The Best New York Style Cheesecake

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The Best New York Style Cheesecake by Anissa Bravo
Story and Photos by Stela Khury

When Anissa Bravo, Junior English major, tried to decide what sort of food she would both feel comfortable preparing and enjoy eating, she sensed a pattern. Bravo noticed that she kept seeking out dishes that she could share easily. Her dream job as a teacher showed through her desire to unite over an often overlooked task. Bravo felt an evening off to order pizza was a fun idea, but actually taking up the task of preparing a meal was even more rewarding, if not therapeutic.

“I genuinely love all types of food! I do enjoy Mexican food because that is definitely comfort food for me; I also love Asian and Italian cuisine,” Bravo says. “But anything sweet is definitely a favorite for me.”

Bravo decided she wanted to bake a comforting dessert for her closest group of friends. She says St. Mary’s has a “homey vibe” that welcomes simple pleasures, thus she picked the simplest and most delicious dessert of all: cheesecake.  Bravo felt that after a rough start to the semester, a Friday night watching the Lord of the Rings while munching on a slice of freshly baked cheesecake was just what she and her friends needed.

“I chose the New York cheesecake with a blueberry topping because it is very delicious and also fun to make,” Bravo says. “There really isn’t any other special significance besides that I adore cheesecake… and blueberries. So, as a combination, they’re pretty spectacular.”

Bravo says that cheesecake is a fairly easy recipe to make, because it basically involves “mixing ingredients and pouring them on a pan.” The only downside of cheesecake over a plain cake is that the cheesecake needs time to cool. The New York style of cheesecake, according to Bravo, is one of the easiest if one needs to “get eating fast.” Bravo’s secret hint is to let the cheesecake cool for 30 minutes on top of the oven and then an hour in the freezer, which should allow for a firm, delicious cheesecake in half the time.

Bravo also advises aspiring chefs to remember to add a fruit topping.

“Plain cheesecake is delicious, but nothing beats a tasty kick of sweet berries,” Bravo says. “Also, the way it looks at the end is so beautiful that it makes [this cheesecake] a rewarding dessert to bake.”

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2c finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  • ·2 (8-oz) blocks of cream cheese
  • ·3 eggs
  • ·1c sugar
  • ·1 pint sour cream
  • ·1 tsp vanilla extract

Fruit topping:

  • ·1 pint blueberries, raspberries or cherries
  • ·2T sugar

In a saucepan add all the ingredients and simmer over medium heat for five minutes, or until the fruit begins to release juice and the sugar to become firm. The ideal point is when, by mixing the contents of the pan, the sauce is only thick enough for the bottom of the saucepan to be perfectly visible for a moment.

Servings: 8-12

Directions

Prepare the oven by preheating it to 325°F.

In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust with a fork until evenly moistened. Coat the bottom and sides of pan with either cooking spray or regular cooking oil.

Pour the mixture into the pan and press the crumbs down onto the bottom of the pan and an inch up on the sides to form the base of the cheesecake.

Next, with aid of a mixer, beat the cream cheese with the vanilla extract for one minute until smooth.

On a separate bowl, add sour cream and fold in one egg at a time. Continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat these components until creamy (one or two minutes.)

Combine the cream cheese and sour cream mixtures and beat until smooth and even.

Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Cover the cheesecake pan with aluminum foil and place it in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.

Let the cheesecake, still slightly jiggly, to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours.

Finally, unmold and transfer to a cake plate.

Using a spatula spread a layer of the fruit topping of choice over the surface.

Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce by Koryn Wade
Videography and Production by Bianca Soto

Koryn Wade, a junior english major, shows off her passion for cooking by preparing a delightful dish from a recipe that has traditionally been passed down her family for years. Spaghetti with tomato sauce is one  of her favorite meals to eat and make and can be easily prepared by anyone within a short matter of time. This delicious and easy to make dish will surely suffice the hunger buds of any person at any age.

Ingredients 

  • 4 oz can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 4 oz can of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 oz can of Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbsp of Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tbsp of Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbsp of Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of Basil
  • 2 Tbsp of Oregano
  • 1 Tsp of Minced Dried Onions
  • 1 Tsp of Minced Dried Garlic
  • Angel hair pasta

Directions

Begin with a medium sized deep skillet and place it on the stove at medium heat. Open and pour in all three types of can tomatoes. Do not forget to wash out the rest of the paste into the skillet, just fill the can up with water, stir it around to get the rest of the paste and pour it into the skillet. It’ll take about 5 minutes to warm up the unseasoned sauce, while this is happening take a medium pot and fill it half way with water and sprinkle a dash of salt into the water, which will help it boil faster. Once the water is boiling, snap the angel hair in half and gently place it into the boiling water. Turn down the heat of the boiling water and let it cook for about 10 minutes, or until it is fully cooked. Then add all the seasonings to the tomato sauce, cover, and let it simmer until the pasta is ready. Finally, drain the pasta (add butter if desired), and then pour on the sauce and you’re ready to eat.

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Pasta de Banner

Pasta de Banner by Matt Banner
Videography and Production by Zachary Nicholson

 

Matt Banner, a freshman finance major, cooks up an original dish on the fly. Raised in a household of Italian chefs, Banner shows the techniques he learned growing up in the kitchen. Pasta de Banner is a simple, yet interesting mix of vegetables and pasta that is sure to please your taste-buds!

