Chocolate Pots de Crème

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What’s going on with Mother Nature? Her spring-like temperatures along the East Coast this December have upended everyone’s normal expectations for winter.  There’s just something bewildering about Washington D.C.’s cherry blossoms blooming in December!

That said, the one benefit to this month’s warm temperatures that I am appreciating is the opportunity to spend more time outside in the sun, although the reason for my enthusiasm is not what you might guess. You see, more time in the sun means more opportunities for our bodies to make Vitamin D, a critical nutrient that many of us may be deficient in, especially during the winter.

In my last post I described the importance of vitamin D and the three ways that our bodies can obtain it. Today I thought I’d share a recipe for pots de crème, an easy-to-make French dessert that uses milk, a great source of vitamin D.

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Year-Round Chocolate Soufflé Cakes with Ganache Filling

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Every spring Passover week arrives, and with it comes the endless parade of desserts that can be described as meh at best. This year was no different. As I sat down to my family’s Passover meal a week ago, I was secretly bemoaning the absence of a dessert that I would actually want to eat the other fifty-one weeks of the year.

For those of you unfamiliar with my lament, a little background on the rituals involved in the Jewish holiday of Passover is in order.

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Chocolate Blueberry Cake with Mascarpone Topping, Wild Blueberry Syrup, and Lemon Zest

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I think the makings of a different sequel to last year’s sci-fi blockbuster Divergent were unexpectedly revealed last week as the internet exploded over the colors of a dress.  This time instead of five factions, however, there will be only two:  those who see the colors as black and blue and those who see them as white and gold.

And if some see the dress both as black and blue and white and gold – what faction will they be in?  Why, of course, those are the Divergents, and their fate will be the knowledge that mother-of-the-bride dresses are neither black nor white but, um, varying shades of grey?

Ok, I’m just being silly. But who can resist the urge to have some pop culture mashup fun with two recent Hollywood blockbusters and that internet phenom otherwise known as “the Dress.”    It’s my version of cat video therapy.

Well, in honor of strange juxtapositions that can arise only because of the internet, I’ve created a dessert for the Divergents among us.  It’s a chocolate blueberry cake topped with whipped mascarpone cheese and lemon zest and garnished with wild blueberry syrup.  Is the cake black, or is it blue?  What about the topping?  Would you call it white with streaks of blue and gold?  Or is it white and blue with gold flecks?

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Chocolate Ganache & Strawberry Jam on Buttered Toast

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With Valentine’s Day arriving tomorrow, images of chocolate-dipped strawberries are everywhere.   Appearing all over the internet, in grocery and retail stores, and on special menus in restaurants all over town, their pervasiveness is a constant reminder that the holiday of love is almost upon us.

Now, don’t get me wrong.   I love chocolate-dipped strawberries as much as the next person. And in previous years, they were definitely a welcome gift.

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Less is More Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

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A favorite holiday tradition I discovered a few years ago was Starbucks’ chocolate cinnamon bread.  Have you tried it?  It appeared in shops about this time of the year and stayed through the end of the holiday season.  Unfortunately, following Starbucks’ menu changes earlier this year, this particular item seems to have been eliminated for good.

So, what to do?  Make my own, of course. Read More