NICELY DONE: Made from Nilla wafers and instant pudding.
My house is in shambles. It’s moving week here, and my entire kitchen is packed in boxes and various sizes of paper grocery bags. There is a small crew of my dedicated friends coming over to give me a hand, and I know they are expecting me to feed them. It’s off to Rite Aid.
This may not be your first choice for a shopping spot. But, upon rather extensive research, they sell a surprising number of food-like products. The question remains: is any of this stuff actually enough to make a meal?
This particular Rite Aid had a decent-sized pantry section with many options. Canned fruit, pudding, soups, and various meat products greet me. If you wanted Vienna Sausages or Spam, this would be the place for you. But, I have my sights set on finer dining, even if it is a drugstore.
In the fridge and freezer section, the variety may not be great, but the ingredients are invaluable to the mission. There is surprising quality here, in the form of premium ice creams and Cabot cheeses. Your vegetarian friends will thank you for this, as Cabot uses no animal rennet.
And of course, there are eggs, quite possibly the most under-appreciated of the proteins. The egg is durable enough to the be the binder, holding together flour and sugar to become a cake. This same peculiar little food is also delicate enough to inflate like a balloon. Eggs are the first to make the cut, and a basket full of disparate elements follow.
Sweets seem to always be a sign of celebration and of appreciation. For some reason, the ingredients that spoke at Rite Aid said “tiramisu.” This Italian delight is traditionally made from ladyfingers, mascarpone, espresso, egg custard, and a generous dusting of cocoa, so it may be odd that I'll try it, though I see none of these on the shelves.
The Nilla Wafers are buy-one-get-one-free, and will do just fine for our base layer. Dip them in a mixture of a capful of vanilla, a splash of cream sherry, and leftover coffee from this morning’s pot. Spread them out in a plastic-wrapped baking dish in a single layer, then top with two recipes of instant chocolate pudding. To make it richer, use equal parts half-and-half and leftover coffee. Spread a very thin layer of whipped cream from the can over the top, and then repeat all the steps to form another full layer. A Lindt 85-percent-cacao chocolate bar looks irresistible, and can be shaved generously over the top of the last layer. Place in the freezer and get back to it later.
Frittatas are a nearly foolproof way to achieve the comfort of quiche (go on, say it) with the ease of an omelette. In an ovenproof saute pan (such a stainless steel one with a metal handle) cook a half-dozen or so strips of bacon. When brown and crispy, pour off most of the bacon fat, leaving a tablespoon or so with the cooked bacon. Add a mixture of six eggs beaten with a half cup of half and half, 3/4 cup shredded cheddar, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on the stovetop at medium-low heat until the edges start to set. Finish in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. A toothpick (or piece of spaghetti) should come out clean when you poke the frittata in the center. Let it sit for five minutes or so before serving, as eggs like to set before being cut.
Email the author
Todd Richard: firstname.lastname@example.org