Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail with Grapefruit

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Drinks | 2 Comments

Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail

“Aw, shit.” 

The girls looked up and over at Ted, the bartender, who stared down at his phone and shook his head. “What?” M said with a smile. She invoked her mother’s voice, her Queens accent. “Who’s dead.”

“Elaine Stritch.”

Their smiles dropped. They were theater kids, the three of them, and had been since high school. They’d gone to different high schools, the three, but had met in New York and recognized each other instantly. Q instantly looked at her own phone and typed in the words, needing her own confirmation. “Shit. She is.”

“You think I’d make it up.” Ted pushed himself away from the bar and swung backwards, grabbed a bottle of vodka and three glasses. “No way,” she said. “Gin.”

“You think?”

“Who knows? But it feels closer.” She beckoned for her glass with her finger and he put it down, poured her a shot. One for Q and one for himself. M nudged Q. “Pay attention.”

Q looked up, already broken up, in that vague and sudden way you could be broken up about someone you didn’t know in the slightest but knew all the high notes. “Damn. She was cool.” She laughed a little and scrolled through the things she’d already read, the quotes and the barbs. “Shit and crazy.”

“First we toast and then you tell us,” M said and she lifted her glass. But when she opened her mouth, she found she didn’t have the words. She looked at Ted who shook his head again. She looked at Q, who was itching to get back to her phone. “What should we say?”

Q frowned and lifted her own glass. “To New York,” she said. She sounded sure of her words. But then she always did.

Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail

We fixed you a drink. You looked like you could use one.

Wait, is that insulting? Is it like remarking to someone that they look tired? (Gee, thanks.) We just meant… you know, maybe it’s hot outside and too cold inside, where you are. Maybe the news of late is making your head hurt and your heart ache. Maybe you’re content and on the porch of your new house (it feels like everyone is buying houses, all of a sudden) and your hand is empty, needs a glass. Maybe it’s the end of the week and you just got paid. I don’t know. Sometimes you just really, really could use a drink. Preferably a drink that’s cold but warm with vanilla, has a sharp and sour and sweet bite. Something like the one we just mixed up for you.

Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail

Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail with Grapefruit

Makes: 1 Cocktail and extra syrup | Print Recipe


For the syrup:

1 LB of rhubarb stalks, cleaned, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
2 Cups of water
1 and 1/2 Cups of sugar
1 Vanilla bean

For the cocktail:

1 Oz of gin
1 Oz of fresh grapefruit juice
Lemon peel (optional)


1. To make the syrup, combine rhubarb, water and sugar in a small saucepan. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean down the center and scape out the seeds. Add the seeds and bean to the saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and strain liquid, removing solids. Cool syrup.

4. To make the cocktail, combine 1/2 oz. cooled syrup, 1 oz gin and 1 oz grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.

5. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled glass. Garnish with lemon peel and additional ice if desired.

Donut Sundae

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014 in Desserts | No Comments

Donut Sundae

“You’re the keeper of time for the queen,” said Alice, making conversation. She straightened in her chair. Her spoon was still in her hand, still plunged into the bowl of sticky, sweet ice cream. She longed to take a bite but knew it would be impolite before Rabbit had even served himself. She lifted her chin and tried to remind herself that she was a grown up lady, who didn’t care about such things as a rapidly melting ice cream treat.

“No no no,” replied Rabbit. Behind his round glasses, his blue eyes grew wide. “I do not keep time for the Queen! No one can keep time, Alice. It is its own beast with a heart all its own. It has legs and will run if you try to catch it. No no no.” To Alice’s dismay, he put down the serving spoon and both of his white, furry paws went to clutch the watch in his vest pocket. “I cannot keep time from marching on for the Queen. No no no. Every day, the sun flies overhead and take the hours with it. And there are so many things planned, you see, and sometimes time says, ‘No no no, not today. That will not happen today, no no no. It will have to be tomorrow.’ And sometimes it does happen tomorrow but more often than not, it does not. And time just keeps on with its march and we are all helpless behind it, Alice, even the Queen herself.” And there, she was quite relieved, he took a pause to catch his breath and his whole white rabbit body trembled.

“I only meant,” she said in the brief silence that his pause allowed, “that you tell the Queen what time it is.”

“Oh!” Rabbit’s paws dropped from the watch. He took a hankerchief from his pocket and wiped his furry brow. “Yes yes yes. That’s what I do for the Queen, yes. I tell her the time.” He looked quite relieved. 

Alice picked up her spoon and resolved to eat her ice cream whether Rabbit did or not.

Donut Sundae

I don’t want to alarm you but it’s already the middle of July. I know.

My parents were visiting Maine this weekend and on Saturday morning, my mother and I went to get breakfast and we talked about summer. To be specific, we talked about how much I, and my sister Melissa, dislike summer as a season (This is the weather version of hearing someone doesn’t like chocolate or cake but it’s true.) and how we can’t wait until fall. I told my mother that, beyond my Cons list for summer which is all typical complainy stuff not worth mentioning, what I struggle with the most is the untold pressure behind “enjoying summer.” Especially in Maine where the season is short. Did you go outside? Are you enjoying it? Did you do anything fun this weekend? How fun was it? What are you doing next? There’s a pitched excitement, an intensity, where the undercurrent is “Enjoy it while you can!” and sometimes, it’s all just too much for me. It can be hard to remember to slow down and take it all in. It can overwhelm. Overwhelm + heat is not my favorite place to be.

That intensity, that over-the-top, everything has to be Extreme Everything Everything, is probably what led me to attempt this ice cream sundae for my brother’s birthday this past weekend. Nicole used a donut for hers, mine has buttermilk biscuits which I opted to make from scratch (that shouldn’t be taken as a brag but more as a cry for help), honeyed buttermilk ice cream, whiskey caramel sauce, whipped cream and nuts (gravel for Nicole and she made the better call, frankly). A donut sundae. A biscuit sundae.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s a decadent monstrosity that’s perfect for an intensely [happy] summer.

