In honor of my better half’s birthday this week, we decided to spend our weekend doing exactly what we do best.
Our food extravaganza began yesterday morning with a trip to Peet’s coffee, where we braved the winter storm to sip on dark roast coffee and locally baked pain au chocolat that was the size of my head (and I’ve got a pretty sizable head). After that, we headed home and spent the day in pajamas, watching TV and nibbling on popcorn and movie candy, waiting for our Belly Monsters to tell us it was time for dinner.
Later that evening, when my stomach began to sound the alarm, we were disheartened to see that the roads were impossibly slick with snow. Determined to still have a fun birthday dinner out on the town, we cancelled our dinner reservations in downtown Cleveland and instead made an impromptu trip to Cork & Cleaver, a wonderful new restaurant in the Cleveland suburb of Broadview Heights. Not only was this hotspot a closer drive for us than Cleveland proper, but we ended up having one of the best meals of our lives. The appetizers were inventive and awe-inspiring (not to mention scrumptious), and my dinner, a simple but delicious fried chicken with mac n cheese, was homey, rich, and everything I would have wanted on a cold winter’s night. My better half ordered the Pork Paprikash, made with braised pork shoulder, smoked paprika spaetzle, and creme fraiche. It was so good!
Wait – I take that back. This place isn’t just good; it was, as my fiancé put it, “‘last meal on death row’ good.”
It might just be my favorite restaurant. Ever.
Day 2 of the food frenzy continued this morning with these amazing pumpkin waffles, complete with Ohio maple syrup and freshly toasted pecans. Hours later, when we awoke from our breakfast coma, we headed to our favorite Lebanese joint for hummus, hot sauce, and beef shawarma on warm pita bread.
Needless to say, it has been a wonderful foodie weekend, and the Belly Monster is sound asleep.
I know what you’re thinking, though:
No birthday cake?
Nope, no birthday cake. But, there was this:
Cheesecake ice cream, with a raspberry swirl and homemade graham cracker crust chunks. Or as I like to call it, happiness in a bowl.
The best part? It actually tastes like cheesecake! Not artificial cheesecake flavoring.
This is full-fledged, creamy, cheese-cakey goodness.
Cheesecake is my fiancé’s favorite, especially the New York style variety. No bells and whistles, just a plain slice with slight drizzles of raspberry or strawberry sauce. Classic yet modern, understated but bold. Sort of like a certain guy I know 🙂
This ice cream perfectly captures the flavor of a baked cheesecake, but with minimal fuss: no eggs, no custard, no stovetop; the base for this ice cream comes together in a matter of minutes with your blender.
I hope you like this colder version of a classic cheesecake, and that is satisfies your craving for the real thing.
Happy scooping! And happy birthday to the greatest guy I know 🙂
Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Yield: About 1 Quart
For the ice cream base:
8 oz (1 package) of cream cheese
2/3 cup of sugar
1 cup of sour cream
½ cup of half and half
1/8 tsp of salt
Graham cracker crust pieces (optional)
For the raspberry swirl:
2 cups of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup of white sugar
1 tsp of cornstarch (if needed)
- Add the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, half and half, and salt to a blender. Zest 2/3 of the lemon straight into the machine, saving the rest for later
- Blend on the lowest setting until blended, no longer than 30 seconds.
- Refridgerate base for a few hours until chilled thoroughly, or freeze for an hour if you’re In a hurry.
- Make the raspberry sauce: Combine the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until thickened, adding cornstarch if needed. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove seeds by straining the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Refrigerate until needed.
- When ice cream base is thoroughly chilled, freeze ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding graham chunks during the last few minutes. Also add remaining lemon zest, for an extra boost of flavor.
- Swirl in Raspberry Sauce, or drop by spoonfuls into ice cream.
- Eat immediately, or freeze overnight for a firmer texture (This is one that actually tastes a little better when its completely frozen, because then it just tastes like cold cheesecake!)