in my kitchen | sea salt chocolate pot de creme


we had friends in town saturday night and i wanted to finish the meal with something sweet and impressive. admittedly, i'm a really horrible baker so i decided to go with an old childhood favorite that i knew everyone would love.
enter my sea salt bittersweet chocolate pot de creme with fresh whipped cream. 

i promise that you will never regret trying this recipe. except maybe when you can't stop eating it. luckily it's so incredibly rich that i couldn't eat more than one serving. well, i could have if i'd been forced to but i wanted to save the left-overs for breakfast the next day. 
pot de creme is essentially just chocolate pudding with a heaping tablespoon of pretentiousness added in for good measure.

not low-calorie. not low in sugar. not low in fat.

but it's damn good.

so there's that.
sea salt chocolate pot de creme
(serves 6)


the pudding:
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1.5 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
4 tbsp granulated sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp espresso or strong coffee
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of maldon sea salt

the whipped cream:
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, combine the sugar, milk, cream, egg yolks, espresso, and vanilla. whisk continuously for about five or six minutes to ensure that you don't scramble the yolks. when it begins to really thicken, switch to a wooden spoon. add the cinnamon. when it's thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, turn off the heat. 
pour the chocolate chunks into a large mixing bowl. place a metal sieve on top of the bowl. slowly, pour the cream mixture through the strainer and over the chocolate. (the strainer ensures that no cooked egg ruins your pudding. scrambled chocolate eggs... gross.) stir the cream and chocolate until the chocolate is completely melted into the cream. it should look shiny but it will also not look completely smooth. but don't worry. when it chills and sets, it will become velvety and flawless. promise!
next, using a ladle or liquid measuring cup, ration the pudding into individual mugs or mason jars- i used paper cups because i'm fancy like that- and allow to cool for about ten minutes. every couple of minutes lightly tap the bottom of the cup or mug against the counter to make any air bubbles rise to the top of the pudding. 

place them in the fridge for four to six hours or even overnight until the pot de cremes are completely set. the finished product should be dense, firm, yet still pillowy. you should be able to turn the mug upside down without it falling out. ps. don't try this until it's chilled for at least a few hours.

before serving, whisk the remaining cold heavy cream in a chilled bowl until firm peaks have formed. add the vanilla and powdered sugar until combined but don't over-beat the cream or you'll have butter. also, the cream has to be cold. you won't get anywhere with warm creams. also, yuck. 
sprinkle the top of the puddings with a little bit of flaky maldon sea salt and dollop on some whipped cream. 

now, enjoy. 

this post was originally featured on my monthly collaboration with littleboogaweezin, in the kitchen with mama + mo. you can see it here.

in my kitchen | green goddess mayo


we had friends in town on saturday night and i made pork and chorizo burgers. instead of slathering plain ol' mayo on the buns and risking the chance of seeming impossibly boring, i made a green goddess 'mayo' instead. luckily, i had a ton left over to use as a dip to entice mo to eat her veggies. 

so, so very good. 
Green Goddess Mayo
(makes about two cups)

oh! and guess what?! 
this 'mayo' is vegan and substantially healthier for you than regular mayo.
well played, c, well played. 


one avocado

handful of cilantro
handful of basil
three or four scallions
one small shallot
juice of one large lemon
juice of one lime
1/2 can diced green chiles 
one garlic clove
1/4-1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

place everything, minus the EVOO, into a food processor or blender with a pour opening. pulse until fairly combined. slowly add in the EVOO until emulsified and your desired texture is achieved. *more EVOO for a dressing-like viscosity, less for more of a dip. 

use it on everything!

five things | i never want to forget


1. i never want to forget the moment you snatched a pair of sample frames off of the table and quickly placed them on the brim of your nose and announced to me, "i's mama! i's mama, mama!!" and then you laughed hysterically at your own humor. man, two is just so, so damn good.

2. i never want to forget wednesday morning on the A train. it was the best people-watching i've been privileged to witness in a while. i'm talking passing the 72nd street station and glancing out the window only to see a homeless man peeing straight onto the tracks in full-view of everyone. i mean, i saw his penis. and it was scary. you know what? i'd actually like to forget that part of it.

3. i never want to forget the way that marlo cocks her head, like a spaniel, when she asks for a cookie.  first to the left for the initial request and then to the right as she makes it less of a request and more of a demand. when i repeat her question to her, i get an overly-enthusiastic nod. we won't discuss what happens when i say no... that isn't even remotely cute. can't say that i blame her, though. i mean, who doesn't love cookies.

4. i never want to forget the amount of time i spend thinking about marlo's pooping habits. i find it so comical that this is what my life has come to- focusing more on a toddlers' bowel movements than i do on myself.

5. i never want to forget that moment when i walked in on mo and her little toddler boyfriend, xavier, laying on his bed and spooning. half very cute, half absolutely terrifying. here's to puberty and adolescence!

