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 Puddingfrom 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
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.