Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Pudding

I've never been a fan of chocolate pudding. It always seemed like a waste of dessert for me. If I'm going to eat chocolate, I'm going to eat CHOCOLATE. And if I'm going to eat my dessert with a spoon, I'm going to eat ice cream, and really eat my dessert with a spoon. Chocolate pudding was relegated to something to eat when I had teeth pulled (a common occurence when I was a child, unfortunately), or when my throat was so swollen that I couldn't eat anything else.

The thing that I never realized before was that there is chocolate pudding that is not Jell-O pudding. This chocolate pudding is not Jell-O pudding. This chocolate pudding does not deserve to have to share a name with Jell-O pudding. This chocolate pudding almost isn't pudding...it's chocolate divintiy in a glass. It is like no other "pudding" I have ever tasted before.

So, the process. It was a little involved, and I made it while I wasn't feeling well. There were a lot of steps. Melt the chocolate. Bring the milk and the sugar to a boil. Pulse together the dry ingredients. Pulse together the eggs and sugar. Run the machine while adding the hot milk. Put the whole thing back over the heat. Pulse it all again. Add the butter and chocolate. Spoon it into glasses and refrigerate for what felt like an unfair amount of time. Why bother with all of this when you can just add some powder to some milk and have chocolate pudding?

The answer, upon tasting the results, is obvious. This is something beyong pudding. This is almost mousse-like. This holds its bittersweet flavor and therefore isn't cloyingly sweet like the boxed variety. This pudding does not need to be a component. It is a wonderful, satisfying dessert all on its own--yes, even without whipped cream. This chocolate pudding is well worth the extra steps. This chocolate pudding, it turns out, is anything other than a waste of dessert.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chickpea-Kale Stew with Chorizo

I had a whole, long post typed out catching up from the last time I posted, and my computer just ate it. Gone. So, out of sheer laziness, I am picking up with tonight. Sorry about the lack of catch up.

Lately, I've been inundated with greens from my CSA. The list of items I am getting is long, but most of them fall into the same category--leafy greens. Now, I might get kicked out of the kind-of-crunchy club for saying this, but I don't like dark leafy greens. I'm sorry. I just don't. I love spinach. I've learned to like chard, but it has taken work. Kale? Escarole? Collards? They kind of make my stomach turn.

I recognize that early in the growing season--spring and early summer up here in New Hampshire--are the time for greens. I've read Animal Vegetable Miracle, and I know what the vegetannual looks like. I know leaves come first. I wish I could feel a burst of excitment when I see piles of greens on my table after our pick up at the CSA. But, I don't. All I see is a bump in the road that I have to pass on the way to my favorites--the summer squash and zucchini and tomatoes and carrots and potatoes and basil.

Bump in the road or not, the greens have to be consumed. I cannot stand by and let a farmer's hard work go to waste--especially not a farmer I have to look in the eye the next time I pick up my share. And so the hunt is on. I need to find recipes that incorporate greens without making me gag.

I was shocked. I found one tonight. Not only did it not make me gag, but I liked it. I mean, really, actually liked it. The recipe is for Chickpea-Kale Stew with Chorizo, originally from the December 2007 issue of Cooking Light. I used chorizo that is made at a local butcher out of happy pigs (well, probably not happy anymore, but they lived happy, healthy, uncaged lives). I also used canned chickpeas, because that was just easier for my time schedule. If you make this recipe, do not leave out the lemon wedges. They give the whole stew a new spin and bring everything together. Ultimately, it was the lemon that made the kale--dare I say it?--taste good to me.

Overall, I've learned two valuable lessons tonight. Next time I'm looking for a kale recipe, look for one that incorporates lemon juice. They seem to go well together. The other lesson is one that I probably knew before, but kale made me doubt. If I look hard enough for a good recipe, and keep trying without giving up, I can learn to like any vegetable in at least one application. Thank you, Cooking Light, for finding the key to kale for me.