Project Food Blog & Guava Cheesecake!

In just a few hours Foodbuzz’s “Project Food Blog” contest will commence. In short, there will be a total of 10 challenges with a final prize of 10K.  There are about 2,000 contestants and only 400 will move on to challenge #2. I think my chances are quite good, no?

And no, challenge #1 has nothing to do with “the best cheesecake ever”, but if it did, I might have this one in the bag.  But at last, the first challenge is as follows:

What defines you as a food blogger and why should you be the next food blog star?

Like many food bloggers, their title is a great indication of their niche.  My title, however is not only my niche, it is what defines me as a food blogger all around. You may only see “Cooking For Mark”, but there is more. It’s a little hard to read, but below you will find “Around the World Cooking Made Simple”.

“Cooking For Mark”

Mark is my fiancee, whom I cook for.  But that is not what defines my blog.  Mark is also my loved one who enjoys the dishes I create for him.  Cooking, for me, is about family, about friends.  It’s about socializing, comforting people, and making them just a little happier.  This is the reason I cook. Sure, people need to eat. But when the food is delicious and enjoyable  it converts your soul. And it’s not only about the food.  It is my way of showing people my love and appreciation for them.

“Around the World Cooking”

If there was something I loved more than cooking (besides Mark, my family, and my pug Chups, of course), it would be traveling.  When traveling to a new country you are literally experiencing a part of the world for the first time, in all respects–It’s exhilarating!  It’s the greatest learning experience about both the world and about yourself. But be careful not to mistake being a traveler versus being a tourist.  Tourists sightsee, but travelers see beyond.  They get to know the people, experience the culture, smell the air, and seek out foods they have never tasted.  I’ve had a squid sandwich in the city of Madrid, snails in the great medina of Fez, and BBQ crickets in the jungles of Siem Reap.  But I’ve also had the best noodles in Hangzhou, the best Doner in Bilbao, the best sweet tea in Bangkok, and the best cider in Oviedo.

My  memories of traveling are best revived in my kitchen.  Closing my eyes and smelling the sweet spices in the air takes me to another world.  And when I take a taste, it brings that world to me. Even if I can’t travel all the time, I can bring a piece of Delhi, Tapei, Azerbaijan, or Sao Paulo to my kitchen, and to the kitchen of my readers.

“Made Simple”

I am not a chef. I am an amateur in every sense.  In effect, the things I make will never be beyond the capacity of anyone. Everyone can cook, and everyone can make my recipes.  It’s that simple.

And now, to the final question, “why should I be the next food blog star”? Because I feel people want and need to cook out of their comfort zone.  Doing so will be such a rewarding experience not only for the cook, but for the families you cook for. It will teach your kids about different cultures and different foods, resulting in a more tolerable, culturally sensitive generation.

Further, in the 1 in 2,000 chance I have to win the final challenge, I would take my 10K and really travel the world!  My dream is to visit remote areas of the world, sit down with the family’s grandmother and learn from her. Everything from the culture, to the food, to her cooking methods. Because becoming a great cook does not begin in a class room.  It originates in the heart and comes out through curiosity, getting stronger the more you experience.  This will be a lifelong journey. It is not the end for which I am looking forward to, but everything in between.

And now, I will bribe you with a cheesecake recipe, to urge you to vote for me. Remember, 80% of the contestants will be dropped after this first challenge, so if you want to help me out, please take a minute and vote here. (Voting ends Sep 23).

Guava Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake for my brother’s 20th birthday.  He just moved to Washington from Utah about a month ago and I wanted to make a little something that reminded him of home.

In our home we grew up with cheesecake.  We also grew up with a special dessert my Mom makes made of guavas and a milk-based jello, which is honestly the best dessert I have ever had.  So I decided to incorporate the two and make a guava cheesecake. And what a great combination of flavors! It was tart, sweet, creamy…it was perfect.  Since the cheesecake was so big I was planning on freezing a large portion of it, but before I knew it the guys had devoured it entirely. They loved it.

As the guys took their first bite they both groaned with pleasure (my favorite sound to hear when people taste my food). I then went on to explain that it was a guava cheesecake.  Mark, being the picky eater that he is, replied “good thing you told me afterwards, or I wouldn’t have wanted to taste it”. So, even Mark, who dislikes guava greatly enjoyed this guava cheesecake. Give this one a try, even if you aren’t particularly fond of guavas. You will not regret it!

