Salted caramel ice cream and dark chocolate tartelettes

September 29, 2010 § 12 Comments

Sometimes I secretly think maybe my nutrition degree should be revoked.  The thing is, I just think that using smaller plates, cooking more of our own food, and trying to squeeze in extra veggies wherever possible will get most of the job done.  I can’t help but feel that bacon and butter are legitimate “spices.”  Oh, and then there’s the matter of me and salted caramel.  Pardon me for a moment while I glaze over and daydream about creamy, salty, buttery, luxuriousness…Oh no, was I drooling?!  How embarrassing.  Anyway, I firmly believe that one of the most important things we need to do to eat more healthfully is cut out as much sugar (or equivalent) as possible, but can adding some salt to your sugar count instead?  Pleeeeeeeease???  (Real answer: definitely not.  There’s actually something about the salty-sweet combination that trips up our brain and makes us less able to control how much we eat.  Sometimes life is so unfair! )

It all began when Joel’s parents very thoughtfully sent me a care package back when I was studying for my comprehensive exams.  I’m sure they had no idea that they were creating a salted caramel-obsessed monster when they tucked a tiny box of dark chocolate sea salt caramels from Fran’s in with the other goodies.  I ate one.  I promptly adopted the use of the phrase “O.M.G.” which I had steadfastly promised myself I would never use.  Who would have thought that that dark smooth little chocolate cube, with its innocent little sprinkling of grey salt on top, could pack that much decadence into it?!  I ate the second one, and amidst the bars of the “Alleluia Chorus” that were playing inside my head, I came this close to packing up everything and moving to Seattle so that I could go live behind Fran’s and eat nothing but their caramels forever more.  (I’m sure the fact that I was studying for the most stressful exam of my life in no way contributed to my excited planning for an escape.)

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Lemon tartelettes + chocolate dipped figs

February 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

In keeping with the theme I seem to be following about trying to keep up one’s spirits in the proverbial ‘bleak midwinter’, we had a party this weekend.  We have kind of a funny tradition of starting a separate New Year in mid-February, and instead of numbering the years, we give them a name indicating what we hope they will be.  It all started just a bit ago with a year that had gotten off to an unfortunate start.  Instead of continuing with the year, we decided to reject it outright, and in mid-February we started a New Year.  We’ve had the “Best Year Ever (BYE);” last year was the “Best Year Imaginable (BYI);” and on Saturday we officially kicked off the “Best Year Conceivable (BYC).”  Maybe we’re banking on the power of positive thinking.  Maybe it’s just another excuse to host a party and bake ridiculous quantities of goodies.

Last year I did a sort-of stone soup, where everyone brought a vegetable, which we added to a pot of broth to make soup (it worked out surprisingly well!).  But, this year I had a mega baking bug and for some reason had an overwhelming desire to spend an entire day in the kitchen creating delicious chocolate nibbles and red colored drinkable concoctions.  This daylong baking adventure led to the production of waaaaay more desserts than we actually could eat amongst the group of us who gathered (and trust me, we’d practically even skipped dinner in order to save room).  But then, since when is a little abundance a bad thing?  I just plan on making lots of new friends or at least earning some good will at the office now by doling out leftover sweets. « Read the rest of this entry »

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