Monday, February 8, 2010

The Remains of a Sunny Day

Its cheesecake month again, yet the skies aren't filled with dainty songbirds and the park benches aren't packed with teenage couples whispering into each others hair so I'm reluctant to whip out my cream cheese. The clouds have been hanging so low, bellies full of fresh rain, and the winds have been so bitter, probably pissed about years of warm Texas winters. My newly planted lavender shrinks back in its clay pot wrapping in on itself and dreaming of the good old days back in Provence. My moccasins and the chill are the only dependable constant these past few weeks.

Saturday, a bit of sunshine peers over the windowsill. Birds from every corner of the earth seem to grace the single tree in my front yard. Droves of people, dogs and babies a plenty, shove past one another through the front doors of houses that have been shut up for ages. I think I heard the feint clap of a long forgotten flip flop down the sidewalk. It was a splendid day indeed. So I broke out my cream cheese and the sunniest thing I could find in my cupboard: oranges.

Orange and Ginger Cheesecake

1 3/4 cup ginger cookie bits
1 cup sugar
3 packages cream cheese
4 eggs
1/2 stick UNSALTED butter melted
juice of half an orange
zest of one orange
2 tablespoons ground ginger (or even fresh ginger all mashed up)

1. Combine cookie bits and butter and press into pan. Let chill in freezer for at least half hour.
2. Combine all other ingredients. I find its best to whip the sugar and cream cheese a bit first.
3. Pour into pan. Tap lightly on counter to release any oxygen bubbles at the bottom.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45mins-1hr. Place a baking pan of water on the second rack to help keep the oven humid. When the top of the cheese cake begins to crack a bit and browns ever so slightly it is done. Jiggle it a bit and if it springs back to formation then hoorah, you've cheesecake!
5. Let cool for a few hours, or not at all. I hate it when people say you can't eat hot cheesecake. Its divine hot.