Archive for May, 2007




Crockpot Chicken Stew

Yesterday’s dinner was made by me with a little help. Mom left most of the ingredients on the counter for me before she left for work (I do best when all the ingredients are easily at hand and there is no _if_ about finding them) as well as a note with preparation instructions. This was her hint that I make dinner tonight. Ok, fine. But there’s one little problem with that plan. And that problem arises when I can’t make out one of the words in a handwritten recipe. I then have two choices (1) don’t do anything and expose myself to no cooking disaster risk but almost inevitable charges of malingering, (2) take a wild guess and potentially get a wild result, (3) leave out the ingredient(s)/procedure(s) that happen to be illegible. (2) and (3) have resulted in a chorus of complaints at times, and/or (1) when the recipe happened to be more unreadable than not. It was fortuitous that Debby was here to ask and she managed to read the mysterious garbled, words “from front of freezer”. Thanks, Deb, it could have gotten ugly, in view of the fact that without your help I would have left out the chicken!

Add comment May 11th, 2007

Banana Cream Mush

The night before last, I made banana cream pie for dessert in order to use up some bananas in the -right before they go bad-stage. You know how when it is of vital importance that some element of a process has to work exactly as planned or everything you’ve worked for might as well go out the window-it rarely, if ever, does? At least that’s the case for me. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever broken sprinting records to catch the last bus/boat/train out of somewhere only to have it pull away right when you get there. That is what happened with this banana cream pie. I had to make it that day or not make it at all. The universe was against me on this one and I should have realized it from the beginning, but like a dope I pressed on. I had only 1 percent milk in the fridge. (Whether the use of milk with lower fat percentages affects how well pudding sets, I don’t know, but it is one of the factors I am blaming). As I was frantically searching the pantry, I discovered I had only 1 box of plain vanilla instant pudding mix when the standard-issue banana cream pie calls for two boxes. Then I remembered that there was such a thing as chocolate banana cream pie, and there was MY-T-Fine chocolate pudding mix a-plenty in the larder. So, it occurred to me: use one box of chocolate pudding mix and one box of vanilla pudding mix and make marbled banana cream pie. Well, that’s what I did, but things didn’t go exactly as planned. The chocolate pudding mix was not the instant variety. Besides not wanting to spend the time standing and stirring over the stove, the time differential in getting the two separate pudding batches ready would throw off the preparation of the pie. No big deal, thought I, the box has microwave directions and making the My-T-Fine by microwave seemed eminently do-able. Well, it was a big deal when the pudding plus milk in a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup decided to emulate Vesuvius all over the inside of the microwave. Also, no matter how much I stirred, the pudding mix did not all dissolve and formed denser nodules within the base of a watery pudding. Maybe you CAN make My-T-Fine (non-instant) pudding in the microwave, but speaking from this experience of mine, I don’t think I would do it again voluntarily. It was only after I had mixed both batches of pudding that I discovered that the instructions said that you could/should use less milk if you are making it for pie filling. Somehow I missed it when I had read the instructions before starting. I have made pies with these pudding mixes before and have done exactly that on those previous occasions, but why it didn’t occur to me this time, I don’t know. The result: the filling overflowed the pie crust when poured in. I thought things would get better when the pudding set, but there was only a small improvement: it did not set nearly as firmly as I thought it would. I served the resulting mush for dessert, and though it tasted delicious, it was far from being the intended result. And, a final prank from the pie gods: the pre-made crust I used turned out to be stale…

Add comment May 11th, 2007

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