Tag Archives: recipe

Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust

In my family, we all love the flavor of pumpkin,  and are big fans of pie.  But pumpkin pie? Not really a favorite around here, but for many Thanksgivings growing up, pumpkin pie would be made and served along with one or two other pies as part of our family tradition. If you didn’t include pumpkin pie, it felt wrong, I guess?

Well, when all of the other pies were quickly finished and the pumpkin pie remained in the fridge barely touched, it seemed to me something needed to change.

So one year, when it was my turn to host the Thanksgiving feast at my house, I decided to make a bold move and replace the traditional pumpkin pie with a recipe that I had been developing: Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust.  At first, the idea of cheesecake after a heavy meal sounded ridiculously rich, but once everyone tried the first bite and realized how light and fluffy it was, they were hooked. We have made this cheesecake every year since, and have not looked back.

I included this dessert in a fall menu taught in my cooking classes a while back, and know many of  those people make this every year too.

I like the recipe so much, I even included it in my cookbook, Friends at the Table.

Why not share it here on my blog too?

So go ahead and drive to the store to  tackle your grocery shopping (if you haven’t already started!) and pick up the ingredients to make this cake. You can make it tomorrow and have it ready to go in the refrigerator on Thanksgiving day! No one will notice the pumpkin pie is missing from the table….I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust

 Serves 8 to 10

1/4 cup of sweetened coconut
8 ounces of gingersnap cookies
2 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of melted butter
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese
3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 (1-pound) can of pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon of maple syrup

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until golden brown. In the bowl of a food processor, place gingersnap cookies and pulse until the cookies are finely crushed. (You will need 1 3/4 cups of crumbs.) In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, toasted coconut, sugar and melted butter. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan with a removable bottom. Press the crumb mixture about one inch up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
For the cheesecake: With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup; mix until well blended. Pour mixture into the pan.
Bake until the center barely jiggles when the cake is gently shaken, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 1/2 hours or up to 24 hours. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and remove the pan sides. Top each piece with whipped cream.


Bison Meatballs with Pickled Red Onions, Avocado Relish & Spicy Aji Amarillo Sauce

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!

Okay, here we are; the first 5 Star Makeover event of the year! As you can see from the images above, this month’s challenge is meatballs.

I have to say,  I am a lover of all meatballs, from all over the world. Whether they are served  Italian style atop spaghetti with red sauce, lamb meatballs with Mediterranean spices, Morrocan, Swedish, or Thai (like the ones I made here).

Among my favorites are the pescetarian versions made from fish and shellfish.  Even vegetarian meatballs are okay with me too; especially if we count arancini in the meatball category.

There  so many directions to go with this challenge. It really left the gates wide open for creativity.

I decided to go with an appetizer presentation, and thought it would be nice to make bison star of the ball.

 Bison is much lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than beef. Grass-fed, bison is  rich in vitamins, minerals, and flavor! January resolutions are well underway, and if you are looking for new ways to celebrate healthier eating, swapping out some bison in place of  beef in your favorite recipes is one small change that may help you along the way.

So here we go: Bison Meatballs with Pickled Red Onions, Avocado Relish, and Spicy Aji Amarillo Sauce.

I used Panko bread crumbs in the meatball mix to keep them light in texture, then baked them off in the oven.







I decided to go with bold , colorful flavors,  like pickled red onions, and avocado relish in lieu of  heavier ingredients, keeping the healthier look at meatballs in mind.  To finish the dish, I made a spicy sauce with Aji Amarillo paste (look for in latino markets or online) which added some nice heat to my Greek yogurt sauce.

We really enjoyed these spicy little bites, and I hope you will too!

Don’t forget to check with 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks! on Friday for the roundup of recipes from our cooking group.  I have seen a sneak peak at what they have been working on, and I know we are in for a treat!

Bison Meatballs with Pickled Red Onions, Avocado Relish, and S


1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 milk

1 pound ground bison

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon minced serrano chile (seeded)

1/2 teaspoon salt


Pickled Red Onions (recipe follows)

Avocado Relish(recipe follows)

Aji Amarillo Sauce (recipe follows)



Minced habanero pepper

Finely chopped cilantro


For meatballs:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place Panko bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Add milk, toss to combine, and allow mixture to soften for a few minutes. Add bison and remaining ingredients. Mix together using your hands, to combine ingredients.


