December 2: Oh Bring me a Sticky Pudding

DSC03719Sticky toffee pudding: neither toffee nor pudding. At least not to American sensibilities. (It is, however, by all accounts sticky.)

When I first heard of sticky toffee pudding, I thought it was going to be some kind of Heath bar parfait. So you can imagine my disappointment when I learned that it is really date cake with butterscotch sauce.

This is pudding in the English sense of the word: dessert. The sauce is the toffee part, and the sticky part. And don’t make the same mistake I did at first: it is delicious. If you’re looking to break away from pumpkin and peppermint, this makes a lovely, rich, slightly different holiday dessert.

I’ve made this several times now for birthdays and Christmas. It’s fun (and science experimenty!) to make. Also it impresses people with Dickensian flair.

Do you like fun, science, and showing off? Then sticky toffee pudding is the holiday dessert for you! As usual, I use the recipe in The Joy of Cooking. Continue reading

Breakfast that sticks to your ribs

I like to eat the same thing for breakfast, day after day after day after day, until I can’t take it anymore and switch to something else for the next six months. Right now, I’m going off of toaster waffles with peanut butter and berries and shifting into the oatmeal zone.

I’ve always liked hot cereal. My mom can’t stand it, and my dad doesn’t eat breakfast, so I don’t know where this comes from. But from a very, very young age I was really into the Quaker Oats instant oatmeal variety packs. Then thanks to the magic of the college dining hall experience, I discovered Cream of Wheat and (that crème de la crème of hot cereals!) CoCoWheats.

I don’t spend much time thinking about grits. We don’t see a lot of grits up in these northern parts.

But like I said–at heart I’m an oatmeal girl. Here’s how I do it these days:

Continue reading

It’s what’s for dinner

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared any recipes with you. So, as Dear Prudence says, let’s get to it.

Today is Thursday, also known as “eat like a five-year-old day.” Here’s dinner:

DSC03671

Actually, I’ll have you know, these different types of frozen, breaded appetizers required exactly the same oven temperature and baking time. That, my friends, is art.

Those fried mushroom bites are from the co-op.

What’s that you say? We need a green vegetable?

BAM!

BAM!

Also, I’m not sure if you read the fine print above but there is spinach, or something purporting to be spinach, in the pierogi.

Dish up your favorite condiments, whether it’s one part sriracha-one part plain Greek yogurt, or ranch with several healthy dashes of Clancy’s Fancy. (Wait–you say you don’t dip your fried appetizers in either of those things?)

And enjoy.

Chicken salad–shaken, not stirred

Trigger warning: this post contains graphic images of creamy meat salad.

voilaChicken salad and its siblings have always set off my gag reflex, for  a number of perfectly valid reasons. These include but are not limited to:

  • Quartered grapes
  • Mayonnaise
  • Celery
  • Smooth meat
  • Surprise ingredients

In other words, every single component of this so-called “salad.” But almost exactly a year ago, it suddenly occurred to me that I could make my own chicken salad, my own way. I could replace every ingredient I don’t like with one I do, and maintain complete control. Today, chicken salad. Tomorrow, the world!

It’s easy and has become one of my favorite summer foods. Here’s how I do it. You should feel free to adapt this further to meet the special needs of your own pharynx. Continue reading