I miss Susie every day. Actually, any-and-everyone who knew her misses her.
our Auntie Mame. Our partner in giggling. A truly dear friend, and the epitome
her color: red lipstick, red nail polish, red (Ferragamo) shoes, red handbags,
red-on-white toile de jouy upholstery. Red, but never garish, tempered by
black, white and a touch of gold - Susie had impeccable taste.
her color for wine. She loved nothing more than sitting in her study, gabbing
over a glass of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio before dinner.
cocktails, we'd head out to dinner, tell stories, and laugh the night away.
Often we'd ask her to retell our favorites of her tales, because we knew
someday she wouldn't be here to recount them: interviewing Gregory Peck for her
radio show; entertaining the young, then unknown, Ronald Reagan and Rhonda
Fleming for a pool party when they were filming in Tucson; the opening night of
South Pacific in New York; seeing Leo Slezeack miss his swan boat in Wagner’s Lohengrin...
occasion, we'd go to a restaurant where there was a piano bar. She would send
one of us over to tip the pianist... and, of course, request some of her
Porter. Jerome Kern. Rodgers and Hammerstein. "And that song from Phantom,
darling. You know the one."
there, in her favorite corner booth, all cozy and "intimes," singing
along with the piano with the biggest smile on her face. She found such joy in
those songs, songs that brought back wonderful memories spanning her almost 90
food. She absolutely abhorred large portions; nothing turned her off more than
an overflowing restaurant plate. She'd often ask a server to bring her just a
half portion, explaining she would gladly pay for the full one.
really loved a good steak - always cooked medium rare - but wanted it served
with only five French fries. Once, the chef at her club sent out six fries and
she sent back word (with a giggle and a wink) that she was not pleased.
favorite dessert was peppermint stick ice cream with chocolate sauce, and
ordered it almost every time we dined out.
of years ago, for what turned out be our last Valentine's Day shared with her,
I made her favorite meal - rack of lamb. For dessert, I combined her favorite
flavors - peppermint and chocolate - in these little peppermint love bites.
had a favorite saying - a motto or an attitude, really - by which she lived. It
was a great way to look at life... "Ah, the hell with it..."
|We all turned out in red to celebrate Susie – she wore black and white!|
you this Valentine's Day... missing our lady in red.
Susie, 14 February 2012
cups all-purpose flour
plus 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
unsweetened cocoa powder
teaspoon sea salt
tablespoons cold unsalted butter, in 24 pieces
teaspoon vanilla extract
teaspoon peppermint extract
teaspoons plus 2/3 cup heavy cream
bittersweet chocolate chips, at least 62 percent
tablespoons chocolate liqueur
cane or several peppermint swirl candies, crushed, for topping
In a food
processor, pulse together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, cocoa powder and sea salt.
Pulse in the butter and vanilla until the mixture just comes together into a
smooth mass. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment or wax paper.
Press the dough into the pan. Prick all over with a fork. Chill for at least 20
minutes and up to 3 days.
oven to 325°F.
Bake the shortbread until firm to the touch and just beginning to pull away
from the sides, about 35 minutes.
the pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Mix remaining 1/2 cup confectioners
sugar, extract and 4 teaspoons cream – spread evenly over shortbread’s surface and let cool
chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, bring the remaining 2/3 cup cream to a
simmer. Pour over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the chocolate
liqueur. Spread over shortbread. Sprinkle candy cane pieces on top. Cool to
room temperature; cover and chill until firm. Using a heart-shaped cookie
cutter, cut the love bites out and place on a platter or individual serving
plates. (Any leftover scraps should be eaten right away, and have no calories…) You can also cut them into
Labels: candy canes, chocolate, ganache, peppermint, shortbread, valentine dessert