Shape bison mixture into 11/2-inch balls and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.

Bake 12-14 minutes, or until fully cooked.




Place a pinch of pickled red onions in the bottom of tasting spoon (or plate). Place meatball atop pickled onions, followed by about 1 teaspoon of relish. Drizzle meatball with Aji Amarillo Sauce, and garnish with minced habanero pepper and cilantro

Makes 12 meatballs


Pickled Red Onions

3/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons  sugar
Pinch of salt
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian red pepper flakes
1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings

In a small, non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling.Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer gently for 30 seconds.Remove from heat and let cool completely.Transfer the onions and the liquid into a jar then refrigerate until ready to use.


Avocado Relsih

1/2 English cucumber, quartered, seeds removed

1 small avocado, pitted, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped grape tomatoes

1 teaspoon olive oil

Juice from half of a lime

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon honey

Generous pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl, tossing well to blend flavors.


Aji Amarillo Sauce

6 ounces Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon grated ginger root

1 1/2 teaspoons aji amarillo paste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.


Supper Club Press & Friends at the Table Cookbook Giveaway

It’s beginning to look a lot like…..

~The perfect time to start a supper club, or rekindle the one you are already in!

I’m excited to share a few pieces of press that are out right now. Shameless self promotion (I know)…but I am excited.

The article I wrote about the supper club trend is featured in the December issue of  Costco Connection magazine. If you are not a subscriber, click here to read the online version.


Virginia Living Magazine captures a look at my own supper club, complete with photos from an evening at my house with recipes from my book, perfect for holiday entertaining. Here’s a look at one of the pics:


Photo by Kip Dawkins

In the spirit of celebration, I would like to share a recipe from my book (one of my favorite salads actually) that I hope you will enjoy in celebration sometime over the holidays with your friends at the table. — And since we are in the season of giving, I  am  giving away copy of my cookbook, personalized and shipped to one lucky winner!

Here’s what you need to do to enter (you have 4 ways to increase your chances):

1. Leave a comment telling me you would like to win a copy of Friends at the Table. *If you are leaving a comment as “anonomous”, please be sure to include your email address in your comment so that I may contact you if you are the winner.

2.  Follow me on  Twitter and then tweet about the contest by copying and pasting the following: Entered to win a copy of Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club  #Cookbook #giveaway on Table Talk http://tinyurl.com/d4znz4w

3. “Like” the www.debishawcross page on Facebook and leave a comment here to let me know. If you already like me on Facebook, just leave a comment here telling me so.

4. Stumble this post on Stumble Upon and let me know you did here with a comment.

  1. Giveaway entry period begins Friday, December 2nd,  and ends Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 11:59pm. Drawing will be held Monday, December 12, 2011 at 9:00am (All times are Eastern Time zone) and announced the same day.
  2. Comments will be numbered by order received and random.org will generate a random number for the winner. Please note: If you want to enter more than once, the separate comments for each entry are required (a necessary step for keeping track of entry numbers).
  3. **Limited to residents of the  United States
  4. I am the final judge regarding any discrepancies, interpretations, grievances, etc about this drawing.
  5. Winner must respond and claim the prize within one week of the winning announcement. If a winner does not claim the prize during the specified time, a reserve winner will be drawn from the original entries.

Best of luck!

And now for the recipe I promised:

Photo by Ron Manville

Lobster Salad with Roasted Peppers, Miso Dressing and Goat Cheese


6 cups mixed field greens

Meat from 2 steamed (1 1/2 pound) lobsters, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch strips

2 yellow bell peppers, roasted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch strips

5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

For the salad: Place the greens, lobster and peppers in a salad bowl and add enough dressing to coat. Toss well. Top with sprinkles of goat cheese.


4 tablespoons miso paste

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons grated ginger root

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Juice from 2 oranges

1 teaspoon tahini paste

For the dressing: Whisk together the miso paste, vinegar, ginger, garlic, pepper, orange juice, and tahini in a small bowl. Set aside.

8 servings