Memorial Day is this Monday! Do you have your menu planned? It is an occasion for the simple pleasures of a picnic, a barbeque, an afternoon in the sunshine with lots of beer and lemonade.
Once upon a time, long ago, we used to go all-out for the patriotic holiday. Picture it, Brooklyn, 2004. I was crashing with Malcolm and his roommate/heterosexual complement/traveling companion in their Cobble Hill brownstone. The boys ordered hundreds of dollars of meat for the extravaganza. We spent three days hard boiling and halving eggs and stacking plastic trays precariously in the crowded fridge. We filled colorful buckets with cubed potatoes and mayonnaise, most of which would later spoil in the heat. We dusted the arcade machines and tidied up the backyard. There were photo-shopped invitations sent out to far-flung acquaintances in Connecticut and Queens. People traveled by car and subway and the LIRR.
I bought a new outfit that was basically one square of pink and white gingham stapled to denim with a matching skirt. The same friends who would attend our wedding in Mexico a few strange years down the road showed up to hang out for hours as the sun set into night and heroic songs were sung, as if they played Pennywise in the mead halls of old northern Europe. It was happiness and it was the beginning of happiness, and the earliest ending of our protracted adolescence.
A good time was had by all. Break out the red, white, and blue tableware, grill up some burgers, get a mild case of botulism, and make these pudding pops on Monday, or whenever you celebrate veterans.
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Banana and strawberries, sliced (optional)
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat simmer 1½ cups milk, sugar, and cocoa powder, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together remaining milk, cornstarch, egg yolks and vanilla. Slowly combine this with the hot milk mixture.
- Return to the stove and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils. Reduce heat and continue whisking until the pudding thickens, 2-3 minutes. Allow the pudding to cool.
- Pour into molds or Dixie cups. Optionally, layer with thinly sliced fruit.
- Allow the pudding to begin to harden in the freezer, about an hour, then insert wooden sticks and continue freezing until solid.