Donut Sundae

Donut Heaven Sundae

Source: Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts | Makes: As many as you need | Print Recipe

From Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts 

1 quart of Honeyed Buttermilk Ice Cream (or your favorite store-bought ice cream)
Bauer House Biscuits (or your favorite decadent donut, as shown)
Salted Whiskey Caramel Sauce
Salty Graham Gravel
Whipped Cream


1. Ready a bowl.

2. Add donut.

3. Add scoops of slightly softened ice cream.

4. Spoon over caramel sauce.

5. Add a dollop of whipped cream.

6. Sprinkle gravel (I used sliced, toasted almonds on mine) over top.


July Desktop and iPhone Calendar- S’More Summer Days

Posted by on Jul 6, 2014 in *Calendars*, *Smitty & The Girl Series* | No Comments


Episode 34: Smitty & The Truth

Read the First 33 Episodes | Previously on Smitty & The Girl: Flashback- A teenage Petula is in the hospital, having just given birth to a son that she doesn’t wish to see. On the second night of her hospital stay, she’s visited by an old man named Smitty…

It occurred to Petula that the old man, whom she’d never met before, looked vaguely familiar. Had she seen him at the big house? She felt a trace of panic. Did he know her Aunt Sylvia? “Do I know you from somewhere?”

The old man smiled and kicked up his legs to cross them at the ankles. He smelled old, she thought, but it wasn’t that bad of a smell. His pants were neat and ironed, his shirt clean. “Have you been to the old diner in town? The only diner.”

Petula frowned. She only spent summers in Cliffwood and those summers were mostly spent poolside, in the shady escape of their property. “Yes. Once or twice.” Her eyes widened slightly as she remembered the back of the plastic menu there, the photo of a man and woman encircled over a paragraph about the old place. The old man smiled. “There it is. If Vera hadn’t insisted we put our pictures on the menu, I could’ve lived a long, anonymous life in this town.”

Petula thought of the diner and its busy counter, where people met to gossip over pie. She recalled the hustle of the waitresses and the crowded tables where people often jumped up and joined other tables. Cliffwood was small and the people there seemed to relish it in the diner, where they were known by all. “If you were going for anonymity, I think you chose the wrong profession.”

“Agreed.” He shrugged. “It was Vera’s dream. She was the face behind the counter. I worked in the back, on the books. It suited us. Now,” he said abruptly. “Let’s talk about your predicament here, young lady.”

She felt a wave of despair. Crap. A do-gooder. Any second now, this pleasant conversation would take a turn and she’d end up with Holy Water splashed over her. She shifted in her bed uncomfortably and wondered if she could stave him off. “I’m fine,” she said with a wave of her hand. “I’m fine, the baby’s fine. I’m going to take him home and raise him,” she lied with a soft smile. “And we’ll be fine.” She was going to stop there but the words, they just kept coming. “I have a lot of help. Mom and Dad, they were upset at first but we’re going to do this together. And my sister said she’d help whenever she can and we’ll have a room at the house, they have a room right for the baby, and I’ll finish school and go to college and get a job and everything’s going to be great.” She blinked, uncertain why the lie had taken on a life of its own. It worried her. She’d always been a truly excellent liar. Her father said it was her finest quality, in fact.

It took her a minute to realize that Smitty said nothing in response but just watched her, his face clear of judgment or reproach. He nodded thoughtfully. “The nurses told me that the father’s taking the baby.” When her eyes widened, he did shake his head with some reproach. “Terrible gossips, those old crones.”

“I’m sure they just think he’s so great,” Petula croaked, her hands trembling under the pillow. She gripped the case to steady herself. “What a hero, raising that baby alone, the most popular boy at Cliffhood High, such a promising boy with his whole future ahead of him, ruined by that rich brat who lives on top of the hill.” She felt a full tremor take hold of her and her eyes locked on Smitty’s. Why did she care what this old man thought of her, she wondered. Why did the truth, after all these months, suddenly seem  like it was going to claw its way out of her? “They’d be shocked to know the truth, wouldn’t they,” she whispered. “They’d be shocked to know that they met at a party and that she didn’t know anyone and he gave her so many drinks that she felt dizzy and he decided it would be a good idea to take her outside, so she could get some air. And that she didn’t exactly say no,” she said out loud for the first time, her eyes locked on the old man’s, “but it wasn’t yes either. Wouldn’t it just break their hearts, the truth of it all.”  

Smitty leaned forward and put his hand over hers, under the pillow. It was thin like paper but warm. There it stayed, for a long time, until there was nothing left to do but for Petula to close her eyes and find her way to sleep. 


Everything feels more dramatic in summer. Must be the heat…

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Grapefruit Sorbet

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Desserts | One Comment

Grapefruit Sorbet

“I don’t have time for this!” Marnie barked as she tripped over the dog. “Sorry! I’m sorry, Marmalade! Jezzie, come get your dog!” With one hand trying to insert her favorite earring and the other trying to put her high heel on her foot, Marnie bounced at the door and accomplished neither. With a grunt, she gave up on the heel.

Around her, children ran from one room to the other, their backpacks flying. “That’s mine!” “Mom!” “Where’s my lunch?” They yelled to each other from every room in the house and someone had let Tiger’s pet bird out and it swooped overhead like a metronome. Marnie checked the watch on her wrist and swore. “We’re LATE. Let’s go! Drop whatever you’re doing and move it, move it, move it.”

She used her no-nonsense voice and the kids snapped against it like rubberbands and flung themselves toward the door. She had thought it a good idea at the time, the transition from school to camp, but the mornings were not easier on those long, summer days, as she had envisioned. The only difference was that by the time Marnie got to the office, she was dripping with sweat.

Grapefruit Sorbet from Some Kitchen Stories

Out the door they went, all five of her children. Jezzie first with her hands still tying her braids (her mother’s daughter, to the core), Tiger who was calm and tidy but who cast a nervous eye up at the ceiling, worried about her bird as it swooped near the ceiling fan, Louie with his trombone out, marching in the world’s shortest and most frantic parade, True and Porter who had lately developed a game of walking through doors side-by-side so they could get stuck and someone could push them out the door. Today it was Marnie who gave them the nudge and they went flying, all arms and legs, and the other kids laughed. “Stop laughing! Move!” Marnie pointed to the sidewalk where Mrs. Andowitz was idling at the curb with her minivan to take them to camp, her own children quiet in the car and as silent and hollow-eyed as ghostly cherubs.

“Bye, Mom!” They all yelled at her as they clamored into the van like wild monkeys and Marnie waved good-bye, battleworn and weary even though the day had just begun. She waited until the van had disappeared down the street and then she dropped the charade of digging through her purse for her keys. She smiled and ducked back into the house.

