July 25, 2012

California Dairy Tour - The Foodie Edition & The BEST Cheesecake EVER Recipe!!

If you missed Part 1, click here to read it.

Ok now, foodies.  I know this is what you've been waiting for.   Pictures of all the yummy food I was served, all using California dairy products.  Everything I ate was incredible, and I think eating the food is what really convinced me that products carrying that Real California seal really does make a difference - and that is coming from a Carolina girl!  

This is a food journal, I guess you can say, with a recipe at the very bottom for the BEST cheesecake ever that was given to me by Chef Robert West. When my colleagues and I bit into that cheesecake at the time, we all went silent and closed our eyes because it was so indulgent.  It was that good.

Ok, let's take a photographic food journey here.  You can find the descriptions under the photo if you want to try and recreate something yourself. But remember, you've gotta look for that California seal on the products you buy - it's surprising what a difference it makes!!  

Oh - you might want to prepare yourself with some extra absorbent paper towels first though - you know, to catch the drool. 

Panzanella - Bellwether Farms Crescenza, Arugula, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Cucumber, Olives, Red Onion, Crusty Bread,  & Balsamic Vinaigrette

Saffron Risotto Arancini - Point Reyes Toma, Lemon Artichoke Aioli

Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut - Thai Curry Spaetzle, Glazed Carrots, Ruby Hill Reserve Chardonnay California Beurre Blanc

Sea Salt & Herb Crusted All-Natural Prime Rib - Horseradish mashed potatoes, Terra Bella Family Farms Seasonal Vegetables, Ruby Hill Elevato California Compound Butter

Portobella Stack - Grilled Zucchini, Galbani Mozzarella, Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes

White Chocolate & Ruby Hill Bella Gemma Port Mousse

Brick Oven Flatbread - Wild Mushroom Medley, Sauteed Leeks, Smoked Tomato California Creme Fraiche, Fiscalini Farms Lionza

Arugula Salad with Baby Artichokes & Strawberries - Herbed California Buttermilk Dressing, Fiscalini Farms San Joaquin Gold Tuile

California Yogurt Free-Range Chicken Breast - Potato Cream Gratin, Fiscalini Farms Scamorza

From left to right: Lumpia - Chicken, Joseph Farms Pepper Jack, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sweet Chile Sauce
Chicken Skewers - Saffron Marinade, Coconut Peanut Sauce
Stuffed Mushrooms - Rouge et Noir Brie, Spinach, White Truffle Oil

Beet Salad - Don Francisco Queso Fresco, Arugula, Toasted Hazelnuts, Green Beans, Champagne Vinaigrette

Almond Crusted Salmon - Leek California Cream Sauce, Israeli Pearl Cous Cous, Green Beans

Capellini Pomodoro - Alta Cucina Tomatoes, Garlic Basil, Fiscalini Mozzarella, Sciabici Olive Oil

Grilled Ribeye - Brandy Peppercorn California Cream Sauce, Creamy Polenta, Sauteed Spinach

Baked Alaska - California Strawberry & Coconut Ice Cream, Sponge Cake, Meringue, E & J Caramel Sauce

Fresh Fruit Crisp with California Vanilla Ice Cream

Yeah, I'll never eat that good again.  -wink-   And, I probably should have brought some elastic pants with me too.  ;)

Ok, now that cheesecake I was telling you about.  Chef Robert West made this for us while we had lunch at the Fiscalini's house.  I do not even have the words to tell how incredibly delicious this was.  Oh my word.  Ya'll are just going to have to make it because honestly - it would be a tragedy for you to go on in life without savoring this decadent concoction.  So, huge thanks going out to Chef Robert West for sharing this recipe with me, so that I could share it with ya'll.  

Crème Fraiche Cheesecake
Robert West-Corporate Chef/Culinary Specialist
Sysco Food Services of Central California

Equipment needed: 9” springform pan, heavy duty foil, heavy bottomed baking pan


For the Crust:
  • 2 ½ cups toasted almonds
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar
  • ¼ cup butter melted

For the Filling:
  • 1 ½ pound crème cheese softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1T vanilla(can sub vanilla bean)
  • 3 eggs

For the Topping:
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • 1 t sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Crust: In a food processor grind the almonds and sugar together, stir in melted butter, cool.  Using your fingers, pack the mixture into the pan and bake for about 3-4 minutes; or until edges start to brown.

Filling:  In a mixer whip the cream cheese and sugar until incorporated.  While mixer is on low, add eggs one at a time and keep blending until all eggs are mixed in.  Add vanilla.  Set aside.

While pan is cooling wrap bottom of springform pan with foil coming up the sides all the way.   You might need to use 2-3 sheets.
·  This is to ensure that water from the water bath does not leak into the cheesecake.  The reason for the waterbath is to make sure the bottom of cheesecake does not burn.

Pour mixture into pan and using a flat spatula, spread evenly.  Place in baking pan and fill pan to about half the springform pan with water.  Bake in oven until slightly browned, about 1 hour. 


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