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Sunday
Sep302012

Georgie Porgie Pudding

Oh, how I hated that rhyme growing up, it meant it was time to put up your dukes. It doesn't quite have the same affect anymore. Nowadays the idea of pudding stirs up nostalgic memories of my Nana making batches of her rice pudding. Nana would serve it warm on a cold night or chilled on a sticky summer's night. She might even top it with a little glazed meringue, because just a simple blob of whipped cream just wouldn’t do. I was also led to believe that comforting rice pudding had curative properties. If not feeling well, a healthy scoop was the remedy in my house. I guess that’s why the Romans ate rice pudding as a cure for upset stomachs?

Having really no economic barrier and universal appeal- I’ve seen rice pudding on restaurant menus from diners and joints (my favorite place to find RP) to high-end linen napkin on-your-lap digs. Personally I‘ve made more batches than I can even remember. Here are a few variations that come to mind; Rum Raisin, Berry, Pomegranate, Coconut Mango and Banana. Keep in mind, I made mega batches. I prepared rice pudding batches to feed a daily buffet for about 10,000 people with list of ingredients like; 18 gallons milk, 12 pounds of rice, 12 pounds sugar. Email me if you need the full recipe.  

Making a batch for 10 thousand or 10 hungry people at home is pretty easy, as most ingredients are probably already in the pantry and can even be made by using leftover plain cooked rice. 

TIPS: Knowing your grains is important, as each type of rice will provide different results. Here are your options; long or short grain white rice, brown, basmati, or jasmine. Cooking times and consistencies will vary wildly, ok maybe widely. Long grain rice makes a pudding that is slightly drier and chewier than one made with short grain rice. While brown rice will be nuttier. Arborio rice is starchier and therefore can set up without addition of eggs. Cooking times will also depend on the type of rice, along with the amount of milk used. 

Other important tips: Do not combine any sugar to rice until the rice kernels are completely tender or the starch will begin to set and harden and will not become additionally tender. Do not use converted rice as it contains pre-gelatinized starch, which will not thicken rice properly. To keep a skin from forming over rice pudding, sprinkle a small amount of granulated sugar over the top as soon as you pour the pudding out of the pot.

Experiment with your own favorite flavorings and styles, and serve it up on your next tailgate, more formal occasion or just when you need a Nana pick-me-up! Enjoy!

My Basic, But Good Rice Pudding Recipe

Wednesday
Sep262012

Magnoodles

Good things happen, when great people step up™. 

I've been involved for many years on hunger and nutitional related causes especially geared to benefiting childern. Today I am delighted to support Maganoodles relief effort in DC at the Capital Area Food Bank. 

Concerned with her family’s diet after battling breast cancer followed by her husband’s fight with cancer and heart issues, 55 year old Aileen Magnotto created an all natural multi-grain vegetable based pasta (MAGNOODLES Pasta) now sold in markets and online.

Today, I'll be teaching kids how to cook a healthy pasta dinner with food bank ingredients. The new Capital Area Food Bank will receive more than 23,000 much needed servings of multi-grain pasta to feed local families thanks to the generosity of Magnoodles Pasta.

Way to go Aileen! 


Sunday
Sep232012

Say Cheese

It's no secret, among those that have seen my TV shows how much fondness I hold for my friends in Ireland. It is truly one of the most friendly and hospitable lands on earth. I actually think the phrase tender loving care was born there. Here's proof, in this TV ad from KerryGold. 

Dubliner Cheese: Once you try it, you'll be hooked. I am. It was first described to me as a mixture between Cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano. This description is quite accurate. Dubliner tastes of a mature Cheddar with the sweet aftertaste of Reggiano. Created by the Irish company Kerrygold and named after Ireland’s capital city, this cheese shares traits with several well-known cheeses but the combination creates a flavor that is completely unique.