Five minutes later, her husband’s car appeared. It stopped in front of the house and Ed opened the door. “Did they buy it?”

“Yup.” In one swift movement, Marnie had removed her heels. “You get the beach chairs and I’ll get the food?”

“Deal.” He was already taking off his tie and headed for the garage. “Hot today.”

“Perfect today.” Marnie walked in the other direction and slipped out of her blouse to reveal the bathing suit underneath. They would need sunscreen, she thought, and the pile of books by the bed. Magazines for Ed. Smuggled bottles of beer. That sorbet she’d been saving in the freezer- she’d replace the container with her cell phone and leave that on ice for a change.

She clapped her hands and whistled and the bird swooped down and around her and into her cage.

Grapefruit Sorbet from Some Kitchen Stories

Appropriate story when you’ve taken a summer Friday off of work and it’s a spectacular day in Maine- don’t you think?

Welp, gotta go. I have ice cream and sorbet to make and friends (and a delicious baby) on their way here. Have a good weekend, kittens.

Grapefruit Sorbet from Some Kitchen Stories

Grapefruit Sorbet

Source: How Sweet Eats | Serves 4-6 | Print Recipe


5 and 1/2 Cups of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (about 6 large grapefruits)
1 and 1/2 Cups of granulated sugar


1. Juice the grapefruits.

2. Combine 1 cup of grapefruit juice and all of the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar  dissolves, cooking for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in a large bowl, mixing it with the remaining grapefruit juice.

3. Refrigerate for 25 minutes, or until chilled.

4. Once chilled, pour mixture into ice cream maker and churn according to directions. (You can also use the KitchenAid attachment and churn for 25 minutes.)

5. After churning, pour into a container (or loaf pan) and freeze for 6-8 hours until frozen.


Lemon Basil Pizza

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Entrees | 4 Comments

Lemon Pizza

I’ve lived alone for a number of years now so having my brother stay with me for a few months has been pretty eye-opening.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that having someone live with you for weeks is SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT than a weekend visit (right? Am I right?). After a few days, once he’d settled in, I quickly settled in too, right back into the my cherished routine… and now my poor brother has a front row seat to the inner workings of my daily life that no one else in my family has ever really seen. And he is BAFFLED by me.

The food thing is probably the biggest thing, which is why I’m bringing it up here.

He’s always known that I like to cook and bake but I don’t think he realized until he moved in, how much I am consumed by this hobby. Hell, I don’t think I even really realized it until he walked into the living room his first Saturday morning here and saw me on the couch, watching a cooking show, a food magazine open next to me (okay, two magazines open), surrounded by a fort of cookbooks and an iPad open to Pinterest on the coffee table. He stopped and said, “Uh, this is kind of intense.” And I glanced around me at all of my happy things and blinked at him, formerly oblivious to the den of insanity I create every weekend morning.

He made the mistake, on day 2, of mocking Nigella’s accent while I worked steadily on my meal plan for the week. He has not made that mistake since.

Lemon Pizza

Apparently, I study and practice and practice and study cooking all the time. I had not even realized how intensively I was doing it, how much I’d amped it up lately- I just like it and I’d suddenly gotten to a sweet spot of cookery where things suddenly felt easier and more fluid and I wanted to keep going.

It’s amazing what you learn about yourself when you suddenly have an audience.

Luckily for Lee, obsession has its rewards, especially when it comes to being obsessed about cooking good food. That boy is up to his elbows in homemade ice cream, giant bowls of gleaming, summer salads, slow-cooked and fall-apart meats, and there’s more on the way. Like grilled pizza, which is, incidentally, tonight’s dinner.

Lemon Pizza

Lemon Basil Pizza

Source: Some the Wiser | Serves: 4 | Print Recipe


Your favorite pizza dough
High-quality extra virgin olive oil
6 Thin lemon slices
3 Ounces of fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
1 Cup of baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
1 Ounce of smoked provolone, grated


1. Preheat oven to 500°F. (If using a pizza stone, place on middle rack in oven while preheating.)

2. Shape pizza dough on pan  until it’s about 10-12 inches in diameter.

3. Drizzle dough evenly with olive oil and layer toppings (spinach, then mozzarella, lemon, basil and top with provolone.)

4. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese begins to brown.

Coffee Stout Float

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Desserts, Drinks | 5 Comments

Vanilla Stout Float

She unfurled the letter and read. I hope this note finds you well. No. More than that. I hope it finds you sitting in a room, in a chair, with the light falling softly around you. I hope there is stillness there, in that room, within the circle of that light. I hope you look up from the paper and your eyes linger over the dust in the air, the way it sparkles. I hope it is quiet and I hope you are glad that it’s quiet. I hope your heart is still and calm and you wonder where you end and the light begins.

I hope that for you. I hope that even if none of it is true, if the world around you is crashing and loud and full of bodies and sounds and wants and needs that are not your own, that you are surrounded by cymbals and jackhammers, that there is still a piece of you residing in that room, in that chair, surrounded by that light. I hope you feel it, all of it and nothing. 

Vanilla Stout Float

We’re back! Kind of. I’m back, Nicole is still on the road. I dove headfirst back into my life and holy shit, I could use a cold glass of ice cream that’s sinking into beer. Can’t you?

Our friend Jack at The Hop Review helped us pick out the stout for this coffee stout float. We used Vanilla Java Porter by Atwater. Other good options for this, says Jack, are Coffee Bender by Surly Brewing Company or Edmund Fitzgerald by Great Lakes.

Vanilla Stout Float from Some Kitchen Stories

Coffee Stout Float

Source: Brooklyn Brew Shop | Makes: 1 Float


1/2 Cup of stout beer (see recommendations above)
1 Cup of your favorite vanilla ice cream
Chocolate syrup, optional


[If you add chocolate syrup] drizzle as much as you’d like into a chilled pint glass.

Pour your beer into the glass; Leave about 1/2 inch of room at the top.

Scoop ice cream into the glass, and keep an eye on the foam. Drizzle more chocolate syrup on top if preferred, and serve.

Smitten’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Breakfast, Brunch, Desserts | 2 Comments

Smitten's Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

Laurel smoothed out the front of her long, white wedding dress and stared at her reflection in the glass. A bride, she thought. Who would’ve thought?

