Rice Pudding That’s Good For You

Brown Rice Pudding topped with Shredded Coconut and Pistachios

I was inspired to make some rice pudding thanks to a visit to Taz in Cincinnati.  They make a good rice pudding and top it with cinnamon, shredded coconut and crushed pistachios.  I love a good rice pudding and I was in love with theirs as soon as I took my first bite.

I wanted to do something a little more wholesome and healthy, as well as naturally gluten-free.  I used brown rice to make sure I stayed with whole grains.  I used raw local honey to sweeten it instead of sugar.   And, I used unsweetened coconut milk.   It wasn’t as pudding-like as I wanted, but it was thick and sticky like cancanen, a Filipino dessert made with rice, and almost tasted like cananen.

Brown Rice Pudding – serves 4-8

2 cups brown rice

4 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (use more if you want it more pudding-like)

2 tablespoons raw local honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup no sugar-added raisins

shredded coconut and pistachios for garnish

Combine brown rice, unsweetened coconut milk, raw honey, and cinnamon to a saucepan and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Add in raisins the last 5 minutes of simmering.  Serve topped with shredded coconut and pistachios (or other preferred toppings) either warm or chilled.

Chilled Corn Soup With Avocado…It’s Naturally Gluten-Free, too!

Chilled Corn Soup with Avocado

We were getting a lot of corn on the cob from the CSA and unfortunately, some of it went bad before I could use it.  I love corn on the cob, but I have to take it off the cob for my husband, so it becomes a pain at times.  Then there is the fact, that some of it was placed in the bottom drawer and forgotten.  That drawer tends to be the black hole of the fridge.  It’s not in my view so I tend to forget about what I have down there.  The corn I used for the soup I kept out on the shelves to remind myself that they needed to be used.

I decided to make chilled corn soup since I need something for lunches at work that don’t need to be heated.  I did this simple and didn’t cook it until after I processed it because I wanted fewer steps and less dishes to clean.  I was pleased with how it turned out.

Chilled Corn Soup – serves 4

4 ears of corn, kernels removed

1/4 onion, rough chopped

1/2 – 1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

2 ripe avocados, sliced or chopped

Process corn and onion in a food processor or blender with water until it is the consistency you are looking for.  I wanted a chunky consistency so I did not use a lot of water and I didn’t process it very long.  Scrape the corn into a medium sauce pan and simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt just before removing it from the heat.  Place in a serving bowl or storage container and refrigerate until chilled.  Dish into individual bowls and garnish each bowl with half an avocado.

Changing Old Favorites

Gluten-free Kal-bi

I’m going through some of my favorite foods and working on gluten-free versions.  Some of them are fairly easy.  The case of kal-bi was simply changing the shoyu (soy sauce) for gluten-free tamari.  By the way, did you know that not all tamari sauces are gluten-free?  There are tamari sauces out there with wheat in them.  If you are gluten-free or are cooking for someone who is gluten-free, make sure you check those labels.

A week ago, it seemed like the weekend to mess with local foods.  Local foods meaning local Hawaiian dishes.  Well, and Filipino dishes.  I did the pinakbet one night.  The next day I did the scrumptious kal-bi pictured on the left.  Then, I ended the weekend with vegetable lumpia.

Like I said, the kal-bi was a simple substitution.  The lumpia proved to be a challenge.

Gluten-free Lumpia

There are specific lumpia wrappers that are ultra-thin used in making lumpia.  They contain wheat.  So, I began a search online for spring roll wrappers that are gluten-free.  Sure enough I found some and even found them at the Korean market where we usually get most of our Asian foods.  It’s also the only place that sells the right cut of short ribs for kal-bi.

The challenge was in rolling and frying of the lumpia.  I used green beans, carrots, potatoes, mung bean sprouts, and garlic for the filling.  If anyone has used the spring roll wrappers made from rice, you know you have to soak them for a few seconds in water to get it to a workable state.  This is an extra step that isn’t needed for regular lumpia.  But, it was worth the effort to see if it would work out.  I set aside the first one I wrapped in order to wrap another one.  Once I had the second one wrapped, the oil was ready and I picked up the first one to put in the oil.  It was all mushy underneath from the water that was still on it.   That changed my strategy.  I had to roll them right before putting them in oil and not let them sit.  I was waiting for a golden color from them and then I remembered that fried rice noodles are white.  So, okay, watch for it to get white and opaque like fried rice noodles.  I had some trouble at first, but it got easier as I kept going and got the hang of it.

Lumpia Filling

There was no difference in the kal-bi taste when I made it since it was just a simple substitution.  The lumpia was a different story.  The filling itself was the same since I didn’t change a thing.  The wrapper was not only crunchy which made it feel just like the real thing.  Until I kept chewing.  And chewing.  And chewing.  It turns out that fried rice wrappers are quite chewing.  And it sticks to your teeth.  Worth the effort?  Yes.  Will I do it again?  Definitely.  Lumpia isn’t something I make often because of the time involved in it.  I’ll have time before the next time I decide to make it to see if there are any other wrappers out there that I can use that would be a suitable substitution.

I’ll leave you with some recipes in case your mouth is watering.

Kal-bi

1/2 cup peeled, grated fresh ginger

8 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup raw local honey

1 cup sherry (use the real sherry, not the cooking sherry)

1 cup shoyu or wheat-free tamari (shoyu is for those of you who don’t need to be gluten-free

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 1/2 pounds thinly sliced beef short ribs (as pictured above)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl to completely cover the meat.  Refrigerate 24 hours to 3 days.  Preheat a broiler.  Place ribs on a rack in a roasting pan and place 5 inches from the coils.  Cook both sides until well-browned and aromatic, about 5 minutes each side.  Or you can grill them.

Debi’s Vegetable Lumpia

1 pound string beans cut on a diagonal

2 carrots, julienned

1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and julienned (do these first and have them soaking in water while prepping other veggies, then drain before cooking)

1 pound mung bean sprouts, washed and drained

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon patis (fish sauce)

1 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil (or other odorless oil)

1 package lumpia wrappers or gluten-free spring roll wrappers

Heat a large pot on medium and add oil.  Add in garlic and stir for a minute.  Add vegetables and patis.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt the last few minutes of cooking.  Lumpia wrappers are large and the lumpia is traditionally rolled long and thin.  There will be directions on the lumpia wrapper box.  The wrappers will tear and break, but don’t worry.  Just keep rolling.  If you are using the gluten-free wrappers, make sure you are following the directions on the packaging to soak before using.  Heat some oil in a wok and work in small batches.  I only had two lumpia in the wok at a time.  If you are using gluten-free wrappers, you’ll need to keep an eye on them in the wok.  The lumpia will float towards each other and stick together if you let them.  Fry on both sides.  If you are using traditional wrappers, you want a golden color.  If you are using the gluten-free wrappers it should be white and opaque – it may get a little golden, but you want to make sure the entire wrapper is well fried.  Remove from the wok and drain.