The Six-Million Dollar Answer to New Year’s Resolution

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    Look around and listen for a moment. Do you hear the rigmarole or see the collective spectacle of New Year’s resolutions? My iPod has been set to Jazz/Standards for the past three days; and the only TV I’ve watched are DVD episodes of “The Six Million Dollar Man.” Yet, I keep crossing paths with empty wishers who envision themselves living in the land of fat-free milk and sugar-free honey — beginning January 1.

    Before you set forth on your annual journey, I implore you to look back at all the pie-in-the-sky you gorged on through the years. You consumed most of it during the month of January. By Valentine’s Day, in most years, you reached the end of your rainbow to find a pot of empty calories. And, just like in “Groundhog Day,” history keeps repeating itself.

    If this is your goal, I truly wish you well. As for me, I won’t begin a ‘lifestyle change’ on New Year’s Day for all the tea in China. Why? For starters, I don’t like to go along with the masses (I just recently discovered the Atkins Diet). Also, New Year’s Day historically features the biggest Mexican food spread of the year at my home. And I ain’t talking whole wheat and bean curd enchiladas! As I’ve mused here previously, I tend to become more able-bodied following appointments with my endocrinologist. Truth be told, I’ve been abiding by his most recent instructions, for the most part. Still, in late January, I believe he’ll be drawing my blood and giving me my quarterly scare about dying young.

    Until then, I’ll concern myself more with the exploits of Steve Austin and Oscar Goldman.

    By Adam Holland

    coconut-cheesecakeCoconut Cheesecake

    Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, shame on you if you cheat with Oreos, Chips Ahoy or McDonald’s! If you are going to be deviant, do it in style and with no regrets. (Be sure to drag everyone else down with you.) I found the recipe in the R.S.V.P. column of Bon Appétit magazine in the mid 1990s. The version below includes a few small adjustments I’ve made over the years. It’s a rock star in the world of desserts and well worth the calories.

    Crust

    • 1 cup — graham cracker crumbs
    • cup — sugar
    • cup — chopped macadamia nuts
    • 3 Tablespoons — unsalted butter, melted

    Filling

    • 4 — 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1½ cups — sugar
    • 1 — 15-ounce can cream of coconut (Coco Lopez)
    • 1/4 teaspoon — salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon — grated lemon peel (I use Meyer Lemon peel)
    • 1/2 — vanilla bean, split lengthwise
    • 4 — large eggs
    • 1½ cups — sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
    • 1/4 cup — chopped macadamia nuts, toasted

    Crust: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Press mixture onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of a 10-inch spring-form pan. Bake 10 minutes. Transfer crust to cooling rack and reduce oven temperature to 350ºF.

    Filling: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until light. Add sugar and beat until blended. Add cream of coconut, salt and lemon peel. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Beat mixture until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until combined. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Bake until top browns and moves slightly when shaken, about 1 hour 20 minute. Transfer to rack and cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Run small spatula or knife around edge to loosen cheesecake. Release pan sides. Mix coconut and macadamia nuts. Sprinkle over cheesecake.