Strawberry Shortcake

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“Whoah,” you’re probably thinking, “am I on drugs? What’s going on here? That picture, it’s so good, so professional, so unlike any picture I’ve ever seen on this blog before. What gives?!”

I’ll tell you what gives: I didn’t take that picture! (Collective gasp.) No, that picture was taken by my new best friend for the next year or so. Say hello to Elizabeth Leitzell (here’s the link to her website), the new snapshot photographer who’ll be coming along with me taking pictures of me cooking with famous chefs for the cookbook I’m writing for Artisan. Last week, I cooked a dinner for her and my book intern Tyla Fowler (the blogger behind Without a Microwave) as a gesture of good will before the cookbook work begins.

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Tartufo at Lupa

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The Brown Bonnet from Carvel Ice Cream was a staple of my childhood. It’s hard to believe it now, but our family would ride our bikes together to the Carvel on Long Beach Road in Oceanside, Long Island, where I grew up. We’d dismount, mosey inside and place our orders and my parents’ orders were always the same: a brown bonnet for my dad, a brown bonnet for my mom. What’s a brown bonnet? Essentially: soft-serve ice cream dipped in a chocolate glaze that instantly hardens. You can get it at the Mr. Softee truck in New York; there it’s just called a chocolate-dip. Wherever you get it, there’s something immensely satisfying about ice cream in a chocolate shell. And after years of brown bonnets and chocolate-dips at Mr. Softee, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the magical combo of chocolate on the outside and ice cream on the inside—that is, until I had the tartufo at Lupa.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

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For those of you daunted by the rainbow cookie recipe, fear not: here’s a one-pot dessert sauce that, with a tub of good vanilla ice cream (I like Häagen-Dazs), will transform your entire weekend. It’s salty, it’s sticky, it’s sweet and it takes just a few minutes.

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Chocolate Mousse

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There is only one dessert to eat after Coq au Vin and that dessert is chocolate mousse. Now, if you’re anything like me and you love the movie “Rosemary’s Baby” you won’t pronounce that chocolate mousse, you’ll pronounce it “chocolate mouse” employing your best Ruth Gordon voice. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, get thee to a video store STAT).

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