January, 2011 Archive

Saturday, January 8, 2011

vanilla bean pudding

vanilla bean pudding

A year ago, I would have told you that any pudding that includes eggs (or butter, cream and various other indulgences unnecessary to yield excellent pudding) is a sham. I have strong feelings about foods that I grew up with, and pudding is one of them. Pudding is thrown together quickly on a stove, thickened with cornstarch, and is the perfect January food, comforting, homey and not especially harmful to those of us still living down December’s butter-fest. And so I make cornstarch puddings; there’s a chocolate one (and a pie) and last year I mentioned briefly making a vanilla pudding but then decided to toast the sugar instead and share with you a caramel pudding.

vanilla bean pulp
stuff you'll need

You would not believe how many people have emailed me in the last year asking for that vanilla pudding. But here’s the thing, vanilla pudding thickened with strictly cornstarch and flavored with vanilla extract is a tasty thing, but not especially dynamic. We liked it, and you might too, but I didn’t want to spend any great amount of time discussing it until I figured out how to make it more enchanting. And I realized, over revisiting the recipe this week, that I actually prefer it with just a single little egg in there for a richer flavor, and that using vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract really really turned the humdrum into the best thing to eat while watching giant, feathery snowflakes twist and twirl outside the window.

heating the milk

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

chard and white bean stew

white bean stew + crouton + egg

High on the list of dishes I’d like to be able to make without a second thought, a special trip to a special store and that I hope to still be cooking when we spend our days in his-and-hers creaking rocking chairs, lamenting that Jacob never calls us anymore, is a hearty white bean stew.

quick-cooking the greens

And never has my need to get a recipe like this down been more urgent, given the following confluence of events: 1. A kid who is getting more and more into rejecting food, but shows a keen interest in beans and anything cooked in a tomato-y sauce. 2. A mama who is near the end of her tether trying to fit an impossible amount of ingredients in her 2 (yes, two) kitchen cabinets and revels in a recipe that will use up multiple cans of beans, a box of tomatoes and a carton of broth and 3. A website audience that will likely hightail it out of here if I present you with one more recipe in a row that hinges on cream and booze, butter and cheese, butter and sprinkles or butter and wine. It’s January, after all, and we have resolutions to attend to! Resolutions that probably do not include butter… That’s for February, after all.

carrots and scrapings

Continued after the jump »