Where There’s a Will

How’s life been thus far? I think, if we could have a do-over year because it was such a mess, 2020 would be at the top of the list. It’s not just the pandemic, it’s all the craziness.

Freedom of speech no longer exists, the extremest will shout you down, or worse, destroy your livelihood if you disagree. Freedom to worship as a community together is strongly discouraged and even banned in some places. When California first opened up the churches, they said you can pray but not together as in a chant and no singing. No singing? Don’t forget to cover up if you leave your house. The virus hangs out in churches and public beaches where families congregate, but not in mega box stores or the streets of civil unrest. Family gatherings are to blame. Anything family-related is to blame. Does that make sense to you? Where I live, a neighbor could report you for hosting a barbecue because such gatherings are banned, but marching in the streets is not. I ask you, how can one be dangerous for public safety during this pandemic, but the other is your civil right and therefore okay? Just thinking about the silliness around me gives me a headache.

Rather than make sense of it all, I thought it best to focus on the things that have personal meaning and are within my control. Today is Brother Dear’s Birthday! He would have been 63 had the good Lord not called him home neary 6 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss his beautiful smile.

Today is also National Chili Dog Day and National Cheesecake Day. Wow – two things you would never serve together, righ? Okay, so maybe the idea of a chili dog cheesecake might not fly, but what about a summer menu of fried pickles, chili dogs and cheesecake for dessert? Yeah, that’s more like it. Life is too short not to celebrate every moment of every day.

Just Having Fun Summer Menu
Pucker Up Fried Pickle Chips

Easy Oven Baked Chili Cheese Dogs
Chipotle-Lime Potato Salad

Something for Everyone Cheesecake

Pucker Up Fried Pickle Chips
Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Prepared Horseradish
2 teaspoons Ketchup
1/4 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning

Mix the mayonnaise, horseradish, ketchup and Cajun seasoning in a bowl; set aside.

Fried Pickles
2 cups Crisp-Cold Dill Pickle Chips
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup Flour
1-3/4 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Kosher Salt to taste
1/2 cup Cold Water

Drain pickle chips well. Spread the pickles on paper towels and pat dry.Heat 1 inch peanut oil in a pot over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 375 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water in a large bowl until smooth.

Add half of the pickles to the batter and toss to coat. Remove from the batter using a slotted spoon, letting the excess drip off. Drop breaded pickle chips one at a time to the heated oil. Fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Return the oil to 375 degrees F and repeat with the remaining pickles and batter. Serve immediately with the prepared sauce.

Oven Baked Chili Cheese Dogs
1 small White Onion
8 Hot Dog Buns
4 tablespoons Mayonnaise
8 All-Beef Hot Dogs
16 oz Dennison’s Hot Chili
1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel and dice the onion, set aside. Split open the hot dog buns, brush each bun with about 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise. Place one hot dog in each buns, and nestle the buns into a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Spoon the chili evenly over each hot dog. Sprinkle on cheddar cheese and onions.

Bake in the heated oven for 8-10 minutes. Without removing hot dogs from the oven, turn the broiler element to high. Broil for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is browned and the buns begin to toast. Serve immediately.

Chipotle-Lime Potato Salad
1-1/2 lb small Red Potatoes
1 Lime, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Chile Powder
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sour Cream
Pinch Kosher Salt
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
3 Green Onions, tops only for garnish

Wash potatoes and cut in half. Place in a large pot of water, seasoned with kosher salt.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes. Once potatoes are fork tender, drain and set aside to cool to the touch.

Zest lime into a 1-cup measuring glass. (This will give you “whipping” room) and set aside. Place the zested lime in the microwave for about 10 seconds to get the juices moving. Cut lime in half and squeeze all the juice into the measuring cup with the zest. Add Chipotle Chile Powder.

Using a small submersible powdered whip (mine is batter operated), whip seasoned lime juice.

Slowly, in a steady stream, add olive oil while continually whipping. The mixture will begin to thicken.

Add mayonnaise, one tablespoon at a time while continuing to whip thoroughly between additions.

After the second tablespoon of mayonnaise has been incorporated into the dressing, add a tablespoon of sour cream.

Whip until smooth. Add final tablespoon of mayonnaise and whip until smooth. Taste and adjust as necessary (more mayo or seasoning – whatever your taste buds tell you). Set aside.

Cut each potato half into bite-size quarters. Place in a large bowl.

Pour dressing over potatoes and toss gently to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Chop tops of green onions and sprinkle atop salad. Chill until ready to serve.

Something for Everyone Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust
20 Graham Crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons Sugar
10 tablespoons Butter, melted
4 Graham Crackers, whole

In a large bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until combined.

Pour the crust mixture into a 9-inch springform cake pan. Press crumbs down firmly with the bottom of a small ramekin or glass to form an even base.

Carefully break the remaining 4 graham crackers in half, so that you have 8 squares.

Push the graham crackers into the crust with the split line facing upwards to form an X shape, dividing the crust into four equal sections.

Press down on the crust one more time to ensure the graham crackers are secure. Cover and chill in the freezer for at least 10 minutes while preparing the fillings.

Basic Cheesecake Filling
2 tablespoons Gelatin Powder (2 packets)
4 tablespoons Water
3 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese
1 cup Sugar
2-1/2 cups Heavy Cream

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the water. Set aside to bloom.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add heavy cream and beat until the batter is light and fluffy.

Warm the gelatin in the microwave for about 15 seconds so that it’s fluid, and incorporate into the batter.

Divide the cheesecake batter evenly between 4 medium bowls to create the four flavors of cheesecake.

Vanilla Raspberry Swirl
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Raspberry Jam
8 fresh Raspberries, for garnish

In the first bowl, whisk in the vanilla extract and 1/2 cup heavy cream.

Slowly pour the vanilla cheesecake filling into a quarter of the pan. Carefully dollop the filling with raspberry jam in small circles. Use a toothpick or knife to carefully swirl the jam into the filling. Use a spatula to smooth the top.

Garnish the outer border with fresh raspberries.

Lemon Curd Cheesecake
2/3 cup Lemon Curd, divided
5 candied lemon slice, optional garnish

In the second bowl, whisk in 1/3 cup lemon curd. Pour lemon filling into a quarter of the pan. Smooth with spatula.

Pour the remaining 1/3 cup of lemon curd on top of the lemon cheesecake and smooth with an offset spatula or spoon. Garnish the outer border with candied lemon slices.

Pecan Dulce de Leche
1/2 cup Dulce de Leche, warmed, plus more for garnish
10 pecans, roughly charged, for garnish

Gently warm Dulce de Leche. In the third bowl, whisk in 1/2 cup of the warmed sauce. Pour filling into a quarter of the pan. Spooth with a spatula.

Roughly chop the pecans. Carefully garnish the outer border of the dulce de leche cheesecake with the chopped nuts. Drizzle with more warmed dulce de leche as desired.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
1/2 cup Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
5 Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles, for garnish

In the fourth bowl, whisk in the chocolate hazelnut spread. Pour filling into the final quarter of the pan. Smooth with a spatula.

Garnish the outer border of the chocolate hazelnut cheesecake with the chocolate hazelnut truffles.

Once assembled, cover the top of the pan tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or overnight in the fridge before slicing and serving.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

5 thoughts on “Where There’s a Will”

  1. I agree with what you said. I’m confused as to what is open, as to what we can and can not do and why. I only ever go out to the ATM or PO if I need to and that’s all. Now I don’t even know if the PO will stay open! Nobody knows ANYTHING anymore it seems. Love your recipes though, and that cheese cake looks great!


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