WWMW | back to school shopping

i'm surprisingly practical when it comes to buying anything for marlo.

for starters, she's two and will undoubtedly spill something on it the moment i take the tags off. secondly, for the life of me, i can't- and won't- justify spending an ungodly amount of money on her clothes when she's just going to grow out of them in a very few short months. however, since marlo is starting school in the fall, we get to justify a few fun purchases all in the name of learning our abc's.

ps. can i have one of everything in my size, too? please and thank you.

printed jumpsuit | trench coat | bensimon high-top sneakers | black skinny jeans | chambray shirt | mini-dot legging | classic fringe moccasins | peach cords | tweed sweatshirt dress

the 52 project | 29

"a picture of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014."
before i could even blink, you have become this opinionated, wickedly funny, loving little girl. you are all your own and i find you steering away from no longer being my baby more quickly than i'm comfortable with. you pick out your own clothes. you're possessive of your personal space. you have opinions about everything and make sure that they are shared. your favorite color is orange. you prefer green toenails over pink. figuring out exactly what makes you tick and learning about who you are is probably the best part about my job as your mama. i have always and will always love you, mo. but i'm starting to realize that i really, really like you, too.

faye | 1935-2014



i loved her so, so very much.

stubborn, hard-headed to a fault, and blissfully ignorant to what the outside world thought or cared about, my paternal grandmother was the first person to teach me how nurturing your kids through the food that you labored over and placed in front of them was not only one of the easiest ways to turn people into a family, but it was also one of the fastest ways into their hearts.

naturally, faye was the first person to teach me the utter importance of eggs, butter, bacon, and mayonnaise in one's diet.

faye showed me that something as simple as slices of ripe tomatoes between two pieces of cheap white bread could be turned into a sinfully addicting meal just by the power of Duke's Mayonnaise.  worth noting: using miracle whip on a sandwich was equivalent to cursing the virgin Mary on sacred ground. it's one of those things that you just didn't do it. unless you wanted to visit the gates of hell, of course. however, why have a dinky tomato sandwich when you can have a tomato and bacon sandwich on butter-toasted white bread. and, hell, why we're at it, why don't we throw on a fried egg?  i'm thankful for a lot, but conditioning my taste buds to distinguish the difference between mayonnaise brands and to appreciate the perfect amount of crisp on bacon is something that i'll be forever grateful for.

faye also loved the soaps. her stories. from twelve to two, monday through friday, we sat through young & the restless, the bold and the beautiful, guiding light, and as the world turns. once, i asked her why she loved the stories as much as she did and she told me that "just because i'm old as sin doesn't mean that an old woman doesn't need some romance..." touché, faye. touché.

most days she stayed in her house coat until returning into her pajamas before bed which, looking back, i find comforting. faye was always comfortable and not the least bit fussy. i'm very much the same way and i never correlated it until now. i don't own a house coat but i'm the opposite of the fussy, high-maintenance girl. 

she loved my grandfather a tremendous amount. she also loved her kids, maybe even to a fault. she refused to see the bad in anyone even if the truth was blinding to all that could see it.

that right there might be the part that hurts the worst, the wound that is still the most open and raw.

when i made the decision- or, rather, which it was made for me- to not be in my father' life, that decision made the truth real. our estrangement made what she had avoided accepting for so long tangible. because of one reason or another, there were now visible shadows cast by his disease and our complicated relationship... our distance... was the darkest, deepest one.

i felt a lot of guilt about that for an incredibly long time. i wondered if she would ever forgive me for needing space, for needing to distance myself from the constant reminders of the relationship i didn't have with her son. i was no fan of his but i loved her. and i really loved his siblings.

after marlo was born, i was able to reconnect with my family. (minus my father. he passed away may 9th, 2010.) there were a lot of tears, a lot of laughs, and a lot of tomato and bacon sandwiches. a lot would remain unspoken because we all knew that it wasn't worth it nor would it change it. we were okay with it because we all loved each other and a barrier between my father and me never changed that and it never would.

faye met and held my baby girl. as marlo started rooting, like the southern lady that she is, announced "gahhhh leee, she keeps lookin' for titty! child, you ain't gonna find that in these old sand bags..." some... okay, most... may cringe at the thought of hearing their grandmother utter the word tittes in any context, out loud, ever, particularly when referring to their own set, but, it was just so endearingly faye. i may have inherited a significant aspect of crudeness from that old bird. in any case, she definitely forced my appreciation for it.  

when i was in the fifth grade and my grandfather was hospitalized, i wrote him a letter and left it by his bed. unknowingly to me, a kind nurse put that letter in his left hand after he passed away and i was later told that he was buried with it inside his jacket pocket. in the letter, i told him how much i loved him and how much he meant to our family. and it's true, our family was never the same after he passed. so much has happened to our family since then. but if i were to leave a letter with faye, it would say the same thing.

which is what this letter is saying for me.

i hope she forgave me for my part in what happened. i hope that she was proud of the mother i became and the food that i lovingly cook for my family. i hope that she's proud that i still only eat duke's mayonnaise and think of bacon as a separate food group. i hope that she knows that i laugh loudly like her. i wonder if she's finally convinced that it was indeed her who gave her three children that infamous yarbrough stubbornness. i hope that she's in her favorite housecoat in a plush recliner and watching her favorite stories while my grandfather sits beside her reading an old tom clancy war novel.

so, faye,

my nana,

thank you for the love you spread around your kitchen table. thank you for stressing the importance of romance in one's life. thank you for always saying exactly what was on your mind even if it was the one thing that probably shouldn't have been said. thank you for seeing the good in people, even if it was at your own expense. most importantly, thank you (and neesy!) for preparing marlo her very first bacon, tomato, and fried egg sandwich when we came to see you last year.

ps. oh, and faye, just a small piece of advice: you probably shouldn't say titties in front of god or his son. i imagine their senses of humor aren't nearly as progressive as our own. love you, mean it. 

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