Arroz Doce (Portuguese Rice Pudding)
During this quarantine time, I’ve been flexing my culinary muscles a bit, probably like many of you have been. From what I’ve read online and heard about through family and friends, most of us are getting creative with using up what we’ve got in our pantry. My husband and I discovered that we somehow have tons of rice here in our kitchen: jasmine, basmati, long grain white, sushi, and brown.
So, what’s a woman of Portuguese descent to do but make Arroz Doce?! As with any other recipe, there are a ton of variations for this one, depending on what area of Portugal it comes from, as well as personal preferences. Although my Azores-born mother hasn’t been able to taste my recipe due to still being sheltered-in-place, she did verify that all of my recipe sounds right. So I guess it has her Portuguese stamp of approval! My children, husband, and I liked it, so that’s good enough for me. The flavors and consistency are pretty much how I remember enjoying them as a kid. I hope you like this rich and creamy dessert, too!
- 1 cup short grain rice (rinsed)
- 2 and 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon peel (try not to include the white pith, which is bitter)
- 2 eggs yolks, beaten
- ground cinnamon for garnish
Simmer the rice with the water, butter, and salt in a large, covered pot, stirring occasionally until most of the water has been absorbed (about 20-25 minutes–rice will not be fluffy, but rather thick and gloppy). While that is cooking, pour the milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel into a medium saucepan. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently so the milk doesn’t scald and so that the sugar dissolves completely. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Carefully stir the milk mixture into the rice, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes on low heat. Stir frequently to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Add more water in small amounts if needed, but it should be the consistency of slightly runny oatmeal. (It will continue to thicken as it cooks and later cools, so if you want it to stay runny, add more milk/water now.)
Slowly add 1/4 cup of the heated milk/rice mixture to the beaten egg yolks while whisking them together. This is called “tempering,” and it makes them warm enough to be added to the main pot of hot, milky rice without them ending up like scrambled eggs floating in your pudding. (I learned this the hard way as you can see in the photo if you look close enough. Oops!) Slowly pour the tempered eggs into the rice mixture, whisking constantly over low heat. Cook for about 5-10 more minutes. Do not allow to boil. Keep stirring, otherwise it might begin to stick and burn.
Pour into a serving dish, then garnish with ground cinnamon. Use a stencil to make pretty designs, or pinch and sprinkle small amounts of the cinnamon into a design. (That’s what I did in my photo above.) Pudding will thicken as it chills in the fridge. Serves 6-8.
Easy Slow-Cooker Lasagna
I love to cook. There’s something beautiful about all the ingredients blending together just right. My heart is warmed by getting to feed my family a fresh, delicious, home-cooked meal! (Although in all honesty, there have been plenty of meals that came out awful. You live and learn.)
But let’s face it. Not all of us have the time or energy when we get home from a long day at work to cook up a culinary feast. So thank goodness for slow cookers (known by their brand name of Crock Pot®)! I use mine once or twice a week. Below is the recipe for my favorite slow cooker dish. Serve it with a fresh garden salad and some garlic bread, and dinner is done!
- a 15-oz container fat-free ricotta
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 cups part-skim mozzarella, grated (8 oz)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb lean, Italian-seasoned, ground sausage (browned and drained)
- a 24-oz jar pasta sauce (I like Newman’s Own® Roasted Garlic and Peppers Pasta Sauce) plus a little water from rinsing the inside of the jar
- 8-12 uncooked lasagna noodles
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, 1 cup of the mozzarella, the garlic, oregano, and the salt and pepper. In a 6-quart slow cooker, evenly spread some of the browned meat and pasta sauce. Top with a layer of noodles, breaking them to fit as necessary. Using a spatula, spread about a cup of the ricotta mixture. Add some more sauce and meat. Top with another layer of noodles. Repeat step 4, but save a little of the ricotta mixture and sauce for the next step. Top the lasagna off with a layer of noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture and sauce, and sprinkle the remaining cup of mozzarella on top. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
Tomato, Basil, and Rosemary Bruschetta
My interest in making bruschetta was piqued a few years ago through watching the movie Julie and Julia. If you’ve ever seen that movie, then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest that you do. It’s a romantic comedy/sort-of biography of Julia Child/foodie movie.
Bruschetta is so simple to make, relatively healthy, and tastes fresh and amazing! Here is a photo I took when I made it recently, and below that is my recipe. Mangia and enjoy!
