I Could Live On Desserts Foreveeeeerrr!

Rice Pudding
Rice Pudding

Made with Arborio rice, milk, sugar, vanilla bean, ground allspice, and salt; topped with sliced bananas sautéed in brown sugar and butter.

This rice pudding was soooooo delish I, naturally, couldn’t just eat one serving.  This was also where I first discovered the vanilla bean, people.  I absolutely love the vanilla bean!  It’s an expensive sucker, but it’s so worth it.

Why use vanilla extract (unless you’re just trying to save time) when you can split open the vanilla bean, scrape out those seeds, and have that real deep vanilla flavor ooze out.  Throw the seeds and the bean into the milk, warm it, and wait for that smell to go wafting through the kitchen—mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm, I tell you!

Recipe for—Rice Pudding

Strawberry Soup
Strawberry Soup

Oh, this strawberry soup was so nice, refreshing, and cooling.  All I can say is “ahhhhh.”  I actually got this recipe from Colin Cowie back when he had recipes on his website (but I can no longer find the recipe part of his site—bummed by that).  This is actually made up of:

  • frozen strawberries
  • sugar
  • lemon juice
  • fresh strawberries
  • mint
  • lime sorbet
  • champagne

It’s so easy to imagine how this tasted.

Espresso & Chocolate Jellies
Espresso & Chocolate Jellies

Made with semisweet chocolate chips, heavy cream, espresso powder, coffee liqueur, sugar, gelatin, and vanilla extract.

Boy!  It was a hunt I’ll never forget.  Who knew it was so hard to find some espresso powder in this city?  I couldn’t believe all the phone calls I had to make just to track some down to make this recipe.

The average grocery store doesn’t have it, coffeehouses don’t carry it—let alone know what it is.  That was a big surprise to me.  So who in the world does???  I had called hundreds of logical places and I was getting shot down left and right.

I was finally referred to my local city farmers’ market but there was still no guarantee there either.  Then one grocer tells me to try a “kitchen store.”  So after many, many calls and scavenger hunts later—ta da—I landed at Sur La Table.

Thanks, guys, for having the nerve to sell espresso powder since it’s apparently against the law everywhere else.  I can finally make my dessert now!

Recipe for—Espresso & Chocolate Jellies

Strawberries with Marsala & Lemon Sauce
Strawberries with Marsala & Lemon Sauce

Made with French vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries; sauce made with Marsala wine, sugar, lemon zest, juice of a lemon, nutmeg, and topped with crumbled sunflower seed cookies.

Oh, this stuff was SO good.  The Marsala wine in it flavors it just perfectly.  Just a bowlful of strawberry luschiousness.

Recipe for—Strawberries with Marsala & Lemon Sauce

So, if you have nothing else to do today, buy and experience the vanilla bean—find a recipe you can use it in then sit back and enjoy that fabulous smell and taste.  Also—open an espresso powder store, please.

Take-Away Life Lesson:  If no one who works in a coffeehouse even knows what espresso powder is to the point where you’re giving a mini training session about it to them, be very concerned where you’re buying your coffee from.

Bananas Foster—My Favorite Topping Ever

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