Lately

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I hope you all had a fun and relaxing fourth celebrating with good food and company! My family did! We spent the holiday weekend grilling poolside with friends and family.  Nothing gourmet – mostly just BBQ chicken, burgers and dogs with salads, sides, ice cream and lots of watermelon.  If we celebrated with any other food it just wouldn’t have felt like the Fourth!

I thought I would share a little history I found about the tradition of grilling on the Fourth of July….The tradition of grilling during the Fourth of July holiday extends all the way back to the 1800s in Virginia where people began cooking large animals over fire pits. This tradition of roasting animals carried over into the 1900s where it was used as a political tactic to draw in large crowds of people for independence day.  Later on during WWII the invention of the charcoal grill encouraged people to try their hand at backyard barbecuing.   Today grilling on the Fourth symbolizes patriotism and pride and remains a prominent tradition for families across the United States. In fact, Americans consume about one hundred and fifty million hot dogs every year on the Fourth of July!IMG_0838Besides celebrating the Fourth lately I have been enjoying this heatwave by the pool, catering and coming up with new recipes using the food from our farm share. I also went to pick some of the first blueberries available in our area. Every year my mom and I pick enough blueberries to fill our downstairs freezer for the year.  We use them in everything – muffins, pancakes, smoothies, oatmeal, crumbles, pies, you name it. (Check out my post on blueberries for blueberry nutrition facts and recipes.) I recently used a frozen variety of wild blueberries to top these mini cheesecakes I made for a catering job. I thought I would post the recipe for these mini blueberry lemon cheesecakes and some photos from my recent catering job.
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 Mini Blueberry Lemon Cheesecakes

This recipe is adapted from food.com

Yields 30

Ingredients

1 cup of graham cracker crumbs (1 standard sleeve of cracker sheets)

1/4 cup of butter (melted)

4 Tablespoons of brown sugar (reserve one Tablespoon for blueberry topping)

8 ounces of cream cheese

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of flour

1/4 cup of sour cream

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla

1 lemon (zested, juiced)

2 cups of (frozen) wild blueberries

*30 mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line two mini muffin tins with paper liners.

In a food processor combine graham crackers, butter, and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. Pulse until everything is incorporated. Press 2 teaspoons of crust into the bottom of the paper liners.

In a large bowl (or electric mixer) combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, sour cream, eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and lemon zest. Mix until smooth and consistent.

Scoop into mini muffin tins until it meets the brim of the paper liner. Place in the oven for 15 minutes until the filling is firm. Let cool completely.

In the meantime, add blueberries, lemon juice, vanilla, and remaining brown sugar to a small sauce pan.  Heat over medium low heat for 5-7 minutes, until slightly thickened. Spoon over the top of each cheesecake.  Garnish with a mint leaf.  Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

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Half and half (white and dark chocolate) strawberries

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Raspberry dark chocolate brownies, mini blueberry lemon cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate truffle bites

Sources: 

SAP​Voice. "How Many Hot Dogs Will Americans Consume Over The July 4th Holiday?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 03 July 2013. Web. 09 July 2013.
"Plus, What's with All the Hamburgers, Frankfurters, and Wieners? This Is America!"Slate Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 July 2013.
"Everyone's Favourite Mini Cheesecakes." Recipe. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 July 2013.