Nothing brightens up January like a box of citrus waiting on your doorstep. My in-laws send us a gigantic box of Ruby Red grapefruit and oranges every year and it is always a welcome treat. The oranges quickly get eaten as snacks (although this year I plan to make a marmalade out of many them) and we serve the grapefruit with a dusting of sugar and a strong cup of coffee as breakfast.
This year, to make our grapefruit breakfasts last just a tad longer, I decided to make curd out of the grapefruit to use as a spread on toasts and biscuits. Curd is a terrible word to describe something that has such a silky texture and balances sweetness and acidity with such finesse. I urge you not to get hung up on the name, before actually giving it a try.
Posted in Breakfast, Jellies and Spreads
Tagged Breakfast, curd, david lebovitz, dessert, Food, grapefruit, lemon curd, Recipe, ruby red grapefruit, Sweets
Caramel cake is not for the faint-hearted. Affectionately referred to as burnt sugar cake, it’s a specialty of the deep South and a tradition in my family. Growing up, a birthday wasn’t complete without this tender cake and its tooth-hurting, thick, sugary frosting. While its fat and sugar content is enough to make you cry “uncle,” I promise you’ll have no problem ignoring this painful truth as you cut yourself a second piece.
This recipe originated with my Great Grandmother Ida in New Bern, NC and was further adapted by my grandparents’ housekeeper Mora. Mora mastered the cake and as such, got her name attached to it. Mora’s caramel cake has been the birthday cake of choice for my father and me for years and my mother lovingly turned them out each fall. Yet it wasn’t until I attempted to make the recipe myself that I realized what a labor of love it was. While making the cake is simple, the icing requires resolve and a little luck.
While I’d like to believe that my life can go on without access to the internet, I’m afraid it just ain’t so. My computer crashed last week and I’ve been in a tailspin ever since. In between trips to the Apple store (yes, I’m getting a new toy!), hour-long laments to my husband about the seriousness of the situation (sorry, North), and phone calls with service departments, I’ve thrown myself some serious pity parties. Fortunately, in what is proof that every cloud has a silver lining, I happened to have brownies on hand to get me through this crisis.
Adding just one more reason to the list of why the internet makes for happy living, North’s aunt sent me a recipe for brownies last week. I’ve known about these brownies for a while. My husband, whose sweet tooth is almost non-existent, gets a little teary in the eyes and drools a little at the mouth when he talks about them. His grandmother made these brownies for him growing up and he talks about how his parents never allowed him to eat more than two at a time.
I’m late posting this week, but I have a good excuse. North and I have spent the past week biking, kayaking, and hiking around Southwest Florida on a much-needed vacation. (Yes, life is so hard sometimes.) Fortunately, our vacation was an active one as I indulged in far too many sweet temptations, including this berry tart with mascarpone, in the weeks leading up to our trip.
Finding the perfect pint of strawberries has become less and less difficult recently which means the height of berry season is almost upon us. I have a weakness for fresh berries and when I decide to splurge on them, I want to make sure to use them in a way that lets them reach their full potential. Fortunately, this tart does just that.
I am planning to live until I am at least 125 years old. I’m not looking to set a new world record, I just have a very long to do list. Here on earth I plan to climb Mt. Ranier, eat street food in Thailand, successfully grow a garden, write a cookbook, live in Mexico, and…well…you get the point; it’s a long list.
This week I crossed off #89 on my life list: make a cheesecake. I realize that this little accomplishment pales in comparison to #176 which is to visit all 50 states by motorcycle or #211 which is to learn to speak fluent Arabic, but I’m practicing baby steps here. After all, I’ve got a good 90 plus years of living left.
I vividly remember the first time I tasted red bean ice cream. My now husband and I were sitting at a sushi bar having just eaten far too much sushi when he suggested we get red bean ice cream to end the evening. I had never heard of red bean ice cream and was a little wary of it. I mean, can you blame me? Ice cream with beans in it doesn’t just scream delicious to me. But as my husband went on and on about how much he loved it, I decided to give it a try.
If you’ve never tried red bean ice cream before, the taste is unusual. When I first tried it, I couldn’t tell if I liked it or not, but found myself going back again and again for one last bite. Even after scraping up the last bit of ice cream, I was still on the fence and it was only later, when I found myself wishing for another bowl, that I decided that I actually liked ice cream with beans in it.
My husband North first became obsessed in December of 2005. He was spending Christmas with me at my parent’s home in Tallahassee for the first time. While the visit itself held lots of good memories, it was his first bite of the world’s best rum cake that seems to stand out most vividly in his mind.
The world’s best rum cake, unassumingly wrapped in aluminum foil, has been given to my parents as a Christmas gift for years now. In a move which is not surprising , considering the history of this type of deceit in my father’s family (see my post on Granny Ivey’s Strawberry Roll for details), as children we were never told how delicious this cake was. In ignorance, we nibbled on sugar cookies while my father slowly savored the rum cake by himself.
With only three weeks until Thanksgiving, it’s time to start thinking about pies. Pecan, pumpkin, and apple pie are the holy trinity of my dessert world and each year it’s a struggle to decide which one to make. Last year, unable to come to a decision, I ended up making one of each. I know…I’m crazy.
But to be honest it was worth it. I enjoyed every bite of gooey pecan pie filling, scraped my plate clean of pumpkin pie with its dollop of whipped cream, and still managed to enjoy the flaky crust of the apple pie. In short, I was in pie heaven. And while I think that three pies should be mandatory for any Thanksgiving feast, I also realize that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So if there is only time to make one pie, than which one should it be?