November 02, 2012 by Helen Nowotnik
I spent an hour and a half in Trader Joe’s on the Sunday before Hurricane Sandy just to write this article … and to pick up some bagels.
Yes, the checkout lines at Trader Joe’s were 15-20 people deep when I got there.
When I left, there was a line just to go in and start shopping. And people were actually waiting in it!
If you’re not in the mood to elbow innocent civilians and hate yourself after you beat an old lady with a walker to the front of the line, I have some end-of-the-world recipes that require only a few household ingredients.
The first is a recipe for potato croquets that I found in “The Best of Polish Cooking.” This cookbook by Karen West has only five sections in it: autumn menus, winter menus, spring menus, summer menus and vodka beverages. Being Polish rocks.
For the potato croquets you’ll need:
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons canola oil or butter
First, combine the mashed potatoes, eggs, flour and nutmeg in a bowl and put it to the side. Next, set up a breading station by putting the beaten egg and bread crumbs into two shallow dishes side-by-side.
Using a spoon, take about a quarter-cup of the potato mixture and roll it into a ball. Roll each ball in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs.
Next, heat up some canola oil or butter to fry the croquets. I used butter (because I’m fully expecting to die from a heart attack at any time), but canola oil works just as well.
Using your hands, flatten the balls into half-inch disks, and then carefully drop them into the pan.
Cook the croquets for two to three minutes on each side or until they’re golden brown. Put the finished croquets on a paper towel or cooling rack to drain off the excess oil.
Serve the croquets with ketchup or just a sprinkle of salt, and voila — what may be your last meal ever before the world as we know it blows up is finished.
For my apocalypse dessert, I made a rice pudding using an old family recipe.
For the rice pudding you’ll need:
1/2 gallon whole or reduced-fat milk (2 percent milkfat and below will not work)
1 cup rice
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 extra cup of milk
Homemade rice pudding is pretty easy but requires attention during the cooking process.
First put the milk, rice, sugar and cinnamon stick in a pot and set your stove on low.
If you’re using a vanilla bean, cut it open vertically and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Put the seeds and the bean in the pot to cook. If you’re using extract, the vanilla gets added later.
Let the pudding cook for one to two hours or until the rice is tender and the pudding is thick. Stir every five minutes or so to keep the rice from sticking and burning.
When the pudding is finished cooking, remove it from the stove. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, extra cup of milk and vanilla extract (if you aren’t already using a bean).
While stirring this mixture, slowly add a spoonful of the hot pudding to temper the egg.
This will avoid scrambled egg in the final product. Slowly add the egg mixture to the pot of pudding while stirring constantly.
Put the rice pudding straight into the refrigerator to cool. Make sure you put a top or plastic wrap over the pudding, or a layer of gross, hard pudding will form on the top.
Serve the rice pudding in a bowl with a little extra cinnamon on top, and you’re officially full and ready for the end of the world.
As usual, if you have any questions or suggestions, please email me at [email protected]