Chocolate Pudding

chocolate pudding recipe from
My boyfriend has a friend. Yes, just the one friend. He's not the most outgoing. (just kidding honey!) This particular friend (of Brandon's many friends) happened to ask a rather silly question: Does Jana's house renovation have any projects that would require unbridled destruction? Why yes! Yes, it does.

Saturday afternoon the plan went into attack. We started pulling out everything in the room I begrudgingly refer to as my kitchen. Don't be fooled. It hasn't had a working stove or fridge in five months. Nevertheless, the last remaining vestiges of the kitchen needed to be removed with unbridled destruction. He and Brandon used a bit of that reckless abandon we love about them and swung a hammer at anything and everything.Craig, aka The Hulk, literally tore a cabinet in half. LITERALLY. With. His. Bare. Hands.

Swing. Crack. Rip.........huh. "Um, Jana, how big of a deal is it that I punched a hole through your tile....and wall???"


The walls of my house are plaster. 87 year old plaster. If you'd ever met a plaster wall, you know that you don't really punch a hole in more of less crack the shell and see the ribbing of your home. It's solid. No room for holes. Hearing that a hole had been punched in my wall confused me. It's just not possible! I scramble through the wreckage, climb up a few feet to survey the damage.

It's a fake wall! ....well, it's a real's more of a wall with another wall inside of it. It's the inception wall. Our minds ran wild. There could be drugs, cash, jewels, or.....dead things.... inside of this fake wall! Nobody would put a wall on top of a wall for no amazing reason, RIGHT?!

cough. cough. sigh. wrong.

We tore the whole thing down and it was the medium for adding two electrical plugs into the kitchen. WHY DO THAT?! Gah. Frustrating. SO frustrating. I was truly hoping for cash. It would have paid for the remodel. On the plus side, I can't tell you how happy I am not to find anything dead. Such a bonus.

With the kitchen destroyed we moved onto the drop ceiling in my sun room. It's just like the ones you used to get pencils stuck in during junior high. They had installed them in every room of the first floor. I have taken them down, one at a time, each and every one with a small bit of calamity.  This one came down, with a small crash.....and a slight injury to my boyfriend....who I might have asked to stand underneath it. And he thinks I'm trying to kill him. Psht. Where would he get that idea? Okay, okay, so I asked him to help brace the ceiling from falling. but it still fell, pretty loudly, and sharply, and on his arm.

Well, as luck would have it, irony was with us that day. Because above the drop ceiling, was......dun duh duh DUUUUH: Another drop ceiling. Not kidding you. I have a kitchen you can peel like an onion and a sunroom with four of which is made of asbestos. Score!

With my weekend over and my kitchen destroyed, I am left to sit back and contemplate just how useful a good contractor can be....but doing so while I'm at Brandon's house....using his working kitchen..... eating chocolate pudding....and breathing asbestos-free air.

Chocolate Pudding
From Smitten Kitchen, as adapted from John Scharffenberger, via Wednesday Chef
Serves 6

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate chopped or chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.

If you like pudding skin, pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish(es) before refrigerating. If you dislike pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.