Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Creamy No-Bake Rice Pudding

I mentioned this rice pudding some time ago as one of the recipes I was teaching my students to make. I demo'd it twice, once with my English Club ladies and again with a group of upper elementary students. The women loved it; the kids thought rice-as-dessert was weird, but those who tried it were (mostly) won over. It's a simple recipe, whether you start with 10NT worth of bai fan from your local take-out or use leftover rice from home.

Creamy No-Bake Rice Pudding

Combine in a heavy saucepan
1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
and cook over medium heat until most of the milk is absorbed and the rice is creamy.

In a bowl whisk together
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
and add to the rice mixture, stirring well. Reduce heat and cook about 5 minutes more, until thick, pudding-like and fabulous.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Lemon Meringue Meringues

This is for F.G., who might be the last person on earth who even READS this blog o'mine. You say you don't need more sweets, but these were pretty dang tasty. A few years ago I took an old recipe and turned it into Christmas magic: Candy Cane Meringues. Christmas is upon us once again, but the night we were going to do some holiday baking my daughter was feeling under the weather. I decided meringues were the perfect project, both fast and festive. My son, however, was less than pleased. He's not a mint fan, not at all. A quick look through the pantry and I had a solution. With a couple easy substitutions we soon whipped up Lemon Meringue Meringues while the peppermint variety were in the oven. Two batches of cookies and hardly any clean up required. Nice. I'll post the whole recipe here, but it is nearly identical to the original.

For all you lemon meringue pie fans, you might want to give this one a try!

Lemon Meringue Meringues

In a very clean stainless steel bowl, whip
2 egg whites
with an electric mixer until frothy.

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Continue beating and slowly add
2/3 cup sugar
until egg whites are stiff and glossy.

Gently fold in
3 tablespoons fine cracker crumbs (like saltines or Hai Tai crackers) 
zest of one lemon
but don't over-stir or you'll deflate the mixture!

Use two teaspoons to drop puffs of meringue mixture onto a greased or silicon mat-lined cookie sheet, and bake for 18-20 minutes, until peaks just begin to brown. If you bake two sheets at once, rotate their position (from top to bottom) once during baking. If you are using a small oven you can bake these in small batches, but the mixture will begin to deflate and the meringues will be a bit flatter. Store baked meringues in an airtight container; if left out they will become sticky in a humid environment, but they tend to disappear before then. I'm in Arizona now, so that's not a problem. But still. This is the Wonton Woman. ;-)

Friday, April 16, 2010


I love Clotilde Dusoulier's food blog, Chocolate and Zucchini. Her photos are tempting, her recipes are edgy but not so bizarre that I can't recreate them here in Taiwan, and I like her patter. She has a great way with words.

There's one recipe of hers I've wanted to try for ages: Grated Carrots and Beets. This might not sound like the kind of recipe that lingers in the back of your mind, calling to you at regular intervals, making you wish you could buy a fresh beet in this country. But it has been haunting me like... well, like some elusive western root vegetable. I've heard tales of beet sightings at the markets here, but had never come across them myself, so imagine my delight upon seeing a crate of small fresh beets at the morning market last weekend. I bought four and knew exactly what I'd do with them.

The recipe is perfect as it is, so I didn't meddle with it other than to increase the vinegar to two tablespoons. I tried it dressed simply and enjoyed the crunch and mellow flavor of the beets, but once I added crumbled feta the flavors really came out. I don't really want to experiment further... it's perfect with that bit of zing.

Raw beets are very good for you, and some people even claim they have cancer-fighting properties. The carrots add some nice sweetness, which the mustard and vinegar complement nicely. This makes a fair amount, and will keep for a bit in the fridge. It's also good for sharing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Picture of Health

Okay, yogurt sans brown sugar would be a tad bit healthier, but this photo makes my mouth water so it makes the cut. I posted my recipe for plain yogurt ages ago, and still make it the same way: combine a litre of whole milk and 1/3 cup milk powder; heat it to 180ºF; cool it to 110ºF; add yogurt or yogurt starter; keep in a warm place for about six hours; refrigerate to stop the culturing process; enjoy. For all the details, see the original post.

