mascarpone rice pudding with dried tart cherries

On one of my recent trips to New York City, I discovered Rice to Riches, a modern, Jetson-inspired store that serves only one thing – rice pudding.  The gourmet rice pudding at Rice to Riches comes in 21 designer flavors with whimsical names such as Fluent in French Toast, Cinnamon Sling, and Sex, Drugs, and Rocky Road. There are a variety of toppings to choose from – toasted buttery pound cake, espresso crumble, toasted coconut, and graham crackers, to name a few.  The bright, bold color scheme – orange, pink, yellow, and white – along with the irreverant slogans makes Rice to Riches a fun and kitcschy hangout.  The rice pudding is served in the coolest custom-made plastic containers with long curved spoons.  I loved those containers so much, I had to buy a pack of them.  They are cool, aren’t they?

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Chicken Adobo

In Philippine cuisine, adobo refers to the traditional method of braising meats (mostly chicken and pork), seafood, and vegetables in a highly seasoned mixture  of vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, bay leaves and black peppercorns.  While  the type of vinegar used can be a point of debate, it is the main ingredient of this dish. The vinegar, which loses it’s acidity once it cooks, tenderizes the meats and together with the soy sauce combines to add the balanced sweet, sour and salty flavors Filipinos love.  There are as many adobo recipes as there are cooks.  Some add coconut milk for a richer sauce , while those who prefer a sweeter version add sugar.  Some purists omit the soy sauce altogether, while others add annato powder for color.

For tonight’s dinner, Chris did a quick Google search and found a good basic recipe from Foodnetwork.com.  This is the style of adobo I am accustomed to eating.  I tweaked the recipe below for a little more authentic taste.

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Rice Makes Everything Better

For Filipinos, a meal without rice is not a meal.  For the first 11 years of my life, I ate rice three times a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday.  Even some of the best Filipino desserts are made with rice.  Once I emigrated to the US, I adapted to the western culture and learned to eat like an American.  However, there are some American foods that I can’t embrace like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Oreo cookies, and cereal and milk.  As someone who straddles two cultures, I have developed my own way of combining the best of both worlds by eating American food with rice.  Bacon and eggs are good together, but even better with rice.  Hamburgers with all the trimmings are delicious, but sometimes I just have to have a plain hamburger patty dipped in soy sauce with a plateful of rice.  Most of the time I have steak at home, I cook it medium-rare and eat it with rice that is topped with some butter and soy sauce.  Odd, perhaps, but to me, it’s a perfect meal.