pudding 101

This morning the breeze has started the fall rustle of leaves.  Don’t know how else to describe it.

Fall means the start of comfort food season.  What people don’t realize is there is something to be said for the basics.  Basics include foods we grew up with, comfort foods.

Last night I made an old-fashioned pot roast.  Mine is different because I use a little lemon or orange peel in mine and toss in a small can of crushed tomatoes and wine along with a few kinds of mushrooms (fresh not those rubberized canned things). To make a perfect pot roast you need a heavy dutch oven large enough to comfortably cook your roast and you must dredge the meat in flour and brown up a little before putting in a low and slow oven and ignoring for a few hours.

What I made the other day also falls into the category of old-fashioned comfort food: rice pudding.  I never wrote my recipe down before, so I hope the proportions are right.

Here it is:

Start with turning on the oven to 350 degrees to pre-heat. Next grab some unsalted butter  for greasing baking dish


3/4 cup white sweet rice cooked and cooled (sweet rice is an extra sticky rice used in Asian cooking and you can buy it at an international grocery or specialty foods store)

3 cups whole milk (you can also use the canned Carnation milk you use to make pumpkin pie)

1 cup fat-free half and half

1 cup light cream

6 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom

1/2 cup shredded coconut

3/4 cup white raisins


Grease well a  round baking dish (I use  Pyrex 2 or 2 1/2 quart baking dish – not sure which one – it has a lid which makes for handy storage of leftovers)

Into the bottom of the baking dish first add rice. Smooth out evenly on bottom. Sprinkle raisins evenly on top.  Sprinkle coconut on top of that. Set aside

Combine egg yolks, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Add sugar.  Beat until sugar is dissolved, incorporated, not grainy on the bottom of the bowl

Add  cornstarch, lemon zest, spices.

Slowly add milk, half and half and light cream.  Beat until frothy . Pour over rice/raisins/coconut in round baking dish.

Take your round baking dish and place in a Bain Marie – a Bain Marie is literally a water bath.

I take a larger rectangular pan, place my round baking dish inside it, and then pour hot water inside the rectangular pan AROUND the baking dish (DO NOT get the water into your rice pudding mixture)

Bake until the rice pudding is no longer liquid – at least an hour.  When I made a few days ago, my oven may not have been properly pre-heated and it took about an hour and 20 minutes to cook.  Your baked pudding will be caramel and brown colored on top when cooked and a knife inserted will come out clean. You just have to watch it.

Take pudding out of oven and place baking dish on a trivet to cool.  I like serving the pudding still slightly warm.  Some people like putting whipped cream on top to dress up the pudding when serving.  I do not – I think it is overkill.  You can have fun with this dessert and serve in red wine or martini glasses (wide rim).

Pudding variations include:

  • You can tweak recipe and remove just the rice and add a can of DRAINED cream corn to make a sweet corn pudding.
  • You can also substitute cubed day old brioche and make a bread pudding.  You can omit the cardamom and mace and raisins and coconut and add chocolate chips and it becomes a chocolate chip bread pudding.

Puddings are fun.



down on the farm activities 9/29/2012

So I was looking on that West Vincent website today (I am a glutton for punishment) and I noticed they seem to be advertising a community event that I have heard people talk about (which is truthfully very neighborly they should do that for ALL community events) .  Anyway this event  is always partially crossover time to other fall events – Maysie’s Farm Fest 2012  – it is a big WXPN event day with folk music and stuff.  I checked the acts and nothing I want to listen to in particular, but still thought it might be fun to check out.

Only I can’t figure out what kind of a non-profit they are.  WXPN says they are a non-profit, they say they are a non-profit but they don’t say what kind.  So are they like a 501(c)(3)?

I called up the Department of Charities in Harrisburg because I could not find them in the searchable database. And I was told that they did not renew their registration in November 2011?  What does that mean?  Why? Do they make below that threshold of $25,000 or whatever? Maybe they now piggyback off of someone else’s non-profit status?

Anyway this Maysie’s Farm seems to do great stuff, so I would say check it out if you are looking for fall fun tomorrow. Maysie’s does all sorts of cool stuff like this folk music day and CSAs .

The Mill at Anselma is a place to buy advance tickets for this until 6 pm – $15.00. At the gate before 6 pm on Saturday tickets are $20.

about those photos I promised to post…

….file under long overdue, life got in the way.  Here at long last are the photos from my 9/11 hot air balloon ride.  The cover shot here is of a father and his child.  No idea who they were, just love the moment of the photo. A first responder and the next generation taking part in remembering 9/11.  People like this are the real deal, pure and simple.

CLICK HERE to check all of the photos out.

Thank you again to my friends Teri and Barry for taking me up on such a special day for such a special ride.

Now I am sure the freaks in West Vincent who think nice hard-working people like this are awful will immediately tear into this photo set to see who was there on 9/11.  Here’s a tip: resist the urge to be freaks.  Appreciate the good people in this world and all those fabulous first responders who joined us.

