its time in the kitchen?

  6. June 25, 2008 9:29 pm

    Hmmm…steel sharpening sound? I’ll have to mention that to K :)

  7. June 27, 2008 11:33 am

    I’m deeply enjoying your blog – and we share the same passion for kitchen knives. My chef’s knife needs a professional’s attention, I’m afraid, but you’ve inspired me.

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