Layered Peach Rice Pudding

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A couple of months ago, I had Jessica run to my beloved Wegmans for me to pick up a few groceries. One of the items on my list was a bag of rice.

Ok.
It was my fault.
I didn’t specify.
Jessica came home with a 10 pound bag of rice.

Yes.
10 pounds.
Of rice.

Well, in her defense… I did say “bag” of rice.

What does one do with 10 pounds of rice?
Well…one cooks it.
And cooks it…
Aaaannd…cooks it.

I laughed, of course, and started cooking rice….and have been cooking it ever since. I’m almost down to the end of it; and I surprised myself at how quickly I actually did use it up!

Much to my son Michael’s dismay, I made rice quite often as a side for dinner. He’s not a fan. In fact, he hates it. (I know…there’s a surprise….)

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I also made quite a bit of rice pudding. Jessica loves it, and so do I. It’s definitely a wonderful dessert; or a little snack for the evening…. But I find myself taking a little container of it to work for lunch…or grabbing a few spoonfuls for dinner.

I think that a lot of people underestimate rice pudding. There isn’t much you can do to it to make it pretty. So it’s a dessert that many people might not serve to their guests simply for aesthetic reasons.

It’s boring.
I mean, let’s face it…if you’re not a fan, then rice pudding can be very boring.
I totally get that.
But I also get that those people are totally missing out on a very delicious dessert.

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So, I’m going to be that person. I’m going to be the one that serves rice pudding to her guests… and with confidence….because I know that they’re going to love it. I’m going to pretty it up a little, and serve it with fresh peach jam, and fresh peaches on top…all layered on top of a graham cracker crust.

Delicious.
A perfect summertime dessert that even the “non-rice pudding fans” will even love.

Except for Mike. He still hates it.

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I’m bringing my Peach Rice Pudding to Angie’s Fiesta Friday to share with all of you. I hope you love it as much as Jessica and I do!

We have reached a milestone at Fiesta Friday! It is our 20th week! And this week, we have two larger than life bloggers co-hosting the party! The lovely Suzanne from APugintheKitchen,  brought an ice cream cake to the party.  I mean seriously… she made an ice cream cake!!  And the lovely Fae from Fae’s Twist and Tango made Nazouk  which is an Armenian Pastry ! I know, right? Beautiful!!  I am so looking forward to this….I know that they’ll make this party memorable!  As for Angie… Everyone loves Angie!  She’s polished. She’s sophisticated.  She’s hilarious…and she’s the kindest host you’ll ever want to meet.  A special thank you to Angie, Suzanne, and Fae for hosting this milestone event!

If you have never visited Fiesta Friday, I hope that you do stop by to see what everyone has to offer…there’s always something delicious cooking from so many people from all around the world! If you are a blogger..or new to blogging, please feel free to link up with us! This is a great way to meet other bloggers, and gain more exposure! We are always happy to welcome new people into the mix!  Just click here  to get there!!

Life is good, it’s a “You can never have too much rice in the pantry” kind of good…

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Layered Peach Rice Pudding
Eight 5oz Servings with a Whole Lotta Rice Pudding Left Over

This is my mom’s recipe for rice pudding. It’s one of those recipes that comes from a telephone call, that really had no measurements …. “Mom, how do I make rice pudding?” … “Oh, throw some rice in the pan, throw some milk on top, throw a can of sweetened condensed milk in….” It took me a while to learn how to make a decent rice pudding… but I do have to say that it’s never as good as my mom’s. She makes it the best.

3 cups cooked long grain white rice
1 quart whole milk
1 – 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, mix the white rice, the milk, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, and salt. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t brown on the bottom. A browned bottom means brown flecks all throughout your pudding. It’s still edible, just not pretty. Cook until it has thickened.

There really is no time frame for me to tell you exactly how long to cook this. It takes a good hour or so to thicken, maybe to a runny yogurt consistency. Remember that the rice will continue to absorb the liquid, so you don’t want it too thick, or it will dry out. I have found a quick remedy to dried rice pudding… just stir some heavy cream in until it becomes the thickness you desire!

