Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I generally don't cook. It's not that I'm necessarily bad at it, it's more that I simply don't enjoy it (though I do make a mean grilled ham & cheese). But perversely, I love reading about and watching food - most particularly, Food Network. My roommate finds the combination (don't cook, but watch other people cook on TV) most amusing.

Honestly, Food Network inspires me, and makes me think - well, gosh, I could make that. Most of all I love Sara's Secrets, hosted by Sara Moulton, who's the executive chef of Gourmet magazine. She makes cool dishes in 30 minutes or less - and most of them don't seem that hard! One of these days, I'm actually going to try out one of 'em.

Yesterday, I went by the bookstore nearest to my office, which sells "used" magazines, cheap, and picked up the last two issues of Gourmet for $1.20 apiece. I was flipping through them - September is the "Food and Television" issue, and October is the Restuarant issue - and realized to my surprise that the articles looked really good, interesting topics (Julia Child, the advent of the TV dinner, a Q&A with the head of Food Network - and those are just three from the former) written well (Ben Fong-Torres now writes for Gourmet! Who knew? From Rolling Stone's '70s glory days to this, wow). I've not been disappointed; the writing really is fascinating, as are the travelogues and menus. Their food photography, of course, has little parallel - it's sumptuous.

The timing is funny, too; this week is Michael's and my turn to host our weekly dinner. He's making the main course(s), so I'm doing dessert. While on the phone with Mom yesterday, she mentioned a new pie recipe she'd gotten from a friend, so I asked her to email it to me. It's quick, simple, and is prepared a day in advance - what could be better? Here's the recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Pie:

+1 1/2 C cold milk
+1 package (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
+1 C + 2 T chopped peanut butter cups, divided
+1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
+1 chocolate crumb crust (8 or 9 inches)

In a bowl, whisk the milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in 1 C of chopped peanut butter cups. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Cover and freeze for 6 hrs or overnight.

Remove from the freezer 15-20 minutes before serving. Garnish with the remaining peanut butter cups. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Thanks, Mom!

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