Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Roasted Garlic Cheesecake with Crab and Chili Topping



Stratton Wayne St. Clair

Pictured above is my friend, Chef Wayne. The scent that he is savoring is that of his own homemade liquid smoke. I received the jar of “smoke” as a gift from him along with an invitation to attend a cookout in July where he will use it to prepare one of his tantalizing entrees.

Wayne tells me he makes this brew by placing a container of apple cider vinegar under the chimney of his smoker. He leaves the jar there for many hours while he smokes meat, usually ribs. The aroma of Wayne’s liquid smoke conjures up memories of some great steak restaurants I dined at in Kansas City when I lived in Lake St. Louis.

Wayne says that you can use the liquid as a marinade or barbeque sauce. He also says that inhaling the aroma is one thing, but you shouldn’t be tempted to taste the “smoke” right out of the jar: the concentrated flavor tastes almost like the inside of a dirty ashtray. It mellows and reaches its intoxicating peak only when combined with the other ingredients in one of Wayne’s recipes.

I can hardly wait until the cookout. I hope to bring back a bunch of recipes to share with you. In the meantime, along with the jar of his “smoke,” Wayne gave me another one of his original recipes.

Here is his recipe and his usual clever comments concerning preparation.

Roasted Garlic Cheesecake with Crab and Chili Topping

Quotation from chef Wayne

"Emeril's first cookbook, "The New Orleans Cookbook" has a couple of recipes for savory cheesecakes. I have made the Smoked Salmon and Gouda recipes as well. In a recent Saveur magazine they had a recipe for a Tamale Tart by Stephan Pyles that was built around a roasted garlic custard... a bell went off in my head. I have a spring form pan but no tart pan so I decided to try it as a cheesecake. After some experimenting, I came up with this hybrid and it is amazing..rich beyond words but not sweet. You do not eat large slices of this..it's an appetizer so serve small portions."

Ingredients shown on my bamboo cutting board with my bas-relief sculpture in background

sauteing peppers and onion

I would expect to be served this dish in a 5 star restaurant. The combination of ingredients is outstanding. Absolutely stellar! Once again chef Wayne has astounded me with his expertise. I hope you will try the cheesecake for a special occasion. I disagree with serving it as an appetizer though. I would serve it as a fancy luncheon dish. It was spectacular tasting with a white wine.

Bon Appetit!

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