August 27, 2009

Okay, I'm feeling like a change. And, the promised recipes...

I've been rattling around for years, yearning for education in something I find relevant and engaging. To me, regular college was absolute drudgery. I slipped out, in relative disenchantment and some degree of disgrace, broke and disappointed. Now, I feel like I've spent enough time in self-imposed penance and want something else. This probably isn't news to anyone, but I love to cook. My kitchen offers a stimulating and creative place for my mind to run wild. I am relatively young, childless, and able to move around the world. My car will be paid off later this year, my lease is up in April. Within the next year or so, I'd like to pack my necessities into boxes, buy a bike rack for the car, and go to Austin to start a new life chapter as a culinary student. be continued.

Now, as promised, RECIPES!

Pasta salad:

2 cups macaroni or other small pasta
1 can chunk white tuna in water, drained
about 2 dozen red grapes, halved
1/2 small yellow or red onion, minced
2 carrots, shredded
2 celery stalks, diced
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
1/4 cup cashews, crushed
1 cup miracle whip or salad dressing of choice
1/4 cup honey mustard

optional shredded cheese of whatever variety pleases you most. Monterrey Jack would be lovely.

Prepare pasta according to directions on box, then rinse thoroughly with cold water, for about 10 minutes. In a 3 or 4 quart bowl, mix everything together. Mix it up gooood so the dressings are coating every bit of that tasty. Serve it up cold with some wheaty crackers. Share some with your momma, she'll think you're awesome. It's colorful and great.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup flour or cornstarch (flour makes a denser pudding, cornstarch makes it more silky)
about 2 cups milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder (upon further thought, I think 4 oz melted unsweetened chocolate would have been tastier. try the ghiradelli 60% cacao baking bar, it's 4oz)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and whisk constantly over medium heat, until the mixture is very golden, about 5 minutes. Add your milk slowly, still whisking. Whisk until it thickens, which can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. When it's about the consistency of gravy, reduce heat to low, then add your chocolate and sugar. Stir it until well incorporated. You can add more chocolate or sugar to taste. When it's looking and tasting awesome, stir in your vanilla. Remove from the heat and get that sucker cooled down. Hot chocolate pudding might be gross, and unsafe: see here for safe cooling, scroll down to where it says Cooling liquid foods.
This pudding is hearty but delicious. A peanut butter cookie would be a nice complement.

I got my brownie recipe from the delightful Paula Deen. Maggie's decadent brownies were a hit, the only thing I can see making different would be switching the marshmallows for caramel and pecans. Mmm. I'll try it and let you know.

August 24, 2009

My kitchen has spit out several glorious things last week. Here are the highlights, recipes later: a delicious summer pasta salad, pudding, and brownies.