Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Postcards From Florida

Dear friends, Having a grand time… Wish you were here! The sun is shining, the watermelon is chilled and we are just kicking back and relaxing as one can only do in Florida…

Hola Chicas! It is 100°F today and most likely not many degrees cooler in the shade. The dog is flattened out on the cool tile floor and we huddle around the air conditioner as we catch up on a year’s worth of bad TV. FBI agents and serial killers, tattooed, mustachioed dudes refurbishing sleek, low-slung bikes fill our days as we wait for the afternoon when we can drive over to Andrew’s house and jump in the pool. The boys are getting along like a house on fire!

Clem in the pool

Simon in the pool

Hey gang: Eating like there is no tomorrow! Sandwiches, ice cream, bbq, deli and the best of it all: dinner at Andrew and Caroline’s, grilled burgers and dogs, take-out pizza or Caroline’s luscious marinated steak with all the fixings. Followed, of course, by board games or Wii golf. And lots of laughter. xoxo thinking of you!

Simon, Clem & Andrew eating birthday cake

Dear old friend: Potluck dinner or cookout around the pool, catching up with old high school and youth group friends, the time spent chattering about kids and grandkids, travels and life changes. And laughing over memories, crazy things we did all those years before. I stare at these friends and see a roomful of 18 year olds, and I am amazed that we have all grown up, stunned that we have kids and even grandkids. Yet friends we still are despite the years we have been apart, out of touch. And we have before us a new generation of kind, smart, generous children, men and women now, too.

Livin' those high school years again!

With the groovy chicks Paige & Terri

Do the girls like Jamie's baking? Hmmm?

Jamie baked Mixed Berry Pie & Boston Cream Pie!

With Lee & Debbie

Dear Deeba, While you are redoing your kitchen, I have my feet up and am doing absolutely nothing! I have 3 egg whites aging in the fridge, leftover from the pastry cream in my Boston Cream Pie, but do I have the energy to make macarons for this month’s Mac Attack? Maybe if I make them all chocolate my mom will eat them on her own. She is the true chocolate addict! Miss you, Sistah!

Dear Meeta and Jeanne, you will be proud to know that I bought myself a stunning pair of red patent leather pumps! Gorgeous! I also filled up on books: food memoirs, to be exact. The more the merrier. Have bought no dvd’s. The men have also been shopping. Wish you were here to shop with me!

Dear Ilva, I combed through mom’s curio cabinets and found a treasure trove of antique silver serving pieces… props! I said to my mother “All of those years that you were collecting antiques something in your subconscious must have told you that one day one of your children would have a food blog!” LOL! And then I slipped them into my waiting suitcase. Hope you are well, dear, and am thinking of you. Stay cool! Stai bene!

Dear Kerrin, Chocolate is the word! I know that you will appreciate this old American favorite in all its luscious chocolate goodness! Dug out mom’s 1953 Better Homes & Garden New Cookbook and found the best recipe in the book: Chocolate Chiffon Pie. Amazing! Light and creamy smooth with a fabulous chocolate bar flavor and smothered under a layer of freshly whipped cream. Wish you had been here to share it with me!

Miss you all and wish you were here! If I could send each and every one of you a Florida postcard know that I would. With sand in my toes and sunglasses perched on the top of my head, I am trying to pick up the computer and write while the men are off fishing. Words run through my head although it is too hot to bake and my body has succumbed to Florida laziness. More than halfway through this family vacation and we are just chilling out in the steamy, muggy heat. Thinking of you…. xoxo

Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, 1953 edition

1 pre-baked 10-inch sweet pastry shell *
2 1-ounce squares unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup boiling water
1 Tbs powdered unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cold water
3 eggs, separated
½ cup + ½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups (500 ml) heavy whipping cream + sugar to taste

* This recipe is perfect with my favorite Sweet Pastry Crust. Recipe and instructions to pre-bake the shell are here.

Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the cold water and stir. Leave to soften for 5 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in the boiling water; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir the cold water with the softened gelatin into the chocolate water and stir. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes while preparing the batter.

