Cozy oven presents a special birthday menu for a very special guest on a very special occasion, actually two special occasions….happy birthday to the boyfriend and to my mom (but because she is not in the city with me right now, all I could do was wish her happy birthday over the phone and I owe you a birthday cake mom!) 

Busy busy afternoon I had, but everything turned out good and on time for dinner despite some obstacles along the way (wine opening fiasco -_-).
It was fun cooking and fun to see how much the boyfriend enjoyed it. 
I never took on such challenging cooking task making appetizer (cheesesticks), main (pork ratatoullie and lemon risotto) and dessert (banana dulce de leche cheesecake) but they are fairly simple recipes and simply delicious. I made the cheesecake a couple of days ahead and refrigerated  since freshly baked cheesecake is just blah! It was also my first time making risotto and I used sushi rice instead of arborior rice and it was just as yum.
As you can see most of the recipes involves my best friend in the kitchen, the cozy oven =). 

Hope you enjoy making these as much as I did. 

Cheese Sticks 
Recipe from Smitten’s Kitchen 

Pork Ratatoullie 
Recipe from Smitten’s Kitchen again XD
* however I meati-fied the recipe (since men love meat) by adding cooked ground pork along with the tomato puree and poured on bottom of the pan. 
I also sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese

Lemon Risotto 
Recipe from…. guess where?….. Smitten’s Kitchen
* I used Japanese sushi rice instead. I would try using less than 2 cups next time because it turned out a bit dry. If too dry, add a bit of water or more chicken broth. 


Banana Dulce de Leche Cheesecake 

1 cheesecake graham cracker crust
3 sticks cream cheese (8oz each) room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 medium banana (not too ripe!)
1 tablespoon rum
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 can dulce de leche (homemade by boiling can of sweetened condensed milk)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With a mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth on medium speed. Add eggs in one at a time with mixer speed on low. 
  2. Beat in heavy cream. Stir in vanilla extract and rum. 
  3. Puree the banana in a blender until smooth with no visible chunks and gently mix it together with the rest of cheesecake batter.
  4. Mix the dulce de leche with a bit of rum until its syrupy. 
  5. Fill spring-foam pan (with graham crust) half way up with batter and top with layer of dulce de leche. Then pour the rest of the batter on top. Drop a few drops of dulce de leche on top to make pretty swirly pattern. 
  6. Bake it in the oven for 45-55 min until outside is firm but center is still jiggly. Turn off the oven and let it continue to bake for another hour. Open the oven door near the end of the hour to let the cheesecake to cool to room temperature SLOWLY! 
  7. continue cooling for another hour or so and take it out to cool on the counter. After it is completely cooled, pop it in the fridge for at least over night. 
  8. EAT or decorate and EAT! 


Leave a Reply