Sweet Treats

Apr 2018
Glorious Tarte Tatin

My first stab at making tarte tatin came back in high school and was a terrible flop. I'd never had tarte tatin before, and even without an existing point of reference I knew something wasn't right. Having just pulled that recipe out of my decades-old collection of recipe cards, clippings and other early recipe notes (a collection more nostalgic than anything), I now see it was doomed on so many points. A ...

Jan 2018
A Most Elegant Rice Pudding

I've had this rice pudding recipe on my brain since a September trip to France, during which dinner one night in Paris included a dessert of riz au lait with a salted caramel sauce. Egad, it was amazingly delicious and reminded me of a recipe from many cookbooks ago: Jim Drohman's Gâteau de Riz from his beloved French bistro Le Pichet, which was included in the Best Places Seattle Cookbook I worked on. Seriously, every few days I was ...

Sep 2017
Lemon Verbena Inspirations

My lemon verbena is blooming like mad right now, so I clipped some yesterday to bring inside to accentuate the kitchen. As usual, I stripped spare leaves from lower part of the stems before popping them into the vase. So I stared at that pile of gorgeously aromatic herb leaves...hard to just toss in the compost when it offers so many possibilities. A syrup to use in cocktail? (One of ...

Jan 2015
Torrone with Almonds

It's a funny thing, coming home with a suitcase full of treasures from a delightful adventure abroad. The less common the destination and the more distinctive the treats acquired, the more nerve-wracking it can be to decide when will be the ideal/perfect/best moment to enjoy them. From this fall's explorations in Portugal and the northwest corner of Spain, I came home with a couple dozen tins of exquisite seafood (sardines, tuna, octopus), for instance, much of it from this amazing ...

Mar 2013
Chocolate Mousse, Spanish Style

I’m not a big dessert person. I won’t pretend that I never order it when out for dinner. Key words like “caramel” or “ice cream” or “coconut” will often at least pique my attention. But more often than not I’ll just nibble a bit of cheese with my husband after dinner, or simply linger over the last of my wine and skip that final course. That being said, at the close of a recent dinner at the charming and delightful ...

Mar 2012
A Black Forest Adventure, with Cake

“So, do you want to maybe go to Germany today?”  Anne-Marie asked us. Not your usual breakfast time conversation but it’s one of the benefits of spending time in the Alsace region of France. Taking a brief drive to have lunch in Germany is a fully realistic option. And we took our friends up on it during a trip in the fall of 2010, piled in the car and in ...

Jan 2012
Coffee Ice Cream

It can be pretty easy today to buy quite good commercial ice creams, whether one of the many regional small-scale producers -- like Snoqualmie from my back yard -- or premium national brands (I don't really love regular Häagen-Dazs, but am a fan of the Five line). I even sampled at the Fancy Food Show earlier this month a new line of gelati that are due to be launched in retail channels under Mario Batali's brand. If the espresso and ...

Jan 2011
Homemade Caramel Sauce

I don't have much of a sweet tooth at all. In fact I often joke that if there's such a thing as a salty tooth, that's what I've got. But on one sweet subject I can get rather giddy: caramel. Though only really amazing, buttery, rich caramel need apply. I cringe at the thought of those little square caramels wrapped in cellophane that were my caramel norm as a kid. Thanks goodness I've grown up and moved on from that youthful indiscretion. Now ...

Aug 2010
It’s the Berries: Summer Pudding

Okay, enough with the stone fruits! I've clearly been on a bent about that category of delicious summertime fruits. For a moment I'll move along from the peach and plum tones of those juicy treats and give some props to the jeweltone berries. A few occurrences conspired to put visions of summer pudding dancing in my head over the past few weeks. Random ...

Jul 2009

While driving through McMinnville, Oregon earlier this week, a sweltering 100+ temp day, my friend pulled into a local drive-in to get a milkshake. He opted for fresh peach, his son picked raspberry, while I tried to be good and forgo the indulgence. Even when the cheery guy on the other side of the drive-in window asked if we wanted a "courtesy cone" to nibble on while we waited for the shakes to be made. Inside, I was leaping up ...