Engaging stories of love, joy, comfort and friendship with proven scrumptious, healthy recipes, we celebrate LOVE as the secret ingredient for wonderful food!

Election night, bread, chocolate and red wine

We’re a nervous wreck here. The race for the presidency of our country is close. I made a lovely light dinner. (I’ll tell you more about that later.) And now I made a famous Spanish dessert, a favorite for children as a simple after school snack. We served it at a small dinner party this past Saturday night, and liked it so much that we wanted to keep on repeating it and repeating it. It’s simple to make and just the right amount of sweetness, of chocolate and a little bit of saltiness. And, it’s lovely with some red wine leftover from dinner. bread and chocolate dessert

The basis of this recipe is from Food and Wine magazine. Use the best chocolate you can find. I used Scharffen Berger 3 oz bars. Buy two bars and put 2 squares on each bread slice.

– serves 4

8 thin baguette slices
Two 3-ounce bars of bittersweet chocolate, cut in 8 pieces to fit, you will not use all of this chocolate
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat. Spread the baguette slices on a baking sheet and broil until toasted, about 30 seconds – 1 minute. Turn the slices over and set a square or two of chocolate on each one. Broil just until the bread is golden and the chocolate is beginning to melt (about 30 seconds – 1 minute). Transfer the chocolate toasts to plates and drizzle lightly with the olive oil and also sprinkle lightly with the sea salt on the chocolate. Serve right away.

Julia & Eric

Today would be Julia Child’s 100th birthday!! Happy Birthday to the great chef and instigator of the whole foodie movement that is so prevalent today. There are several articles about her in the Times this morning, one recalling favorite recipes of hers. I have my favorites too – her soy, garlic, rosemary, mustard sauce for a leg of lamb can’t be beat. It is my go-to lamb roast recipe. Leeks braised with a parchment paper cover as a side dish is a really simple dish that seems oh-so-elegant and impressive. I always refer to her for the way she sauteed mushrooms and, of course, boeuf bourguignon. She taught me to smash garlic cloves to remove the skin, but more importantly, she taught my mother the fine art of cooking, which she then passed on to me.

Last night we took our boys out for dinner at Le Bernardin to celebrate our youngest starting on his PhD at Yale next week. My husband and I have not been there in years and yes, it was still so very lovely with superb service. We saw Eric Ripert but unfortunately we did not get to speak. The depth and combination of flavors he achieves with each dish is unique and truly delights the palate. It was a very special evening. We stayed and chatted late into the night.

Here was my third course lobster dish with a stuffed squash blossom – really super delicious. Much to the chagrin of my boys, yes, I snapped these photos.Le Bernardin lobster on a white plate.Red wine and dessert menu at Le Bernardin.

Date bars!

If you like dates, you will love this little bar cookie. It’s easy to make and nice to have in your repertoire. Cut your bars skinny. My mother used to say, “Make your cookies on the small side, because your guests and family will want to sample all of them and you just shouldn’t eat so much!”

Date bars on a holiday plate.

Date bars

Makes 24 bars

2 large eggs
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 tbs. melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla
More sifted powdered sugar to roll the bars in

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8” or 9” square pan. I use a 9” glass Pyrex pan.

Beat 2 eggs a long time until very light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and melted butter.

Sift together the cake flour, salt and baking powder and add gradually to egg mixture on a low speed. Then add the vanilla, dates and nuts. Stir well. Pour evenly into your prepared pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely. Cut into 24 bars and roll each one in powdered sugar. Store in wax paper lined tin. Make sure the tin closes tight!