Chocolate Decadence Cake:
The Ultimate Chocolate Experience

The ultimate chocolate experience, a dense, moist and ultra-rich almost-flourless chocolate cake. A perfect dessert recipe for a romantic evening, serve in small slivers!
"This was easy and great! ... like a dessert at a fancy restaurant." ~
A perfect finalé for a Valentine’s feast, this chocolate cake makes up so easily and tastes so delicious, you may soon turn to it for special occasions and everyday events alike.It was my contribution to a Sunday-afternoon hike last fall. Our group ranged from a nine-year old with dimples to my 76-year old Dad who more than managed to keep up.Though the sky was gray and the air brisk, the autumn leaves were at peak color, rich with russet and orange. We kept warm trekking through a park where we crossed woodland, river, prairie and marsh ecosystems in a couple of hours.Our motto might well have been, “Eat to hike, hike to eat.” At trail’s end, we sat down to hearty split-pea soup, fresh bread with pepper-sausage, cheese and p…

Crockpot Chili with Spicy Sausage
(My Sister’s Favorite Chili Recipe)

The favorite chili recipe from our family cookbook, made with simple but beautifully balanced ingredients. The technique is simple too, just brown the ground beef and spicy pork sausage, dump everything else in, then cook slowly. A cousin calls my sister's sausage chili recipe “magnificent"! I agree – it's now my own go-to recipe for hearty, man-friendly chili.
“...what a great chili recipe. It's got just the right amount of spice, the right amount of meat." ~ Anonymous
In 2003, my family on my mother’s side published a family cookbook, collecting 350 recipes from more than a dozen families and three countries. What a collection of tried-and-true family recipes!At family gatherings, we stand in the kitchen – fussing over the food, of course – and compare notes from the cookbook. "Did you try Laura’s Carrot Soup?" "What about That Pink Salad?"Still, some times a great recipe is overlooked until someone saves the day, as happened when…

Beef Bourguignon

The classic French beef stew, beef marinated and then slowly braised in wine. Worthy of a special occasion. Just making it may create an occasion! Beef Bourguignon is a luxurious beef stew. (Stew?!) So says me, paraphrasing Julia Child who stripped pâté of all pretension by deconstructing it to ‘luxurious cold meatloaf’. (Meatloaf?!) Made with meat, wine and vegetables, Beef Bourguignon is nothing more than beef stew -- and at the same time, much more.My two favorite beef stew recipes – Beef and Mushroom Stew and Winter Stew – find their way to the table in a couple of hours.At the other end of the time spectrum is Beef Bourguignon, made over three days. It uses all the same ingredients but feels like quite a production, in fact IS quite a production, the stuff of which lore is made. So yes, Beef Bourguignon is beef stew but making it, well, it’s deserving of an occasion.An occasion is just what happened this month when life converged: friends mentioned wanting to try elk meat, an eas…