Feta Cheesecake and Ask Chef Dennis
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to receive some of the best Feta I have ever had from Euphrates , you may remember my feta stuffed Zucchini Blossoms, they were delicious! Now of course I love feta , it is such a flavorful cheese, and I use it on almost every salad I eat, but I was thinking of other applications, what could I do a little outside the box with this wonderful cheese? I kept going back to cheesecake, something kept pulling me towards the unlikely combination of feta and cream cheese, I saw a lot of savory type feta cheesecakes, but hadn't seen any use as a sweet cheesecake.....sigh There must be a reason, but since I couldn't think of one, I decided to give it a try.
I knew the cheesecake would not be as sweet as a new york style or even a ricotta, the flavor of the feta was just a little too pronounced to let that happen. I knew my cheesecake would need a compliment to the tang of the feta, and chocolate seemed to be the answer.......well chocolate is the answer to a lot of question, but that's another story! I reached for my semi-sweet chocolate and prepared a ganache for the topping, for the crust I used my favorite digestive biscuits, and threw in a good handful of salted pistachio's just to add another element into this flavor feast.
The results were not quite as I had planned but all in all it was a very interesting and tasty cheesecake, the feta lent an interesting element to the filling, and the chocolate complimented the cheese so very well. The crust was a little bit of a letdown, but did add yet another dimension to the cake if I make this again my only change would be to sweeten the crust up a bit and instead of pistachios use an unsalted pecan.
All in all the experiment was a success and while it got mixed reviews even the doubters were impressed with the flavors. If you do try this cake, I think you will be pleasantly surprised, especially served with a good cup of coffee or espresso!
Ask Chef Dennis
We have talked about social media and it's importance in your blog growth. There are many different media platforms to choose from, but I think it's important to start with the major players in this game. I'm not talking about spending all day tweeting or updating your facebook status, but you definitely need to have a presence on these sites!
Facebook- Start a fan page for your blog, you can keep your personal page separate if you use it to communicate with family, but the more your seen out there the better it is for you. Remember if someone likes your page, return the favor!
Twitter- get the little birdy on your page, hook it up to which ever sites you already use to automatically tweet! It's really that easy, now when someone mentions you , not only your friends but their friends will see you, and you will begin to pick up more readers and followers! Just remember the protocol, when at all possible thank folks for the mention, and when you do have a few minutes to spend on twitter, tweet someone else's subject matter! If someone is nice enough to follow you and they have a blog that's relevant to yours re-follow them!
Klout - Still a little unsure of this one but its a friend of twitter and doesn't take too much time, so it's worth a try.
Stumble upon - This does require some time investment, but I am finding it more worthwhile to spend my time stumbling than submitting to Tastspotting and Foodgawker, as much as I love those sites, I just can't bear the constant rejection....sigh One good stumble kicks the foodporn sites in the butt! This is a great investment of time! Add this button to your page so your readers can stumble your post, and add a link to your toolbar to make it easier for you to stumble pages you like!
Google+ - Still the new kid in town, and still quietly gaining more of a presence in the blogosphere. It's still an invite only media, and if you would like to join, let me know and I'll send you an invitation. My advice is to get on this band wagon before it goes public, it is going to be huge! I just tried the hang outs, and they have it all over Skype!
FoodPop - Another new kid on the block, and while I'm still not sure about this one, it seems like it might turn out to be a nice little community, so check it out.
I am getting a little weary of the constant rejection, it does wear one down, but I have found that some of the newer sites actually have people that will email you and actually be nice to you...lol
Knapkins - Now this is a real fun site, where you get to actually vote on images, I received 5 emails last week asking me if I knew about it. I think this is an up and comer, join in while its still new. I even get real emails from the admin, Christine, how nice is that!
Kitchen Artistry - is another one of my favorites, simply because they take full size images, I just don't like squares! They still have a little way to go on image quality, but I think that they're going to blossom into a very popular site!
I'd like to give a shout out to Bloggers without Borders for the incredible job they did in raising over $63K to help Jennifer Perillo and her girls. They make me proud to be a food blogger! These bloggers know what community is all about, helping each other in time of need. Bookmark the link please.
Well my friends that's going to wrap it up for today, it's back to my 4 am wake up call, and no matter how often I do it, you just don't get use to 4 am....sigh. But it is good to be back at work, it's a good feeling to be useful and do something that you love! Thanks so much for stopping by, I do appreciate it more than I will ever be able to tell you, and I am so grateful for all the wonderful comments you leave and emails that you send me, I do love hearing from you!
Hope all is well in your part of the world, until next time my friends, please remember.....