Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

After two weeks of trying to keep my head above water at work, being a crazed loving Mom, getting my running in, all while trying to cover up stress blemishes and barely being awake enough to make myself presentable in the morning, I need these cookies, badly. It takes a lot of work to put on the, keeping all the balls in the air act. Therefore, there is not enough chocolate on this planet to sooth my worn out soul.

I am not complaining. I am medicating and I believe in chocolate and cocktails to do so and this cookie has a little bit of both. This is a cakey cookie that I hit with some Tia Maria coffee liqueur but you can obviously use whatever you have on hand. I also put in some strong coffee that I had left over from the morning and it really boosted the flavor. Excellent and may I add, moan inducing. xo - AJ

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lime Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce

This is a recipe that I made simply because I happened to have all of the ingredients in the fridge and they needed to be used before funky organisms started growing on them.

Actually, that is kind how I would describe my body right now, very funky with many weird discolorations. Whatever could I mean by that, you ask? Well, over the past month I managed to slice my finger in such a way that the wound required stitches. Then, I ran a half-marathon that completely bruised and discolored three toe-nails, one of which is about to fall off. Ewww, gross. Yes, that is gross and no, I am not apologizing. Right now, I have more cuts and bruises on me than a prize-fighter and a sick side of me is kind of proud of it. So, now, dear reader, that you have a horrified look on your face, the answer to your question is yes, I have had therapy and yes, I probably most definitely dropped out way too early.

So, on that happy note, about this cake. I made a few changes to the recipe that was posted on Smitten Kitchen. The most important modification is that I used olive oil on the first try and found that it completely overpowered the other flavors in the cake. On the second try, I used vegetable oil and it worked beautifully. That white stuff in the picture is creme fresh with a teaspoon of honey mixed in. Excellent! You can also add vanilla ice cream and I am sure that would also be delicious.

Enjoy! AJ

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Key Lime Pie

The flavors of summer are so sublime. One of the advantages of living in a four season city, is having the distinct advantage of experiencing a range of seasons and the beauty and feeling that is unique to each one. Just as I love the warm and hibernating quality of huddling in front of the fire with snow falling outside of my window, a glass of Burgundy or Pinot Noir in my hand and a feast of Beef Bourguignon, I also love the feeling of sitting outside with the sun on my neck, a glass of sweet tea by my side and a piece of frozen Key Lime Pie. It really is the simple pleasures that make life so sweet.

So, about this ever so refreshing pie. I have made Ina Garten's Key Lime Pie for a long time and it has always been foolproof. However, because I can never just leave fabulous alone, I went searching high and low through the depths of the web and my piles of cookbooks, for a recipe or recipe combination that would improve a proven winner. I was surprised to find that Ina's recipe is not unique. The ingredients and method for all of the recipes I found were all basically the same. That said, I did find Emeril's recipe that called for sour cream and I imagine that would be an excellent complement and would add a creamy quality to the pie and accent the citrus flavor quite well.

So, try Ina's or Emeril's and remember to eat the pie with the sun on your neck. xoxo - AJ

Recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Family Style, by Ina Garten


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter, melted

For the filling:
7 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 to 5 limes)

For the decoration:
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Thin lime wedges dipped in sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pyrex pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes until firm and allow to cool completely.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of a clean electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour into the baked pie shell and freeze.

For the decoration, beat the heavy cream on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until firm. Spoon or pipe decoratively onto the pie and decorate with limes dipped in sugar. Freeze for several hours or overnight.