Sunday, February 3, 2013

This One’s for Daine

Once upon a time, I was a devoted food blogger, cooking up recipes and stories for once-a-week posts to share on this site.  It was good times.  At the risk of sounding hopelessly narcissistic, I like reading my old posts and remembering what I was eating and how I was feeling.  Over time, however, writing about recipes started to grow stale for me.  I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why that is.  I still love to cook and eat.  I still like food; shopping for it and talking about it take up significant portions of my brain space.

I think the problem with recipe blogging was twofold.  One is that I wanted to explore other aspects of life with my writing.  I wanted to go beyond food to talk about goals, my career, spirituality, science, and freedom.  This blog is a labor of love for me; while I would love to post every day, I simply don’t have the time to do that.  Nor do I have the creative energy.  My job requires the lion’s share of everything—time, energy, planning, resilience.  To deny the reality of my day-to-day life would be silly, though I too have lamented the same thing that Chrissy did the other day—that in some very real ways, my life is kinda boring because my big adventure is my work, the work I get paid to do.

The second problem is that it’s become harder and harder to write recipe posts based on my cooking because my cooking these days looks a lot more like the cooking I have seen my friend Daine do: recipe-less and based more on an idea of a dish than precise instructions.  The irony, though, is that Daine tells me his misses my food posts!  Truthfully, I miss my food posts too, and I’ve been thinking that this year I will attempt to reintegrate them into my blogging rotation.  There’s already a backlog of recipes I want to share with you, and what do you know, they all involve chocolate!  That seems perfect for February.

Mixing Bowl Plus Puddings

Let’s start with a chocolate bomb of a recipe: Nigella Lawson’s hot gooey chocolate puddings.  These puddings are what to make when you need a serious hit of chocolate as fast as possible.

I was toodling around on Rachel’s site when I came across her post on these decadent chocolate explosions, and I knew I had to have my own batch of chocolate puddings.  Never mind that I’ve already shared a different chocolate pudding recipe from Nigella; I wanted that new recipe, baking in my oven, ASAP.  And now that I’ve tried both recipes, I can tell you that they are different enough from each other to have both in your repertoire.  Today’s recipe is a cross between a brownie and hot fudge sauce.  Once baked, the exterior of these puddings gets a little cakey and crinkled, while the interior is hot, rich, and saucy.  I’m not going to lie: these puddings are a bit addictive, so it’s probably a good idea to serve them to guests unless you want to be like me and eat them all yourself, then self-consciously pat your abdomen, looking for signs of the impending fattening that feels inevitable.

All of which is to say that these are pure indulgence and too good not to share with you.

Puddings, Pre-Oven

Hot Gooey Chocolate Puddings

Adapted slightly from How to Eat by Nigella Lawson

Serves 5

My very slight adaptations are the addition of a little salt and cinnamon.  I find that almost all of Nigella’s desserts need some salt, and these puddings are no exception.  I added the cinnamon because I just love cinnamon with chocolate.  Feel free to leave that out if you prefer.

2/3 cup + 2 tbsp. chocolate chips (I used semisweet)

1/2 cup (8 tbsp. or 1 stick) butter

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1)  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2)  In a saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and butter together over low or medium heat.  Stir frequently.

3)  While the melting is going, grease and flour five ramekins.  I think my ramekins are of the 6-ounce size, just to give you an idea.  You can make larger or smaller portions if you like; Nigella actually calls for four 1-cup ramekins to make four servings.  But to paraphrase Jacqueline Carey, “Pud as thou wilt.”

4)  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon.  When the chocolate and butter are melted together, whisk that mixture into the eggs, etc.  Divide the mixture among your ramekins, place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and pop them into the oven for 10-12 minutes.  Nigella says that the puddings are done when “the tops are firm and cracking slightly and the edges are set.”

5)  Serve immediately or whenever it pleases you.  As they cool, they start to lose some of that luscious saucy texture, but they are delicious even at room temperature.

PS  I apologize that I don’t have a picture of the puddings after baking.  But hey, someone else does!  Yay!


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

First of all, these look delicious. I will make them as soon as I have time, so... next year? ;)

Second, I think blogging semi-regularly, with breaks as life demands, is natural and okay, and it took me a long time to come to that conclusion. I like your blog, I like your recipes, and I cheer a little every time something new from you comes up in Google Reader. In my opinion, you are doing it right! Let's celebrate with chocolate!

Rosiecat said...

Ha! This recipe will wait for you, my dear :-) But for what it's worth, these puddings come together much faster than cookies, so that might be worth tucking into the back of your mind. Plus they are a seriously impressive dessert.

Thanks for the sweet words! I think I've been feeling bad that I have so many ideas for blog posts and I just don't have time for more than 2-3 posts per week. And if the post is a longer, more serious piece, it takes a while for me to percolate my ideas. I feel like I'm being pulled in opposite directions: I am drawn toward my writing and the creative process for this space, and then the rest of my life pulls me in the opposite direction. The thing that's really interesting and even fun about this tug-of-war is that it has nothing to do with attracting more readers or being more "successful" as a blogger, and it has everything do to with harnessing that creative energy and making something with it. I guess what I'm saying is that I have no complaints, just more ideas than time right now.