For Christmas I received a lot of “cooking goodies” including the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook. The Tupelo Honey Cafe is located in Asheville, North Carolina and serves fresh, farm to table food made from scratch. D and I dined there last year while in the area and it was one of our most memorable meals.
When I saw on their store website that they offer cookbooks, I immediately wrote to Santa asking for it and luckily for me, I received it. It’s a beautiful cookbook and has clever names for each of the chapters (Angels of the First Degree: Heavenly Appetizers and Soups, Chicken Seven Ways, or We Still Lay, As Sweet as Tupelo Honey), as well as offering readers interesting facts about the Asheville region and photographs, both past and current.
I ended up making dessert first, Three-Berry Cream Cheese which the authors describe as being a “fruity (and somewhat sneaky) cousin to the cheesecake.” Vanilla wafers (along with melted butter) make up the crust, and it truly is a cheesecake in look and taste minus it being baked in a springform pan. As it is not fresh berry season here in the northeastern United States, I used frozen berries (blue berries, raspberries and strawberries) and it turned out just fine.
Three-Berry Cream Cheese Pie
1 1/2 cups ground vanilla wafers (40 wafers)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 (8-ounce) packages softened cream cheese
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. In a medium bowl, combine the vanilla wafers and melted butter and press the mixture into the baking dish, evenly covering the bottom and sides, and set aside.
Combine the berries and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a heavy saucepan and place over high heat for 5-6 minutes until the mixture is a thick sauce (if you use fresh berries, reduce the cooking time to 3 minutes). Combine the water and cornstarch and add the mixture to the berries, cooking for about 2 minutes longer, or until the mixture thickens slightly. Set the berry mixture aside.
Combine the cream cheese, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the eggs, vanilla, salt and cream in a food processor until fluffy, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the processor until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Pour the cream mixture into the wafer crust and then pour the berry mixture on top of the cream filling.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pie is firm. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
For the main course I made Chicken Apple Meatloaf with Tarragon Tomato Gravy (I actually ended up going without the dried apples as I could not find a reasonable price for them anywhere). It was good although I will say that ground chicken certainly has a distinct taste to it.
And to accompany the meatloaf I made Tupelo Honey-Glazed Carrots. I was lucky enough to have purchased tupelo honey while in North Carolina although you can easily substitute whatever honey you have on hand.
2 heaping tablespoons artisanal honey (such as tupelo honey)
Blanch the carrots in salted boiling water for about 7 minutes, or until just tender. Drain off the liquid. In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter and add the carrots, salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes or until heated through and then add the honey. Coat the carrots with the honey by stirring the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes and serve immediately.
Julie is a librarian by day, die-hard travel fanatic and writer by night. When she’s not traveling, she’s either testing out a new recipe or being a foodie in Pittsburgh. If you're interested in seeing where she travels to or what she makes next, follow along via the links below!