"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt."
                                                                                  --- Lucy Van Pelt, Peanuts



Clearly we love chocolate all year long ! Of course, as you know it’s a "must-do" on a regular basis ... for medicinal purposes. But in the heat of summer ... a little softened version of deep dark chocolate is what we crave. We want all of the rich flavor (and anti-oxidants) without that heavy feeling of too much of a good thing. Our solutions to this grave problem follows.

Not to be forgotten, in the summer season when we’re

surrounded by fresh berries, melons, and stone fruit, ... taking the time to dip fruits into chocolate, grill fruits and drizzle with chocolate sauce, create a buffet of make-your-own-Banana Splits or prepare Ice Cream Pie with berries separating the various ice cream layers and a dash of chocolate atop. A-h-h-h-life is good.

"Life is like a box of chocolates ... you never know what you’re gonna get."
                                                                                                                   ---- Forrest Gump


For thirty-five summers in my life, summer wasn’t summer in New York without at least one trip to Serendipity for their signature drink, Frozen Hot Chocolate. It was always simply splendiferous to sit amidst an assortment of kids of every age on their white ice cream parlor chairs beneath the real Tiffany shades being served huge balloon soda glasses of glacial chocolate always with two straws for sharing . We’d gasp every time it was set before us. Could it be possible to eat that entire glass along with the mountain of whipped cream on top.? Well, it always was.

These days we like the serving slightly smaller, the chocolate slightly richer, yet we’ve kept that icy chill so thrilling on a hot day, and the generous dollop of cream atop. No reason to grow up now, it’s too late. Serves 4 or 2 magnificent appetites.

• ¾ cup whole or low fat milk
• 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (Dutch process)
• 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (we like Ghirardelli)
• 3 cups ice cubes
• 3 scoops chocolate ice cream (Haagan Dazs or similar quality)
• Whipped Cream and chocolate shavings for serving

1. In a small saucepan, heat 2/3 of the milk with the cocoa powder, just until it beings to boil. Remove from the heat and drop in the chocolate stirring until it is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Using a blender, mix the chocolate with the rest of the milk, the ice cubes and ice cream until it is completely smooth. Divide into glasses (Margarita glasses, Martini glasses, the prettier the better), top with a generous dollop of whipped cream (we like ours with a little sour cream mixed in) and shaved chocolate. Red and white straws dazzle all.

"Everyone has a price, mine is chocolate." --- Julia Child


These tangy little bites were a gift from my mailman one day. Who knew that he had been a chef at one of my favorite local restaurants years ago. You just never know when someone you see every day is going to bring an idea right to your own front door. These take minutes to make, have that little goat cheese tang, are chocolaty as can be, and take no time to disappear. Makes a zillion.

• 6 ounces of fresh goat cheese, or goat cheese rounds, softened
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 12 ounces chocolate chips, melted (we prefer Ghirardelli)
• Cocoa powder

"There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles."      --- Anon

1. Cream the goat cheese and vanilla by hand with a spoon. Melt the chocolate chips and combine with the cheese mixture until smooth. With your fingers form into one-inch balls, or even smaller, and chill. After they are firm, roll in cocoa powder. Refrigerate until 10 minutes before serving.

"Nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen."  --- Lucy Arnaz


Ferran Adria’s upcoming book, "The Family Meal" is anxiously anticipated by this cook. We have been granted more than our share of reservations at El Bulli over the years, only to have to cancel for one reason or another. And so, I’ve enjoyed only vicariously for years Adria’s cooking ... through the mouthwatering descriptions of those lucky ones who have made the pilgrimage to Roses, Spain and by scanning his fabulously photographed books. When Mark Bittman had the good fortune to cook with Adria and then share the recipes in the NYT Magazine on July 3rd, this was my breakfast Since then we’ve served it as a snack, and a dessert when we were grilling poolside. This is so simple, yet with that special twist of olive oil and sea salt. It’s like enjoying a Picasso from his sketchbook. The artist is a genius, and even in the simplest of dishes, it shines through. The book comes out this Fall. Pre-order if you can. Serves 6.

• 6 thick slices of country-style bread (about 10 ounces total)
• 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 60 percent cocoa) coarsely grated, (Microplane helps, or in my haste, I chopped some chocolate chips until quite fine)
• ¼ cup olive oil, best quality
• ½ teaspoon sea salt

1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Put the bread on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown on both sides, 5-7 minutes total. Or, we’ve toasted it on the grill if it's hot.
2. Spoon the chocolate over the toast in a thin, even layer. Drizzle with the oil and holding the salt at least twenty inches high, sprinkle with salt. Devour.

"Ideas should be clear and chocolate thick." --- Spanish Proverb


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