Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Great Christmas!

It has become tradition in my family to end Christmas day right with a cup of coffee and Mom's crème brulée. I think I started salivating in early November in anticipation of it. For those of you not fortunate enough to have tasted my mom's Christmas Brulée, consider yourselves deprived. How sad for you, because you have not truly lived. It is absolutely remarkable. I've had crème brulée all over Paris, twice in Italy, a couple times in Germany and a zillion times from Allegria in Malibu (theirs is actually pretty good). But NONE have even come close. It wasn't until I've had buckets of crème brulée, that I realized how good I had it. So, here's my mom's famous recipe. I hope it makes some of your future Christmases merry and bright!


1 pint heavy whipping cream
½ cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Sugar for the topping:
4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Heat cream over low heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Beat the egg yolks and the sugar together until thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in to the cream. Stir in vanilla and pour into six 6-ounce ramekins. Place ramekins in baking pan that has about ½ inch water in the bottom. Bake until set - approximately 45 minutes.

Remove ramekins from the water and refrigerate until completely chilled. Sprinkle each custard with 2 teaspoons of the sugar blend. Torch topping or place on top rack under the broiler and cook until topping is medium brown. Chill before serving.

Makes 6 servings
Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The House that Became a Home!

If these gingerbread walls could talk, a story of mystery and intrique would befall our holiday ears. Within the sweet and spicy chambers of this little house that became a home is the story of five little children. After being abondoned by their mother, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the children were destined to fight the cruel world all on their own.

The youngest of the lot, Little Tom, depended on his brothers and sisters for help. You see, his mother couldn't stay away from the eggnog as he was developing within her, and he entered the world with only one candied eye, half a gumdrop button and smeared icing for a mouth. Because of his unintelligible speech patterns, Little Tom was forced to resort to sign language, which is very difficult for gingerbread men who have no fingers. But he made it work, for he had a bold spirit.

The oldest of the gingerkids were Cecilia and Cecil. They were identical twins with cherried cheeks and lush coats of powdered sugar to keep them warm. They kept the house together, in a metaphysical sense. The other children referred to them as The Providers, with great and quiet reverence. The Providers were in charge of collecting the garden gumdrops and hunting the cookied reindeers for supper.

One day, as The Providers were out in the Black Chocolate Forest, a terrible storm broke out. Steamed Milk poured from the sky and pellets of sugar hailed to the ground. Cecilia and Cecil began to scream. They ran and they ran as fast and far as their little cookie legs could take them. They could not find cover. Their screams subdued to moans. Soon, no sound could be heard from their little mouths for the hot milk broke and dissolved the bodies of the frail gingerkids. Their remains soaked into the ground leaving nothing but their confectionary features atop a soggy ruin.

The three surviving gingerkids did not know what to do with themselves. They depended on The Providers for food, warmth and affirmation. They decided to have a formal family meeting the next day to make plans for the future.

When dawn broke, Iggy and Squiggy, the two middle kids, were struck with horror as they saw that they were missing vital body parts. Each were missing one eye and small bites had been taken out of their shoulder areas. Iggy was missing the icing from his upper lip and could no longer speak, while Squiggy was missing one of her precious gum drop buttons. It was a stumper. Whodunit? Was it a mouse? Was it their evil mother, the Sugar Plum Fairy?

Little Tom was no where to be found. Iggy and Squiggy were very concerned for their poor defenseless brother. Full of fear and questions, neither said what they were both thinking: "Whatever it was that mutilated our little gingerbodies surely killed out little brother! Who would do such a thing?" They commenced investigation. Iggy and Squiggy were determined to find the culprit. They would search far and wide -- through the Black Chocolate Forest and over the Mountains of Meringue. And they vowed to avenge Little Tom.

They stepped out of their fantastic gingerbread cottage, when what to their wondering eyes did appear... Little Tom swinging from his swingset, happy as a lark. And look! He had a freshly iced mouth, two very cognisant eyes and a brand spankin' new gumdrop button...

Guess who's in charge now?

Posted by Hello