While the American supermarket has every item that I want on a daily basis, sometimes I want to dress up, go to a fancy specialty food store, and make my pantry feel pretty. This was part of the reason LA and I ended up in South Park: I wanted to go to Dean & Deluca. I love Dean & Deluca. Mainly I love to go there and wish I had the money to buy all the things that they sell. I stand at the chocolate counter and stare in amazement like a...well, like a kid in a candy store. Fleur de sel caramel chocolates, strawberry balsamic chocolates, peach caramel chocolates. I want it all. But it's not just the candy.
They have a great selection of sanding sugars for baking, raspberry shallot mustard, a million types of salt. Plus they have a spectacular cheese and charcuterie section. We were looking at the cheeses and were offered some samples. First up, a smoked blue cheese. I can honestly say I'd never had one of those before. Not a creamy blue, it was still very smooth, with a mellowness brought about by the smoking. I didn't think it could get better. Next we had an ashed goat's milk cheese. I was surprised when LA took a piece, since he usually is fairly vocal about his dislike of goat cheese. The middle of the cheese had the slightly chalky consistency typical of a fresh goat's milk cheese, it was very creamy around the edges, similar in texture to a Camembert. LA and I both liked that one, although not as much as the blue. Finally, we were offered a piece of an aged sheep's milk cheese. When LA grabbed it, I knew he hadn't heard what she said. We both bit into it and declared it the best of the three. It was nutty and reminded me of Gruyere. While LA was contemplating buying some of it, I said, "It's sheep's milk", at which point he began to gag and carry on like it was the most disgusting thing he'd ever eaten. I reminded him that, only moments before, he'd loved it. Didn't matter. The love affair was over. He continued gagging until I took him to one of the sample stations around the store and he got a piece of bread.
We also considered buying some "Pepper Delights", although the card was laying on its side and I thought they were called "Peter's Delights". I'd hate to think of what those are. The Pepper Delights were small green peppers stuffed with prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella. A couple customers assured me that they were addictive. I asked the quite-attractive counterman if they were spicy at all. He said that they were far too spicy for him, but maybe we'd like them. After the issue 6 feet away at the cheese counter, I decided to forego the Pepper Delights. I didn't have any bread in the car to feed LA if he didn't like those. So far, I had avoided all traps, but I was unable to resist the pastries. My heart was set on a lemon meringue tart, but, at $7, my wallet was against it. My wallet won. I settled for a lemon cupcake. Which I ate the following day. That thing was huge! I ate it in one sitting and regretted it for several hours. I'm not used to having so much sugar in my stomach at one time. I had initially planned on eating the cupcake right away (in front of LA), so I needed a beverage with which to wash it down. Dean & Deluca carries bottled water in the shape of a flask! Was there any way for me not to buy it? I think not. Apparently I got some looks later, in the car, while I was taking a drink from it at a stoplight. I was actually proud of myself and the restraint that I showed in Dean & Deluca. I would've happily walked out of there with my arms (and LA's) full of gourmet delights. That will have to wait until the next trip.
Besides not wanting to torment LA, my other reason for not eating the cupcake right away was that I'd been informed I would be doing some pie testing later. I'm not much of a sugar fiend, so I have to limit myself to a small amount per day. When we got back to LA's, he provided me with slices of two pies. The first pie was a peanut butter pie, whose recipe had been given to him by a non-cooking friend. One cup of peanut butter, one cup of sugar, and two containers of whipped topping, combined and plopped into a graham cracker crust. I'm not a big peanut butter fan. I like it with jelly, and that's about it. I took a small sliver of that and still only ate half of it. If you are a peanut butter fan, then it's a great pie. He served it straight from the freezer, making it incredibly convenient as well. If you want an easy dessert for a hot summer night, that may be the way to go. Unless you don't like peanut butter. That's where the second pie comes in.
The next pie was blueberry yum yum. And it really was yum yum. Blueberry pie filling, sugar, Dream Whip, and cream cheese in a graham cracker crust. I'm not typically a fan of blueberries, but this was so good. LA gave me a small piece and took the larger piece. In retrospect, I should've distracted him and took the larger piece when he wasn't looking. The yum yum can be made with any berry pie filling, and, like the peanut butter pie, can be made and kept in the freezer. Both pies only require assembly. If LA can do it, so can you! (He'd probably tell you that, too.)
As a side note, I'm a little behind on my Saturday Night Live, but I caught an episode in which Zach Galifianakis (who I love), as a gay beauty pageant dad, tells his wife, "You smell like a bunch of stinky ol' Bojangles sausage biscuits." Do they even know what those are in New York? I, for one, love a Bojangles sausage biscuit. With some Bo-rounds. Hmmm, I might be going out for breakfast.
Blueberry Yum Yum
from L.A. Berlyn
1 purchased graham cracker pie crust
2 cans blueberry pie filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 box (2 packets) powdered dessert topping mix
2 16 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
Combine sugar, dessert topping mix, cream cheese and milk. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the pie crust. Top with the pie filling. Spread with the remaining half of the cream cheese mixture for a marbled look. To have a white cream topping, pipe the remaining cream cheese mixture on top, rather than spreading it.