Not her. Not now. There was a time, maybe, when she thought about it. When she was twenty. Twenty-two, twenty-eight. Thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three and so on. At forty, she stopped thinking about it. She blew out the candles and let the thoughts go.

She remembered doing it. It was a conscious choice at the time. Time to stop letting your mind wander about the flowers that would grace the aisle, she thought. Time to stop wondering where that aisle would be, on a beach in Maui, in a chapel in the country, the court house downtown. Time to stop wondering if your mother would still be alive to see you at the end of that aisle. She would not. She knew that now. Laurel met her own eyes in the mirror, her mother’s eyes, and felt oddly comforted. What a strange day.

She was not alone as she dressed. She had thought she would be. But Oscar’s daughters had asked her if she needed help and she said yes. So there they stood, in a triangle. Laurel at the mirror, in her dress, her hair freshly done and swept back from her face. Willow stood behind her, at her right, fixing her bouquet. She was twenty, Willow, and fanciful about weddings. She thought Oscar and Laurel’s story was romantic. She wanted to like Laurel, had wanted it from the beginning and so she did. Willow was sweet. Ellen was not. 

Ellen stood to her left, her arms crossed across her chest. Ellen had not wanted to like Laurel, had not wanted to like her from the beginning and so she did not. Although after their time together, Laurel suspected that there was little Ellen liked at all. She regarded her surroundings with her lips pursed, as if the air tasted like lemons. Sour, Laurel thought, as Willow ran a brush through her hair. Sweet and sour. Both of them hers, after today. What a strange day. 

Smitten's Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

And we’re off!

Nicole’s heading to the East Coast and I am heading further north to Prince Edward Island this weekend. These bars, Smitten’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars, are Nicole’s treat for the road. They were my dessert during a long and stressful week. Hers had more strawberries than rhubarb, mine had blueberries instead of strawberries. Either way, they’re delicious (albeit a little too delicate to be eaten on the run. Mine were anyway.), wherever you happen to be heading. Happy weekend!

Smitten's Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

Source: Smitten Kitchen | Makes 16 small bars, 8 large bars | Print Recipe


1 Cup (80 grams) of rolled oats
3/4 Cup (95 grams) plus up to extra 2 Tablespoons (15 grams) of all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup (95 grams) of light brown sugar
Heaped 1/4 Teaspoon of table salt
6 Tablespoons (85 grams) of unsalted butter, melted
1 Teaspoon cornstarch (optional but helps firm filling)
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon (15 grams) of granulated sugar, divided
1 Cup (125 grams) of small, diced rhubarb (from 1 and 1/2 medium stalks)
1 Cup (155 grams) of small, diced strawberries


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Prep 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl (I found it difficult to mix it in the dish with the parchment paper), place oats, 3/4 cup of flour, brown sugar and salt and mix. Pour melted butter over and stir until clumps form. (If clumps look soft or damp, add remaining 2 tablespoons of flour). Tumble 1/2 of the crumb mixture into bottom of the baking dish and press down evenly to form crust.

3. Spread half the fruit over the crust. Sprinkle it evenly with cornstarch then lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. Spread remaining fruit over this and top with second 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. (Again, I did this in a small bowl. I don’t mind washing the bowls.) Scatter reserved crumbs over fruit and bake bars for 30 to 40 minutes (firmer fruits will take longer) until fruit is bubbly and crisp is golden and smells toasty.

4. Let cool in the fridge or somewhere cold where they become crisp once chilled (less so at room temperature). Cut into squares.


Free June Desktop and iPhone Calendar- Sorbet Your Life

Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in *Calendars*, *Smitty & The Girl Series* | 3 Comments

Free June Desktop and iPhone Calendar


Smitty & The Mother of All Flashbacks Continued…

Read the First 32 Episodes | Previously on Smitty & The Girl: We know Petula and Rose Mathers are the daughters of Cliffwood scion Frank Mathers Jr and housemaid Aggie. We know that Petula had a son with Mike Newell at age 15 and then promptly left town. We know Petula and Rose are now back in Cliffwood about to reek havoc on Mike’s life, fifteen years later…

Lily wasn’t the only visitor to the room that day. 

Petula’s request to be left alone was largely honored. Her sister did not make an appearance, nor did her Aunt Sylvia. Her aunt’s house maid stopped by once, briefly, but she did not enter the room. Petula had just awoken from a nap and opened her eyes to see the woman standing in the doorway, staring at her. Petula closed her eyes and willed her to leave. 

It worked. When Pet opened her eyes, the woman was gone. A small bouquet of flowers rested on the table beside her, though. Poppies. Her favorite. 

Mike did not dare enter. It was better that way, she thought, as she flitted in and out of sleep. They had already agreed, after all, that the baby would stay with him, belong to him. There was nothing left to say. 

So she was surprised when the night fell and she opened her eyes once more and a stooped, old man sat in the chair beside her bed. Petula thought about screaming or being startled but she felt neither. The man was familiar in that vague way that old men could be- like they all morphed into the same, rough person after the age of eighty. This one held a hat in his hands and had thick, bushy eyebrows. He peered at her. “You’re awake.”

“I am.” Petula’s voice was hoarse. She cleared it. “Are you a doctor?” she asked, knowing he wasn’t a doctor. 

I am not.” The old man sat back in the chair. “I’m a volunteer. The church sends a shuttle to the hospital every day so we can visit the infirm.” 

“Am I infirm?”

“You look infirm to me.” The old man shrugged. “No one ever visits the women in post-partum,” he said. “Just the babies. I thought I’d give it a shot. It’s nicer on this floor, anyway.” He glanced around the room and then his eyes fell down to her own. “Your baby isn’t here.”

She looked at him for a long time. “No, he’s not.” And after a moment, he nodded.

Would you like me to leave you alone?” he asked. 

Petula felt her hand slide up under the pillow and grip the case, out of sight. “No. You can stay.” 

“All right then. Petula, is it?”

“Yes.” She hated the sound of her own name, she thought. It was like a knife going through her. “What’s your name?”

“Smitty,” the old man replied. “The name’s Smitty.”


