This past weekend I tried out a new recipe on some unsuspecting guests who came to dinner. My sister had sent me this link a couple of months ago and I was just waiting for the right opportunity to make it.
This is a sweet rice pudding. Creamy with an undercurrent of lime that is not overpowering. What really put it over the top for me was the crunch of the toasted coconut combined with the chewy/creamy pudding. I combined elements from the link above with a recipe from Gourmet and came up with this final version:
Coconut Lime Rice Pudding
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1 - 14 oz can light coconut milk
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
zest from one large lime
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
Toasted coconut for topping
In a heavy saucepan combine all ingredients (except the toasted coconut) and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when mixture thickens and the rice is cooked the way you like it. This recipe makes enough for 4 servings. I let it cool a bit then put it in individual serving dishes. Can be served warm or cooled. I toasted about a cup of coconut and everyone put on the amount they wanted.
We might have ended the night with a rousing rendition of Harry Nilsson's famous Coconut song. A good time was had by all.
If you are looking for an action packed way to spend your Friday or Saturday night, might I suggest flipping through the latest edition of Cook's Illustrated?
I realize this isn't for everyone. Only those of us who are curious about the best way to get the stickers off fresh produce, want to read about peeling and deveining shrimp, and have decided to try and make a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread.
I do enjoy propping up my feet to read about how those chefs have de-constructed, re-vamped, and generally fiddled around with recipes to figure out what works (and what doesn't). They also introduced me to the coffee maker that has been living with me for the last four years. My Technivorm Moccamaster and I are still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship, with no sign of the passion cooling off. For that alone I am forever in their debt.
The only thing better than going on a vacation is thinking about going on a vacation.
My pre-trip modus operendi involves getting a couple of travel books with decent pictures and maps. I like to be able to close my eyes and think about where I am going to be in a country and what I will be surrounded by. I want to think about what I am going to see when I get there.
Vikings. Fjords. Fata Morganas. Trolls. Stave Churches. Gravat laks. Aquavit.
I have some reading to do.
One of the best things about knitting with a group of people is you get ideas for techniques you may want to try. This is an example of one. I made it a few years ago. It's called shadow knitting and it's made with very small needles (size 2 US).
While it was a long process I like this sweater because it holds it's shape well and it's warm but not too hot to wear inside all day. I made the sleeves too long and it's a little bit too short, but when you spend almost a year making something you find a way to work around minor annoyances.
There are a number of interesting patterns with great color combinations in this book. I am going to try one of the vests as soon as I forget how long it takes to complete one row on those little needles.
I've got a good idea. It involves these.
Ever since I saw this I have been wanting cherries. And you may have noticed I have also been on a bread pudding kick. Cherries + Bread Pudding = Carol's good idea.
Carol's Cherry Amaretto Bread Pudding
1 cup dried tart cherries
3 Tbsp Amaretto
Mix cherries with Amaretto, microwave for a minute and let sit to soften.
6 cups cubed challah bread - spread 1/2 of the bread cubes in a buttered 2 quart baking dish.
Layer the cherry/amaretto mixture over the bread cubes. Then put the other half of the bread cubes on top of that. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup brown sugar .
2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup Amaretto
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
Mix together and pour over the bread and cherry mixture.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 60-70 minutes.
A word about the challah bread. This is the first time I have made bread pudding using it. I will NEVER make bread pudding without it again. It's truly beyond compare. Oh, by the way. The left over challah bread makes perfect toast. Perfect. Really.
Do you believe that inanimate objects (like watches) have a collective consciousness when they reside within close proximity of each other?
If you don't, can you please explain how it is possible that not one of these watches is operational today. Each and every battery dead. I left them out by the bathroom sink this morning in the hope that someone see's them and takes a hint.
When we heard you opened a restaurant in KC we couldn't wait to try it out. Then we read the reviews. Uh oh. Let's just say they weren't very positive. We kept an open mind, determined to give you a chance.
