I am not a huge meat eater. I have various reasons for it, but the biggest reason is because I just don’t really like it. With one exception: BACON! We don’t eat pork in our house, no pork shops, carnitas, or ham. With one exception: BACON. We sort of like it, A LOT! We eat it about once a week. Just a couple strips each, usually during a Saturday morning breakfast when I take the time to make more then yogurt and fruit or just scrambled eggs. But during the week if there is an opportunity to enjoy more bacon, I will probably surrender. Recently I have even started to use the bacon grease to cook with. NO, I don’t use it often. In fact, I have used it probably less then 5 times in my life to cook with. But those 5 times, the food tasted extra delicious :)
When I was deciding on flavors of savory cheesecake for the wine/chocolate party I catered last weekend I knew I had to have a cheesecake with blue cheese. I love cheeses that have the strong pungent flavors. The stronger, sharper and more moldy, the better. I get that from my mom. She loved blue cheese growing up and I thought she was absolutely disgusting for eating mold. Sick, what the heck was wrong with her? No No my friends. What was wrong with me? Have you tried blue cheese? Ahhhh, I love it. She knew what was up, I was the one ‘judging a book by its cover.’
Have you ever had a cobb salad, or steak house salad, or a bacon wrapped filet with crumbled blue cheese on top? Ya, bacon and blue cheese are like peanut butter and chocolate: a match made in heaven. And throw some caramelized onions in there (with the blue cheese and bacon, NOT with the pb and chocolate, in case you were confused) and I could die a happy woman. The special trick in this: caramelize the onions IN the bacon grease. Don’t even front, you will die of taste bud overload. The mixture might not even make it to the cheesecake b/c you won’t be able to stop spooning it into your mouth.
Serves 20-25 appetizer sized portions
Nonstick vegetable spray
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve the fat)
1 onion, diced (I used a yellow onion, but you can use whatever kind you like)
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced (I used button mushrooms)
2 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounces (4 blocks) cream cheese, at room temperature
5 eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/4 cup sour cream
12 ounces crumbled blue cheese, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
sliced Granny Smith apples
Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp Parmesan on the bottom of the springform pan.
Sauté onions in the reserved bacon fat until softened and translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté over medium heat an additional 2 to 3 minutes until mushrooms begin to soften. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add eggs, wine vinegar, and sour cream, beating until smooth. Fold in mushroom/onion mixture, bacon, 1 cup blue cheese, remaining Parmesan cheese with a wooden spoon.
Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the preheated oven. Let bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then turn the heat down to 300 and bake for 1 hour and 1/5 minutes. Until the cheesecake is almost set. It should be fairly firm and slightly browned.
*DON’T open the oven when you turn down the heat. The cheesecake is not burnt after 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and crack the oven door and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes. It will continue to slightly bake, but not burn.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack at least 1 hour. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before serving.