Sesame Baked Cream Cheese

This is a delicious and SIMPLE appetizer. You probably have all of the ingredients on hand. I buy my sesame seeds in the spice aisle, then toast them myself--just put them in a dry pan over medium heat--toss the pan frequently and you'll hear the seeds pop around and they will turn a nice golden brown. If you have extra toasted seeds, store them in the pantry in an air tight container.

Sesame Baked Cream Cheese

Cream cheese (can use Neufchatel)
Soy Sauce
Toasted Sesame Seeds

Place brick(s) of cream cheese in a shallow dish. Cover with soy sauce. Cover dish and refrigerate two hours to overnight. The longer it marinates, the more intense the flavor.
Spread sesame seeds in a shallow dish or pie plate. Remove cream cheese from soy sauce and roll in sesame seeds to coat.
Bake in a preheated 275 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.
Serve with crackers.

The first time I made this, the cyclist looked at me like I had no business being in the kitchen...and then he tried it. The salty-toasty-creamy combination is

Roasted Ginger Salmon with Mango Salsa

Another perfect summer recipe. I'd make the salsa just to eat with chips.
Roasted Gingered Salmon with Mango Salsa

(Serves 4)

4 center cut salmon fillets (6 oz each)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
Fresh grated ginger to taste (we used about 1 teaspoon)
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.

Rub salmon all over with lime juice, oil and brown sugar. Season with
ginger, salt and pepper. Let marinade for 30 minutes. Roast, skin side down,
on a foil-lined baking sheet in upper third of oven until fish is just
cooked through, about 12 minutes. Discard skin and serve with salsa.

Mango Salsa

(serves 4)

4 mangos, cubed
1 red onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, or to taste
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Leave at room temperature for 15 minutes
before serving.

Brown Butter Raspberry Tart

It's almost 90 degrees. We ate our first meal of the year on the back patio last night. I'm getting excited for summer. All that fresh fruit! (Most of it baked into desserts of course).

Brown Butter Raspberry Tart
from Bon Appetit

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries (get three just in want to fill the whole tart shell)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom (next time I will spray the pan). Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto sides and bottom of pan.
Bake crust until golden, about 18 minutes (crust will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Cook butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often, about 6 minutes. (When browning butter, use a saucepan with a light-colored bottom so that you can gauge the color of the butter.) Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.
Arrange raspberries, pointed side up and close together in concentric circles, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over berries. Place tart on rimmed baking sheet. Bake tart until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool tart completely in pan on rack. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.
Remove tart pan sides. Place tart on platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

Marble Bundt Cake

The cyclist has taken a liking to a certain cake shop. Call me crazy, but I can't justify spending $40 on a cake (unless maybe $40 in quarters were baked inside). Here is our version of the marble bundt.

Vanilla Batter
1 yellow cake mix
1 small package vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 t vanilla

Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Chocolate batter
1 chocolate cake mix (I prefer a darker chocolate version)
1 small package chocolate fudge instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 t vanilla

Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Grease and flour TWO standard size bundt pans (I like "Pam for baking" as it greases and flours in one easy spray).
Using two cookie scoops or large spoons, alternate the two batters in a single layer in the pans. Go back around putting a scoop of vanilla on top of the chocolate scoops and vice versa.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool to room temperature on rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (this helps the frosting to harden)
1 t vanilla
7-8 cups powdered sugar

Blend on high until you get the desired consistency. You want it thick.

To frost, spoon frosting into a gallon freezer bag. Snip off the corner (start small and test it until you get the desired thickness). Frost cake in back and forth fashion.

Cinco de Mayo Ice Cream

The other day, the cyclist took our family on a bike ride around Antelope Island. How is it that I have lived in Utah all my life and never visited?
On the car ride back, we were listening to The Splendid Table. Man, that Lynne Rossetto Kasper makes everything sound delicious. She has such an enthusiasm for food. My mouth waters just listening to her.
She was talking about avocados. She mentioned that her favorite way to eat an avocado was mixed with lime, jalapenos, and vanilla ice cream.
The cyclist turned to me and said, "We have to make that."
It just sounded so interesting. And did I mention Lynne Rosetto Kasper has a gift for food speak? She may in fact be a hypnotist.

It was so different, and so good.
Try this the next time you have a few ripe avocados. The lime zest and juice give it a delicious tang. The avocado is creamy and rich. Jalapeno adds just enough kick. And who doesn't like vanilla ice cream? We will definitely make it again when the weather heats up. Perfect for a late, hot night dessert in the back yard.

Sweet Avocado-Green Chili Ice Cream
Adapted from The Splendid Table
Serves 6 to 8

1 to 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, minced (I saved the ribs and seeds and added them to taste...I actually added quite a bit)
Shredded zest of 1 large lime
Juice from 1 large lime
2 ripe, dark-skinned avocados, peeled and mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch salt
1 quart good-quality vanilla ice cream, softened

1. In a large bowl, combine the peppers, zest, lime juice, avocado, vanilla, sugar and salt. Work in the ice cream so mixture is well blended.

2. Freeze the ice cream, covered, up to one day.