Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Good to See You Again!

Sorry for the long absence. I've been working lots and lots on other webpages and neglecting this one. I'll be getting busy with this blog again in a couple of days. I've got lots of new things to tell you, like making mock apple pie and mozzarella cheese.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Velveeta Fudge Report...at last!

At last, we get to the end of the story of my adventures with Velveeta fudge. In Parts 1 and 2 of this story, I told you how I came by the recipe, and how I eventually felt some obligation to make this fudge. Today I'll let you know the results of this kitchen experiment.
I really had no idea of what Velveeta fudge would taste like. Cheesy? My first taste was cautious. First thought: This is not bad.

I took another taste, and detected a sort of tangy aftertaste to a nice, nutty fudge. At first, I thought that aftertaste was due to the cheese product in the recipe. It took me a couple of minutes to identify it as powdered milk taste. You know that slightly strange taste that powdered milk has? That was the aftertaste. I had used a cheap store-brand powdered milk. Maybe a different brand wouldn't have that taste.

The funny thing was, after all that build-up and anticipation, I couldn't taste the Velveeta at all. My daughter tried it and pronounced it "pretty good for fudge that has cheese in it." When my husband and son came home, we let them sample the fudge without telling them the secret ingredient. My son found it delicious and was put off for only a minute or two when he learned what was in it. My husband thought it was tasty too.

The lesson here is that those recipes that have outrageous ingredients in them really do work sometimes. Now I'm going to try that spice cake recipe that uses a can of tomato soup, and then that one that calls for sauerkraut, and then.....

Here's the recipe for Velveeta fudge. Please resist the urge to say "you'll never guess what's in it!" Believe me, people don't want to know.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
8 ounces pasteurized process cheese, Velveeta, cubed
1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, about 5 cups unsifted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

In a large saucepan over medium heat butter and cheese cubes together, stirring frequently; remove from heat. Sift together confectioners' sugar and cocoa; add to cheese, mixing well. Stir in non-fat dry milk, vanilla and nuts. Turn into a 9x9x2-inch pan; chill until firm and cut into squares.
Makes about 3 pounds.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More Cheesiness in the Kitchen

Yesterday, I told you how I had gotten myself into a cheesy corner. I had just published a new website that contained a recipe for Velveeta fudge. The response I got from that recipe was, to put it politely, strong. Now, I had never actually tried this recipe, so I didn't have much of a rebuttal. I finally reached the inescapable conclusion that I would have to make Velveeta fudge, and more importantly, to taste it and report back to my readers. Today, I'll tell you about my adventure in the kitchen making the fudge. If you want to get fully caught up on the story, read yesterday's post first.

The necessary ingredients were procured, my courage (and, I admit, my curiosity) shored up, and the recipe was brought up on the computer screen (take note of this; it becomes important later). I looked it over, made the decision that I could pretty much remember the whole thing, and marched determinedly into the kitchen.

First step: melt the butter and Velveeta in a large sauce pan. Okay, that's easy enough. Got that started. I haven't used my sifter in fifteen years, but for some unexplainable reason, it sounded like fun. Also, it seemed to me that fudge with big clumps of powdered sugar and cocoa would make for unattractive presentation and suboptimal mouth feel. I dumped the powdered sugar into the sifter and started cranking the little wire thing round and round. It took me right back to childhood. A whole lotta fun. However, that little wire inside the sifter was throwing almost as much sugar out the top as it was sifting down below. Maybe I was having a bit too much fun here. I slowed down a bit with the cranking.

Oh! The cheese was melting quite nicely. But when I stirred, I found crunchy, brown, burnt cheese on my spoon. That had to come out of the mixture. Definitely not a good addition to fudge. Let me tell you, that crunchy cheese stuff was pretty tasty.

Time to sift the cocoa into the sugar. But how much cocoa was I supposed to put in? I ran the twenty-five feet from kitchen to computer to read the screen. I dashed back and sifted the cocoa, keeping a careful eye on the cheese mixture to make sure it didn't burn again.

Now that the cheese was melted and the sugar and cocoa sifted, I was supposed to add the dry ingredients into the pot and stir well. Let me just say that when a recipe calls for a large saucepan, use a large saucepan, not a pretty big medium one. The added ingredients filled the pot, making mixing almost impossible. Oh well, that's why we have dogs and vacuum cleaners (don't worry; I know chocolate is toxic to dogs, and they didn't get any).

Back to the computer I ran to remind myself how much powdered milk, vanilla and nuts to add. I added the powdered milk, but I was pretty skeptical; I was afraid it wouldn't dissolve and that the resulting fudge would have these large white grains of dry milk. I put in extra vanilla, because I come from that school of thought that says if a little bit of something is good, more must be better, which is pretty much true when you're talking about vanilla.

I still had not tasted this concoction and was somewhat hesitant to waste two perfectly good cups of chopped nuts, just in case. I stirred them in, as best as I could, considering how full the pan was getting. When I looked around the kitchen, I couldn't find my 9 x 9 square baking dish, so I just pulled out a round, glass pie dish and sort of heaped the whole, fudgy mixture into it.
I've run out of time again. Next timeI'll give you a final report on the fudge and the recipe (really, this time I really mean it).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Birth of Adventures in Eating

It all started with a semi-innocent webpage I had created called Velveeta...Exposed. While researching the trivia to be found on the web about Velveeta, I came across a curious recipe for "Velveeta Fudge." And it wasn't just an obscure thing, tucked away in a dusty corner of the ether. This recipe was all over the place. Furthermore, there were a number of people who raved about it (and I'm pretty sure they didn't all work for Kraft Foods). Well, the nature of my webpage screamed for the inclusion of this gem. So onto the page it went.

I was eager to publish my new page. So clever and witty was I! I waited for the praise and adoration of my newest fans. I didn't have to wait long. By far, the biggest response I received from the launching of my process cheese product expose was regarding the fudge recipe. Many readers were appalled and slightly nauseated; some were amused; and a few threats came in, blasting me for exposing them to such a thing with no warning.

I decided it was my civic duty to discover the truth about this "fudge" recipe. Hard as I tried, I couldn't avoid facing the ugly truth that I would have to make a batch of Velveeta fudge, and I would have to taste it.

Off to the grocery store I went and loaded my cart with all the supplies I would need for my culinary adventure. Anyone looking into that cart couldn't have dreamt of what I had in mind for such an odd assortment of groceries. I longed to reveal my plan to some stranger in the store, maybe as idle chat in the checkout line. Better judgment won out, and I waited quietly to pay for my items.

In Part 2 of Adventures in Eating - Unusual Recipes, I'll tell you the rest of the story and give you the recipe for Velveeta fudge.