Tonight, I got home from a long walk, got all the things to make this, chopped, and stirred and stirred and chopped. The minutes ticked by, it got later and later. I stood over the grill pan and turned shrimp after shrimp after shrimp (did I mention I doubled the recipe? So many shrimp) and finally tumbled the shrimp into the giant salad bowl, all done, finally, tossed everything together only to realize… I wasn’t supposed to toss everything together. I was supposed to toss the salad together and then place the shrimp elegantly on top. On top. Not together. I stood and stared at the bowl. I ate it anyway. This is why I don’t cook on weeknights, you guys. I’m just saying…

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Blueberry Dutch Pancakes

Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Breakfast, Brunch | 4 Comments

Blueberry Dutch Pancakes

They had blueberries for breakfast, a pint of them. Grecia held out her hand and her daughter carefully tumbled the berries into her waiting palm. “What colors are these, my love?”

“Blue!” Tammy was four and knew her colors well. She popped a blueberry into her mouth and then another. Grecia followed, more slowly. They tasted so sweet and good and whole. She paced herself and had only eaten three when Tammy lifted her berry-stained hands. “All done.”

“Do you like blueberries, my love?”


“What else?” 

Tammy’s eyes narrowed. She tapped her hand against the table. “I like Poncy.” Grecia smiled. Poncy was her stuffed dog, the one she carried everywhere. “And hot dog day at school. And pancakes with syrup on Sundays. And Nonna Mary.” That was her grandmother, Grecia’s mother, who waited for the pair in the corner, her head in a paperback book, her eyes refusing to meet her daughter’s. Tammy waved her chubby hand and Grecia’s eyes flickered over to meet her daughter’s instead. “Hi. Hi, Mommy.”

“Hi, my love.” Grecia tried not to look at the clock on the wall, she tried not to look at her mother. She did not want to know when her hour would be up. She kept her eyes fixed on her baby and she ate another blueberry.

Blueberry Dutch Pancakes

Slumped, baked pancakes. Reading Rainbow is fully funded, the words of Maya Angelou are all over the Internet and there are pancakes in your future. It’s not perfect, by any means (couldn’t we keep Maya? Just Maya? Forever?) but it’ll do for this morning.

Blueberry Dutch Pancakes

In other news, my cookery bookery angel friend Meg learned that Jeni (this Jeni) was going to be signing her new cookbook in New York City and promptly went, got the book signed for me and mailed it post-hence. And the book… is amazing. I’ve had it for less than a week and I’ve already made an ice cream layer cake because I have an impulse control problem. (And frozen custard! Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard! I had to make it. A combination pudding/ice cream cake?) The book is irresistible and damn them for putting it out at the exact perfect time- when summer is beckoning and the air’s slowly (slooooowly) getting warmer and I suddenly find myself buying gallons of milk and heavy cream at the supermarket, how did that happen? I already have a list of other recipes to try and a LOT of dairy in my refrigerator right now. Don’t be surprised if you see another cake pop up here this weekend. Or eclairs. Or sundaes. Or pie cookies. Or, you know, everything.

Blueberry Dutch Pancakes

Blueberry Dutch Pancakes

Source: Martha Stewart | Makes: 4 Individual Pancakes | Print Recipe


4 Large eggs
1 Cup of whole milk
1 Cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 Cup of granulated sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 Teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 Cup of blueberries, plus more for topping
Confectioners sugar, for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 400°F degrees.

2. Blend together eggs, milk, flour, granulated sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a blender.

3. Heat four 6 inch cast-iron skillets (this made me laugh. Really, Martha? Like I have four 6-inch cast iron skillets hanging around? To her credit, she does say a 12-inch skillet will take about 20 minutes in the oven) over high heat. Divide butter among your endless supply of skillets and melt. Divide batter among them, scatter with berries.

4. Bake until puffed and cooked through and tops are set, 15-18 minutes. Top with berries and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

5. Serve immediately.


Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Desserts | 2 Comments

Fried Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

“Why do you tie your car key to your shoelace?”

“Because I don’t want to hold my car key when I’m running! What if I drop it?”

… “You know that the running pants you’re wearing right now have a little pocket in the back for your key, right?”

“No. No, I did not.”

Fried Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

“Jeez, it’s cold in here.”

“I know, sorry. It’ll take just a minute for the car to warm up.”


“Wait, what button did you just hit?”

“You know that you have seat warmers in this car, right?”

“No. No, I did not.”

Fried Cookie Dough Egg Rolls


“Um, wait. Wait. We just got here. Did you ask how much the rent is? Does it have heat? Does it have a BATHROOM? Did you ask anything?”

“No. No, I did not.”

That clueless person in the above vignettes is me. All three of those stories are true. [And I did take that apartment and it did have a bathroom, thankfully. It just didn't, you know, have any closets or storage areas. But it was still a great deal!] Reading back over them, I’m somewhat amazed I can manage to make it to the office every day, let alone survive intact for thirty-two years.

I don’t know what it is- I have a blind spot for things that others just don’t seem to have. It’s a combination of dreamy flightyness (the kind that has Anne Shirley drifting off shore in a canoe with no oars), optimism (I fall in love with the positives of every apartment I walk into and refuse to see anything else. God help us when I buy a house.) and… I don’t know. Something undefined- a shrugging indifference for details.

Luckily, as the above stories will attest, I’m surrounded by people who DO notice things. Thanks to my friends, I find my way. And they only laugh at me about it for, like, an hour or two. At most. I think mostly they laugh at my wild delight when I discover something I’ve actually OWNED this whole time and didn’t realize; like finding an old Christmas present you never gave someone and now you get to keep it because it’s July. That’s what my life is like.

And now my brother is here! My brother is here! He moved to Maine! Someone to FEED, you guys! A skinny guy who was ALSO raised by my mother and, thus, also appreciates food more than air itself. Someone who will eat the whole platter of Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Egg Rolls.

How lucky is that? How wonderful is that? Another person to help me find the things that I didn’t know I already had.

Fried Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

Source: MelanieMakes.com | Makes: 30 egg rolls | Print Recipe

Note: This recipe involves frying!


3/4 Cup of brown sugar
1 Cup of peanut butter
1/2 Cup of butter
1/2 Cup of sugar
1 Teaspoon of vanilla
2 Tablespoons of water
1 and 1/2 Cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 Teaspoon of table salt
3 and 1/4 Cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
30 Egg roll wrappers
2 Quarts of vegetable oil
3/4 Cup of whipping cream
Powdered sugar


1. In the bowl of a standing or electric mixer, cream together the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and sugar for about two minutes.

