Waffles will change your life (and breakfast)

As a child, I used to looooove waffles. Every summer I'd spend my vacation in a family resort, on the coast. And there were those little stands, where one could get the most amazing waffles (in Poland, we eat them as a dessert, not breakfast), they were hot and crispy, topped with strawberries and whipped cream or chocolate syrup. Then I grew up a little, I went to the United States, and to my disbelief I discovered that Americans eat them for breakfast! And with what?? Bacon, butter and maple syrup. This combination landed on my boyfriend's waffles every time he ate them. The toppings did not convince me, but waffles for breakfast- hey, why not?  
Of course, being in New York, I didn't bother making them from scratch, I would just reach for the MIX (the best are the cheapest for example, Aunt Jemima), add milk and eggs, "and there you go". Each time they came out perfect: crispy on the outside and soft inside. I replaced bacon with salted butter and honey. I'm ashamed to admit, but I could eat 6 waffles for single breakfast!  
After returning to Warsaw, I missed the taste. And since it's impossible to buy waffle mix I had to come up with my own recipe. And that's how we got those. (I still don't own a waffle-iron, so the only time I make them is when I'm at my sister's, in Poznań.)

Aunt Aleksandra Heavenly Waffles 
2 cups regular flour
1.5 cup milk
2 eggs
3 oz melted butter (unsalted)
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix dry ingredient throughly. If you are a kitchen-orthodox you may even sieve the flour. I am lazybones, who skip that step. Whisk the eggs with milk, add cooled butter and dry ingredients. Whisk it together for about 2 minutes. You can use hand mixer. The dough should be quite thick, like cream. [If necessary, add flour or milk.]
Heat up the waffle iron, then reduce the heat and gently smear with butter. Baking takes about 4 minutes but it depends on the type of waffle maker. Can be longer if you prefer them darker.
Most important: they must be set aside to cool on the grid, otherwise it will make them soft and spongy. Eat the waffles with toppings of your choice. I recommend a bold option of salted butter and honey.
Let me know how it came out and what you put on'em!

Cheescake straight from New York City

Except for cooking and eating there's one more big love in my life- New York City. Absolutely everything that's somehow connected with NYC is on top of my "favorite things" list. Whether it's books or films that are set in NYC, or people and institutions based there: designers, artists, musicians, magazines, museums or shops--they're my favorite. Not to mention: the CUISINE. New York steak, New York hot-dogs and my absolute no 1- New York Cheesecake. 
I remember eating it for the first time. Not in New York but in Portland (Maine). Even then it amazed me. Creamy, thick, mouthwatering. And when I tried it a few years later, this time in Big Apple, I thought I was in Big Heaven. For a long time I could not gather the courage to bake it. Apparently, it can all go wrong: it may not rise properly, crack, weigh-up and even explode in the oven. I must have been extremely lucky and supported by the Good God of Amazing Cheesecakes, because it came out wonderful. The same as I remembered from the United States. With all fairness, though - it takes a lot of time to bake and MUST sit all night in the fridge. Are you ready to taste New York?

9 oz graham crackers (digestive biscuits)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of honey (if you don't like your crust too sweet- skip it)

1lb 10oz cream cheese (use full fat, not the fat free stuff)
1.5 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup sour cream (has to be thick and at least 18% fat)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 320 F. 

In a food processor combine all of the crust ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. It has to be thick. If it's too liose- add more crackers. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

The pie filling is easy as, well... as a pie :-) Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. When they are, just put them in a bowl and mix at medium speed for 3 minutes. Don't over beat it, stop as soon as filling is loose and smooth. Choose a leak-tight 9-inch springform pan. If you're afraid it might leak (as the cheese mixture is quite watery) wrap the bottom and sides with aluminum foil or put it into a bigger pan before you start baking.

Take the refrigerated crust and press it evenly to the bottom and sides of the pan. It should be about 1-inch thick. Afterwards, pour all the filling on top of the crust, cover the top with some aluminum foil (be careful not to touch the cake, just press lightly on the sides), otherwise cheesecake will brown, and you don't want that. Pop it in the oven and be patient! It has to bake for 90 minutes. After that turn of the oven and let the cheesecake stay there for another 15 minutes. It's ready when the sides are baked and the middle is firm but bounces back when touched. Don't worry if it's too loose. After a night in the fridge it will thicken. Yes, it MUST cool overnight, otherwise it'll be grainy, not smooth. 
If you can stop yourself before eating the whole thing while it's still hot- you will have a delicious treat for your morning coffee.

What is it you REALLY like to do?

'What is it you REALLY like to do? ' Paul Child asked. His wife, Julia Child who taught the world (meaning: Americans) how to cook responded:

And that's exactly what we have in common. We both love to eat. I don't have Julia's ambitions or skills. I won't teach the world how to bone (or de-bone) a duck or make boeuf bourguignon,  but I will share my recipe for the best brownies in the world and hopefully prove that all disasters in the world can be fixed with a meal (or at least made bearable).