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archive for February 2014

love indubitably

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Recipe: individual beef wellingtons

Well, we pulled Kaweah out of retirement one last time to choose two winners for the Helliemae’s Caramel giveaway. We let her choose the numbers earlier in the week. When I set up the treats and numbers, she seemed very interested and so we figured it would be familiar to her.

waiting to pick the first number

Because Kaweah is mostly deaf, we shout at her like she doesn’t understand English. Her release word has always been “raspberry” which meant “look for anything edible in your doggie vicinity and!” But when we shouted “raspberry”, she looked confused. Kaweah walked up to the coffee table and regarded all ten of the treats. Her typical modus operandi was to make a beeline for a random treat, suck it down, and proceed to the next three before we could stop her. Instead, she considered the five closest to her nose going back and forth and back and forth.

then she looked at me and wagged her tail because she didn’t know what to do

She’s not a good girl, but she is a sweet girl. One thing Kaweah never did was take food off a table without permission. Except she couldn’t hear permission anymore. And she’s never been the sharpest tack in the box. So we shouted encouragement like “treat!” or “go get it!” and pointed at the treats. It took a long time before she finally ate one… reluctantly. We think she thought she was being a bad girl taking food off the table.

there’s a number 8

and then it was back to confusion

Eventually, we wrangled 6 numbers out of her (two 3-digit numbers). For trying her darndest, we gave her the remaining nine treats (she liked that). Thanks to all of you who not only entered, but shared such touching or funny stories and recollections of loved ones and the food associated with those special people. You all are great! Now on to the winners…

The numbers are: 883 and 148. 883 mod 282 (the number of entries) = 37.

Comment #37 is Twila and comment #148 is Ruthann!

Congratulations Twila and Ruthann! I shall email you shortly for mailing addresses. ***Ruthann, your email bounced. Please contact me via email (see the “about” section for my contact info).*** Thanks again to everyone and especially to Ellen (love you, girlfriend!) for making this giveaway possible. If you can’t bear the thought of forging ahead without tasting Helliemae’s Caramels (or gifting them to someone you love or even just like), you can order them directly from Helliemae’s online.


I didn’t used to visit the butcher’s counter at Whole Foods regularly until a few months ago. Each week I swing by and see what cut of lean beef is on sale and buy a little bit – for Kaweah. If we’re heading to Crested Butte, I’ll buy extra and freeze it to take with us. One day when I was getting Kaweah’s beef fix, I decided to also pick some up for Jeremy. Well, really for both of us. And when I say both of us, I mean all of us because I wanted to try (and blog) individual Beef Wellingtons.

parsley, eggs, olive oil, pepper, salt, pâté, shallots, garlic, mushrooms, puff pastry, beef tenderloin (not pictured: butter)

My only prior attempt at Beef Wellington was in graduate school. Jeremy was out of town observing at a telescope and I had a bunch of my geology grad pals over for dinner. Back in the day, whenever we hosted friends for dinner, we always asked them to bring a chair – because we didn’t have enough. I honestly don’t remember how the food turned out because it was so nice to just unwind with friends. Everyone loved it, but we were all poor starving graduate students, so of course we loved it. I have a feeling my culinary skills have improved since those days.

season the steaks with salt

and pepper

sear the steaks 1-2 minutes each side

**Jump for more butter**

i bring you sweet lovin’

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Recipe: the concorde chocolate meringue mousse cake

In this house, Jeremy is the romantic and I am the unromantic. That doesn’t mean I’m boring – I recognize romantic things, I just find them superfluous. Jeremy isn’t a hardcore romantic, but he does give me the moony eyes from time to time and likes to go out for candlelit dinners, hold hands, sip champagne together under the stars, and cuddle under a snuggy blanket while watching a good old sci fi/fantasy/action-adventure movie. I don’t equate love with romance, but I do equate (good) food with love. When I make food, when I share food, when I gift food – it’s all a form of love. So I’m sharing some love with you this week.

this is love

this is your brain on love

I’ve teamed up with my good friend, Ellen of Helliemae’s Caramels, to do a little Valentine’s Day giveaway for use real butter readers. No one is paying anyone. We are doing this just for fun. Ellen is donating the caramel goodness and I’m wrangling the random number generator (a.k.a. Kaweah) who is coming out of retirement JUST FOR YOU. Why? Because… love! Should you be one of the winners, you can select one of the following packages:

plain jane

Plain Jane: includes a jar of caramel sauce and a bag of Caramelo tinies. The caramel sauce is unsalted, dark, and slightly bitter. I love using it for baking projects or fancy desserts. The Caramelos are the smoothest, creamiest, butteriest bites of intensely rich and delightfully chewy unsalted caramels you will ever put in your mouth. They’re so good, I just popped one in my pie hole!


Adventure: for the more daring individual, includes a jar of Chili Palmer caramel sauce and a bag of Passion Fruit caramel tinies. Chili Palmer is like getting kicked in the shins and passionately kissed at the same time. You are eloping with a frisky salted burnt caramel sauce loaded with spice (from the chili and cinnamon), heat (from the chili), butter, and sweetness. This stuff is ridiculous on ice cream. Don’t just try it on vanilla, it’s great on chocolate, absolutely sinful on my key lime pie ice cream, and pretty darn swoon-inducing straight off the spoon. What better partner to the sassy Chili Palmer caramel sauce than the exotic and seductive Passion Fruit caramel tinies? We are talking about a burst of tropical tartness playing off the buttery smooth caramel with hints of vanilla. A seasonal item (only around Valentine’s Day) worth every luscious calorie.

The Rules:

1) Share the food you most associate with love in the comments below.
2) One comment per person, please.
3) Comment must be received before 11:59 pm (MST), Thursday, February 6, 2014.
4) The prizes can only ship in the US.
5) Kaweah will select two winners.
6) Winners will be announced and contacted on Friday, February 7, 2014.

Good luck!!

And now something sweet for everyone whether you win the giveaway or not! Two years ago, I purchased Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, written by Dori Greenspan. It sat on my shelf collecting dog ears, but I never got around to making anything out of that gorgeous book until recently. This cake is so luxurious it even has a name that begins with “The”, like The Edge, except this is called The Concorde and it is a cake made entirely of chocolate meringue and chocolate mousse.

trace three 8 1/2-inch circles on parchment paper

flip the papers over so the tracing is face down on the baking sheets

fit two pastry bags with a 1/2-inch plain piping tip and a 1/4-inch plain piping tip

Get all of your equipment ready for the meringue because you don’t want it to deflate while you’re futzing around with drawing circles and such. I couldn’t find anything in my house that measured 8 1/2 inches in diameter for tracing, so I used an 8-inch removable base from a 9-inch tart pan. Worked just fine and gave me a little leeway in the meringue volume too.

chocolate meringue: dutch-process cocoa powder, egg whites, sugar, confectioner’s sugar

sift the confectionere’s sugar and cocoa powder together

whip the whites and granulated sugar to glossy stiff peaks

**Jump for more butter**