Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Originally uploaded by whatstepheats
This is a corn pudding dessert that we first tried about a month ago on a Sunday afternoon visit to Casa Brasil.
There was a pan of this snowy white soupy stuff on the buffet table, amid the usual delicious victuals: the feijoida; the bacalhao with potatoes and peppers; the sauteed kale and stewed okra; the plethora of salads and stewed meats.

Ever curious, we inquired...and lo and behold, it was not a savory dish at all, but a toothsome take on a dessert pudding. Milky, chewy, speckled with coconut and sweetness - this is the Portuguese (or Brazilian? I've not yet plumbed that depth) answer to rice pudding, albeit made with white corn.

Rose Barros, who along with her husband Joe own and run Casa Brasil, was kind enough to send me home with a bag of the dried white corny stuff and a recipe. Since I don't read a word of Portuguese and the wrapper was written entirely in that language (which despite its similarities to the Spanish I studied from 7th grade through college is really very different), I'm not even sure what the main ingredient 'canjica' exactly is. It's on my list of subjects to Google, and my shorter list of ingredients to source. But here's the recipe, in case you have more immediate access to the elusive main ingredient than I.


Soak a bag of canjica (dried white corn) in water overnight.

Drain the soaking water and place in a large pot. Cover with half water and half whole milk, bring to a simmer, and cook until done. (It took about an hour and a half to get to that yummy tender but still chewy stage - I called that done!)

Then, add a cup of granulated sugar, a can of condensed milk, and half a bag of dried coconut. I used unsweetened coconut so I had to add a bit more sugar to taste.

I think Rose told me to add some nutmeg, but I was completely out. It was delicious anyway, warm or chilled.

This recipe made 3 quarts which we enjoyed all week. It made the Dinnerman very, very happy.

I noticed a Portuguese market on Warren Avenue in East Providence, and I plan to check it out next time around...

Happy April!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Photos Unavailable?

I just noticed that in many of my posts my Flickr photos appear to be unavailable. If you click on them, they are indeed there on Flickr, so I'm not sure what is happening here. It will likely need attention and time from me, so I apologize in the meantime.


Today is my 36th birthday. How did I make it this far? I don't know how all that time went by; time goes by in the blink of an eye, but somehow the days and nights are long.

So far today it's been very exciting: I washed my sheets and had lunch at the hospital with the Dinnerman, as it seems he will be working late this evening.

Last night we did have a wonderful meal at Al Forno. I had the grilled scallops with mushrooms and creamy parsnips. I highly recommend this dish; it's become my new favorite there.

I've not had much to say lately. I just kind of feel lost and deflated, and I'm not entirely sure why. I've lost 3 people in the past month, but really was only close to one of them. Maybe that has just been a sobering reminder of the fleeting nature of life, and how it is all about loss in the end.

I kind of feel like I'm just drifting about with no purpose and nothing to look forward to, and it is rather unnerving. I'm getting older and thought I'd have more to show for it by now, I guess.

Maybe it's just that I'm sick of the cold weather and sick of the day-to-day. I need a change.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Goodbye, My Friend

My friend Ghosh passed away last night after a brave battle with liver cancer. He fought longer than any of us thought was possible, and finally slipped away.

It was very hard to witness his decline, as Ghosh was always so smart, funny, elegant, and larger than life itself. To watch this giant of a man lose a little more of himself each day was heartbreaking. Clearly it was angering to him as well, which made it all the more difficult.

This picture is exactly how I will remember him.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gulf Lover, Me.

Room with a view
Originally uploaded by whatstepheats
Cannot believe I've been home less than one week. I feel like I need muchisimo mas de the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps the remainder of my lifetime - and even that may not be enough.

Watching the Amazing Race, wishing I could be on that too. Want to be a flight attendant. Want to never touch down. Wanderlust. Strikes. Hard. Continuously.

In other news, it's quite exciting to have had a weekend here in RI with temps in the 60's. Very encouraging.

On the front of things somewhat discouraging, our dear friend is not long for this world. His spirit, however, is as dominant and full of life as ever, when he attains consciousness. Today he did such and was speaking a melange of English, French, Bengali, and Gibberish. Only from his lips could that mix sound elegant. And it did.

It all makes me realize how damn lucky I am. I have my health (as far as I can tell); I have a man who adores me (and who is a recipient in turn of my constant affections); I eat well, always; I have a warm and cozy bed in which I lay my body each night - next to the one man I love more than anything or anyone on the planet. I lack nothing. Nothing at all.

Look around yourself, and revel.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Misadventures in the (Not So) Friendly Skies!

Our little late winter jaunt to Cozumel was great - just what the doctor ordered.
Mostly we just bummed around on the beach and relaxed, drinking too many Margaritas (if there is such a thing) and eating delicious food.
We scheduled a fishing expedition with the enticing promise of catching some mahi mahi or tuna, but strong winds made the harbor master nervous and it was not to be. Those winds were also quite foreboding with regard to our return trip in the middle of a snowstorm that crippled the entire east coast. Leave it to us to garner the fortune of scheduling our return trip for that very day.

Since my camera is in my luggage which is stuck in some yet-to-be-determined location, this post will focus on our little misadventure in commercial air travel. The next one will give you a taste of our beautiful trip! But today, with regret, it's the bad news first.

The first leg of our return journey was great (if you consider anything about leaving Mexico to be great) but all hell broke loose once we missed our connecting flight in Philly by about 5 minutes. Without reliving all the gory details, let's just say that instead of enjoying Chinese delivery on our couch in our warm home last night as planned, we wound up at a hotel in Philadelphia at 1 am eating microwaved Lean Cuisine and drinking Sutter Home Chardonnay straight from the bottle. Good times!
The folks at the Courtyard by Marriott could not have been more accomodating, though I cannot say anything near the same about any of the people we encountered at the US Airways "help desk" at the Philadelphia airport - and that may be the understatement of my lifetime.

So, after about 3 hours of sleep we dragged our under-caffeinated and under-dressed asses in the freezing and icy early morning darkness back to the airport, only to find that the flight we were booked on to Boston was cancelled. Okay then! No problem. We'll just add a couple more connections to this journey and the next thing you know we're acting out The Amazing Race.

They made us go through security twice, delayed a couple more flights, and lost our luggage, but now we're home. Ever the optimist, I am thankful for the delay in getting our bags home. Less laundry! Now I'm off to take a long hot shower to wash that air travel experience right out of my hair. Never have I been so happy to return home to Rhody. Not. Ever.