Charlotte Russe

Charlotte Russe

Charlotte Russe

I made a Charlotte Russe! It’s a classic french dessert created by Marie-Antoine Careme in honor of his former employer’s daughter Princess Charlotte and his current Russian employer (at the time), Czar Alexander.  Charlotte Russe seems quite simple to make–Bavarian cream set in a mold lined with lady fingers. However, it was a little more involved than I anticipated (lots of cleaning bowls only to dirty them again, and  a lot of folding in of ingredients with more of a gentle wrist than I’m used to). In the end, I thought my Charlotte Russe looked as cute as a button.  It tasted even better.  It was creamy, sweet and boozy. Not like a button at all. Continue reading →

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David Lebovitz’s Caramel-Chocolate Mousse

David Lebovitz's Caramel-Chocolate Mousse

David Lebovitz’s Caramel-Chocolate Mousse

I’m working on mousse this week, and what better recipe to practice with than David Lebovitz‘s Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse from his beautiful book My Paris Kitchen.  It. Is. Perfect.  This mousse has big chocolate flavor with an underlining sweetness of caramel.  

I think making this mousse has come at the perfect time for me and my oldest son, Cameron.  It seems as though Cameron is trying to process what being adopted really means.  The other night, he told me he has two mommies. He said that his birth mom is his real mom and that I am his “other” mom.  I told him that he’s right, he does have two mommies, but I also said that I was just his mom, not “other” mom. The other day, a friend of mine told me that Cameron asked her where her real mommy is?  I knew these questions would bubble up eventually, and I am happy that they are, I really am, but my heart breaks a little too.  I don’t ever want him to feel different, or scared, or sad, or lost in the enormity of his adoption.  Anyway, I used this very mousse to lure him into sitting for a moment (he’s usually a guy on the go), so I could talk to him a little bit about his beautiful beginning.   I am not sure how much he was able to take in, but he seemed happy to talk about it.  And his bowl of mousse was completely licked clean.

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, this lovely family moved into my neighborhood last October, and I told myself I would bake them a pie as a welcoming gesture.  Well, I never baked that pie.  For them, that is.  I baked a lot of pies since October, but I ate them all.  Anyway, I’ve recently run into this family in our local park and we had a nice conversation. They seem sweet and normal, and their boys are my sons’ ages!  Even though they’re not technically new to the area anymore, I’ve decided to bake them some brown butter chocolate chip cookies as a welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift.  Here’s the thing though, I feel a little self conscious about doing this.  First of all, what if this family is against sugar?  And butter? And chocolate?  And everything I stand for?  Second, what if she has enough friends and she doesn’t want to make new ones?  And third, what if I end up eating all the cookies on my way over to her house, and when she answers the door and sees a large plate with only crumbs on it…. Well, I can kiss that potential best friendship good-bye.  
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Frozen Margarita Pie

Frozen Margarita Pie

Frozen Margarita Pie

Frozen margarita pie has a tequila/lime curd filling with a tequila-flavored whipped cream topping, and is lovingly held together by a sweet, buttery graham cracker crust.  The most important aspect to this delicious pie, however, is the sea salt sprinkled over top.  It really awakens the flavors in the pie.  I got this recipe from the Tasting Table website. It was created by Zac Young, a fantastic pastry chef from David Burke Restaurant Group.  His version is topped with a blueberry compote along with the whipped cream, and he sprinkles green decorative sugar around the edge of the pie.  I forgot to buy blueberries, so there is no compote on mine, and I accidentally sprinkled the green sugar all over because I was thinking about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner at the time.  What are you gonna do? Continue reading →