It’s All About Texture



Russ is not a dessert guy. Given his druthers he would choose a nachos bar over an ice cream sundae bar, full of ten ice cream choices, with hot fudge, caramel, butterscotch, strawberries whipped cream, nuts and cherries any day. But even so every once in a while he would like a simple piece of apple pie after dinner, maybe even cherry. The chances of finding a pie in our house these days is slim to none so when that craving hits his best chance for scratching that itch is when we are at a restaurant.


Since Carter was out babysitting tonight the two of us decided to grab a quick bite out. After a very small dinner Russ thought, “Pie,” and asked to see the dessert menu. This is always a dangerous time for me since I know if he get a dessert that is not nachos he ultimately is going to take one bite and remember that he really does not like dessert, even an apple pie. So two bites in he will offer me a bite, which I will take. I love dessert that is why there is usually not any in the house. One bite of dessert almost always leads to another. God help me then.


Tonight I was lucky. No pie on the menu, no nachos either. Actually four of the six items were all variations on desserts that could be eaten without your teeth, mousse, brulee, cream caramel and rice pudding. Not that we ordered any of them, or even saw them so I am not passing judgment that they might not all be wonderful, but reading about them made Russ’ tongue think the opposite of nachos in texture and certainly not pie.


I think he likes pie because a good crust is like the chips in nachos, flaky and crunchy and the fruit is the cheese and sour cream of nachos. It is completely a texture thing. He wants the crunch. That is why he does not like ice cream. Creamy only things just go down too easy. No work for his teeth. So a flan, pudding, mousse and even a brulee that has a tiny crunch then mostly softness underneath don’t satisfy his desire for texture in his mouth. It is not just a salt versus sweet thing because a good dessert will be both sweet and a little bit of salt.


Now I am on the search for the perfect dessert to make my husband happy and is not too bad for me. Just a little naughty, with crunch, a bit of sweet and some salt and nothing that coats the tongue and just slips down the throat. Something that is less than a hundred calories would be best. As soon as I figure this out I’ll test it out on Russ and if it passes his test I’ll put it out there. I don’t think it actually exists in anything other than one bite of apple pie, but if I figure it out I’ll let you know. For me all this talk of dessert has been deadly. Thank goodness I still have a container of Thomcord grapes in the fridge.

Birthday Over Indulgence



Thanks to all of you who sent me birthday wishes.  Facebook has certainly changed birthdays, but still celebrating with real live friends is the way to go.  I wish that I had remembered that is was the friends and not the food that make the party great.  Last night I paid for my eat-whatever-I-want-it’s-my-birthday attitude yesterday.


After almost a year of considered choices I let myself eat whatever I wanted all day.  Funny thing is that I ate my regular Special K high protein cereal with black berries like I do every morning and I was happy.  I should have followed suit, but foolishly did not.  I went out to lunch with a group of friends and not only did I eat the cheddar biscuit but I think I ate two.  I had a crab cake with salad which if that was all I had it would have been a good choice, but then I ate homemade potato chips with some kind of onion dip.  It was a birthday after all so the whole table had chocolate molten cake with rhubarb ice cream which sounds like a perfectly horrible combination but it was exquisite.  Then the waiter brought the birthday cake with the candle.


That was enough food for the whole day but the birthday continued through dinner out with my family.  I started with a tuna and salmon tartare duo.  That should have been the end.  It was tuna with beets and salmon with radishes and they were delicious.  But then since it was my birthday and it is the season I had soft shell crabs.  I think this was considered the birthday of crabs.  Two desserts followed the main again, one ordered for the table and then the surprise, it’s-your-birthday one the waiter brought.


I came home crawled into bed and felt sick to my stomach.  People ask me all the time if I feel better thinner and I say no.  Now I know I feel sicker eating like I used to.  I could hardly sleep.  I had terrible dreams.  I woke up still full.


Perhaps this birthday of over indulgence will serve me well and be a great reminder that not only should I not eat like that, but that I really can’t eat like that.  I’m off to a Derby Day party tonight and I know that I need to skip the food altogether since I’m still full from yesterday.  I only hope that I can sleep better tonight after only one day back on the wagon, but I fear my birthday binge is at least a two day payback.

Roast Nectarine Frozen Yogurt

I was frugal long before the recession made it hip.  It has to be genetic. My mother probably still has every dress she ever bought and my daughter Carter is thrilled to get used textbooks because they are so much cheaper.


Today’s recipe is an attempt to use up an unripe nectarine and some Greek yogurt before I go on vacation.  The roasting is to pull as much flavor as I can get out of the fruit, which is not quite ready for consumption.  If you have a beautifully ripe peach or nectarine you can make this without roasting, but I do like the flavor heating the fruit imparts.


1 nectarine – chopped up with the skin on.  If you use a peach, peel it first.

1 ½ c. Greek Yogurt

1/3 c. skim milk

5 Splenda packets

½ t. almond extract

Pinch of cloves

2 pinches cinnamon



Heat a small nonstick fry pan up and spray with Pam.  Put the fruit in the pan and cook on medium high, stirring often until the fruit begins to get to be a little brown.  It will take about 5 minutes.  Add cloves and cinnamon at the end and let the spices heat up on the fruit for one minute.  Remove from heat and place in the freezer.


Mix the yogurt, milk, Splenda and almond extract together and pour into an ice cream maker.  Run it in the ice cream maker as long as it takes to get it to start getting creamy.  Add the fruit and continue running the ice cream machine for another 2 minutes.


Remove from the machine and place in the freezer to finish the freezing process.

Blackberry Lemon Frozen Chiffon

Chiffon’s are something Betty Draper might have made if she cooked.  It is a little like a dairy-less ice cream. But when I served this dessert last night Carter thought it looked like something out of Dr. Seuss beacuse of its strong purple color.  I have cut out sugar from my diet, but still imbibe in man-made sweetness.  If you have a moral opposition to Splenda throw caution to the wind and use sugar.  The Splenda version has only about 25 calories per serving.

Makes 8 servings

Four cups Blackberries – you can use other berries, but I am unsure how blueberries will do

¼ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice

4 egg whites

Pinch of salt

6 T. water

1 Cup Splenda for cooking –measures the same way as sugar.

Put the Black Berries in the Cuisineart and pulse until obliterated.  Put a wire mesh sieve over a bowl and pour the blackberries into the sieve.  Using the back of a big spoon push as mush liquid through the sieve as you can.  It will take a little work.  Throw away the skin and seeds left in the sieve.

Add the lemon juice to the berry juice.

Put the egg whites and the salt in a stand mixer and beat them on high just until they are frothy.

In a small saucepan put the water and the Splenda.  Bring to a boil and while hot turn the stand mixer on high and pour the hot liquid in a thin stream into the egg whites.  Beat until they are stiff.

Remove the mixing bowl from the stand and fold in the blackberry-lemon liquid.

Spoon into ramekins.  Place them in the freezer for at least 6 hours.

Note:  If you use sugar bring it to a boil with the water and boil it for 3 minutes without stirring