Pecan Walnut Crust

  • 1 c. pecan shortbread cookies (about 8 cookies)–optional. Can just use 2 c. gram crackers
  • 1 c. gram crackers (about 8 crackers)
  • 1/3 c. walnuts
  • 1/4 c. melted butter

Directions: blend all ingredients except butter.  Place in bowl and add melted butter. Combine.  Mold mixture into bottom of spring form pan. Bake at 375  for 8-10 minutes. Place in freezer until ready to use.

Guava Cheesecake:

  • 4 packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar

Cream together, but don’t over-beat

  • 3/4 c. coconut cream
  • 7 guavas (canned), seeded

Blend together and strain

  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest of 1 lime

Combine with guava and coconut milk mixture

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp flour

Slowly incorporate eggs and flour. Be careful to not over-beat.  Incorporate mixture with cream cheese. Fill the spring form pan and bake in pre heated oven at 350 for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 250 and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. DO NOT open the oven door.  Turn off heat and let the cheesecake sit there for 4 hours with door slightly open.  When cake is completely cool, place in refrigerator overnight.

Guava Cream Topping:

  • 5 guavas (canned), seeded
  • 1/4 c. coconut cream
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions: Blend together and store in refrigerator until ready to use.



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19 Responses to “Project Food Blog & Guava Cheesecake!”

  1. Excellent challenger introduction. I especially like the part about traveling to remote places and sitting down with the family matriarch and learning from her.

    Jason

  2. Love it… Just cast my vote! – Megs

  3. Susana Cueva-Lopez Says:

    Guava is one of my favorite fruit. thanks for sharing.!!!
    I just voted !

  4. Nice site! Thanks for the add in foodbuzz

    Good luck! And great post!

  5. Very very good looking Cheesecake, beautiful picture. The best of luck to you.

  6. bloodymahvelous Says:

    those look suspiciously like raspberries. and the pictures seem to be from different cheesecakes. there’s no way the pastry dough looking crust is the same as the shortbread/walnut crust. where does the cream topping come in, doesn’t seem to be pictured in the final bite with fork . . .

    • Wow, that is quite an accusation, I am flattered. I’m glad you can tell the difference between raspberries and guavas…very good! I’m sorry to disappoint you but all of these pictures are from the same guava cheesecake with pecan/walnut crust, and the entire cheesecake did have a thin layer of guava cream topping. I also rearranged the raspberries and added raspberry sauce. Oh, and the last picture does not have a fork. It’s a tiny spoon I bought at Ikea. Thanks for being so observant!

  7. Never had guava cheesecake before, but it looks awesome! 🙂

  8. Wow, I’ve never had guava cheesecake, but this looks great 🙂

  9. Great post! That cheesecake looks incredible! Excuse me while I drool. I look forward to reading more in the future. I voted for you! =)

    Good luck!

    You can check out my PFB post at : http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/503

  10. magicofspice Says:

    Love this post and the cheesecake is gorgeous…Voted 🙂 Have fun and I know you will do well 🙂

  11. If I’d been there guy guys wouldn’t have had a chance to finish it off because I’d have been there first! It looks amazing. I LOVE cheesecake. Good luck on the challenge!

  12. Thank”s for sharing this amazing cheesecake ! we love it!!
    Good luck to you.

  13. Felicidades por estar en este concurso te deseo mucha suerte
    tus recetas son muy autenticas de una persona que tiene a un cheff
    dentro! ha ese pay de guayaba se ve riquisimo y lo presentaremos en la cena de hoy Gracias.

  14. looks so good cant wait.

  15. este pay se ve rico y sabroso, continua deleitandonos con estas exquicitas rec etas, felicidades por el pay de queso y guayaba por la grandiosa foto que tomaste del mismo por los amenos agradables simpaticos e ilustrativos comentarios que expresas en todas tus recetas y sobre todo el gran amor a tu pareja y tus papas y a tus hermanos,se felicito al igual que tu abuelito rafael.

  16. I like your combination of the cheesecake. Your picture always look so good. Will vote for u. Good luck!

  17. hey ya! you have a lovely blog here. Stumble upon your blog through foodbuzz. 🙂 I voted for your blog. hope that helps. feel free to drop by!!

    have a lovely weekend
    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

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