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Thursday, January 1, 2009

eat at joe's

Joe smoked a pork shoulder today, and he had us over to share it. I have to give him props; it was delicious. Tender and moist and all the things pork should be. If only he could remember what he put in his rub...

Joe is very enthusiastic about almost everything, which includes the crawfish cheesecake we served at our Christmas party this year. As I had made an extra cheesecake and then frozen it, I decided to thaw it out, bake it, and bring it as our contribution to dinner.

Don't be alarmed. Crawfish cheesecake is not for dessert. It makes a delicious appetizer, though. The recipe follows, but first, a word of warning.

While baking this cheesecake for the first time, I learned something important about springform pans: they leak. As the cheesecakes were cooking, butter dripped out of the pans and onto the bottom of the oven. This butter started smoking and eventually caught on fire.

Because I'd begun making the cheesecakes around midnight, Kaytie was already in bed, and she awoke to find a house full of smoke and me telling her to get the fire extinguisher out of the car.
Unfortunately, I did not tell her where exactly to find the fire extinguisher once she opened the car, a feat made more difficult by the fact that the doors were locked, and the keys were in my pocket. Once I'd sent Kaytie on her wild goose chase, I pulled the cheesecakes out of the oven and smothered the flames with baking soda, which turned out to be very effective. I was an idiot and a hero, all in one night.

Moral of the story: Put a baking sheet under your springform pan, so you won't set your oven on fire and frustrate your wife.

Crawfish Cheesecake
(a riff on Emeril's Lobster Cheesecake and Jacques-Imo's Alligator Cheesecake)

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup melted unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup white onions, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 ¾ lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
4 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup grated smoked Gouda
1 lb. crawfish tails, defrosted and rinsed well
½ cup chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix Parmesan, bread crumbs, and butter thoroughly. Pat evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan.

Saute the white onions and the peppers in olive oil over medium heat for two minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

In a new bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Keep the mixer running, and add the eggs one at a time. Add everything else but the crawfish and parsley, and beat about two minutes. Fold in the crawfish tails and parsley. Pour the filling into the crust.

Place springform pan onto a baking sheet (lined with foil for easy cleanup) and place in oven. Bake until the center is firm when you jiggle the pan, which takes about an hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (Can be refrigerated, but bring to room temperature before serving.) Use a warm sharp knife to slice the cheesecake.


  1. Drew (...and of course, the wonderful Kaytie),

    I will have to say that I have enjoyed the short, but fun life of your food blog. Kaytie, I don't get blogs too much either, but that may be be b/c Drew is much closer to my old age.

    This particular addition rang true to me and gave me a giggle. I love baking cheesecakes. They are one of my many joys in the kitchen and I am usually quite proud of my cheesecakes when completed. I have been through the Springform debacle many years ago, but thankfully no fires. I put my (dessert) cheesecakes in a water bath that comes halfway up the pan so as to not burn the graham crusts. Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way that I needed to put a layer of aluminum foil underneath so the water would not leak into the pan and soak the crusts.

    You guys keep enjoying the kitchen and please keep writing about your experiences.

  2. That's an interesting cheesecake! The pork looks awesome...I love me some pork shoulder :) Nice blog!