If you are in Taiwan or somewhere else where truly plain yogurt is hard to find or prohibitively expensive, it really is worth giving this a try. I use my yogurt in any recipe that calls for buttermilk (corn bread, muffins, pancakes), and as a substitute for sour cream, both in recipes (coffee cake) and as a topping (burritos). Scoop it into a lined mesh sieve set over a bowl in the fridge for a few hours or more, and you have farmer's cheese (the volume will reduce by up to half). Add herbs, fresh minced garlic, a bit of lemon juice and some ground pepper, and you have a fabulous spread for crackers, sandwiches, or veggie sticks. Make a sweet version with honey and cinnamon and you have a high-protein breakfast spread.

Go nuts! It's good for you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Papaya and Coconut Chicken Salad

Check out this Better Homes and Gardens recipe for Papaya and Coconut Chicken Salad. Here in Taiwan papayas are plentiful, and even if you don't like them, as I generally don't, this might change your mind. I made it a couple weeks ago and loved it. I didn't add blueberries, but they would add a nice bit of color if you had some on hand. This has nice flavors, all found here locally but not usually combined this way.

If you don't have cider vinegar on hand, use any light-colored, slightly-sweet vinegar, and do add the cayenne or ground red pepper to balance it out. Dried coconut can be found at Walason's -- ye dze fen, if you have to ask for it. Theirs is not overly sweetened, so it works nicely in this dish. This only requires a small oven, and you could easily prepare the chicken in advance and assemble the salad at the last minute. Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ground Beef and Squash Picadillo

I've been reading an issue of the New Yorker from last fall, their food issue, and I was amused by Anthony Lane's skewering of a T. S. Eliot character who is able to conjure a supper from next to nothing. Anthony proceeds to make a good point, that eggs do in fact have culinary limits, but I do have my own in-a-pinch recipes -- kitchen conjuring is a challenge I relish more than dread -- and I had to pull one out of my sleeve on Saturday night.

The occasion was a potluck supper for some former teachers who were back in Taiwan for a visit. I knew this was coming, I knew I needed to bring something, yet somehow, at 4:30 (90 minutes before the party, which should be nearly an infinity when one is armed with a whole book of thirty-minute recipes) I only just started to think about what I might bring. "On Rice" came to mind, and suddenly a vision of half a squash, bought on a whim last week and still resting comfortably in my fridge, made all the switches click in place, and Ground Beef and Squash Picadillo was on its way.

In a large (12") nonstick pan, brown
1 1/4 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Drain off excess liquid and add
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 Tablespoons tomato paste (or 1/4 cup tomato sauce)
1/3 cup green olives (halved if they are particularly large)
1/3 cup raisins

Season with
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin
salt & pepper

Bring to a simmer. Layer on top
Half a large squash, or one acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

Cover the pan and let the squash steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasonings and serve over rice.


Do take five minutes and toast the cumin. The aroma and flavor are greatly improved, and when you crush the little seeds before adding them to the dish the whole house will smell exotic and lovely.

Fresh ground beef is no longer for sale at Costco; other stores may carry it, I don't know. I have switched to buying the Australian beef patties in the Costco freezer -- for this recipe I used five patties.

I seeded my squash half with a grapefruit spoon and then sliced it crossways into C-shapes (not with a grapefruit spoon). With a sharp knife it's not too hard to remove the long strip of peel before slicing the squash into cubes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gerda's Hawaiian Shortbread

My mom pulled some shortbread dough out of the freezer today (she has a new fridge coming -- gotta use things up!), and I was delighted to find coconut in the first bite. This came to her from her good friend Gerda, who always brought the tastiest treats to coffee hour when I was a little girl.

This is easily whipped up in a Taiwan kitchen; any kind of shredded coconut would work fine, I think.

Gerda's Hawaiian Shortbread

Cream together
1 cup butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour
and mix well.

1 cup shredded coconut

Form dough into two rolls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and roll up in waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator, or freeze until needed (thaw slightly before using). Slice rolls into rounds, place on ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 45 minutes at 250º degrees. (That's two-fifty, folks!) Cookies will be light in color, not browned. Cool cookies briefly on cookie sheet, then transfer to a tray or piece of waxed paper that's been spread with powdered sugar. Dust cookies with more powdered sugar once fully cooled.