2. Add vanilla and water and mix until well combined.

3. In a small bowl, mix flour and salt.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in 1 and 1/4 cups of chocolate chips.

5. Add one scoop of cookie dough to each wonton wrapper and roll as shown above.

6. Place wontons on a baking sheet and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

7. In a large saucepan, preheat vegetable oil to 350 degrees.

8. Fry wontons in small batches until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.

9. Remove from oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

10. Make chocolate ganache dipping sauce: combine 2 cups of chocolate chips with whipping cream in small bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir to combine.

11. Sprinkle wontons with powdered sugar and serve with dipping sauce.


Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Basic Hummus Recipe

Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Side Dishes, Snacks | 2 Comments

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Basic Hummus Recipe from Some Kitchen Stories

Cancer had done strange things to Maybeth. The first strange thing was the taste of silver in her mouth, like there was a fork in it, always. Dr. Wineslaw had explained the reason for this to her but Maybeth forgot it instantly, an affect of the chemo. If her mouth was a fork, her brain was now a sieve.

The second strange thing was that she had cravings. Rather than the desire to abandon all food because of the fierce nausea, as Dr. Wineslaw had warned her, Maybeth found that she was drawn to a small, select list of foods that offered pure pleasure and no pain. She could eat peanut butter, hummus, and cream cheese endlessly. Strangely, the more neutral and blameless of foods- stale crackers, white bread, left her reeling. Maybeth found herself, weeks into Round 3 of chemo, with a house full of spreads and nothing on which to spread them. 

The third strange thing, which she considered now with a spoonful of hummus in her hand, was that the only companionship she could endure during her treatment was her mother’s. 

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Basic Hummus Recipe from Some Kitchen Stories

“And then I told him, I said, Jacob, if you put that in my cart, you are asking for serious trouble.” Cindy Patridge paused in the middle of her story and glanced up at her daughter. They sat cross-legged from each other on the floor where her mother clipped coupons, the chain from her glasses dangling from either side of her face like tinny curtains. “Are you listening to me, Maybeth?”

“Uh huh.” Maybeth’s lips twitched as she brought the hummus to her mouth. Her mother, a notorious cheapskate, self-involved and self-obsessed to the core, demanded an audience at all times for her long and winding and tedious stories. Cindy Patridge was always in an uproar over something, from the diminishing width of the lanes on the Southbay expressway to the quality of the sermon at Woodbury Presbyterian. She was loud, she smelled like patchouli oil and grass clippings, she wore socks with sandals throughout summer, and was thoroughly unaware of how widely she was disliked by her friends, family and community at large. She had little to no patience for the tribulations of others.

She never lingered, either, over Maybeth’s stories about her treatments. She did not ask follow up questions when Dr. Wineslaw gave them the latest reports. She huffed impatiently when the nurses swung over to check Maybeth’s vitals if they happened to interrupt one of Cindy’s stories by doing so. She brought terribly inappropriate things to Maybeth’s bedside like off-brand watermelon candy and tiny bottles of vodka from the airplane, romance novels that Maybeth would never read in her lifetime, and pictures of relatives who were “either dead or insane” her mother would say after each one and throw them gleefully into a pile. She acted the same way now as she had when Maybeth was a healthy ten-year-old. At fifteen. At twenty-two. At thirty-five. Nothing for Cindy Patridge had changed in the slightest. There was no “new normal” and “old normal.” There was just Cindy telling her that her cat had gotten stuck in the bathtub for twelve days and she’d called the fire department because they were the only ones who could get close to the ornery beast, with it mangled fur and claws. “That’s going to be me when I go,” Cindy snorted. 

Maybeth had smiled at the time and swirled the spoon through the bowl, enjoying the ripple it made. “Then what happened, Mom?”

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Basic Hummus Recipe from Some Kitchen Stories

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Basic Hummus Recipe

Source: Jerusalem | Makes: 6 servings | Print Recipe

NOTE: You’ll need to soak dried chickpeas overnight!


1 and 1/4 Cup of dried chickpeas
1 Teaspoon of baking soda
6 and 1/2 Cups of water
1 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons of tahini (light roast)
4 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 Cloves of garlic, crushed
6 and 1/2 Tablespoons and ice cold water
Good quality olive oil, to serve (optional)
Toasted pine nuts, to serve (optional)


1. The night before, place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water (at least twice their volume) and leave to soak overnight.

2. The next day… drain chickpeas.

3. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on type and freshness. Once done, they should be very tender and break up easily between you fingers but not quite mushy.

4. Drain the chickpeas (again). You should have about 3 and 2/3 cups which you will put into a food processor and process into a stiff paste. With the machine running, add tahini, lemon juice, garlic cloves and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt.

5. Finally, drizzle in the ice water slowly and allow it to mix for 5 minutes until you get a smooth and creamy paste.

4. Transfer hummus to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. If refrigerating for later use, bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. To serve, drizzle with good olive oil and a scattering of pine nuts.

Hummus will keep in the fridge up to 3 days. If it lasts that long.

Chai Spiced Carrot Cupcakes

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Desserts | No Comments

Chai Spiced Carrot Cupcakes from Some Kitchen Stories 1

“You’re the best ar-ound, nothing’s ever gonna keep ya down,” the boy sang. He was tall and lanky for his age, which was thirteen, and carried a tray of cupcakes which he offered up to anyone in the hallway who caught his eye. Evie ducked behind her locker door and tried to look busy as he got closer and closer. 

Most of the eighth graders at Maritime Middle rolled their eyes or avoided him as he passed. Cole Reyes was new and undeniably weird. He was friendly and smiled easily at everyone, chatted with the teachers, and spoke confidently in class. He wore an army green jacket over his clothes every day that he told Tammy Wineset he’d got from the Salvation Army; Tammy had been disappointed. A natural liar, and the most popular girl in the eighth grade, she’d told half the class that it must’ve belonged to his dead soldier dad. To make matters worse, Cole dismissed her out of hand when the conversation went south in the cafeteria- not something Tammy Wineset was accustomed to dealing with. She narrowed her eyes and he was deemed unfit for her group.  

Cupcakes. Why cupcakes? Evie was prone to being embarrassed for just about everyone and everything and Cole Reyes with his random tray of cupcakes and whistling was too much for her. But when she shut the locker door, there he was.


