Monday, February 14, 2011


My brother Max and I were talking last week about how there´s nothing good to read online Mondays while you're procrastinating from being productive. I have no particular gripe about the beginning of the week, no angst about going back to work (especially right now given that I've no work place to go to), but still, it's slightly depressing having exhausted all the good time-wasting reading on Sunday. With this in mind, I propose a couple of distractions that may fit the bill, or at least soften the blow, if we want to overexaggerate the importance of Monday's lack of entertaining nonsense. But, as Felipe's mother said to me last night very seriously when I told her that going to malls makes me want to kill myself, "Come on, don't be overdramatic, it doesn't make you want to kill yourself." Si señora.
-Slog makes me laugh. And also kind of hate the world. See here and here. (To be clear: I don't hate gay marriage, I just think it's horrific that the circumstances under which they met exist.)
-Vampire bats are pretty awesome. As is Radiolab.
-I have no interest in getting a tattoo (and thank goodness I wasn't allowed to get one when I was 16, or I´d still have a green fairy on my back), but if I were to get one I would seriously consider this artist.
-This song is gorgeous. And makes me want to lie in a hammock facing the ocean and eat coconut rice pudding. Given my present lack of hammock, I make chocolate stovetop pudding, and you should too (assuming you are also currently hammockless.)

I don't know why Colombians love American-style puddings so much, but they are always a hit. I made this when we went to Felipe's mentor's finca up in the mountains because we wanted dessert but there was no oven, and the recipe was requested immediately. I didn't know what to call it in Spanish so we named it la cosita gringa, and last thing I heard la cosita gringa was still tacked to the fridge. This is your typical mother's/grandmother's cornstarch-thickened pudding-- though I use much more cocoa powder than the traditional recipes call for because I like a more prominent chocolate flavor. Monday morning pudding, I should call it-- not nearly as glamourous as a chocolate pot de creme, or a chocolate mousse, or any of the other heavy cream-bearing things that we eat as Friday night after-dinner dessert. This is home pudding, not too sweet, not too rich but plenty chocolatey, or as I like to tell myself, completely appropriate breakfast food.

Chocolate Stovetop Pudding

1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. corn starch
pinch salt
2 ½ c. whole milk
swig of rum or 1 tsp. natural vanilla extract
a couple of squares of chocolate (semisweet to unsweetened, depending on your taste and what you've got around) (opt.)

Put the sugar, cocoa powder, corn starch and salt in a medium saucepan and mix well until you have no lumps left (smooth them out with the side of a spoon). Or sift the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt directly into the pan. Add in the milk. Over low heat, whisking occasionally, warm the mixture until it starts to bubble up, at which point is should begin to thicken. Whisk constantly as the mixture continues to thicken to prevent lumps. When the mixture is no longer liquidy-- when it's pudding texture-- take it off the heat. Stir in your rum or vanilla extract, and then your chocolate squares if you're using them. I like to portion the pudding into teacups, or eggcups as it were, whatever's around. Chill in the fridge, though you can eat it warm too (I think it tastes better chilled, but I also eat it straight out of the pot because patience is not a strongsuit of mine.) If you don't want a skin to form on top, apply plastic wrap directly to the surface, though in my personal opinion the skin is the best part. Serves 4.

La Cosita Gringa (Pudín de Chocolate)

1/2 de taza de azúcar
1/3 de taza de cacao amargo (sin azúcar)
1/4 de taza de maizena (almidón de maíz)
pizquita de sal
2 ½ taza de leche
chorrito de ron o una cucharita de esencia de vainilla natural
una chocolatina (opcional)

Coloca el azúcar, el cacao, la maizena y la sal en una olla mediana y combinalos bien hasta que no haya grumos. O tamiza tales ingredientes sobre la olla. Echale la leche y caliente la olla sobre fuego bajo, batiendo de vez en cuando. Cuando la mezcla empiece a espesar y hervir, batela constantemente hasta que se haya espesado (1-2 minutos). Apaga el fuego y echale el ron o la vainilla, mezclalo bien, y echale la chocolatina si quieres. Me gusta dividir el pudín inmediatamente en porciones, lo meto en tazas de té o lo que haya (esta vez, en copas para huevos). Guardalas en la nevera para enfriar. Si quieres, tapalas con plástico colocado directamente a la superficie del pudín para que no se forme una piel- a mi me gusta esta piel, como quieras.) Rinde 4 porciones.

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