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It took me 18 years to get up the guts to taste tapioca pudding. I couldn’t help but associate it with crusty cafeteria food – the only place I’d ever seen it was in a clear plastic cup next to similarly packaged red and green jello cubes. (Let’s take an extra moment to collectively gag over green jello. HUAGH!) But when I did it was a revelation. Now it’s a staple – a quick and easy dessert you can whip up in an hour. Here are two variations:

Classic Tapioca Pudding

  • 1/2 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk (soy milk works, too, but rice milk is too watery)
  • 3/8 cup sugar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg

Pumpkin Spice Tapioca Pudding

  • 3/4 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk (soy milk works, too)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. ground ginger
  • 1/8 t. allspice

Directions for both versions: Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. Soak tapioca in water for 30-40 minutes. In mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients and mix well. Drain tapioca and place in a 1-quart covered baking dish. Pour liquid ingredients on top. Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and stir, making sure to break up any lumps of tapioca-ness. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Arg. I’ve been cooking a decent amount lately and coming up with some tasty treats but I’ve had no time to sit and write down what I’m making. It’s insanely frustrating to try and remember what I did three months ago – that tart was fabulous… “What did I put in it, raspberries? How many?” Arg… So I’m forcing myself to record my recipes now. But forget pictures for a while. That will put me over the top.

Champignon Bourguignon
Serves four

2 lbs button or baby Bella mushrooms, quartered
Porcinis or other hearty mushrooms
1 lb pearl onions
4 carrots, thickly sliced
6 cloves garlic
4 cups red wine
4 cups broth
3T butter
1T fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
Pepper
2T olive oil
2T sweet rice flour or another GF flour
Salt to taste

Serve with steamed new potatoes.

Prepare their pearl onions. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Plunk the pearl onions in, skins and all. Boil for three minutes and then plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Cut off the root end and squeeze to remove the skins. Careful not to squirt them across the room!

In a large saucepan, melt 3T of butter and brown the onions on high. Don’t worry about cooking them through – they’ll have plenty of time later. Once browned on at least one side, turn down the heat slightly and add the garlic and the carrots. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the wine, bay, thyme, and pepper and let cook down until the liquid is halved. Add the veggie broth and do the same. Salt to taste. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and sweet rice flour into a paste. Scoop out a 1/4 cup of liquid from the saucepan and whisk it into the flour and oil mixture. Add to the stew and stir. Simmer a few more minutes until sauce thickens. Serve over steamed new potatoes (tip: smash them with a wooden spoon to break the skins and let the bourgui-goodness in).