Friday, June 20, 2008


So about 25 years ago, I made an awesome grand marnier cheesecake, the recipe for which I found in a magazine.I brought it to my mom's house for a family party and everybody loved it! It was so popular that my mom started baking it frequently for parties and gatherings. Soon, everybody was asking her to make "her famous cheesecake" Even I almost forgot that I was the originator (although not the creator) of this recipe.

SO, if you want to use my recipes, fine go ahead, use them. Just don't forget to say, "I got this from June, that girl can cook!"

1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. toasted husked hazelnuts (about 5 oz.), ground
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. grated orange peel
4 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, room temp.
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1/4 c. whipping cream
2 tsp. vanilla
3 lg. eggs, room temp., beaten to blend
2 lg. egg yolks
2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tsp. Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. fresh strawberries, hulled
1/4 c. red currant jelly
5 1/2 tsp. Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1/2 c. chilled whipping cream
2 tsp. powdered sugar
Candied Orange Peel
Fresh mint leaves (optional)
For crust: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter 9 1/2 inch round springform pan. Mix all ingredients in bowl. Press mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of pan to within 1/2 inch of top edge. Bake 10 minutes. Maintain oven temperature. Transfer crust to rack and cool completely. Set aside.

For filling: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until very smooth. Beat in sugar, Grand Marnier, cream and vanilla. Add eggs and yolks and beat just until blended. Pour filling into prepared pan. Bake until top puffs and is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 15 minute (cake will fall as it cools). Maintain oven temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare topping: Blend first 4 ingredients in small bowl. Pour over cooled filling, spreading with back of spoon. Bake 5 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Run small sharp knife around edge of pan. Release pan sides. Set cheesecake on platter. Arrange strawberries, pointed ends up, atop cheesecake, leaving 1 inch border around outer edge. Stir jelly in heavy small saucepan over low heat until just melted. Mix in 4 teaspoons liqueur; brush over berries. Using electric mixer, beat cream in medium bowl until soft peaks form.

Add powdered sugar and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Grand Marnier and beat to firm peaks. Spoon cream into pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe cream decoratively around outside of strawberry border. Arrange orange peel decoratively atop whipped cream. Garnish platter with mint leaves if desired. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead and refrigerated.)

Enough for 1 cheesecake. 1/2 c. cold water 2 tbsp. sugar

Using vegetable peeler, cut peel from orange in 1 inch wide strips. Cut away any white pith from peel. Cut peel into 3 inch long 1/8 inch wide julienne. Blanch peel in small saucepan of boiling water 1 minute. Drain; rinse peel under cold water. Repeat blanching and rinsing of orange peel twice.

Cook 1/2 cup water and sugar in heavy small saucepan over low heat, swirling pan occasionally until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to simmer. Add peel and cook until glaze forms and almost all liquid evaporates, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer peel to waxed paper lined plate, separating each piece to prevent sticking. Cool completely. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

* recipe from

My Name is June. I'm A Good Cook

My name is June. I like to cook. In fact, I am a good cook. Or at least, that's what they (all) tell me.

You might think I'm bragging. But being a good cook in a small town is not glamorous.

When word about my culinary skills spread, I was in sudden demand. At dinner parties, they begged me to bring my fig and olive tapenade. At reunions, they wanted me to bring my crisp Mexicali bean salad. At birthday parties, they all wanted me to bring my special-recipe german chocolate birthday cake.

Over time, I noticed the Friday happy hour's started always being at MY house. Was it my sparkling clean floors or my mussels provencal that brought them? The red wine or my prosciutto-and-goat cheese wraps?

I don't own a mop. I served boxed wine.

So the jig was up.

The ladies were here to steal my secrets.

They'd all sit around exchanging polite (and sometimes impolite) pleasantries while nibbling on my festive crab cakes. They'd say "Oh, June, these are so PERFECT. So WONDERFUL, how do you DO it?" They' pretend to chat it up with me but slip in seemingly innocuous questions like "What EVER did you put in here?"

Flattered, at first, I would explain exactly how I'd mixed a bit of this, a bit of that, and spread it with a touch of this over here... They'd nod, somewhat vapidly. But eventually, I learned they were cold, calculating women bent on warping my culinary artisanship to their own mediocre ends.

One time, I had to stop one of these "friends" from ruining a perfectly innocent Herbed Polenta by reconstituting corn meal from a plastic-wrapped brick. This still gives me chills...

Then one day...the final straw. A part-time granola who fancies herself a quarter-time foodie wanted to know how I planned to serve all the vegetables I picked up from the community garden. "I could use some ideas," she said, blinking her puppy dawg eyes in my face.

This made my blood start to boil. Finally, I had to take matters into my own hands.

I would stand up for myself and proudly shout to all the world, THIS FOOD, IT CAME FROM ME* FIRST.

Thus, I started this blog to put my own copyright** on what I cooked so NO WOMEN OF MENDON SHALL EVER STEAL OR BASTARDIZE MY RECIPES AGAIN.

So put on your apron and grab your oil and garlic, Girlz (and men who like show tunes), 'cuz this bitch is gonna show you how to cook.


*and various publications such as Martha Stewart Living and Budget Gourmet
and Better Homes and Gardens. Oh, and sometimes the Sunday newspaper.
**or copy-wrong, considering *, above