- 4-5 large Heirloom tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, chopped and seeded
- 1 clove of garlic, minced or chopped coarsely, depending on your taste
- a few fresh basil leaves, chopped coarsely
- a pinch of fresh, chopped rosemary
- a couple of tablespoons of olive oil
- about a teaspoon of ground sea salt
- one loaf Italian or French bread, cut diagonally into half-inch slices
- a few pats of butter (salted not sweet-cream)
Gently mix the tomatoes, garlic, basil, rosemary, olive oil, and sea salt together in a large bowl. Cover and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to let all the flavors combine. Place the butter in a frying pan and heat on medium until melted. Lightly fry both sides of the bread until they turn a very light golden brown. Remove bread from pan and place on a pretty serving platter.
Gently stir the tomato mixture, and spoon it directly onto the tops of the pieces of fried bread. Serve as a delicious appetizer.
World Baking Day 2014- Lemon Blossoms
For this year’s World Baking Day, I’ve decided to make Lemon Blossoms. They’re fairly simple to make, and the aroma of lemony sugar wafting through the kitchen is heavenly! One batch makes about 3 dozen, so I will be taking most of them to work with me tomorrow to share with my coworkers, and saving a few here at home for my family to enjoy. Click the yellow link below for the recipe. Happy baking!
Happy National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day!: 3-1-14
Who creates all of these different “National Days” anyhow? It seems like there’s a day for everything. Anyhow, check out this website below for some really yummy recipes which use peanut butter! As always, thanks again for stopping by! 🙂
My Portuguese Piri Piri Chicken Recipe: 10-27-13
Although the weather is unusually warm these days, it is FALL! I love this time of year! From the beautiful colors of the leaves, to the lovely crisp weather, to pumpkin patches, there are just so many things I love about this season. I was even lucky enough to give birth to my daughter in the fall. One other thing I love about fall is that I can make full use of my kitchen without heating up my house! This means lots of baking, cooking, and creating culinary masterpieces. Below is one of my best crock pot recipes. Through my research, I’ve learned that piri piri is the hot seasoning oil of Portugal (I think for the mainland, not the islands). It works great as a spicy marinade, and can last in the refrigerator for months.
Piri Piri Oil
- ¼ cup fresh hot chili peppers
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup olive oil
Coarsely chop the peppers, discarding the tops and the seeds. Combine peppers, garlic, salt, and oil in a glass bottle or jar. Cover tightly and keep refrigerated.
Crock Pot Chicken and Vegetables with Piri Piri
- 2-4 chicken breasts (with skin) or thighs (without the skin)
- 2-3 Tablespoons piri piri oil
- ½ cup red salsa (not a Portuguese ingredient, but gives it a little kick)
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 3-4 bell peppers (use red, orange, yellow, and green if you can) cut into strips
- 1 zucchini cut into rounds
- ½ to one whole yellow onion, diced
- 1 Tablespoon freshly minced garlic (I love garlic so I say, “The more the merrier!”)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Light sprinkle of cumin
Rinse, and then brown the chicken breasts. Place peppers, zucchini, onion, piri piri oil, salt, and cumin at the bottom of the crock pot, then place the browned chicken on top. Pour the salsa, garlic, and lemon juice over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours (depending on the amount of chicken used, if there are bones in it, and the thickness of the pieces). As always, make sure the chicken’s juices run clear, or take out a piece and cut into it to make sure it is cooked all the way through.
I serve this over plain, brown rice. There are many variations of this recipe, and so I hope you enjoy mine!
Ever since I got an Easy Bake Oven when I was a kid, I’ve always loved to bake. It was so much fun to make brownies and cakes in those cute baking tins! Who knew that a little light bulb would have enough power to bake my treats so long ago and inspire me to continue my baking adventures years later?!
Cooking, on the other hand, wasn’t really my thing until I got married. It was then that I felt the pride and domestic joy that comes from making a delicious meal for my husband, and now also for my daughter. I still live by the mantra, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” This page will be devoted to sharing my favorite recipes and culinary confessions with you. Made with the not-so-secret ingredients of love and moxie, I hope you’ll come back for more! 🙂
In honor of World Baking Day today, I currently have a breakfast quiche baking in the oven and later today, I will be baking strawberry scones and perhaps Peanut Butter ‘N Jelly cookies. As for quiches, I really had no idea how easy they are to make until I asked a couple of friends during a play-date one day. I thought it would be complicated, but no! Below is the recipe I use whenever I make a breakfast quiche:
Easy Breakfast Quiche
- 1 premade pie shell (I really like the Marie Callender’s ones I find in the frozen food section of the grocery store.)
- about 1/2 cup browned and diced bacon, ham, or breakfast sausage
- 1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheese (Colby or cheddar work well)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
Brown the pie shell in a preheated 350 degree oven for around 10 minutes. Remove from oven, then place the browned meat on the bottom of the pie shell. Cover the meat with the shredded cheese.Beat the eggs and the milk together and pour over the meat and cheese. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for about 5-10 minutes so it all sets. Enjoy!