For the Fourth of July I had a longing for a dish I had not made in years -- New Orleans Corn Pudding. The recipe is in an old cookbook I used often. Just looking at the cover reminded me of happy times. But when I opened the cover, I saw something I had almost forgotten.
The cookbook was a Christmas gift from my mother. Gentleman Friend and I were living in West Des Moines, Iowa expecting a baby. For that reason, we did not risk traveling winter highways to our families in southwest Oklahoma. This Christmas gift gave me a feeling of home.
This Fourth of July when I read the inscription, my thoughts traveled back to the places we had lived and the fun and friends we had known and the celebrations we had shared. Open House parties at every one of our new homes, a surprise birthday party for Gentleman Friend, a "Tears in the Beer" 30th birthday party for me complete with an icy keg of beer outside in the snow, a summer swim party for the girl with a winter birthday, and more -- many more.
I could chronicle our lives in parties and happy memories.
Sometimes people tell me they don't want to write about their lives because they were too sad. You know I am no Pollyanna; as my mother used to say, "Everyone has their own bag of rocks." Instead of counting the rocks, perhaps writing about life's celebrations would be a way of recalling and recording happy times and happy memories.
Make a short (or long) list of parties, holidays or celebrations you have hosted or attended. Pick any one. Write a couple of sentences about it. Tomorrow do it again. Soon you may be anticipating the writing and you can add to it.
Okay, I can't resist a little sermon here. Your life is such a precious gift, don't let it go unrecorded. Write it down -- if only for yourself.
CHOCOLATE INKWELL - Double yummy. Chocolate chip cookies stuffed with chocolate ganache. This recipe is by none other than Jessica Sullivan, the pastry chef at Boulevard restaurant in San Francisco. And wouldn't these be nice for a party?
Photo courtesy of www.foodandwine.com
Ganache-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields: 18 stuffed cookies
- 1 cup(s) walnuts
- 1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
- 1 stick(s) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup(s) packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup(s) bittersweet chocolate chips
- 4 ounce(s) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 5 tablespoon(s) heavy cream
- 2 1/2 tablespoon(s) light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoon(s) crème fraîche
- Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the nuts in a pie plate and toast for 8 minutes; let cool, then chop.
- In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle (or using a hand-held mixer), cream the butter with the sugars and vanilla at medium speed, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg. With the mixer at low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Beat in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Spoon level tablespoons of the dough onto 2 ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.
- Make the ganache: Put the chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil; pour over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the crème fraîche. Refrigerate the ganache, stirring occasionally, until thick and spreadable, 1 hour.
- Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, until golden; let cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Sandwich the chocolate-chip cookies with the ganache and serve.
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