Inspiration is where you find it

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sundays follow a pretty predictable routine around here. M goes to Master’s Swim, J and I do a craft activity, we all go to church, we come home, eat brunch, take naps (some for longer than others...) do some cooking for the week (this week: gluten-free peanut butter cookies and these blueberry muffins), go on a walk or to family swim when J wakes up, home for dinner-- usually something slow-cooked all day long, in the background, with enough leftovers to pinch-hit throughout the week, then a bath and bed for J, and Mad Men for us.

Recently I’ve really noticed how much Mad Men has been inspiring our Sunday evening meal. I think it tarted out as a bit of a joke, and really, sometimes the food is a bit of a joke, sadly, but sometimes an old 60s stand by, re-made with fresh/ modern ingredients turns out to be a real winner (chocolate pudding!).

Last night we had both a winner and a loser. I made a “chinese” style pot roast, based upon this recipe (changed to cook more slowly) and was reminded that the slowcooker we have is absolutely useless and I really should just use our Le Crueset and the oven. The broth was absolutely delicious, and poured over some leftover sweet potatoes and rice it could be a good lunch on a cooler day. Unfortunately, I have 3 lbs of inedible Cross-tied pot roast to go with the delicious broth.

Sunday is usually the only night of the week I make desert (it’s leftover sweet or fruit the rest of the the time, if anything), and when I hit upon the “chinese” pot roast (it sounded like such a fun idea!), I tried to think about what an American in the 60’s would have thought was an “oriental” flavor. Also, I prefer single serving-size deserts for us when possible-- it helps with portion control, and wanted to avoid having to buy ingredients at the grocery store (farmer’s market was okay). Ended up making Coconut Pudding (okay, really, Coconut Panna Cotta): maybe one of the best simple deserts I’ve ever made.... J and M certainly both thought o: portion-control be damned,they both ate two servings.

Coconut Pudding
Adapted from Gourmet
You can freeze the puddings for about 3 hours to set if you are in a hurry, but don’t leave them there more than 16 hours or so: move them to the fridge. Also, panna cottas tend to break down within 24-32 hours, so don’t make these more than 2 days in advance.

1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 can coconut milk (shaken)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream plus additional if necessary
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water

Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour 3/4 cup over coconut in a blender, add sugar, let soak 5 minutes. Blend well, about 30 seconds. Add coconut milk, cream, and sugar. Blend at high for about 5 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. You should have about 3 cups of liquid; add more heavy cream if necessary. Strain, pressing on solids until you have 1 cup coconut milk.
Lightly oil 6 ramekins, small tea cups, or small glass desert bowls.
Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small saucepan and let soften 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring, until gelatin has dissolved. Add coconut cream and whisk over medium heat, for 1-2 minutes. Divide among ramekins and chill until set, at least 4 hours.

Mad Men image from AMC...

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