July 24, 2004


rice pudding. you either love it or you hate it. not many people have moderate feelings about rice pudding. i love it. everybody else in the house (except mark) hates it.

because of the majority disdain, it's not on my regular rotation of desserts. but that has not stopped me from trying many, many rice pudding recipes over the past couple years mainly, trying to find a rice pudding recipe that, for me, is perfect. i've tried different rices, different cooking methods, all kinds of different things. nothing's worked for me. too dry, not sweet enough, too crunchy. nothing's worked.

until last saturday. i was watching paula deen ("paula's home cooking" on the food network). i knew this was what i was looking for. i knew i'd need to cut out the raisins and the fruit sauce (and add a little lemon zest); but i knew that the cooking method (double boiler) and the sweetener (sweetened condensed milk) were the tricks i was looking for. oh. finally got to making it tonight, and it's PERFECT!


creamy. sweet. perfectly cooked rice. try this one. even if it's just for you.

Carolina Gold Rice Pudding
Recipe courtesy Paul Deen

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: about 10 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

1 cup short-grain white rice (recommended Carolina gold rice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Fruit Sauce, recipe follows

Put the rice in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Add the salt and 3 cups of boiling water. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in the condensed milk, butter, and raisins. Cook, stirring frequently, over simmering water until the pudding thickens slightly, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla and nutmeg. Spoon the pudding into individual custard cups and refrigerate until ready to serve. Invert puddings onto chilled plates and serve with fruit sauce.

Fruit Sauce:
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1 cup stewed fruit, optional

Combine the orange juice, sugar, and cornstarch in the top of a double boiler. Cook the mixture over simmering water until it thickens.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, butter, and rum extract. Serve warm over rice pudding garnished with stewed fruit, if desired.

Posted by Stacey at 10:59 PM | Comments (2)

July 18, 2004


sorry. i'm still working on those pecan cinnamon muffin tops. they were GREAT right out of the oven, horrible the next morning. a work in progress. stay tuned.

Posted by Stacey at 09:48 PM | Comments (1)

July 17, 2004


nope. not beef. sorry.


bill picked up some fresh gnocchi from the west side market this morning. we try to make sure we've got gnocchi in the pantry (freezer) all the time since that one summer when i thought it would be fun for all of us to make gnocchi. from scratch. i wish i had pictures of that day. i think i'm still finding flour in little hiding places in the kitchen from that grand experiment. there are a lot of things i'm pretty good at in the kitchen. cross gnocchi off that list.

gnocchi is mine and bill's favorite pasta. we both find it easier on the stomach than regular pasta. so rather than put the bag in the freezer this morning, i planner dinner.

the alfredo sauce (minus the pancetta and peas) is a favorite of our boys (men). they like it the classic way -- over fettucini.

alfredo sauce:

2 cups HEAVY cream
1 stick of butter
salt and pepper (pinch of each)

1 cup grated good parmigianno regianno cheese

simmer together the cream, butter, and salt and pepper in a saute pan until thickened. when you notice it's thickened some, you can stop if you want. it will thicken up more after you add the cheese, and you don't want it too thick. unless, of course, you do. stir in the cheese, simmer until melted. it's that easy.

tonight i browned three slices of pancetta in a saute pan and added the cream and butter right into the pan with the bacon. i simmered the bacon in the cream mixture for a while to give the sauce a little of the smoky pancetta flavor. then i took it out, placed it on a plate between two sheets of paper towel and put it in the microwave for about a minute (maybe 1 1/2 mins) until it was crispy. chopped it up and added it to the alfredo sauce.

i had the gnocchi (a pound) ready. i cooked about a cup and a half of frozen peas with the gnocchi. mixed everything (sauce, gnocchi, and peas) together and grated a little more cheese on top.

yum. really. yum.

p. s. i don't know about you, but a pound of gnocchi fed us (only bill and me) dinner, AND i've got 2 ziploc container lunches for this week all ready.

tomorrow, i'll tell you about the really, really good pecan cinnamon muffin tops i made for breakfast tomorrow.

Posted by Stacey at 11:08 PM | Comments (1)

July 05, 2004


nowadays, cheesecake is kind of an upscale treat. bill's the big cheesecake guy in our family. he's always up for trying out new flavor combinations. white chocolate, key-lime with a macadamia nut crust, oreo, and his old favorite and most requested -- because it is so goooood, chocolate chip. you know, the big round ones made in springform pans. the cheesecake slice you pay a fortune for in a restaurant.

i'm not writing about THOSE cheesecakes. this is about the cheesecake that you FIRST tasted when you were ten years old. the one your aunt or gramma always brings to the 4th of july picnic. my grandma made this cheesecake. my step-mom, patty-ann, made an even better version. this is patty ann's recipe. i don't know if she made it up -- i wouldn't be surprised if she did. it's the first time bill ever met a cheesecake he liked. it was all over for him from then on.

when patty ann gave me the recipe, i thought she was cheating me. the cheesecake she made couldn't be THIS easy. no way. but it is. takes about 10 minutes, not counting baking time.



in a 9 x 12 pyrex lasagna pan, prepare a graham cracker crust. i use 1 1/2 packages of graham crackers, crush them, mix in about 1/2 cup of sugar, and a stick of melted butter. pat it in the pan, and bake it at 375 degrees (f) for about ten minutes.

beat together:
3 8 oz. pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
until smooth.
add in:
5 large eggs (1 at a time), also room temperature
1 t vanilla extract

pour over prepared crust and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees (f).

remove cheesecake from oven, let sit for 5 mins, cooling.

beat together:
16-oz container of sour cream
1/2 cup sugar

pour this over the cheesecake and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes.

chill. some people like to serve this cake with a can of cherry pie filling spread on top. we just eat it plain.

Posted by Stacey at 02:38 PM | Comments (8)