Evie swallowed hard and looked around. If it was anyone else, she would’ve ignored them and taken her flushed face, and the books she clutched to her chest, down the hall to her next class. But he had stopped right in her path. And the cupcakes smelled so good. And she had missed lunch. Cole Reyes caught her hesitation and smiled at her. “Thanks,” she said and she took one. It felt like everyone in the hall had frozen and stared at them. “Why are you handing out cupcakes?”

“To meet pretty girls.” Cole winked at her and went on his way.  

Chai Spiced Carrot Cupcakes from Some Kitchen Stories 2



The receptionist Danah must’ve known how frazzled she was that day because she offered a sympathetic smile. “Gregory’s on Line 2 for you.”



Evie let out a loud, exasperated sigh and it was so deep that both she and Danah laughed. “Shit,” she said and she ran a hand over her frazzled hair, pressed a cool hand to the cheek of her flushed face. “It’s only Tuesday. Tuesday!”

“I know. Oh!” Danah clapped her hands. “Before you get on the phone, just wanted to say… there’s a surprise at the front desk for you.” Danah bopped excitedly from foot to foot. “That is all. Gregory’s waiting. It looks delicious! That’s the only hint I’m giving you!” Danah danced away as Evie tossed her pen cap after her.

A surprise. What could that be about, she wondered, and she put it out of her mind, for the time being, and picked up the phone. “This is Eve Reyes.”

Chai Spiced Carrot Cupcakes from Some Kitchen Stories 3

I have to run because I have to leave work to go pick up my BROTHER. Who moved to MAINE. YESTERDAY. WHAT.

I leave you with chai-scented carrot cupcakes with whipped cream cheese frosting. Because you’re delicious. And life is weird. And full of fun, crazy surprises.

Chai Spiced Carrot Cupcakes from Some Kitchen Stories 4

Chai Spiced Carrot Cupcakes

Source: Amrita Rawat | Makes: 24 Cupcakes |Print Recipe

Cupcake-Base Ingredients

1 and 1/2 Cups (337 grams) of canola oil
1 and 1/2 Cups (287 grams) of granulated sugar
1/2 Cup (100 grams) of packed brown sugar
4 Large eggs
1 LB (6-7) carrots, grated or peeled
2 and 1/2 Cups (248 grams) of all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 Teaspoon (4.5 grams) of baking powder
1 Teaspoon (4 grams) of baking soda
1 and 1/4 Teaspoons (3 grams) of cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon (1.2 grams) of ground nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon (0.5 grams) of ground cloves
1/4 Teaspoon (0.5 grams) of ground cardamom
1/2 Teaspoon (1 gram) of salt

Frosting Ingredients

1/2 Cup (122 grams) of heavy whipping cream
8 Ounces of cream cheese
2/3 Cup (134 grams) of brown sugar
1 Teaspoon (5 grams) of vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare muffin tray with liners.

2. Mix together the oil, sugar, and eggs in a bowl. Mix the dry ingredients (through salt) in a separate bowl. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients and combine.

3. Add “extras” (nuts, raisins, whatever) to your batter.

4. Scoop batter into muffin liners and bake for 20 minutes (or inserted implement comes out clean or just a few crumbs).

5. While the cupcakes bake, prepare the frosting: whip the cream in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form.

6. In a separate bowl, whip the cream temperature (I zap the cream cheese in the microwave if it’s cold. Just about 5-10 seconds.), sugar and extract together until well-blended.

7. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until well-combined.

8. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Free May 2014 Desktop and iPhone Calendar – Go Dutch Baby

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in *Calendars*, *Smitty & The Girl Series* | 5 Comments



Smitty & The Mother of All Flashbacks

Read the First 32 Episodes | Previously on Smitty & The Girl: We know Petula and Rose Mathers are the daughters of Cliffwood scion Frank Mathers Jr and housemaid Aggie. We know that Petula had a son with Mike Newell at age 15 and then promptly left town. We know Petula and Rose are now back in Cliffwood about to reek havoc on Mike’s life, fifteen years later…

Mike Newell became a father on a Tuesday. 

That morning, he’d kissed his mother good-bye and left for football practice before school. The kitchens smelled like the dutch pancakes and blueberries she’d made on a whim. It was misty with rain outside. She had no idea that after school, he walked out of school, took the #10 bus across town and walked into the hospital. She had no idea that her grandson was being born or that he had even been conceived. Or that her panicked, terrified sixteen-year-old son would name him Freddy, after his grandfather, when pressed by a kind nurse about the baby’s name in the nursery. It was the first name that popped into his mind. It was just one of the reasons why Lily Newell would cry at the end of that long, hard, wonderful day, the one that started out so normal, so nondescript. 

The other reasons why she would cry, in her bed, later that night… the way her son had looked in the hallway when she arrived at the hospital, the way his body shook and trembled. He had grown so much the summer before and was one of the biggest boys on the football team and yet he looked so small as he sat her down in the small metal chair and said, “There’s something I haven’t told you…” 

The relief on his face when she took him into her arms and said, “Can I see my grandson?” It nearly broke her in two, his face, right there in the hall. It had always just been the two of them. She cried afresh when she thought of it later, when she was alone. Now there would be three of them. She cried tears of both joy and pain, for herself and for her son who, in just one day, was no longer a boy. 

And the girl… the girl with the funny name. Later, after she had cuddled baby Freddy and let the shock wash over her fully, Lily walked into her room quietly and saw the mother laying in the narrow bed, on her side, facing the window. Her red hair was limp and fell over her shoulder. She was rail thin, despite having just given birth. Lily felt a stab of pity as she walked into the room alone. 

“I don’t want to see him. Please leave.” The girl’s voice cracked as she said the words, betraying her. She must’ve thought Lily was the nurse, there with the baby. 

Lily laid in her bed, remembering the moment; how she knew, in that instant, that the girl would leave them both, Mike and the child. She knew it with every fiber of her being. Lily’s tears slowed and stopped as she remembered. Right or wrong, she would not cry, not for the girl. Never again. 


It’s May. How did that happen? HOW?

In other bizarre news, I’m on a two-month diet! So that’s… super great! This should be interesting. How do I simultaneously convince Nicole that we should make this giant skillet cinnamon roll cake and yet not eat the entire thing myself in a manic frenzy?

