Eric and I are such homebodies. It's definitely a seasonal thing for us and with all the snow and cold weather, there are few things that can motivate us to go out. For Valentine's Day, we stayed in and plowed through the second season of House of Cards (yeah, we're a part of the 2% that finished it in the first weekend) and chowed down on a massive platter of sushi.
This last week, however, was full of social engagements. A few months ago, we'd made plans with Eric's brother and his wife to go out for an adults-only dinner. It's been years since the four of us have gone out without the kiddos and, as much as we love the little ones, it was nice to have a night where we could have some uninterrupted conversations. Then there was dinner with friends at Alden and Harlow, a recent addition to the Cambridge restaurant scene... and, folks, if you make it out this way, you must try it. This is my kind of food, seasonal dishes made with local ingredients, creatively prepared and, yet, completely unpretentious. There was a roasted yam that blew my mind. Oh, and if you're a meat eater, definitely get the Secret Burger (I couldn't resist a small bite and I'm so glad I did because it was fantastic).
Now, this was an especially busy week for me. Six shoots, three of which happened on one day. But it was nice having social events to look forward to after all that work. Friday was particularly wonderful. I helped dear friends of ours cook for a dinner party. There was a ton of food: spicy peel and eat shrimp, guacamole with mango and avocado, Cornish game hens, and a wonderful pisco and pineapple cocktail that made for a very relaxing evening. My contribution was this coconut rice pudding. Even though we were completely stuffed after consuming multiple courses (the dinner lasted over four hours), the dessert was a wonderful and surprisingly refreshing way to end the night. I think the fresh mango puree and orange zest really brighten it up.
Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango Puree
Yield 6-8 servings
For the Rice Pudding 2 cans (13.5 oz, each) coconut milk 1.5 cups water 2/3 cup fresh orange juice 1 cup basmati rice 1/2 teaspoon salt Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean 1/4 cup light brown sugar 1/4 cup maple syrup 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg 1/2 cup dried currants
For the Mango Puree 2 mangos, peeled and cubed 1 tablespoon honey (alternatively, use maple syrup or another sweetener to make it vegan) 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
1. In a medium saucepan, add the rice, coconut milk, water, orange juice, salt and vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover partially with a lid and cook for 20-25 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, ground ginger, nutmeg, and dried currants.
2. To make the mango puree, place the cubed mango, honey, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth.
3. Spoon the rice pudding into bowls and top with mango puree and orange zest.