Kitchen comfort

February 13, 2010

In the wake of a traumatic week, it feels good to be back in the kitchen. I’m taking a break at the moment, watching a little basketball, doing a little laundry, generally getting my ducks in a row to go to Philadelphia on Monday.

But this morning I found a whole new comfort food.

Rice. Chocolate. Cream. And what could there be not to love about this?

Champorado is a Filipino chocolate rice porridge. Someone posted the recipe on the Food52 contest blog, http://www.food52.com/recipes/3055_champorado_chocolate_rice_porridge, and I absolutely HAD to try it. Rice, with butter and brown sugar, has been one of my favorite breakfast foods forever, but it never occurred to me to add cocoa; it’s a match made in heaven.

I didn’t have glutinous rice; was going to use arborio, and if I’ve got any, I can’t find it (could have SWORN I had some, but it’s hiding, I guess). But brown rice worked OK. I ate mine with heavy cream and some additional sugar, and it was rich and comforting and just a really GOOD winter cereal. I made more than I wanted, figuring it would be good to heat up in the mornings.

Since then, I’ve made a vat of mac-and-cheese for Child C and CCRB to have while I’m gone this next week, and have some Sally Lunn bread rising in the oven. I’m perturbed at the Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook; they contend this stuff will rise in 35 minutes to double its size; I’m going on an hour and a half, and it ain’t risen yet, and I went and got new yeast and it was obviously working when I soaked it in the warm milk. Things must rise differently in Charleston than they do here. But I’ll give it a while yet, and once it rises, I’ll punch it down, knead it, let it rise in the pan, and hope it turns out better than last weekend’s did. If not, well, that’s all she wrote for THAT recipe.

And then for lunch there was, finally, a chance to use those wonderful caramelized onions from a couple of weeks ago.

M'mmmmmm. French onion soup. In 10 minutes.

I had been too damn tired to even think about doing this any this week when I got home from work; but it’s almost simpler than breathing.

A cup and a half of water. A couple of teaspoons of beef stock base. A good glug of red wine (I’d guess a third of a cup). A hefty scoop of those caramelized onions from their container in the fridge. Boil, simmer, stir; grate cheese, simmer a little more, taste, add salt, pour in mug, add cheese because you are too freakin’ lazy to make a big damn crouton.

Purr.

Next on the agenda will be a batch of sausage and biscuits for the kids’ breakfasts next week, and then dinner for tonight. I laid out the PJF pork chops; I think they’re going to get pounded, breaded and fried, served with fried sweet potatos and …. something. I would cook those purple hulled peas I’ve got in the freezer, except I’m afraid no one would eat them but me, and I don’t want them to go to waste while I’m out of town. Believe I’ll save them until next weekend.

Sunday will be lamb shanks for me, chicken pot pie for them. I only have two small lamb shanks, so that won’t be a lot to have to put in the fridge. Think I”ll make them with herbs d’Provence, per the Gourmet recipe I have on file, and serve them over polenta.

I leave Monday morning for Philly; funeral services Wednesday, and I’m back here Thursday afternoon. Then class all day Friday and half of Saturday. Saturday afternoon and Sunday will be time for vegetating and, hopefully, recovering.

Tell y’mama ‘n ’em I appreciate all the kind words and thoughts. It’s been a rough week. But cooking helps.

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