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National “fill in the blank” Day

I feel like a fraud, an imposter, a poser. Only a couple of days ago I came to learn that I had not posted one of my favorite foods on this site in more than 325 posts. Then when I finally do get a recipe up for cheesecake, I have to learn from a dear friend, neighbor, and faithful follower that today is National Cheesecake Day. How do I not know this already!? Out of all the foods that have a “National Day”, and there are about 475 foods that do, National Cheesecake Day is the one that I would actually honor.

For a full list, go to this LINK to check out when your favorite food is honored. (Disclaimer- I have no idea if this is THE official list, but it is what Google found for me) Or find out what food is honored on your special day. I just discovered that my birthday is National Potato Day – love it! Now I’m thinking that when I am not inspired to make something, I’ll just go to this list and make whatever food is “National” that day.  Good idea, or bad? I guess it depends if that day falls on January 8 (good!) or November 24 (bad!).

The recipe here can be configured in any way that best suits your needs. I love to make individual cheesecakes and use them for a salad course. You can purchase the pan HERE to make these little cuties yourself. As is, the recipe makes 24 individual cheesecakes to use as a first course or salad, plus a 6-inch appetizer cheesecake to be served with toasted baguette slices or crackers. Or it will make one full-size 9-inch savory cheesecake. It can also be cut in half to make just one 6-inch cheesecake.

Lisa, by the time you read this, you will have a plate of these savory mini-cheesecakes personally delivered to your door, as a thank you for turning me on to National Cheesecake Day! xoxo

Savory Four-Cheese and Pepper Appetizer and Mini-Cheesecakes

1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
15-ounce container of ricotta cheese, room temperature
4 ounces (1/2 cup) goat cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup diced roasted red and/or yellow bell peppers
1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap a 6-inch springform pan with 2 or 3 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil, so that the foil comes almost all the way up the sides of the pan. Spray the springform and 2 mini-cheesecake pans with Pam and set aside.

Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes until crisp. Place 20 of the baguette slices and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor and grind until fine. (Set aside the remaining toasted baguette slices) Add the melted butter and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, and process until the crumbs are moistened.

Divide the crumbs between the prepared cheesecake pans. Press the crumb mixture over the bottoms of the prepared pans. Bake until the crusts are golden, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on a cooling rack.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

In a clean food processor bowl; blend the cream cheese, ricotta, goat cheese, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of Parmesan, sugar, and salt until smooth, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, and pulse just until blended, do not over-mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between the second and third egg.

Pour the batter out of the food processor bowl into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the bell pepper, basil, and thyme until well blended. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Divide the batter between the pans, pouring over the cooled crusts.

Place the foil-wrapped 6-inch springform into a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform.

Place all pans in the oven. The mini-cheesecakes will bake for about 15 minutes, or until set. The 6-inch springform will bake for about 50 minutes until it is golden and the center of the filling moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken.

Cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate the 6-inch cheesecake.  The mini-cheesecakes may be served cold or at room temperature.

Mini-Cheesecake Salads

Balsamic-Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper jelly
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons warm water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 cups mixed greens
2 large tomatoes, cut into 18 wedges

Balsamic-Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette: Place the jelly in a micro-safe bowl and melt slightly to thin, for about 20 seconds. Whisk in the vinegar, oil, and warm water. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Place the mixed greens in a large bowl and toss with 1/2 of the vinaigrette. Divide greens between 6 dinner plates. Place the tomatoes in the same bowl and toss with 1/2 of the remaining vinaigrette. Arrange 3 tomato wedges on each dinner plate. Top each salad with 2 mini-cheesecakes. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Savory Cheesecake Appetizer

1/2 cup jalapeno pepper jelly
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Toasted baguette slices and/or crackers

Place the jelly in a micro-safe bowl and melt slightly so it is pourable, for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the vinegar and pour over the cooled 6-inch cheesecake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.  When ready to serve. Unmold and place on a decorative platter. Surround the cake with crackers and the remaining toasted baguette slices (from making the crust).

Serves a crowd

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1 Marissa { 07.30.10 at 11:59 AM }

Yay! I get pie day.

2 Linda Hopkins { 07.30.10 at 3:16 PM }

Ooo, Marissa, you are are right – December 1st is National Pie Day – appropriate!

3 Sharon { 07.30.10 at 4:02 PM }

How fitting that a nice Irish girl like you be born on National Potato Day. Sadly, my birthday is Nov. 24th – bring on those sardines! The kids and I had a ball looking up birthdays on the food list. Thanks.

4 Linda Hopkins { 07.30.10 at 4:08 PM }

Oh Sharon! That is too funny – November 24th! The very date I mention as “bad” above -sorry! Sardines! It’s OK, both my dad and my husband LOVE sardines, so you’re in good company…and that makes you a Sagittarius, just like my darling daughter.

5 Lisa { 07.31.10 at 3:57 PM }

These are wonderful, wonderful!

6 Linda Hopkins { 07.31.10 at 9:36 PM }

Thanks Lisa! Have a happy Sunday! xoxo

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