From the moment we walked in the wrong door and were ushered up front to be seated, we found your staff to be friendly and attentive. Chris is really not praying the food will be ok. He's just waiting politely for me to make my selection.
My Mestizo margarita was appropriately tart without making me squint, the guacamole had a very pleasing earthy quality to it. Chunky but smooth and perfectly seasoned with cilantro. Some of the very best I have had anywhere.
Our dinner selections were very good. You don't find platanos on many menu's in KC. Their slight sweetness combined with the black beans and the very thin crisp outer layer melted in my mouth. The char on the skirt steak combined with the tomatillo sauce and sliced radish - authentic and delicous. The tamale del dia was a black bean with very thin salty plantain chips on top with a touch of queso fresco. Nice combination of textures and flavors.
We'll be back to Mestizo for sure. Aaron Sanchez we knew you wouldn't let us down.
Today Chris and I decided to take a field trip.
There is a lot to see there. It's well laid out and the displays are easy to walk through. Chris and I are compatible (and very sensible) museum goers. Spend only as much time as you want, go out to lunch, talk about what you saw, reinforce your learning. Plan to go back.
The next time we are going to go up in the tower. Today we were too hungry. One of us thought our blood sugar might get low 1/2 way up the stairs and didn't want to have some kind of medical emergency that would cause a traffic jam.
Has this ever happened to you? You get in your car after a long day of work. You fire up the engine, put it in drive and notice a warning light on. Looks like this.
You don't know what that light means. You have never seen it before. You are tired. You tell yourself "these idiot lights come on all the time for no reason". You drive home. When you get out of your car at home you notice this.
You tell Chris, "hey my tire is low... should you go and get some air in it so it won't be flat in the morning?" He says "did you drive home like that"? You want to lie. You really do. But you instead respond "yes". He tells you that really it's already flat and likely the rim or something like that is messed up and I will need a new tire. Which led to this.
I am diligently studying all the warning lights in the owners manual. Chris says there will be a quiz tomorrow. In addition to knowing what they all mean I have to know what to do when they come on. He says my favorite answer - "come home and let you take care of it because that 's what husbands are for" is NEVER the right answer.
This is NOT a tall tale.
At 5:13pm on a gray overcast day on my way home from work I passed exit #212 for Tonganoxie/Eudora and looked up from the steady traffic to see a cowboy riding a horse across the bridge over the Kansas Turnpike.
Some of you might think things like this happen in Kansas everyday. They don't. No way I could get a photo of it, but the image is imprinted firmly in my mind. I have placed it in the "moments that make life worth living" file.
Several years ago I saw this book at a local coffee shop.
At the time I was trying to think of something to get a friend for Christmas. Thus was born Harebrained Scheme #437. Buy book. Give to friend. Include note that you will take her to each of these places and buy her a coffee. Book will be used to record experiences. It will be fun.
The project was supposed to take a year. It has been 3 years since we started. The problem is once you find a few great places you want to go back again and again and you don't try hard enough to get to those out of the way places. But we are NOT giving up.
My sister and I are bound for Norway this summer. She posted some pictures of our apartment that you might want to look at. I am already selecting my attire and getting my bag ready to go. Do you think this hat will be too warm in Bergen, Norway in June?
I might need to get busy and make one for my sister too. I am certain that she will be wanting one as soon as she gets a load of how cute it is.
Dear Friends: I apologize longly and loudly for not providing a new drink recipe since way back in December when I posted about the Salted Caramel martini. I think this will make up for it.
This is the Snowdrift martini. I am not sure of the origins of the name but I think perhaps those big dogs that rescue people from snowdrifts carry this concoction in those little kegs around their necks and it is administered to revive them when they have been buried under an avalanche. I'm fairly certain about that.
2 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz amaretto
1 oz sour mix (or I use 1/2 oz each of frozen lemonade and water)
Put all ingredients in a shaker packed with ice and strain into a martini glass.
A handful of cashews on the side makes a nice accompaniment. Unless you have been buried under an avalanche, in which case go ahead and eat a whole can. I insist.
