My wonderful friend Anne left Portland for grad school last summer and left us her sweet cat Phoebe. Phoebe had the softest fur and prettiest eyes of any cat ever and at seventeen dozed all day. Perhaps it was her venerable status that kept the other animals in check, or maybe they believed her when she told them she could set fire to them with her mind, but she was bewilderingly in charge of the other cat and dog. Every lap was hers! Last week she started sleeping even more and stopped eating and drinking. She declined pretty quickly and gracefully. She held in until the kids got home from school yesterday. I made her a cozy bed, and Fox Boy pet her until she died.
I’m so proud to see how reverent and loving he was. He had a special connection to Phoebe, and her death made him sad, but with a very mature and undramatic grief. We buried her deep under the rosebushes to give them life!
Luckily we were doing France for our world food night- we all needed some comfort food! I made Croque Monsieur; a sandwich with lovely bread, ham and béchamel sauce( or what my kids call “Macaroni and cheese sauce”). I made my favorite Niçoise salad and chocolate creme brûlée. Mmmmmm! This made the world right on its axis a little, although all that richness may have been too much as I dreamed all night about Phoebe crawling out of her grave. Don’t be intimidated by Creme brûlée, it is surprisingly simple and forgiving. I realized I was out of vanilla and the only liqueur in the house was a few fingers of a very ancient bottle ofGodiva chocolate Liqueur. I made it work and it was delicious!
2 TBLS chocolate liqueur
1 large egg
4 large egg yokes
1/2 cup plus a TBLS sugar
Small handful of chocolate chips
Pre- heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small pan, heat the cream until scalded but not boiling. Remove from heat and throw in chocolate chips and stir. Throw eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Slowly whip in cream, then liqueur. Put the kettle on. Put some ramekins, small bowls or teacups in a large Pyrex pan. When the water boils, pour into the smacked in the pan around the cups, filling as high as you can without getting your custard wet. Throw the pan in the oven for about 30 minutes until the custard sets but is still jiggly. Cool in the fridge. Now the fun part! Pour a little sugar on top of each custard and swirl it around so it sticks out to the entire top. Use a small butane torch to caramelize the sugar. I have read recipes that say you can use the broiler in the oven for this part, but I say, get the torch. Enjoy being a grownup who gets to use fire to make a fancy dessert!