While the rice mixture is simmering, crack the egg into a bowl, and whisk it with a fork. Once the rice mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat, and you’ll want to temper the egg before you add it to the saucepan. Add about a cup of the hot rice mixture to the bowl with the whisked egg, and stir it quickly so that the egg doesn’t cook from the hot mixture….and then add the egg mixture to the rest of the rice mixture in the saucepan. Stir it until it is well blended. Add the vanilla, and stir until blended.

Pour into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Serve when cooled.

Peach Jam:
2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and diced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Cook the peaches, sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over low heat until the peaches have broken down, and thickened. This doesn’t take long…about ½ hour. Remove from heat, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Fresh Peach Garnish:
1 peach, skin on, diced
1-2 tsp granulated sugar

Mix the peaches and sugar in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp sugar

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in a bowl until well blended. Set aside.

Assemble the Dessert:

Add 2 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of each glass.
Layer 2 tablespoons of peach jam on top of the graham cracker crust.
Fill with rice pudding to the top of the glass.
Garnish with fresh peaches.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!!

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Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice and Dirty Agua Fresca… Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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I’ve been thinking about joining in on the Cinco de Mayo fun, and post something really fiesta-ish…but what to make? EveryBODY has done EveryTHING imaginable to prepare for tomorrow’s celebration, so anything I made would have been done already…nothing new…but I knew that if I was going to post anything, it was going to be fish tacos. So then I thought, “Eh, I just won’t post anything..” But then I thought…”Why not post something, even if it’s been done a bazillion times already?…Just do what you do, and it will be okay… “

And so I did…
I did what I do…
And it was more than okay…

I’m sure that fish tacos have been around forever, especially in the coastal areas of Mexico…but I think that the fish tacos that we are familiar with today, are more Americanized… or should I say Baja California-ized? There are so many variations of fish tacos…and it seems that I love them all. I can’t go to a restaurant without zeroing in on them, and everything else seems to disappear on the menu. And each time, I proclaim that that particular taco, at that particular time is my most favorite.

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So I had to decide what kind I wanted to talk about tonight, and I thought maybe something on the lighter side, a no nonsense type of taco. A simple grilled cod taco, with a green tomato salsa, cilantro lime rice, and a dirty agua fresca to drink. I know… dirty? Yes. Dirty. Perfect.

Can agua frescas be dirty?
Well…now they can!
Should agua frescas be dirty?
Oh yes… yes they should!!

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Seriously though, I’m totally into dirty drinks now. I tend to go through phases..and it just so happens that I now want everything muddled, shaken, and not strained. Thank you Ryan.

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Back to the taco… I was thinking about a green tomato salsa, and found the prettiest green tomato at my beloved Wegmans. It had just a hint of pink on it, and for the purpose of cosmetic delight only, I bought it. I love how it looks in this salsa!!

I am a firm believer that avocados belong in a taco..no ifs and or buts… cilantro and jalapeños just go with the territory… celery added a wonderful crunch.. needless to say, this salsa was perfectly light to go with the cod. It wasn’t over powering, which was perfect, so that the fish could still be the star of this show.

And it was.
A delicious fish taco.

Life is good… it’s a “starting out unsure about posting yet another fish taco, but truly glad I did, while I drink a dirty kind of drink…” kind of good..

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Fish Tacos
Makes 4 6” tacos

1 lb Cod filet
Salt and Pepper
Old Bay Blackened Seasoning
Olive oil

4 – Six inch flour tortillas
Vegetable oil

1/2 Avocado, cut into small chunks

Prepare your grill (if you don’t plan to cook on the grill, that’s ok. This can be cooked on the stovetop too!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the tortilla cups, brush both sides of each tortilla. Mold each cup by fitting it into a small tartlet pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and remove from tartlet pan. Place on grill for a few minutes to char the edges. Remove from grill and set aside.

Rub the cod filet with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and blackened seasoning. Place fish on grill (using a grilling pan or cedar plank if you prefer), and cook until flaky..about four minutes on each side. Remove from grill.

Divide the fish between the four tortilla cups. Serve with green tomato salsa, avocado, and cilantro lime rice.

Green Tomato Salsa
1 green tomato, seeds removed and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced (including the green)
1 tbsp minced fresh jalapeño
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine the tomato, celery, garlic, green onions, jalapeño, cilantro, lime, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Let sit in refrigerator until ready to use.

