Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tuscaloosa and Tom Selleck

Hey, there's me.

There were still flowers blooming in some of the yards. Windows boarded over, people moved on, but the flowers continued to grow. Last spring, in the Tuscaloosa/Birmingham region of Alabama, a massive tornado struck. The twister seemed to have a mind of its own, striking the poorest areas and the area's aid organizations . Even a year later, there are still spectacular amounts of damage. That's where we came in. 45 college students, eager to help in any way possible. We spent hours in the hot sun, digging up broken glass, cutting down trees, and ripping out foundation. 

I don't do a lot of manual labor, being shut up in my little academic world most of the time. It was really humbling to just get out there and use my hands. It felt good. And it made me so thankful that I had that sleeping bag to crawl into at night, the hot food on my plate, and the support of friends. 

The dessert I made is called a Tom Selleck. I really don't know why, let me know if you do. I wish I could have made one of these in Alabama and shared it with my work group or the kind people who opened their churches to us to sleep in. Sometimes that's the only way I know how to say thank you, with food. 

Tom Selleck

1 1/2 sticks butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
whipped cream
chocolate pudding (if you're feeling fancy, make mine! Or use instant stuff)

Start by making the crust.  Mix together butter, sugar, and flour until it is combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a sprayed 9×13 pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Cool completely. While the crust is cooling, whip 2 cups of heavy cream until stuff peaked form.    Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together.  Fold in one third of the whipped cream.  
Spread the cream cheese layer over the cooled crust. Spread the chocolate pudding on top. Cover the top with the remaining whipped cream.  Chill for a few hours or overnight. Add some sprinkles to the top and serve.

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