In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks with ½ cup of the granulated sugar until creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Slowly pour the chocolate/gelatin mixture into the egg yolk mixture as you beat on low speed until completely incorporated.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the 3 egg whites on high speed until foamy. As you are beating, very gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar. Beat until all the sugar has been added and the whites are very thick, creamy and glossy like a marshmallow meringue.

Using a large spatula, gently fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture until completely incorporated. Pour into the pre-baked and cooled pie shell. Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill and set. If it is very hot or you are in a rush, you can place the pie in the freezer and it will set much faster.

Before serving, whip the heavy cream until thick. Add sugar little by little as you continue to beat the cream until the desired sweetness and the cream is very thick. Spread the whipped cream onto the top of the Chocolate Chiffon Pie and decorate with chocolate shavings or curls. Keep refrigerated until ready to slice and serve.


Anh said...

oh my god. What a fantastic pie!

And I like the new look of the blog as well!

El said...

Glad you're having a great time with great pie. And by the way, the website looks fabulous!

Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle said...

My first cookbook, the one given to be before I got married was the Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cookbook. That was probably hmm, 1970 something.

So when I saw your recipe I had to check and sure enough...there it is. Almost identical but I guess new now means a separate list for pie ingredients vs the ingredients for the meringue for the filling!

Love how some things stay the same and some things like a good chocolate chiffon pie satisfy; no matcha, no truffles, nothing current and 'gourmet' - nothing but GOOD.

Hope you're having fun in FL; love the new site design; my eyes are very happy and we had better talk before you split back across 'the pond.'

Tangled Noodle said...

Love your vacation 'postcards' and this classic chocolate chiffon pie. Wish I were there, too! 8-)

Heidi Leon Monges said...

oh, what a wonderful family vacation. I do wish I were there with you eating that fantastic pie :-)

ps: the new look of Life's a feast is gorgeous.

Ken said...

Glad you are having a great time and still make time to write a delicious post for all your fans.

faithy, the baker said...

This is wonderful and delish! Pies has always been in my to bake list but somehow i never got around baking them. Looking at yours and that 'chiffon layer' makes my mouth waters!

elra said...

Jaime, you look fabulous :)

I never made this chiffon pie before, it looks delicious.

Cristie said...

Some old reicpes just never die. I made a strawberry chiffon pie for my husbands birthday that is 30 years old and we all fell in love all over again. How wonderful to be in Florida with your brother and son's. Enjoy every minute.

MeetaK said...

oh absolutely amazing! i love seeing the pics of all your family! now that i "met" some of them i feel close! the cake looks scrumptious and i bet everyone really dug into it. come back soon saucy! missing you!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It looks like you had a wonderful time there! That chiffon pie looks terrific!



Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf.ch said...

love the new design jamie, fabulous !! bravo to the boys for taking over here. and not only because blue is my favorite color ! ;)

and i loooove your postcards above, especially the extra sweet one with my name on it, ha ha ! thank you !! 1953 chocolate chiffon pie, doesn't get more american than that ! wish i were there to share, and dab a little whipped cream on your nose too :)

görel said...

It sounds like you're having a great time, good for you! And those are two handsome boys you've got.

Very pretty blog design!

Ana Powell said...

Another fabulous post.
Lovely and delicious pie.
Wishing you a great week ♥

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Jamie's baking looks so good and homely. And this pie is a fantastic recipe! Looks so so appetising.

Sanjeeta kk said...

Lovely read and an equally good recipe.

Cathy said...

It looks like you are enjoying a fantastic vacation, Jamie. Chocolate pie is one of my all time favorite desserts. I've made something similar for years. Yum.

lisaiscooking said...

I can't wait for some lazy days of vacation (coming up in a few weeks)! Sounds like you're having a great time. Beautiful chocolate chiffon pie. What a lovely summer dessert!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Glad you are having loads of fun in the sun :). I love the look of this pie, there is something so retro about it.
*kisses* HH

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

Mmmm, send some of that pie over here, chica!! And tell me about the "tattooed, mustachioed dudes refurbishing sleek, low-slung bikes" - you wouldn't be talking about Sons of Anarchy, now would you?!? OMG, the blonde dude... :o) Give me strength. Zesty has got to see him! Lovely post - I like the final postcard best. I look at my Spice Girls and I KNOW that deep down we are all still 18 ;-)

Barbara Bakes said...

