Too darn hot (except for pudding)!!

It’s too darn hot
I’d like to sup with my baby tonight
and play the pup with my baby tonight
but I ain’t up to my baby tonight
cause it’s too darn hot

It’s too darn hot
It’s too darn hot

~ from the show “Kiss Me Kate” (1948, Cole Porter)

It’s been extra warm by Oregon standards. Certainly too warm to use your oven (I found out the hard way on the 4th of July). Almost too hot to even stand around and cut raw vegetables. It’s that couple of weeks a year where the fragile among us head to cold movie theatres or shopping malls to keep cool.

Chinese foodThis year, I valiantly tried to keep cooking, mostly using the bbq. Still, even for me, there are limits. Growing tired of both my kitchen and what I could produce quickly, I sought refuge in Chinese take out food. It felt like something real and it was a relief not to have to spend more time in the kitchen than it takes to scoop out rice and kung pao chicken.

Sometimes even those who love their kitchens also loathe them a little.

****

Once the heat broke, I did get in and make some dark chocolate mocha pudding with soy milk. I still eat butter, cheese, and ice cream and I do like half and half in my iced coffee, but I’ve mostly switched to soy milk for drinking. Once in a while, I get a craving for pudding, but you can’t use any kind of instant mix with soy milk or it doesn’t set up. That’s a bummer when you just want something fast.

I found an almost instant solution a few years ago in the “Everyday Food” magazine that used to be produced by Martha Stewart. Basically you could use any kind of milk (almond, rice, coconut, soy, or even cow!) because the pudding is thickened with cornstarch and 4 egg yolks. It does cook on the stove, but it’s minutes! Just long enough to dissolve everything into the milk, bring it to a boil stirring constantly, and then cooking one minute. It does have to cool which adds a little to the pleasure, but you get a delightful spoon or spatula to lick to tide you over until it’s cold.

pudding

Happily, the recipe is still online: http://www.marthastewart.com/314077/vanilla-or-chocolate-pudding. My variation was to use dark chocolate cocoa powder and to mix in about a tablespoon of espresso powder.

I haven’t been drinking as much soy milk this summer as I usually do in winter, so I have more soy milk to use up. I might try making the vanilla version with chai tea “mix” I have from winter from Trader Joe’s (probably replace part of the sugar since it’s sweetened). Maybe later in the week…

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