Posts Tagged ‘jane black’

Spitting Encouraged

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

When was the last time your kids participated in a spitting contest? No, not spitting at each other — spitting watermelon seeds?

One summer when I was growing up, our local library’s summer reading contest culminated in a summer festival. I remember the highlight was, not the free books we’d earned, but facing off against my little brother in a seed-spitting contest. My son has a while to wait before he can challenge his little sister to a contest, but he does know to spit out the black seeds when eating watermelon. But with the rise of seedless watermelons in the grocery store, will that lesson become irrelevant?

The Washington Post‘s Jane Black examines the issue in today’s paper. I won’t give away my stance on seeds vs. seedless, though loyal readers will likely guess … but read the article to see what I and others had to say. (And that lovely seeded melon pictured above? From our CSA farm.)

What’s your stance? Pro-spitting? Or are seeds too much hassle for today’s busy children? ;-)

(This is actually the second time I’ve been quoted in the Post talking about watermelon. I guess that makes me a melon expert, right? If you’ve got a fresh melon around this holiday weekend, you might enjoy my Watermelon Gazpacho and/or Slushie recipes.)

Real Milk as a Luxury Food? (and Homemade Butterscotch Pudding)

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Jane Black is the first byline I look for when reading the Washington Post weekly food section, and one of my favorite food writers anywhere. So I was excited to see her write up some fantastic local dairies this week. I was a little disturbed, though, to see some references on Twitter to her article calling milk the “next luxury food.” Huh? Yes, the glass-bottled, all-natural milk we buy from Maryland’s South Mountain Creamery is more expensive than conventional milk at the supermarket. But in my opinion, artificial-hormone-free milk from cows who aren’t fed GMO grain is one of the most important purchasing decisions I make for my family. I’ve written before about how milk was the gateway food into more natural/organic eating when I was pregnant with my son. During pregnancy and when children are first weaned onto cows’ milk, it is so important to make sure the milk you’re drinking is as pure as possible. Unfortunately, even commercial organic milk isn’t perfect as until just this year (June 17, to be exact), organic producers didn’t even have to allow cows to actually graze. Cows were made to eat grass, and grass-fed cows produce tastier and healthier milk. There are other ways to save money on food — cooking at home more, cutting out processed foods, etc. — that don’t require compromising on quality milk.

Now of course it happens from time to time that we wind up with too much milk in the fridge, and what better way to put it to use than with homemade pudding? It’s really not that much more difficult than stirring together a boxed mix, and tastes infinitely better. Of course, if the temperatures stay so high here we’ll be firing up the ice cream maker soon enough, but pudding requires less waiting.

I had had butterscotch pudding on the mind since reading about it on The Kitchn back at the start of the year. Of course, not one to leave easy enough alone I decided to follow David Lebovitz‘s simpler recipe (minus the whiskey) but cook the butterscotch more as per Shuna Fish Lydon‘s recommendation. If you read Shuna’s passionate plea to preserve real butterscotch, you’ll see why I felt compelled to follow her instructions. (Well, partially.) My brown sugar and butter took much longer than 10 minutes to melt and darken, probably because I used light brown sugar rather than dark (uh, duh), so my resulting butterscotch had an almost burnt taste. Next time I’ll stick with either one recipe or the other — or at least use dark brown sugar — but if you’re curious, here’s how I made it.

Butterscotch Pudding
adapted from David Lebovitz with inspiration from Shuna Fish Lydon

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed (dark) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons organic cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions: Melt the butter and sugar in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, stirring infrequently, until it reaches a syrupy consistency (10-15 minutes). Add salt and remove from heat.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the milk and stir until smooth. Whisk in the eggs to combine.

Add the remaining milk to the melted brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Then add the cornstarch/egg mixture and again whisk until smooth.

Return to medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly, until pudding thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour pudding into a bowl and chill for at least an hour, depending on your patience level. I probably dug into mine after about 30 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings, and is best served with fresh whipped cream on top.

Shared with Fight Back Friday at the Food Renegade.