A glimpse of a dream

The Accidental Gardener
The Accidental Gardener

Those who know me, know that for many years, predating the expanse which is my current garden, one of my life goals was to have a truck pull up in front of the house on a weekly basis.  Out would jump several able bodies to pull, trim, weed and cut,  then take all the debris and go, leaving my yard picture perfect without me having to lift a finger.  Really, I’d much rather have that than say, a boat.  On my scale of luxury, yard maintenance is in the stratosphere.

Given that professional yard contracts are not happening and because Steve gets hayfever when nature happens too intimately with him, I end up doing most of the yard work, although I will say my kids are good helpers.  Yesterday I set out to rescue a rhododendron which had been put in many years ago, but had never been pruned.  Not only that but the two large plants beside it had never been either, and they were threatening the rhody with obscurity.

I researched and got some good information, but remembered that Steve’s son had a friend who enjoyed landscaping so I sent a casual text inquiry as to whether he had any wisdom to add to the project.  Lo (which is used in Scripture when something really great is about to happen), there didst come through reply that not only did he have wisdom, he would help!  Wait, I’m feeling giddy just writing this.  OK, that’s better.  It wasn’t a full crew, but it was someone who knew what they were doing, and did it.  It was a tantalizing touch of that dream.

So what do you do when you have someone volunteer to work in your yard?  You feed them of course.  Panic, they’re on the way over — what’s in the house to work with?  French dip sandwich, hastily cooked, carrots with a shrimp dip, avacado halves with shrimp bits, and for dessert, rice pudding. 

Not any rice pudding, because I don’t know what possesses me, but I always try new recipes when someone is coming over.  The logic of it escapes me.  I can only think it grows out of a knowledge that what I cook usually is known to me and therefore ordinary.  Whatever.  If you come to my house, you’ll probably be the guinea pig for something spectacular I’d never made before.  Take the dinner invitation at your own risk, you’ve been warned!

Maple Rice Pudding

from the Internet, author unknown
  • 1 qt milk
  • 2 cups cooked long-grain rice (I used Calrose because that’s what I had)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (I used the real stuff because Mrs. Butterworth’s doesn’t have enough “oomph”)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp grated orange or lemon rind (I used orange)
  • 1/3 c broken walnuts
Rhody Road Food
Rhody Road Food

Combine the milk and rice in a large saucepan.  Cook, stirring over medium-low heat until the mixture boils and thickens, about 25 minutes.  Stir in 1/3 cup maple syrup and cook 10 minutes more.  Add the orange rind and vanilla and pour into 4 (8 ounce) dessert bowls.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

This part is optional and we omitted it for our dinner because Steve had never had rice pudding with nuts before and didn’t think it sounded appetizing.

Heat the walnuts in a small heavy frying pan over low heat, stirring until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Drizzle with 2 additional Tablespoons maple syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring until the syrup boils and coats the walnuts, about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle on the puddings before serving.

As a post script, Richard helped too.  He hauled old monitors out of the garage to go to e-Cycle today. 

Look maw, no eyes!
Look maw, no eyes!

4 thoughts on “A glimpse of a dream

  1. So my mind quakes at that comment – “you’ll probably be the guinea pig for something spectacular I’d never made before.” For those of you know that know me – trifle and Marmite are just have to have foods. Yet in the USA they appear scarce and thus savoured when I get them.

    Saying that, my mind goes back to a Vicar of Dibley when the character Letitia Cropley (infamous for her unusual food offerings) presents a wonderful brown sponge cake. When ask if it is chocolate, she calmy says no – Marmite.

    Is the food that bad here, I can only respond in the words of Jim Trott when offered a slice of said cake – yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no.


  2. You are not alone in trying out something new on guests.
    I do that too. It is a very strange habit now that you have examined it a bit closer. I should stop that.
    I guess it might be a good excuse to say…”well, I’ll never make that again.” If it turned out to be rubbish. It makes it someone else’s fault,well, because I would never do that on purpose!
    Now that I have examined it closer, I am incredibly clever and deep and a bit twisted!

    Rice pudding and maple surple sounds good together.
    Did the garden look fab when it was done?
    What good boys they were!


    1. You are brilliant Melinda! May I use that too? 😀

      The pudding was very good — not too sweet, but better than just sugar sweet.

      The rhododendrons are happy in their new home, but you have to understand there is only a small strip of grass on one side of the house. The rest is “landscaped” which is a euphemism for “pain in the patoot!” There is still much work to be done. With a little luck, I can have Levi back again, and can post more foody stuff.


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