A Bouquet of Shout-Outs | Rice Pudding

This being the month of January, it’s time I took stock of a few things.  Some people (who are not related to me) have been incredibly good to me in the past few weeks whom I’d like to recognize.

When we visited my dad’s side of the family in MA, we went out to Legal’s.  I’ve been eating the vegetarian box for the past few years, sans scallops or shrimp, and this year, I needed it to be GF.  The staff was very accommodating with checking and reporting back on whether it could be made GF—yes—and what parts it would be without—the tofu, the coconut-curry sauce.  I almost always order my salad without dressing (one can rarely trust dressing to be VGF for one reason or another, or I don’t want a bajillion empty calories from over-application of dressing).  The server and another member of the wait staff even offered to have the chef make a simple lemon and oil dressing.  Well done.  The vegetarian box was still tasty since it had cashews, and without the sauce, I could actually see what was in it (a lot of vegetables and rice).

Brad Boyle opened this gastropub in 2008 in good ol’ Byram Township, forever raising the bar for dining in this town.  Seriously, second to my house, it’s the best place to eat.  I don’t drink, but my peeps who do also enjoy Salt’s selection of beer, wine, and cider.  My dad called ahead of time to alert them that VGF person was part of our party (tip: if you know where you’re going ahead of time, research their menu and call them to see if they can accommodate your dietary restrictions).  Again, the server was extremely helpful with going back and forth to the kitchen to answer my questions.  I had salad sans dressing (Salt salads are definitely some of the freshest salads I’ve ever had in restaurants) and fried tofu with rice and sautéed vegetables.  Lookit that presentation!

Tattoo Paradise has vegan tattoo ink (thanks, Billy).  You have to ask and pester, but they have it.  Finding a place with vegan ink was my last excuse for not getting a tattoo ever since I began looking into the process in August 2009.  Since my last tattoo healed a little “rough,” as Scott said, he re-inked it on Friday.  I watched almost the whole time while he worked, and I felt fine.  Then he began to work on the other arm, and that was it.  I almost passed out.  Two reasons: I am very much so afraid of blood and I had last had something to eat maybe five hours previous to getting re-inked.  They got me a Pepsi and made sure I was OK before I left.  Excellent artist, friendly, caring staff, and they have vegan ink, to boot.

That would have been a good occasion to have brought microlunch.  Lesson learned, eat DIRECTLY before getting tatted.

My brother and his girlfriend took me to The Heights yesterday for dinner.  They vetted the place beforehand, looking for vegan options, and the server guessed I had gluten allergies (intolerance, but it’s still not safe to eat gluten) once I asked whether the salad had croutons and if the green curry tofu had gluten.  The dish did, but the chef prepared it by just grilling the tofu instead of breading and frying it.  I’m impressed someone could grill silken tofu.  The butternut squash formed a sweet contrast to the spicy curry, making excellent repast for post-ink recovery.

Now, onto regularly-scheduled programming.

My aunt came back from vacation wanting sticky rice pudding.  That, I’ll learn how to make once I acquire sticky rice.  The usual roundup of stores in Alexandria/Arlington—Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter—lack sticky rice (and teff flour, but that’s for the bread pudding story).  After consulting Vegetarian Times’ Everything Vegan cookbook, I developed my own recipe.

Rice Pudding, Q-style (Cohesive)
Adapted from Vegetarian Times,“Creamy Cardamom Rice Pudding,” in Everything Vegan (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: 2011) 295.

1 cup long-grain jasmine brown rice
3 cups water
16-ounce can coconut milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup walnut halves

In a large pot, bring the rice and water to a boil.  Stir once, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 35 minutes.  At 35 minutes, stir in the coconut milk, spices, maple syrup, and chunks. The rice will begin to break down.  Re-cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 more minutes or until it reaches the consistency you desire.  Pour into a container and serve chilled.

Tasty noms.  Not what my aunt was looking for, but it’s the first time I’ve had rice pudding that I liked, of the two times I’ve had rice pudding.

I’ve been catching up on AMC’s The Walking Dead, and now it’s off to bed.

Let’s hear it for friendly people!


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