When thinking of a list of things to do on a perfect day - I offer these suggestions.
1. Bikram yoga class
2. Hair cut
3. Gingerbread latte
4. Customized facial with scalp, shoulder, and arm massage
When the 4 items above have been crossed off your list, take a break for a simple lunch at home.
The Season of Love Latte menu is up at The Blackdog Coffeehouse.
I do not know the owners and receive no free drinks for my endorsement. This is a public service announcement to those of you who reside within driving distance of this establishment on 87th St. in Lenexa Kansas.
When I look out the window in the morning and it is cold and wet, sort of like this...
Me: Hey it's been a long time since we had some of your chicken pot pie.
Chris: hmmm (as he reads the paper)
Me: You make the BEST chicken pot pie.
Chris: hmmm (he's still reading the paper)
Me: I guess I could make some chicken pot pie.
Chris: (looking up from the paper at last) No, I'll think of something.
Me: Are you sure? I don't mind making dinner tonight.
Chris: No, I've been wanting to try this new recipe.
Me: Well, if you're sure...
Chicken and noodles with homemade biscuits. The perfect meal for a cold and rainy day. It's really all a matter of just getting his mind focused in the right direction.
Hey! I just got a hot tip on the BIG game tonight. Angie has called her bookie and put down some cold hard cash on the Patriots. She is convinced they are going to win. To seal the deal she has purchased all the appropriate snacks...
Yes - Popcorn, Pizza, and Pistachio ice cream. I hope all of you are eating foods that begin with a P at your super bowl party too. I may not have shared this with you previously, but Angie knows her stuff when it comes to predicting a winner.
I spied this in the paper last weekend and made a mental note to check it out.
But not today. Today I located the note right where I had filed it under "something that might be fun". A good time was had by all, and I found some great bath salts. Ahhhh. There is nothing better when you are chilly then sliding into a nice warm bath with some fizzy spring garden salts. Not quite the same as the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest, but quite therapuetic nonetheless.
When I was growing up we had this set of encyclopedias for kids.
We used Volume 5, "Things to Make and Things To Do", regularly. Angie would say "you kids go find something to do" and we would pull it out to expand our minds and entertain ourselves. It contained instructions for activities like how to make a dog bed, or how to fish from a bank or a moored boat, how to play huckle, buckle, beanstalk, how to make and hang a mobile, and how to tell a joke.
This chair got yarn bombed at the knitting retreat. I thought it was a great idea. I'm going to start one at home. I think it will be perfect for my art room.
This officially closes my reports on the 2012 knitting retreat. Until I post what I made with the yarn I bought that is. Don't forget to mark your calendars for the last weekend in January of 2013 if you want to go next year. Thanks all you generous people from the studio for making this event happen on an annual basis. It's something I look forward to every year.
Thanks Dianne for sending me a message about this video yesterday. This short film, We All Came Home: Army and Navy Nurse POW's in WWII, was made by the department of defense. In it a group of nurses who were held prisoner by the Japanese in WWII tell of some of their experiences. It's about 28 minutes long and worth a look. I am not sure what year it was filmed - based on the style of spectacles I would say perhaps in the 1980's? What a gift to get to hear bits and pieces of their stories from them!
My WWII nurse comrades, I salute you.
Photo from yorkblog.com
Ruth McClain, WWII Navy Nurse Corp at veterans parade in 2008.
Photo from http://tnwwiireenactors.homestead.com/mission.html
Do you know Louis Zamperini? If you not, you are going to want to meet him.
Laura Hillenbrand does a superb job of telling this hard story in a way that is captivating and educational. There is so much history that I just don't know about. I had not previously read anything about WWII from the perspective of an American POW in Japan . This book has left me wanting to read more. I wish Chris's dad were still alive so I could ask him some questions. He served in the Pacific theatre in WWII.
I heard the story was complex and might be hard to follow in an audiobook format. I did not find that to be so at all. Highly, highly, recommended.