Thanks for sharing your postcards. I'm so happy I'm part of your gang. So glad you're enjoying your vacation. It must be so nice to be with both your sons and enjoying fabulous chocolate pie.

s said...

great post as usual..and the pie is just fantastic!

mlaiuppa said...

This is the recipe I"ve been waiting for.

Thirty years ago, when I first started teaching and the cafeterias all used to cook from scratch, there were two desserts I just couldn't resist.

One was peanut butter chews. The local paper eventually printed the recipe.

The other was chocolate mint pie. It was fabulous because it was just the subtlest hint of mint an the chocolate wasn't soft and slumpy like chocolate pudding but firm yet light, like a mousse but not really. I have no idea what that pie was.

But your recipe inspires me. I think I'll try it, only instead of the tsp of vanilla I'll put in a quarter of a tsp of mint extract and see what develops.

I've done this with Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies so I think the proportion is about right.

My Mother is currently going through a craving for chocolate cake and my Dad is a pie person so this may be just the thing. Perhaps I'll make a pie for my visit Friday night.

Thanks so much.

And loved your entry at Huffington Post. I'm still not brave enough to try macarons, but I will someday.

UrMomCooks said...

Good lookin summer pie!!! Nothing goes better with family and friends! (Been to Florida many times in the summer to visit family! Every time we say "How come we don't come here when it isn't 100 degrees and humid as all h#*+") Cuz family and friends make it all worthwhile, that's why!

JulieD said...

I agree with Anh...I love the new look of the blog. :) I love that blue too. Looks like you're having fun. I swear this is my hottest summer in Florida...LOL!

Pie looks sooo yummy!

RV said...

1953 recipe, wow. I would definitely want to try this one. Glad to know that you are having lots of fun with your family and friends. Have a blast!!

Marcellina said...

Chocolate chiffon Pie is always a hit! Yours looks beautiful! I haven't made this in years. My kids would love it! I must rekindle it. Thanks for the reminder!

Mary said...

Your pie has taken me down memory lane. I'll wager the pie is every bit as good now as it was back in the day. I love the new look your blog now has. It is much lighter than before and much easier for these old eyes to read. I hope you continue to have a wonderful vacation. Blessings...Mary

The Duo Dishes said...

Well now, you are living and loving life right now. That's a great way to dive into vacation.

GStaples said...

What a great vacation! Isn't it fun to go and visit with high school friends. Love the pie!!!!!

Deeba PAB said...

What an absolutely STUNNING pie sistah, and lovely to see SO MANY people pictures. Loved virtually meeting Clem & Simon {no JP but I've met him, so OK}. Love that you got to meet the old high school bunch, and unleashed your fabulous baking on them! WOW!! You had fun, and I'm so glad! Red patent leather pumps...woot woot! And Mum's silver... yeah girl... YOU ROCK!

shaz said...

How did I miss these lovely postcards? You had me at the chiffon pie, but then you absolutely won me for life with boston cream pie...yum! It's definitely something I'm going to have to try soon.

Reeni said...

What a cute post! And there's nothing better than a slice of cold pie after a day in the sun! Except cold, CHOCOLATE pie. Irresistible!

Sophie said...

It looked that you had fun enjoying yourselfs in Florida!!

A good holiday & remembering good old times with friends will do that to you!

This chocolate chiffon pie looks outstanding!


asiangrrl said...

I gotta say, for the first time, the picture of the food completely overwhelmed me. I did manage to shudder at the temp, but mostly, I could only drool over the pie.

Cara said...

My grandmother use to make chiffon pies. She is getting where she can't anymore and we couldn't make it home this year. So I was looking for a chocolate chiffon pie recipe and found this one. It was SO good. More trouble than I expected, but really good and worth it. My son and I had a good time making this together and I have some great photos to prove it.


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