Dulce de leche pudding.

I had this boyfriend once who went to Argentina, and the thing he brought me back was dulce de leche, a kind of caramel made out of milk. The boyfriend was impermanent and will probably die cold and alone, but my relationship with caramel lives on, warm and fulfilling. I am better suited to food relationships than human ones – I think this as I look over at Nick splayed on the couch watching hockey in his underwear, picking food out of his teeth, belching under his breath in that way that he thinks he does subtly, which I think he thinks I can’t hear. Anyway. Dulce de leche is a beautiful thing, and I want very much to go to Argentina where they certainly must bathe in it. I would if I had a steady supply.

I’m still feeling cruddy, but my fever’s gone down some and I haven’t done anything unseemly in a few hours. But I can’t be bothered to chew yet, and I didn’t think it was worth the risk to upset my delicate constitution – the beast in my belly is sensitive and cruel. That, and I really wanted pudding. I love pudding. And David Lebovitz has this recipe for dulce de leche that calls for exactly the kind of condensed milk that I already had in my cupboard (Longevity brand is what Lebovitz recommends … you buy it at Asian markets, and it’s usually pretty cheap) … so … dulce de leche pudding! And feeling a little better, in all kinds of ways.

Dulce de leche.This recipe is based on the butterscotch pudding recipe I wrote about awhile back, from Gourmet (which I already miss terribly).

Dulce de Leche pudding

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 batch of David Lebovitz’s dulce de leche, or 1 1/4 cups of the store-bought kind
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Then, whisk in the dulce de leche and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently, and then boil, whisking constantly, for one minute.

Pot of pudding.

Remove from the heat, and whisk in the butter. Pour out into a bowl, cover with plastic, and then refrigerate until cooled, 60 to 90 minutes.

You could serve this with whipped cream, if you wanted to, but you don’t have to. Plain on its own is more than fine.

Pudding!I’ve got to go now to eat my pudding and drink yet another mug of Neo-Citran, which doesn’t put me to sleep but does dull the senses a bit, right in time to watch the EMAs and doze off on the couch. I survived last night so I’m confident I’ll survive this one; fighting the flu is exhausting. Thank goodness for soft foods and elastic-waist pants.

Hi, I’m dying. I thought chicken noodle soup would help.

And it did help, a little, the chicken noodle soup. It’s too early to know whether it will come back to surprise me again later.

It’s been a fun couple of days – yesterday I was really excited because I was going to come straight home from work and make a mofongo with poached eggs and avocado salsa, but midway through the day I broke my molar in half on some candy at the office. I rushed out to the suburbs, where my dentist could see me last-minute. I have a silver tooth now, in the back. It’s very shiny.

So I didn’t get my mofongo, because I was only allowed to eat soup or oatmeal, soft, non-chewing foods, so we had soup. And then, about 10:30 that night, after Nick had been a puke monster for a number of hours already, the sickness took hold of me as well. It’s not swine flu, I don’t think, because I don’t smell bacon, but it’s unpleasant nevertheless. So, I didn’t get my mofongo again.

I feel like a Pepto Bismol ad. If the Pepto Bismol was spiked with laxatives and poison. And if the cameraman was beating my face with a hammer.

I mulled some wine and took some pills and made some chicken noodle soup, so hopefully I’ll survive the night. Here’s the recipe. It’s just exactly what you’ll need when you feel like I do, and, if we’ve been in contact recently, you’ll probably feel like I do soon enough.

Chicken noodle soup

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on (three to four)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered with peel left on
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with skins left on
  • 1 small leek, greens separated
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots (about two, quartered and chopped)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped leek, the white part
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup broad egg noodles
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium pot, heat olive oil and add chicken, onions, and garlic, browning lightly. Add in about six cups of water, and the leek tops, the thyme, the bay leaves, and the salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes.

Stock, in its early stages.Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Put pot in fridge, uncovered, and let cool for about 30 minutes.

In a large pot, heat 2 tsp. olive oil, and stir in carrots, celery, and leek until sweaty and glistening. You know, like you there with that fever. I know chicken soup might not be the best thing to help break a fever, but no one ever felt better eating cold chicken soup, and the Slurpee machine at the gas station is no longer operating.

Shred the chicken, disposing of the skin and bones.

Skim the fat off the top of the stock, and strain into a measuring cup. You’ll probably need to do this a few times – you should have about six cups of stock. Add the stock to the sweaty vegetables. If you’re shy of six cups, you can use store-bought stock to make up the difference, but water is also fine. Stir in your lemon juice, and bring to a boil. Add your noodles and chicken, and boil for five to six minutes, until veggies and noodles are tender. Adjust your seasonings – I added another few teaspoons of salt.

Soup.Serve with crackers and ginger ale while you watch Star Trek, sweating in your underpants.

SDC12112Feel better. Don’t die. Also, this recipe makes a lot of soup so if you do end up losing most of it during the night, you’ll have leftovers for the next day, when hopefully you can keep down sustenance.