If January is all fresh starts, boundless energy, and pie-in-the-sky thinking, then February is when reality sets in, enthusiasm wanes and big plans get scaled back. January’s intentions become February’s best-of-intentions. If January is the overachieving honour roll student, then February is the unemployed 30-year-old who still lives in his parents’ basement.
By February, the new year has lost its sheen. You’re back at work and it’s still winter (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), so you’re either biking to work in –21 °C like this guy in Toronto, or staring at snowless peaks and wondering if climate change has done away with North Shore snowshoeing for good. The days are stretching longer, but they’re taking their time getting there.
February’s always been a problem and I’m not the only one who’s noticed. In 2013, the provincial government introduced a new holiday called Family Day in an attempt to break up the long slog between the New Year’s Day and Easter holidays. Nice idea except it’s a made-up holiday and, here in BC, we celebrate it on a different day than EVERYONE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY. Nice work on interprovincial coordination, guys. Long live western alienation.
In an attempt to inject a bit of festivity into this otherwise dull month, we invited a few friends over for dinner last Saturday night. On the menu: hot toddies, spaghetti and meatballs, and apple pie à la mode. A quintessential comfort food, this butterscotch pudding made the shortlist but missed the final cut (kind of like those new year’s resolutions). Consider it a consolation prize (totally like Family Day).
- 475 mL (2 cups) milk (I used 2%)
- 100 g (1/2 cup) dark brown or demerara sugar
- 18 g (2 tbsp + 2 tsp) cornstarch
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 20 g (4 tsp) salted butter
- Heat the milk over low heat in a medium saucepan.
- Meanwhile, measure out the butter and set it aside. Then, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl and crack your egg yolks into a small bowl.
- When the milk is hot, but not boiling, remove it from the heat. Ladle a scoop of hot milk into the medium bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add the egg yolks to this new mixture, whisking constantly to make sure they don't scramble.
- Add the rest of the hot milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.
- Pour the mixture from the bowl back into the (now empty) saucepan and place it over medium heat.
- Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and reaches a temperature of at least 71 °C (160 °F).
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
- Immediately pour the mixture into a bowl or individual serving cups, cover with parchment or wax paper to prevent a skin from forming, and cool.