How do you say thank you… and goodbye in the same breath? I apologize for this post to those of you who really just want to read about food, flowers, and entertaining. But food for me has always involved relationships and family.
I have learned that food, entertaining and the happiness it brings opens you up to new friendships and that is why we need to make sharing a meal with friends at our own tables a part of our lives. I am fortunate to adore my clients… I really do enjoy working with and for them. But there are a few people who seem to shine so brightly. The friend and client I am speaking of had a combination of truth, kindness, brilliance, and she touched my life in a very special way. And of course she was a dog lover like me.
I started cooking for this amazing woman who encouraged me to go down this path. We started talking about her style, her favorite flavors and spices, the way she wanted to entertain, and the importance of enjoying her home and sharing her home with others. This relationship morphed into weekly cooking and special diners for family and friends. And then we became friends, good friends, and this is the gift that food gave me a wonderful, honest, caring, reciprocal friendship. It was like an angel landed into my life because as much as I did for her she gave back to me in encouragement, honesty, laughter, and support. I cannot say enough about how special Elizabeth Cheval was.
We never know where life will lead us, it is a journey and on the way if we meet one or two truly exceptional people how lucky are we.
If we can call them friends then we are even more fortunate. So I am a very rich person because of “food”. It has brought me these treasured friendships and it has warmed my soul when family gathers, and it has opened up roads for me yet to explore.
One of Liz’s favorite guilty pleasures were my Brownies. She would call me to make a batch to bring to the office for a special meeting or to bring as her dessert addition to a friend’s home for an evening… or just the need to have a few in the freezer to sneak and enjoy when she needed a bit of sweetness in her life! I am reworking them as “Liz’s Best Turtle Brownies”. I will forever think of her when I make them. Thank you Liz for your inspiration!
I use this brownie recipe, placing ½ of the brownie mixture into the pan. I make homemade Carmel sauce. The recipe is Ina Garten’s and referenced below. I put about ½ cup of pecan halves on the brownie mixture. Then I pour ½ cup of the Carmel sauce on top. Next I spread the rest of the brownie mixture on top and bake. The final step is to place in fridge for an hour cut and serve!
RECIPE: Caramel Sauce
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 1/3 cup water
• 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
• ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.
• Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir.
• Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly.
• Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don’t worry – the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.
• Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.