Sunday, June 1, 2008

Saucepan Saturday

Boyfriend went to a bachelor party last night, so I jumped on the chance to do absolutely nothing. For me, this translates to: knit, cook and watch a movie.

I bought some new yarn at the LYS (Local Yarn Shop) that I finally checked out. I think it opened like a year and a half ago, and I heard an ad on the radio and got all excited that it opened late (really, what's with stores that close at 5? I understand the owners would like to go home and have dinner, but what working people can go shopping that early on a weekday?), but it took finding some people on ravelry to get me to go there. And go there I did... and I restrained myself fairly well, I bought yarns for two pairs of socks (both gifts, so no more discussion on those), and one ball of a super soft alpaca in a lovely mauve. So I cast on Nora Gaughan's Phyllo Yoked Pullover, from some book of hers that I picked up at the library. And then put it aside after 15 minutes to get back to work on another sock that has a deadline.

And I cooked. I recently came into a surplus of milk (boyfriend accidentally bought milk when he had an unopened half gallon in his fridge, and another friend bought milk to bake a cake, but doesn't use it otherwise, so I offered to take it off her hands) so I decided to make something with it. I made Martha Stewart's favorite rice pudding. It was good.

Rice pudding is extremely easy; I'd forgotten that. In a large saucepan, I combined 6 cups of milk (the recipe says whole milk, and people always make a fuss over how fatty and high-calorie that is, and moan about how to change that. Simple solution: use skim milk. Duh. It doesn't make a huge difference in how it turns out. Anyway, I used 2 cups of whole milk and 4 cups of 1%, because that's what I had in my milk "stash"), 3/4 cup of rinsed arborio rice, 1/2 cup of sugar, some cardamom (a teaspoon or so), 1-2T of vanilla, and 1t or so of rosewater. I brought it to a boil, then reduced to a simmer, cooked for 50 min, stirring every so often. Once it was nice and thick, I added the zest of one orange, and spooned a big helping into a bowl and devoured. I can't wait to eat my lunch today, because I brought rice pudding.

In other Saucepan Saturday adventures, I had fondue for dinner (I love me some dairy). I don't think I've talked about fondue yet, but it's a recent discovery for me. Last summer, while spending a couple days in Delaware, my parents and I ate at the Melting Pot. I think I'd had cheese fondue before, but maybe just once or twice, it being somewhat of an exotic appetizer. Due to my love it cheese, it was no surprise that I fell in love with fondue. And then one day, I decided to make some after seeing it on the food network. It's surprisingly easy.

I usually use a blend of ermentaler and gruyere cheeses that I can buy pre-grated at the grocery store, but last night I was low on that (it's another staple I always keep on hand- also very nice for tarts with cheese, quiche, and fancy pizzas. It's basically just delicious grated cheese.) so I added in some "pizza blend" cheese, which had four cheeses: mozzarella, provolone, probably parmasean, and one other. First I rubbed a saucepan with a cut garlic clove, added some white wine (3/4 cup of chardonnay, I usually prefer sauv blanc, but I had an open bottle of chard) and 1T or so of lemon juice (lime juice adds an interesting zestiness that's worth trying). I heated that, then slowly stirred in 1.5cups of grated cheese that had been tossed with 1T of corn starch (to thicken- the cornstarch also eliminates (or lessens) the problem of the cheese separating from the wine when the ratios are off). When the cheese is melted, remove from heat and stir in 1t nutmeg. Dip bread cubes, apple chunks and pear chunks (or if you're crazy like I am, slices of manchego and/or cheddar) and enjoy.

Enjoy I did. I was too stuffed to go to bed, between the fondue and the rice pudding.

I also baked cookies last night, but I photographed nothing, so I'll tell you about the cookies later. These are the ever elusive duck sauce cookies, and I'm also still perfecting the recipe, hence the delay.

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