I’ve watched more TV in the last three months than in the last 10 years, at least!
Not being on your feet due to surgery comes with some advantages: enjoying yourself at home, eating whenever and whatever, not having to get dressed if you don’t feel like it, and go more than a day without washing your hair.
In other words, I have become a larva.
On the other hand though, I’ve learned a lot from these marathon boob sessions. For example, I renewed my decades-long crush on Dick Van Dyke (“Diagnosis Murder”), reveled in the quirkiness of “Monk,” and traveled far and wide via the History, PBS, and Science channels.
I have sworn never to invite Jessica Fletcher (“Murder She Wrote”) to visit…someone is sure to be murdered; I did some small projects around my house thanks to the people and programs at Magnolia Network; and, of course, enjoy cooking channels.
While I enjoy the “Great British Baking Show,” “Iron Chef,” food history shows, and the occasional “Chopped,” I’m generally not a fan of shows that turn cooking into a competition.
I don’t like to see perfectly competent cooks get kicked out for a mistake or two. Who doesn’t have a kitchen misfire?
I certainly do, but at least I have the advantage that I never put those embarrassing moments on the Spoon.
So, here are three of my favorite surefire treats.
3 teaspoons of baking powder
Cream lard by hand thoroughly; add the sugar and the anise seed. Beat the eggs and add to the butter mixture. When light and fluffy, add the vanilla.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to lard/sugar mixture and beat until combined. Add water and knead until well mixed.
Roll out 1/2-inch thick on a lightly floured surface, cut into shapes. Roll top of cookie in mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) until lightly browned.
*Vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, can be substituted.
3-ounce box instant lemon pudding
Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Mix all ingredients. Pour into skillet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. When done and still hot, make the frosting (as directed below), punch holes in the top and pour over the cake.
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add more water/lemon juice if too thick, or more powdered sugar if too thin.
8 ounces dark chocolate
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
12 ounces vanilla tea biscuits, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped, optional
Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate, add the cocoa powder and butter. Remove from heat, stir and transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla in a circular motion. While the mixture is hot, slowly add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each. Fold in cookie pieces. Add the walnuts (if using) and fold until well incorporated. The mixture will look wet, thick, and coarse.
Turn out onto a smooth surface and divide the mixture in half. Place half of the mixture on wax or parchment paper, 15 inches long. Then shape the mixture, with wet hands, into a log about 2 inches thick.
Roll up paper and twist ends in opposite directions to mimic salami. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Wrap each in plastic wrap and freeze 2 to 3 hours. When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar, if desired, for an authentic salami look, and slice into 1/4-inch slices.