From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...While out for a picnic today, the Silver Fox and I passed an empty field that was being watered. Local grass farmers have just finished harvesting the first of their seed crops and we occasionally see this happening. It seems easier for some to continue watering than to reset timers on the equipment used to irrigate their fields. While it's wasteful and inefficient, I suspect you are wondering why the practice is even being mentioned on a food blog. Well, it started me thinking about kitchens, particularly my own, where waste of another sort can sap resources, which, by definition, should include the energy of the cook. When I first started my kitchen explorations, anything, no matter how difficult, was fair game. I've pressed ducks and, on one occasion, even cooked a suckling pig, but over time I've started to question why I thought it was necessary to do such things. Truth be told, I liken the practice to that of a climber who risks life and limb simply because the mountain is there and he is not. Over the years, I become more judicious in my choice of recipes and few tempt me as they did those first years in my kitchen. I still pull out all the stops for holidays and special meals, but I rarely spend an entire day in my kitchen. I've set a personal limit for the amount of time I'm willing to stand at the stove, and while I prefer "from scratch" cooking, I have started to move down the food ladder and am really attracted to meals that are quick and easy to prepare. It goes without saying, that flavor is still of paramount importance to me, but more and more, I find I'm drawn to what gets me in and out of the kitchen in the shortest amount of time. There is just so much more outside that I want to see and touch and feel and I can't resist the temptation to explore what lies beyond my door. The pudding I'm featuring tonight was the result of a search for a fast and cheap dessert. While I've made some fairly substantial changes to the original recipe, develop by Melissa d'Arabian for the Food Network, it came on my radar because it met my fast and cheap criteria. I think you will really enjoy this simple dessert. It takes ten minutes to prepare the pudding and its flavor more than pays for the cost of the ingredients you use to make it. While it lacks the refinement of a mousse, it is, nonetheless, smooth and silky and quite pleasant on the tongue. I do hope you will try it. Here is how this week's Frugal Friday selection is made.
Mocha Pudding...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Melissa d'Arabian via the Food Network
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1) Whisk cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder and espresso powder in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, about 2 to 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk in vanilla until mixture is again smooth.
2) Transfer mixture to a bowl or serving cups and cover with plastic wrap. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours. Serve pudding chilled with whipped topping, a sprinkling of shaved chocolate or cocoa if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
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