pumpkin rice pudding

Pumpkin Rice Pudding | daisysworld.net

I have been a big fan of rice pudding since I discovered it at Rice to Riches, in New York City. Sweet and creamy,  it is one of my ultimate comfort foods. I love its versatility since it may be eaten warm, right out of the pan, or cold, after chilling in the fridge for an hour or so. Rice pudding makes a wonderful dessert, afternoon snack, or as a delicious alternate to oatmeal in the mornings. It is also easy to customize with a variety of spices and other flavorings. (For inspiration, check out the Rice to Riches website as they offer over 30 flavors!) Rice pudding is cooked in one of three ways: on the stove, in the oven, or in a crockpot. I prefer to cook mine on the stovetop because it is ready in about 30 minutes and has a softer and creamier consistency. Continue reading

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mango margaritas

Blended Mango Margaritas

These icy refreshing drinks will magically transport you to a charming little cantina south of the border, without leaving home. Don’t forget the chips and guacamole!

I was inspired to make these refreshing Blended Mango Margaritas after reading Lucky Brand Style Director Karin Cole’s blog post from the small seaside town of Sayulita, Mexico, where she recently vacationed. The little town sounded so quaint and inviting, I wish I could follow her down there.  But since I can’t get away at the moment, I did the next best thing…I brought a bit of Sayulita to me.

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boozy ice pops: strawberry margarita

The origin of the Margarita is not precisely known. Of the various accounts of its creation, most are centered in Mexico around the 1940’s, and most claim to have named the drink in honor of women named Margarita.  However, the more likely scenario, and the one I favor (for obvious reasons) is that the Margarita evolved from the Daisy, a popular cocktail in the United States during the pre-Prohibition era.  The Daisy is made from a base spirit such as brandy, whisky, or gin (think brandy Daisy, gin Daisy, etc), citrus juice, and a flavored sweetener.  It is not hard to imagine a Daisy made with tequila and Margarita is the Spanish word for daisy.  Regardless of its origin, the Margarita is arguably one of the world’s most popular cocktails.

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meyer lemons: preserved lemons

Preserved lemons are a staple ingredient of North African cuisines, particularly in Moroccan foods, where it is used in tagines, stews, and sauces. In doing some research, I found out that they are also used in some Asian cuisines as well, such as the Khmer dish, ngam nguv, a lemony Cambodian  chicken soup and as the traditional accompaniment to curd rice, which is often served as the last course in South Indian meals.

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chinese salt and pepper squid


Most Chinese restaurants often have “salt and pepper” items on the menu.  Pork chops, shrimp, cubes of tofu, chicken wings, or squid are usually battered and deep-fried and served with a mound of chilli peppers and green onions.  I made my version with squid, using both the body and the tentacles (my favorite part!).  I didn’t want a thick batter so I found this recipe which coated the squid with a dry mixture of cornstarch and flour. Since I don’t like super spicy foods, I used the milder jalapeño peppers instead of Serrano or Thai chillies.  I’m not sure how authentically Chinese this dish is, but as the fragrant aroma of the garlic, jalapeños, and green onions filled my kitchen, I knew this dish was going to be good. Continue reading