Cilantro Lime Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
1 cup water
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp butter
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Combine the rice, water, chicken stock, and butter in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Give it a good stir, reduce the heat, and cover. Let simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes. Let sit for five minutes. Add the lime and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Dirty Agua Fresca
(Makes one drink)

Just a quick note…I know that this isn’t technically an agua fresca, but it’s fun. Delicious. Try it. You’ll love it!

8 oz spring water
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 to 2 tbsp mint
1 tsp turbinado sugar
Ice
Strawberry for garnish

Muddle mint in a cocktail shaker. Add lime juice, ice, water, and turbinado sugar. Place cap on cocktail shaker, and shake for a couple of minutes. Pour into a glass, and garnish with strawberry.

Enjoy!

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Appetizers: Beans and Rice & Shrimp with Corn Salsa

IMG_8086When it comes to the Super Bowl, I need to be honest…I’m only in on the action for the commercials and the food. Most likely I’ll be on the computer half reading blogs or whatever, and half watching the game. And for me…most importantly, I won’t be watching the end of the game. It’s way too sad for me. While most people are focusing on the winning team, and the interviews of players as they discuss their upcoming vacations to Disney, I’m focusing on the losing team. Their faces and their tears show the disappointment and devastation of the loss, and it makes me feel sad for them…and then I think of their moms, and how sad they must feel for their sons….and then I feel sad for the moms…..

It’s a vicious circle.

So, while I’m caught up in the hype of the Super Bowl, it’s because I’m planning the menu for that night, and getting really excited to see what the advertising teams have come up for Doritos, Budweiser, Coke, etc… ~And~ the halftime show….looking forward to the conversations at work the next day, as to the singer/band’s success or failure in performance, wardrobe malfunction, or whatever might happen in that very brief time on stage.

I’ve never been sports minded.
I am, however, food minded.

Which brings me to a couple of appetizers that are really great to serve at a Super Bowl party, or any party for that matter. I love to serve both of these appetizers together, as they really complement each other.

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The first one is beans and rice. A mini meal served in mini bowls, with mini spoons. Though I have to say, there is nothing mini about the flavor, with the corn, beans and rice… sweet and savory all in one.

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The next appetizer is shrimp with corn salsa. Like the rice and beans, it has huge flavor, and the corn and the shrimp bring a wonderful sweetness to the tartness of the lime and heat of the pepper.

…. And if you’re in on the Super Bowl action because you actually have a team you’re rooting for, then I hope your team wins…

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Beans and Rice

This is one of those recipes that turned out to be unexpectedly versatile. I love that. I love it when you take that first taste, and realize that the dish can be just about anything you want it to be…

It’s truly a meal in itself… It can be served hot, as beans and rice in a bowl, melted cheese on top, and with a dollop of sour cream. Wrap it in a soft tortilla, or in a hard taco shell. Serve it cold as a corn and bean salad. Make it with rice, or make it without rice. Use it as a baked potato topper. You can serve it hot, or even cold with tortilla chips as an appetizer!

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp black pepper
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
½ sweet red pepper, diced
½ medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 cups cooked rice
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp chives
1 – 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 – 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1-1/2 cups frozen corn

In a large frying pan, saute the carrots, red pepper, onion, and garlic in the olive oil, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper until the carrots are softened. (About 15-20 minutes).

Add the cooked rice, parsley, chives, black beans, kidney beans, and corn. Heat through for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve hot or cold. Garnish with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

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Shrimp with Corn Salsa

Just like the beans and rice, this recipe is just as versatile. I love making shrimp tacos with this. It’s just as delicious with chicken, or even fish!

1 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp honey
1 tsp hot sauce
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2  English cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced (I used a medium heat pepper instead)
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1 cup mango, diced

Tortilla chips

In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, chili powder, garlic, honey, hot sauce, corn, cucumber, red onion, jalapeno pepper (or your choice pepper), pineapple, and mango.

Refrigerate and let flavors marry for at least an hour.

Avocado Cream
1 cup sour cream
1 avocado, removed from shell
Juice of ½ lime
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

In mini food processor, pulse the sour cream, avocado, lime juice, salt, and pepper until well blended. Move to a small bowl, refrigerate until ready to use.

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To assemble the tortilla chips:
Place a generous spoonful of the corn salsa on each tortilla chip. Arrange one shrimp on top of the salsa, and top with a dollop of avocado cream. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Enjoy!