White Chocolate Cheesecake with Fruit and Raspberry Coulis (Dinner Party, Part III)

Random intro line: The commercial for “Eat, Pray, Love” is on – I want to see it SO badly.  Plus the song in the trailer is super catchy.

I knew that my dinner party encore had to be decadent and impressive.  With these two requirements in mind, I narrowed my dessert search down to two dishes, this cheesecake, and a Chocolate Brownie Turtle Cake (from my Canadian Living Family Cookbook).  Leaving the latter until another (very soon) occasion, I went forth with preparations for the cheesecake.

Having this be only the second cheesecake I’ve ever made, I was once more concerned about my lack of water-bath for cooking the cake.  I cranked my oven down to a mere 275° F, and cooked the cheesecake for 3/4 of the required time.  Perhaps I should be more modest, but the cake turned out perfectly.  There was not a SINGLE crack, nor bubble in the top of the cheesecake.  I am extremely pleased.  Also, it didn’t taste too much like white chocolate, which pleasantly surprised me, since I’m more of a milk chocolate girl.  With patience on my side for once, I let the cheesecake cool completely before lovingly cutting into the cake to prepare it for pictures.  The results, I think, are quite pretty…

Needless to say, I had cheesecake for three major meals the next day.  Nom, nom, nom, nom!

Watermelon Salsa (And a Blogger challenge finally completed) (And part one of my dinner party meal)

Well let me just say that WEEKS and WEEKS ago (JUNE 30) when my friend and fellow blogger Carly (check out her cheerful blog Carly Loves), challenged me to make a recipe “that contains an unexpected, out-of-place ingredient,” I was completed boggled.  Sure I’m creative, but food-wise?  I was just learning the ropes.  Obviously, I had a major case of chef’s block (is that a thing?), and endlessly searched the internet in hopes of finding something both shocking and delicious.  Failure.  The next logical step?  CALL MOM.  Of course, my dearest mother had a solution for me: watermelon salsa, a dish which I had curiously ignored during past home get-togethers.  After asking about half a million people if watermelon in salsa was unusual (I got an overwhelming “yes”), I decided to go forth with this recipe.  So I had the dish, the only question was when I should make it, which leads nicely into the second part of this post…

…I decided to have a dinner party!  Sick of cooking for just myself, and still dreading the thought of leftovers sitting in my fridge for days at a time, I decided to have some of my culinarily spoiled co-workers over for a casual three-course meal.  Not knowing what I should make for an appetizer, it dawned on me that this was the perfect opportunity for me to make the salsa.  Once I got to Loblaws, the Grocery Store Gods confirmed my choice to make this dish: both watermelon and tortilla chips were on sale, a miracle for my student budget.  Strangely enough, the end product hardly tasted like watermelon, and the combination of garlic, onion, soy sauce (weird) and brown sugar somehow made it delicious.  Even my roommate who is allergic to tomatoes could eat salsa for the very first time!  If you’re looking for the recipe, I’ll post it under my Recipes tab sometime in the next few days.

In the end, I think this salsa was a big hit, and it gave me an excuse to use my new 99¢ silver platter from Value Village!  Also, please note the impressive “watermelon bowl.”  I thought it was quite ingenious, and gave me one less dish to wash.  Hilary: 1, Messy Kitchen: 0.

Stay tuned over the next few days as I post course two and three from my very first dinner party!