my best friend, curly, is one of those enviably zen people, with a cinematic lifestyle: gardening, farming, cooking, yoga…the usual la lifestyle. its amazing how relaxed a young lady she has grown up to be, with a mother as hypochondriac as hers (i love curly’s mom). we have hypothesized that my mother is actually hers, after discovering that both my mother and curly’s favorite food group is ice cream.

curly and i grew up 10 houses apart on a very steep hill. we now live approximately 2,796 miles apart, as we have for the past 8 years. but despite the distance, i think our relationship has grown stronger, and we have become more and more alike…a perfect example of “convergent evolution”.

her amazing grandmother bobbi passed away almost a year ago to the day. she was a warm and loving woman, who prepared the most excellent chicken soup. upon hearing the sad news last year, i had wished i lived about 2,794 miles closer to curly, but the closest i could get to her that evening was to have her father over for dinner. that evening we celebrated bobbi’s life over a delicious meal, and bingo (appropriate for a celebration of the life of a floridian jew).

we learned several things that evening: that my father shlo-shlo had never before played the game of bingo; that despite my grandpa’s extreme dislike of bingo, he is unbeatable; and that when you don’t have ice cream, pots de creme can do the trick.

recipe: butterscotch pots de creme with caramel popcorn garnish. for bobbi. (adapted from

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tbs dark muscovado sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbs water
2 tbs demerara sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla

6 4 oz ramekins (supposedly this recipe is enough for 6 servings. but lets be real, it is only enough for 4 american portions)

1. put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300°f.

2. bring cream, muscovado sugar, and salt just to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

3. bring water and demerara sugar to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and bubbly, about 5 minutes. remove from heat and carefully add cream mixture (mixture will bubble up and steam), whisking until combined.

4. whisk together yolks and vanilla in a large bowl, then add hot cream mixture in a stream, whisking. pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart glass measure. Skim off any foam with a spoon.

5. divide custard among ramekins. arrange ramekins in a small roasting pan and bake in a hot water bath , uncovered, until custards are set around edges but still tremble slightly in centers, about 40 minutes. transfer ramekins to a rack with tongs and cool to warm or room temperature.

6. garnish with lightly sweetened whipped cream and caramelized popcorn (recipe coming soon).

7. eat and enjoy!