It was a year ago at around this time that I ventured to a store for the first time post childbirth, Tim driving, Rocco in his carseat. The place we went was Kroger. Our local Kroger is just a couple miles away, close enough to bike to when your body’s in good shape, but, on this particularly sweltering July afternoon, when I was still low on blood supply and heavy on the need for healing, simply walking from the car to the store entrance zapped my energy. Pushing the stroller in the shocking heat, from the parking lot up and through sliding glass doors to the produce section, I heard Tim saying we needed paper towels, and I knew I couldn’t make it that far. Instead, Rocco and I parked ourselves in the plant section, near the entrance and next to the produce, while I watched my husband zig and zag spritely to the other edge of the store. Rocco slept. I wondered if I could keep standing. When we did make it home, I knew it would be a long while before I ever tried that again. The service wasn’t available then, but, if it had been, what would have been a much better option for us in those days of low mobility was ClickList.
ClickList is Kroger’s online ordering system in which you pick out your items from wherever you are, order them, schedule your pickup time and then simply pull up to a designated parking spot like you’re waiting for your order at a Drive-Thru. It’s newly available at the Kroger I went to in Nashville, with more stores being added soon, and I tried it for the first time last month. The speedy pickup was a dream.
Then, one week after that first exploratory trip, as providence would have it, I rammed the bridge of my left foot into our kitchen’s open dishwasher door, rushing around one night in the pre-dinner scramble of bath time and food cooking and dishes to put away. Of course I thought of ClickList again. My little accident happened a few days before Father’s Day, right around the time when Tim had been saying he wanted budino al cioccolato, the chocolate pudding we’ve been making all year on repeat. Hobbling around the house, I knew I didn’t want to walk around a store, but I also knew I needed ingredients, so I shopped online, and we swung by Kroger to have items like heavy cream, chocolate bars and coconut sugar brought out to our car. Sunday afternoon, everything I needed was ready and waiting for me, and Tim was happy to get his chocolate pudding fix. That is the beauty of ClickList.
For someone like me who currently enjoys grocery shopping, especially my weekly morning routine, a service that does the work of picking out ripe cantaloupes and knowing what to swap for products that are out of stock might not seem like a big thing. But all it takes is one prolonged healing process or one busy work week to remind me of the value of little efficiencies like these. When time or energy is at a premium, finding ways to save it is, too.
So it was pretty great that on Father’s Day morning, instead of last-minute grocery shopping, I got to think about last-minute meal prep: marinating chicken to grill, cooking quinoa before church, stirring together a blend of this addictive chocolate velvet known as budino al cioccolato.
Budino al cioccolato, a traditional Italian pudding that came to me earlier this year by way of Domenica Cooks, is thick chocolate custard at its finest–yet with no eggs and no cream required. We usually make it with raw milk we have on hand, but on Father’s Day we tried with mostly cream and some coconut milk. The recipe is versatile enough that either way works. Using mostly cream yields a much heavier, richer pudding, one that you’ll want to eat in small portions, but it’s luxurious chocolate just the same.
Every time illness or injury hits me hard, the experience shocks me as if it were the first time all over again. I forget how convenient it is to be able to be the one wiping down the countertops while putting dinner on the table or picking up Rocco’s toys in a minute or two before taking on a different task. Take these abilities away from me–tell me I can’t drive a car or that I have to ask someone else for help for each simple thing–and I realize all over again how many wonderful gifts are flowing through my fingertips even on routine weekdays at home. I also realize how thankful I am for people and services that help in those moments, from friends who bring over meals to grocery stores that make it easy to pick up groceries in a blink.
budino al cioccolato
Lightly adapted from Domenica Cooks
The first time we made this pudding, early this year, Rocco was already in bed for the night, and we were meeting the siren call of a sweet tooth. The results wowed us so much, though, we’ve made the pudding again and again and again ever since. True to my childhood memories of licking the bowl of stovetop pudding, I like this recipe best hot; Tim likes it best cold. Either way, with only seven ingredients and a short list of directions, it’s a foolproof keeper we’ll be making a long time more.
2 cups whole milk or heavy cream*
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup all-purpose einkorn flour
1 bar (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (we like 70 to 85% dark)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a small, tall saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and/or cream just to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, remove it from the heat.
Now, in a heavy-bottomed pot like a dutch oven or other Le Creuset, melt the half a stick of butter. Stir in the sugar, salt and flour. It’ll be pretty thick. Ladle out some of the warmed milk into this mixture and stir it in, loosening up the thickness. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Add the rest of the milk. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour budino into serving dishes, and eat hot (so luxurious!) or chill in the fridge for a while to eat later, cold (also luxurious, but in a different way).
This pudding will keep, covered, in the fridge for a week.
*As mentioned in the post, whole milk works best here, but feel free to sub in part cream as desired.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.