Chow Bella

Jennifer Woods, What Are You Baking?

What are you baking for the holidays this year?
I'm baking a lot less this year since I'm not hosting a cookie exchange. I always need to make my aunt Bonnie's divine Sour Cream Cookies with browned butter frosting. My husband is the biggest sugar monster so I'll be making him fudge or something with peanut butter. On a more healthful note, I'm baking greens chips from all our great local greens and frying (then baking) some great root vegetable chips too.

Favorite holiday treats?
I think my favorite holiday treats are those with orange and vanilla flavors. My grandmother used to make orange flavored pecans for her candy dish and my family always makes what we call an Orange Fizz for Christmas morning. I did some research and I'm assuming that they used to make a version of the cocktail Ramos Fizz but since I and my brother came around, it has turned into basically an orange milkshake with orange flower water added. I've been into minimalist cooking lately and have adapted a Stone Soup recipe for individual cheesecakes with my favorite holiday flavors of orange, allspice and vanilla (see below).

Get the cheesecake recipe and learn more about Woods after the jump.

Least favorite holiday foods?
I can't think of any. I like them all. Yes, even fruitcake and egg nog

Any food items on your holiday wish list this year?
I am hoping for a jar of vanilla bean paste and a great set of reusable produce bags. I'm trying to find some large enough to accomodate Crooked Sky Farm's huge bunches of greens, is see through and will keep the greens crisp. I'm still search for the right bag. Maybe I'll invent something.

Any food-related New Year's resolutions?
I'm going to try not to eat so much all the time after I stop nursing my daughter. I'm hoping it'll be an easy and successful transition. Fingers crossed!  

Orange, Allspice and Vanilla Individual Cheesecakes

(adapted from Stone Soup's divine 4 ingredient cheesecakes)

makes 3 individual cheesecakes

4 oz cream cheese, softened (1/2 a block microwaved for 10 seconds or so)
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (from your favorite local farmer)
Zest from 1/2 an orange (I grabbed one from my back yard)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and preheat 3 x 1 cup ramekins placed
on a sheet pan in the oven. While the ramekins are heating up, put all the
ingredients into a food processor and blend it up until smooth. Divide into
the three ramekins and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden on the top and
firm in the middle. Let cool and serve at room temperature or chilled.

My son and I couldn't wait. We ate our cheesecakes warm. Trust me, it tastes
delicious whatever the temperature, just don't burn your mouth!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at