April 24, 2011

Pistachio Pudding

Happy Easter! In addition to such lovely things as teeny girls in poofy dresses and a perfect excuse NOT to work on finals, Easter means something very important to me this year in particular: I get to eat sugar again! Mom (er, excuse me, the Easter Bunny) tortured me with a giant box of candy that arrived several days early, but I officially made it through. I celebrated at midnight with a decidedly disappointing Tootsie Roll: it turns out my no-processed-sugar dessert concoctions are more delicious than many sugar-laden treats. However, I did very much enjoy a stolen bite of the boy's cereal this morning. Off-brand Smacks, mmmmmm.

So, Lenten resolutions more or less fulfilled (I didn't have any official lapses, but I also didn't ask as many questions as I could have), today seems like the perfect time for a sweet treat. I actually had some trouble choosing a recipe. I wanted to make this or this, but I realized that neither of them call for any processed sugar! I'll for sure try those another day and let you know how it goes, but they just weren't right for today. Turns out, today is a pudding kind of day. Which is not a bad day, at all.

Normally, I post a day or two after making something, but not today. I wanted to get something up for Easter, but I also am well aware that I don't have the self-control to not taste while I'm cooking (also, I'm pretty sure that's how almost everyone gets kicked off of Chopped. Is that show still on?). I clearly couldn't make pudding a single minute before Lent was officially over. So this time around, we get to enjoy delicious things together! Well, kind of. In that I get to enjoy it, and you get to imagine enjoying it. Almost the same.

On the bright side, you also only have to imagine what a pain it is to pry open an entire cup of pistachios at a time.

This pistachio pudding turns out a lovely, Eater-appropriate pastel-ish green. My initial reaction upon seeing the recipe (which calls for only white sugar) was to tweak some maple syrup or agave into it, but that seemed out of the spirit of winning at Lent (that may not be the official term...). So I give you the recipe in all it's deliciously American, processed-sugar glory. The pistachio flavor is definitely present, but pretty mild. Think vanilla pudding with a twist. Five scraped-clean dishes suggest that it's a damn tasty Easter dessert. A dollop of homemade whipped cream certainly wouldn't be out of place here, but my swimsuits suggested that I keep things reasonable for now. But next time...

Ready for the fridge.
Also, possibly protected from mind readers.

April 5, 2011

Strawberries and (coconut) Cream

I gave up processed sugar for Lent. The thing is, I kind of forgot about Lent for the first week. By the time I remembered, it seemed like I had to either go big or just continue ignoring it. Of course, as soon as I decided to give up processed sugar, I made the mistake of trying to eat something. You know what has processed sugar in it? Everything.

I thought I knew what I was getting into. I knew I'd have to read labels on things like bread and ketchup. Turns out I shouldn't have bothered. You just can't find things like bread or ketchup at the grocery store without loads of sugar or corn syrup. I've had to decide to be flexible (ie, not crazy) on a few things. For example, I will not buy a fifth jar of peanut butter just because the four I already have all have sugar (shut up- two of them are flavored). I just eat the one with sugar listed nearest the end.

I also will not ask a restaurant if things like croutons or pizza sauce contain sugars, for two reasons: one, I've worked in restaurants, and I don't want to be that guy. And two, I already know the answer: This is America, so yes they do. I also went ahead and finished my box of All Bran, the only sweetened perishable item I couldn't talk Erik into eating for me. I don't feel bad about it; All Bran is hardly a splurge.

The thing is, though, I really like sweet things. Plus, it's Girl Scout cookie season, which seems like a cruel joke at this point. But I'm both resourceful and committed enough to dessert to work through this potential disaster.

Behold my new favorite discovery. It's almost as easy as scooping out some ice cream (maybe easier, depending on how cold you keep your freezer) and just as delicious. And that's coming from a girl who takes her ice cream very seriously. Sweet, creamy and delicious, it's a fresher take on strawberries and cream (it's also a great way to salvage bland strawberries). I've had it almost every single night for the past two weeks, and I've yet to feel deprived when it comes to dessert time (which, by the way, is shortly after dinner, every single night). I think this discovery has single-handedly saved my Lenten promise.

My favorite thing about this picture? I blog in the morning, so this became second breakfast.