Monday, January 25, 2010

Lemon Pudding Cakes and Ramblings

Today on Serious Eats: Winter Vegetable Chili. Sweet, smoky, substantial, and ridiculously low in Weight Watchers points.

For about 100 years running, my favorite blogger has been ESPN’s Sports Guy. One of his running bits is The Ramblings, in which he just kinda barfs up whatever he’s thinking about at the time. It’s fun! So I thought I’d try it.

-Did anyone catch Joe Buck repeating the phrase “muffed punt” during last night’s Vikings/Saints game? I used to think “tight end tackle” was the dirtiest football term I’d ever heard.

-Last night, I dreamt the Husband-Elect and I found the perfect house, but we didn’t buy it because it was too big to clean. I hate when my subconscious make practical decisions. Shouldn’t it be climbing ancient ruins with Indiana Jones or something?

-Comedian Michael Ian Black had an interesting theory about the whole Conan thing: people are so riled because it’s a microcosm of current labor situations. Here’s a hilarious, industrious, by-all-accounts nice guy who’s spent 17 years working towards a single goal: putting out the best product he possibly can. He’s rewarded with the surest bet in TV and drags his staff across the country to make it awesome. NBC then takes away all his ratings support and wonders why he’s not pulling big numbers. It’s like seeing your Dad get the job of his dreams, on the condition that he performs entirely in the janitor’s closet.

-P.S. Shut up, Jerry Seinfeld. Your lead-in was Cheers.

-Has anyone ever been to Italy? What’s it like? Do you have any suggestions about where to go? Especially for food? Er … I ask for no reason.

-Of Rachael Ray’s Top 10 Recipes of the Year, about five of them were for some form of chili mac. I will defend RR to the end, but I don’t know how to feel about this. There was just so much cheese. (Am I knocking cheese? Tell me to shut up.)

-Understand (though don’t necessarily support) the opposition to the health care bill. But how can anyone protest the pre-existing conditions clause? This seems so logical, especially since everyone’s potentially affected. (Obligatory “I know a guy” stories:) I know a guy who was rejected for health insurance because he was 25 pounds overweight. I know a woman who was covered for chemo only because her second bout with cancer occurred in a different place than the first. (She went broke the first time, btw.) Can anyone out there explain this to me?

-Just a quick housekeeping thing: if you leave a comment on a recipe post, please specify the recipe to which you’re referring. There’s a lot of odd spam coming in lately, so I'm deleting suspicious/vague comments. Apologies for the legit ones that get lost in the process.

-Re: Idol. Paula who?

-Re: Idol. Don’t you want to take Kristin Chenoweth home and keep her on your nightstand? She’s so tiny and cute and talented. How does that noise come out of that 85-pound woman?

-Speaking of tiny women making noise, I would also like to keep Lady Gaga on my nightstand, to scare away the monsters. I simultaneously adore and fear her. So far, she’s the Madonna of the ‘10s.

-Lemon Pudding Cakes! Suggested by occasional CHG contributor Rachel, these neat little lower-calorie treats are appropriate for company, but easy enough for weeknights. Rach compared them to cmolten chocolate cakes, and she’s right on. The tops are spongey and cakey, but the bottoms are essentially a tart, sweet pudding. I might add a little more lemon zest next time, but that’s the only change.

That’s it, folks. What’s on your mind today? The comment section is awaiting your brain dumps. (…ew.)

If you like this recipe, you might also dig:

Lemon Pudding Cakes
Serves 2.
Adapted from Food & Wine.

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg white
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened (but not melted)
1/3 cup skim milk
1-2/3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Large pinch salt

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 ramekins with cooking spray. (If you don’t have ramekins, you might try oven-safe teacups. Though I didn’t use them in this recipe, I used them for Chocolate Souffl├ęs and had some success.)

2) In a medium bowl, combine sugar and flour. Whisk together.

3) In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and butter. Whisk until smooth and butter is fully incorporated. Add milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk until that’s all blended. Pour this into flour mixture. Stir or whisk until it’s blended, and you have a non-lumpy batter.

4) In a different medium bowl, combine egg white and salt. With a hand mixer, blend them together until you have stiff peaks. (This took me 4 or 5 minutes.) Then, using a spatula, “gently fold” the egg whites into the lemon batter.

5) Pour lemon batter into ramekins. Place the ramekins themselves in a roasting pan. Fill the pan with warm/hot water, until it hits halfway up the ramekins.

6) Bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is slightly browned and the pudding cakes have risen. Remove from oven. Remove ramekins from pan (carefully – don’t get burnt here). Set ramekins on wire rack and let cool at least 15 minutes. Serve in ramekins, with berries if you have ‘em (but don’t worry if you don’t).

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
224 calories, 6.4 g fat, 0.3 g fiber, $0.58

1/4 cup granulated sugar: 194 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.08
2 tablespoons cup all-purpose flour: 57 calories, 0.2 g fat, 0.4 g fiber, $0.02
1 large egg white: 17 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.25
1 large egg yolk: 55 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0 g fiber, Free (with egg white)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter: 68 calories, 7.7 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.05
1/3 cup skim milk: 30 calories, 0.2 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.08
1-2/3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice: 7 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, $0.66
1/3 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest: negligible calories and fat, 0.1 g fiber, Free (with juice)
Large pinch salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
TOTAL: 448 calories, 12.7 g fat, 0.6 g fiber, $1.15
PER SERVING (TOTAL/2): 224 calories, 6.4 g fat, 0.3 g fiber, $0.58

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