Also horrifying? Trying to give myself rewards for hitting certain milestones (not of the numbers variety since I my friend Katie will be weighing/measuring me but not telling me my progress. Hope she has a good poker face!) for making it through parties and restaurant meals with my willpower intact and discovering that ALL of my immediate reward ideas are… food. I want to reward myself with food. Like a dog. I’m a dog.

Like I said… May will be interesting.

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The Lime Nicky

Posted by on Apr 25, 2014 in Drinks | One Comment



“A toast.” 

He stood up at the table and swayed just a bit. A few feet away, his closest friends, gathered around the round table, all braced themselves. Cleo even held her breath. 

Undaunted, Pot’s glass went up a little higher into the air. His voice was clear and loud; he knew how to make it carry across the room, even without the benefit of a mike. “To Mad and Baxter,” he said with an impish grin. “Four months ago, they were strangers on a bus. A dirty, very dirty bus. And now here we are, in this beautiful room, with all of these beautiful people, sending them off together into the distance. They’re going into the light. Well,” Pot said. “Well, into the light and the dark, I suppose, that’s where they’re going. Because life has both light and dark in it. The important thing is now they’re going to face both together. Which is a beautiful thing.”

“When I met Baxter,” Pot continued, “he didn’t want to play the drums. He didn’t want to do anything, actually. I made him join the band because he was my only friend and I knew the other guys were going to hate me. Which they did, turned out to be true. But Baxter stayed. For a long time, he didn’t do much but he was there. I asked him to stick around and he did. And then our drummer quit and they wanted to get someone else to play, another guy who would also hate me, and Baxter just stood up and walked over to the drums and man, he ripped through them. And he didn’t say a word. And he was our drummer and he made the other guys like me and suddenly we were living this dream that only one of us had ever had. And I’m so glad he stayed.” Pot lifted the glass up and out. “And I’m glad he got the girl.”


It’s Friday, you guys. We made it. Another week in the books. Stamp it, mark it, shut it down. Close your laptops. Silence your phones. Walk away from the papers, whatever they might be. Find some people, real people, your people. Food, drink, fun. We are out of here.


The Lime Nicky

Inspired By: Lottie & Doof and Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery


3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 Cup of water
2 Tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
2 Grapefruits
2 Limes


In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and ginger. Bring to simmer and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Juice the grapefruits and limes into a small pitcher. Strain the ginger syrup into the pitcher and stir well to combine. Add gin. Chill until cold.

Stir again before serving.


Dulce de Leche Brownies

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Desserts | 9 Comments

Dulce de Leche Brownies

It was late when the door opened. The bright thing had gone away hours before and the house was dark. Only the glow sticks on the shelf gave off any light. 

Hammer opened his one eye at the sound of the jingling. He already laid on the floor with the door in view and knew as soon as the footsteps approached that it was Blonde One and Dark Haired One. Though the loud rolling and scraping noise that came with them was disturbing. He decided to sound the alarm. 

Buckley (who was terrible at night watch because he was not rescued but purchased and thus thought that all people were fairy beings who carried bacon in their pockets) came flying around the corner when Hammer sounded the alarm and joined in the serenade. When Blonde One and Dark Haired One shuffled in, grunting and saying the curse words, Buckley decided it was an invitation to leap into Dark Haired One’s arms. The cursing was louder now. Something fell.

Oh, they had been gone for so long! Ages and ages and ages! Even Hammer could not contain himself and circled them many, many times. They were covered in strange smells and the loud rolling, scraping thing was actually the Dreaded Box that they sometimes removed from the closet- the Dreaded Box made them disappear and made the gray haired lady appear instead (she only gave them hard biscuits, never chicken). Hammer growled at the Dreaded Box and considered lifting his leg on it to show his displeasure. But then Blonde One put a hand on his head and he forgot all that. 

Dulce de Leche Brownies

The four of them moved slowly, one giant mass, into the kitchen. Dark Haired One stumbled in first. “Food,” he mumbled. Hammer stood by his side and they looked into the Cold Box together. For the first time, Hammer realized that Dark Haired One had a peculiar item on his head- a brown hat with a strap under the chin. His skin was darkened, almost red. He had blackness around one eye. “Babe?”

“Brownies!” Blonde One had the same brown hat under her chin. She yawned and scratched Buckley behind the ears (he immediately dropped onto his back, swinging his legs, because he lacked dignity). She held something up to Dark Haired One and he grabbed it from her hand. “God bless Gerta,” he said. 

Hammer watched them attack the treats with joy and happiness. The curse words stopped. Silence filled the dark kitchen as they munched and scratched the dogs’ heads.  

The special treats must have chicken in them, Hammer thought. Was only explanation.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Let’s play a fun game where you pretend like you’re reading this and not completely consumed with the photos of these brownies.

I mean, I get it. I am that dorky friend at the pool sitting beside her best guy friend when the hot lifeguard emerges from the water, complete with slow motion and that “boom chicka-chick-a” music from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  (Lifeguard = dulce de leche brownies). I don’t know how we ended up in a Taylor Swift song but who cares, you’re not even reading this. I can say anything right now. Poop. Monkey butt.

Because brownies. BROWNIES.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Source: foodswoon.com | Makes: One 8”x8” pan | Print Recipe


10 Tablespoons (1 and 1/4 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 and 1/4 Cups of sugar
3/4 Cups plus 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 Teaspoon of salt
1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 Cold, large eggs
1/2 Cup of all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 Cups of dulce de leche*
Coarse sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place the bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. Stir until the butter melts and the mixture turns into a paste.

4. Remove the bowl from the pot and allow to cool for five minutes.

5. Stir in the vanilla.

6. Add the eggs one at time, stirring vigorously after each addition.

7. Stir in the flour, then beat the mixture with a wooden spoon for 40 strokes.

8. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. In spoonfuls, drop half of the dulce de leche on top of the batter. Run a knife lightly through the batter and dulce de leche in a swirling motion. Pour the rest of the batter on top, followed by spoonfuls of the remaining dulce de leche. Lighly run the knife through the batter again in a swirling motion. Sprinkle the top of the brownies with coarse sea salt.

9. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

10. Let cool on a rack. It’s easiest to cut the brownies and remove them from the pan when they have completely cooled.

* You can find cans of dulce de leche near the sweetened condensed milk in the supermarket. If you would like to make your own, here are two recipes: David Lebovitz’ recipe or Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. If you go the homemade route, make sure the dulce de leche has cooled before adding to the brownie batter.


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