Enjoy the photos, all.


do you dream in buttercream?

Well I don’t actually  dream in buttercream, but it makes for a jazzy sounding post title.

So I have been working and working on a buttercream frosting worthy of posting and I accomplished it with a birthday cake I baked last weekend.

So here it is:

Dreamy Vanilla Rosewater  Buttercream  Frosting

(frosts a 9 inch layer cake and 2 -3 dozen cupcakes depending on how frosted you want things)

1 cup of butter softened (1 stick salted, 1 stick unsalted)

4 cups of sifted confectioners sugar

7 teaspoons of half and half (maybe a smidgen more, maybe a smidgen less depending on what you want)

1 Teaspoon of rosewater (as in used for COOKING)

1 1/4 Teaspoons of a good vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon of salt

Combine butter, sugar, and salt until well blended and smooth (use a mixer and use a large bowl and don’t splatter)

Add half and half and vanilla and rosewater and beat until smooth – between 4 and 6 minutes.

Come on people, how easy was that?  Why use frosting in a can?

You can add a couple of squares of unsweetened baking chocolate melted to turn this frosting chocolate.  You can add about 2/3 cup of shredded sweetened coconut to make coconut dream frosting.














the awkward thing about photo credits

This is something truly awkward to write about.  But it is something every photographer deals with.  It is uncomfortable, unfortunate, unfair.

What am I speaking about?

Simple.  Media publications that whether online or in print which do *not* give a photo credit when they *know* who lent or gave them the photo.  As in, they did not just go out to Google and find a photo.  This has happened twice recently with the same publication, so I need to say something.

Again, my photo. Love it being used, where is the photo credit?

The first photo was from 2012.  The second photo is one I took October 2, 2009. It appeared September 21, 2012.

I am loathe to say something about this, because I lent use of the photo  in August because one of my favorite restaurants in the world needed a good, clear photo for a write-up and the writer was on deadline.  And I had just happened to have taken photos out in their location within a couple weeks of they article. So of course I said yes.  This is NOT the restaurant’s fault, incidentally.  I have the e-mail where they clearly stated “photo credit goes to….”

The second photo was one I told a local business district authority they could use, but as was the case with other photos of mine they had used, when they went out to the media even in a press release there is supposed to be a photo credit given.

These photos were used in an online publication of a regional magazine.  A magazine which has used my photos before over the course of several years including one which has become a sort of iconic shot for Ardmore, PA and was featured as the cover shot of a special insert they have done once a year for the past few years.

Because I previously had received proper photo credit from this magazine, I lent them the photo in August.  But the little article came out, and there was NO photo credit.  Did I mention I have it in writing that they would “certainly” give a photo credit? I just today stumbled across the other photo of mine they used in the same food blog without a photo byline.

I messaged the magazine that I was thrilled to see my August  photo used, but could I please have a photo credit.  No response.

I even tweeted at the magazine (which has a fairly active twitter account) :

@MainLineToday I gave you use of a photo recently. I did not seem to receive a photo credit, and that was the deal so I am confused. Thx!

No response there, either.

So I checked the online portion of their website where my photo was used – a food blog they publish.  I noticed something   – no photo credits that I can see on any of the article/posts. I have a suggestion for them – a page on the blog that lists photo credits.  Maybe their programming won’t allow photo credits IN the posts, but their website seems fairly up to date – I just do not know.  All I know is when someone says you will have a photo credit, you have a photo credit.

I have several seasoned photographers who have been mentors to me upon occasion.  I second one of the area’s best photographers on occasion.  ALL of these photographers warned me about this happening.  They said it was a hard choice because photographers want to get their names out there and sometimes to do so, you need to give a photo versus having a publication purchasing a photo.  These photographers told me that people take advantage of this.  I did not want to believe them. How sad, as now I do believe them.

Until now I never had a problem. Whether online or in print, local, regional, and national publications which have used my photos have given me the proper photo byline. I never have to go back and say “hey, you left off the byline.”  As a matter of fact I recently donated my services to Pattye Benson for the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust because the The 8th Annual Historic House Tour held last Saturday needed photos.  My photos were featured in several online and print publications and in literature of the Trust itself.  Each and every time, I received a photo credit.

Here is my conundrum, my catch 22: because now that I am writing about this, the publication Main Line Today will undoubtedly never use one of my photos again.  But if they aren’t going to pay me for photos and they aren’t going to give me a proper photo credit, maybe this is for the best?  After all, my work is not only good and creative, it is solid.  I meet my deadlines.  I nail my photo assignments. My photos deserve a proper byline. Any photographer’s photos deserve a proper byline when the media uses a shot.

So aspiring photographers out there, take this as a lesson.  I am not angry, only very disappointed.  As much as anything else, it is a question of honor.  When you give your word, maybe it is naïve, but I think you should honor it.  I also now completely understand why the majority of photographers will not give or lend photos period.  (And that is not the same as occasionally donating services to a worthy non-profit)