 

Ingredients

  •  1 cup of mushrooms
  •  1 cup of onions
  •  2 cloves
  •  1 pound of ground meat
  •  ½ cup of okra
  •  ½ teaspoon of salt
  •  ½ teaspoon of pepper
  •  1 serving size of noodles
  •  ½ cup Spaghetti Sauce

Directions

 

Begin by washing all of the vegetables thoroughly. Then dice the onions into small pieces. Once the onions are diced, cut the cloves into very small pieces. Also dice the okra into small chunks.

Next, place all the diced vegetables into a pan. Cook in the pan until the onions begin to caramelize or turn light brown.

After the vegetables are cooked place ground meat into pan and cook until meat is dark brown (or desired meat preference.)

Once the meat is cooked, place the vegetables and the meat in the same pan. Stir the vegetables and the meat together.

Next, bring water to a boil. Add pasta noodles once water is boiling. Cook pasta in boiling water for approximately 10-12 minutes.

Once the pasta is cooked and ready, add it to the stir-fry of vegetables and meat.

Stir the noodles and stir-fry as desired. Add Spaghetti sauce and stir.

That is it! Enjoy eating your Pasta de Banner!

Pasta de Banner completed!

Pasta de Banner completed!

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad by Cassandra Antell
Videography and Production by Jessica Valles

Junior biophysics major Cassandra Antell, cooks chicken for a fresh salad. The dish is simple and tasty, perfect for a quick and healthy meal during a busy week.

Ingredients

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts
  • 1/2 granny smith apple
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (Crasins)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4-cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Club crackers

Directions

Season the chicken to your liking and cook it thoroughly. Shred the cooked chicken and set it aside in a mixing bowl. Chop the celery, apples and onion then add it to the mixing bowl. Add the almonds and dried cranberries while also stirring in the Greek yogurt. Season with salt and pepper and serve with club crackers. This recipe makes about six servings of salad.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies by Morgan Pullins
Videography and Production by Bria Bell

St. Mary’s Women’s Basketball player Morgan Pullins, a sophomore and exercise sports science major, showcases her technique on baking peanut butter cookies. As she takes us step by step, Morgan shares background information on why this tasty treat is significant to her personally.

Ingredients

• 3/4-cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1/2 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
• 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
• 3 tablespoons milk
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 large egg
• 1 3/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

HEAT oven to 375°F. Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add egg, beating just until blended.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed, mixing just until blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheet. Flatten slightly in a crisscross pattern with tines of fork.
BAKE 7 to 8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen

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Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies!

Baked Meatball Parmesan

Baked Meatball Parmesan by David Wilkins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Videography and Production by William W. Gilbert

Chef David Wilkins is an Engineering major. Here, he shows us how to make Baked Parmesan Meatballs. The recipe has been passed down through his family.

Ingredient List
• 1 lb. ground beef
• ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
• ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1 egg
• 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. While the oven is warming, mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands, form mix into 12- 2″ meatballs. Place in a greased, foil-lined, 15x10x1-inch pan, then, bake for 25 min. or until done (160°F).

Serving Suggestion

Try serving with your favorite hot cooked pasta and sauce, and a quick-bagged salad tossed with your favorite dressing.
Substitute 1 Tbsp. parsley flakes for the chopped fresh parsley.
Prepare using 1 pkg. (16 oz.) ground turkey.

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3rd Annual Magazine Launch Party

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The Taste of StMU magazine launch party expanded to a new location with a new sponsor, new donors, a new scholarship, a new university president and two new student design winners for the third annual event on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

St. Mary’s alumnus Jose Trevino of All Events San Antonio sponsored the launch party, establishing the Taste of StMU scholarship to honor the winner of the “Professionals’ Choice” award.

Rachel Grahmann (see magazine) won the scholarship and Professionals’ Choice award as determined by a committee of professional consultants who work in the fields of graphic design, marketing and food catering. New University President Tom Mengler presented her with a certificate along with a St. Mary’s University bookstore gift card. Her respective “chef,” Kristina Garcia, received a commemorative award plate imprinted with the Taste of StMU logo.

Over 70 alumni, faculty, staff and guests attended the event and voted Nick Canedo’s magazine as the winner of the “People’s Choice” award. He also received a bookstore gift card while his “chef,” Kirsten Acosta, received an apron imprinted with the Taste of StMU logo.

The magazine launch party gave graphic design students the opportunity to showcase what they have learned throughout the semester by editing and creating their own 20-page edition of Taste of StMU magazine, complete with ads, photographs and stories. The chefs featured in their magazines provided the food for the event.

On the menu were banana lumpia, red velvet cupcakes, chocolate chip muffins, chicken fettuccine alfredo, blueberry cheesecake, fideo, Hershey’s chocolate cake and bizcochuelo con durazno.

The event also featured a trio of live jazz musicians on piano, saxophone and bass, and a slideshow was displayed which showcased magazine covers and short videos produced by former students—a number of whom were in attendance.

The graphic design class thanks all those who supported the event. See Flickr photo album.