Lime Cream Cups

Photos of Lime Cream DessertIt has taken only three or four trips to Mexico to find out that cooks in Mexico, or at least the ones with whom I have had the pleasure of cooking, do amazing things with a blender.

My first encounter with this phenomenon was a great cook named Aurelia in Cuernavaca. She made a fresh, smooth, green zucchini soup using very basic ingredients that I still make often. She also used a blender to make the sauce for her Chiles en Nogada, which is a poblano pepper stuffed with savory meat and sweet fresh and candied fruits, topped with a sweet creamy sauce.

On my second trip, I met Señora Inez, who was also an accomplished cook. The owner of the home in which Senora worked had told us in advance that we needed to have her make her storied Tart de Limon, or Lime Pie. Inez was more than happy to prepare it and even allowed us into the kitchen to see how she did it. Camera in hand, I watched this tiny woman do something that prior to that I found unthinkable…impossible. She made a pie in a microwave. In my rather hick-ish internal monologue: “I like’d to died.”

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Blonde Bars

Blonde BarsCount on me to un-simplify something. On my trip to Missouri, my friend Courtney whipped up, before I even got out of bed, a treat that turned out to be a major problem for me. By that I mean, it was amazing and rich and sweet, and I couldn’t keep my hands off of it. Every time I walked by the kitchen I would cut off a tiny sliver of it.

And, it is a perfect complement to coffee. Exceptional, actually.

As it was presented, it was what I call a “throw-down” recipe. To wit, the base was a box cake mix with a few add-ins that formed a cookie crust base for a gooey cream cheese mixture which was then baked. Oh, my goodness. Don’t kick me for retro-fitting it to the non-box recipe. I’ll make a note of how to do it the box way at the bottom. But, whereas some folks find boxes convenient, I never have them on hand. But I always have flour and sugar on hand. And in this case I had powdered milk on hand too, because I actually use it here and there (like in my Hot Chocolate Mix).

So, I had all the makings of the non-box version in my pantry and I played around a bit and found a parallel version for the non-boxers. There is a time and a place for both. I will keep both versions handy.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

To be clear, I gave up Facebook, NOT chocolate, as my New Year’s Resolution. Good.

Now, I don’t like to think of myself as fussy, but sometimes one detail being out of place will cause me to not do a recipe for you. Case in point, several years ago, my friend Kim sent me a ridiculously easy and delicious recipe for peanut butter and chocolate candy. I believe she, in turn, got it from a neighbor.  I have made it 5 times and devoured it each time. It TASTES like a dream. Here’s the problem.

Each time I make it I run into this issue: “Well what if I…1) made the peanut butter from scratch; 2) bought fancy chocolate and tempered it for a perfect top; 3) rolled little balls of peanut butter and made pop-able bites…etc. etc. Every time, I basically ruin its absolute simple perfection. So, instead of kicking this can down the street any more, as I am wont to do with certain recipe with which I like to tinker, I’m just going to give it to you the way Kim gave it to me, albeit with one or two tiny tweaks. This is a perfect little treat and a wonderful cure for a sweet tooth.. It is an easy treat to make for a gathering It is practically a “throw-down” and it is good. You can experiment with milk chocolate or with nice chocolate bars. But whatever you do, enjoy!

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Chocolate Pudding Pie (a.k.a. My First Pie)

Yes, it is throw-down time again. Here we will separate the wheat from the chaff and find out if you are really a “foodie”. If you consider yourself to be a high brow food connoisseur of any sort, some of my throw-down recipes will horrify you and you will run away. The rest of us will be sitting here having a slice of Pudding Pie, made with a pile of very uncouth ingredients and loving every minute of it. This is why I don’t call myself a foodie, because I love this easy stuff and it disqualifies me from the hallowed and exclusive halls of dyed-in-the-wool food snobbery. If it is good, I eat it. I try to avoid processed foods for the most part, but when it is time for a throw-down…it is time for a throw-down.

But, if it is a from scratch, labor intensive, chocolate pie that you seek, fear not. Please see my post on Chocolate Pie with a Leaf Lard Crust. It is the pinnacle thus far of my chocolate pie efforts. This, on the other hand is a throw down chocolate pie and it is also one of my favorite things on Earth.

In fact, this is probably the very first pie that I ever made. One must start somewhere. My grandmothers taught me many things, but pie making was not one of them. My life resonated with Americana summer spirit (albeit of an entirely non-Rockwellian nature) that conjures mental pictures of  pies cooling on window sills, but we were usually in the lake swimming and fishing, not perfecting pastry. My beloved cousin, Joey, and I made extravagant mud pies out of clay and moss, but no real ones.

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