Fratelli Perata Winery
Roasted Garlic Cheesecake (The Appetizer) from Ray's Boathouse, Seattle

Carol, the Mom of this Mom and Pop winery, grew up in the Seattle area. On the waterfront just north of downtown Seattle is Ray's Boathouse. It found its stride in the 1980's when it converted from a café to a fine restaurant. They use local ingredients, make great food. They are a must stop when we visit relatives in Seattle.

Now, being from Seattle means Carol is not Italian, she is Scandinavian. Garlic was not a common ingredient in her parents' household. We learn as we get older. Roasted garlic has a sweetness that sautéed garlic does not. Cheesecake we think is sweet like we all are, but this is not.  This is just really good on crackers as a starter. It is fun to surprise friends with this. Try this with Petit Verdot and get ready for some smiles. Oh, yes, this is to be consumed by the whole group. The recipe serves 6.

For the Roasted Garlic Puree

1 cup peeled garlic cloves
1 TB olive oil
1 TB water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim off the stem ends of the garlic cloves. In an ovenproof bowl, toss with olive oil and water to coat. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until garlic is soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and mash with a fork. Cool. This can be made a day in advance and refrigerated.

For the Cheesecake

8 ounces cream cheese, softened            1/4 cup flour       
2 large eggs                                            1 tsp lemon pepper               
1/2 cup roasted garlic puree                     2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream                               1/2 tsp kosher salt           

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add roasted garlic puree, heavy cream, flour, lemon pepper, thyme and salt, and mix well.

Spray six 4 ounce foil cups generously with vegetable spray. Fill cups 3/4 full with mixture and tap the bottoms on the counter to level tops. Place the foil cups in a baking pan and fill the pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cups from water bath and cool.

Turn foil cups upside down on a serving plate and remove cups. Rays serves this with Sun-dried Tomato Kalamata Olive Relish which along with the above recipe is also in their cookbook, Ray's Boathouse, Seafood Secrets of the Pacific Northwest.   We like this with our Muffaletto also.  Drink the Petit Verdot alongside.