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Thursday, May 24, 2012

celebrating national blueberry cheesecake day with this spa recipe

Last October I spent a week at the Red Mountain Resort in Utah working out, hiking my way through the desert and sweating. Each day I ate better than I ever have, feeling strong with healthy foods that made me happy. The first night after an exhausting day pushing myself in the desert, the pool and the gym, it took everything I had not to collapse on the soft, cool white sheets after a refreshing shower. Instead I walked over to the cool dining room. As the sun was setting over the red mountains I asked if the chef could prepare my favorite meal-- salmon (blackened), grilled pineapple and grilled onions (no oil) with fresh squeezed lime juice over the fish and vegetables. It was perfect. It tasted clean and healthy. It was so good in fact that I ordered it for dinner every night. The meals at Red Mountain were heavenly. It was nice to not think of calories and know that the chefs had already thought of that for me. Everything on the menu was healthy including the desserts. Oh, the desserts. 

That first night I tried the deconstructed blueberry cheesecake. With the first bite I closed my eyes and sighed. It was so good I wanted to cry and while every treat sounded wonderful from the dessert menu, I ordered the deconstructed blueberry cheesecake every night of my stay. Towards the end of the week, one morning I asked to meet the desert chef and asked if she would share the recipe. She happily wrote the recipe out for me and I am happy to share her recipe with you as we celebrate National Blueberry Cheesecake Day on Saturday, May 26th.

Deconstructed Blueberry Cheesecake

serves 4
(my comments are italicized)

8 ounces lowfat cream cheese      (I used Neuchatel low fat cheese)
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk      (1/2 of a 14 ounce can. I used the fat-free version.)
3 tablespoons lemon juice     (I used fresh squeezed lime juice)
4 tablespoons of blueberries     (If you don't have fresh, try the small wild Maine frozen blueberries)
4 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (For a gluten-free dessert, crush gluten-free cookies))

Add cream cheese, condensed milk and lemon juice in a blender. Blend for 30 seconds or so until the liquids are incorporated.

Pour 1/4 of the mixture into 4 shallow clear bowls. (This dessert looks prettiest in clear bowls or wine glasses.) Cover each and refrigerate for at least one hour. (You can also serve it immediately. We tried the dessert immediately after mixing and after one hour and it has a smoother, thicker texture if you let it cool for one hour.) 

You can use the graham cracker crumbs as is or mix the 4 tablespoons of graham crackers with 1/2 teaspoon of melted butter. Spread the mixture in a pan and heat on 350 for 5 minutes. (We tried this in a toaster oven and it works great.) Heating the graham cracker/butter mixture makes the topping crunchy.

When chilled, remove cheesecake from refrigerator, top each serving with 1 tablespoon of blueberries and 1 tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs.

Nutritional information per serving: (without my modifications)

Calories: 266
Carbohydrates: 35
Protein: 9
Fat: 10
Fiber: 1

Happy National (Healthy!) Blueberry Cheesecake Day!

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