Emily loves pineapple and talked me into buying one at Sam’s on Friday. I noticed it looked pretty ripe this morning so I decided to cut it up and make chicha de Arroz con Piña while I was at it. This is a frothy, yummy, sweet, drink that instantly brings back memories of shopping on Avenida Central with mom and Meme. They would have big jugs of this for sale in little stores and it tasted so good when you were hot and sweaty from shopping with two shopaholics all morning! I learned how to make this by watching one of my babysitters, Delia. She was a wonderful cook and an even better person!
Recipe for Chicha de Arroz y Piña
1. First cut top and bottom off of pineapple (piña.)
2. Continue by cutting rind off. (Do not throw away!)
3. Cut into quarters. Then cut down edge to get rid of center core. (SAVE.) 4. This is what you will have. A bowl of the cut up fruit, a top piece (to plant,) and a pot with all the end pieces, core, seedy pieces etc.
5. Cover the scraps in the pot with water. Add about 1-2 cups of rice, cinnamon to taste (or cinnamon sticks,) a little dash of cloves, sugar to taste (I like raw or turbinado about a cup,) and boil until the rinds are soft and rice is done. You can substitute the sugar with a can of condensed milk at the end if you like that taste, but I was trying to keep it lower calorie and this tastes as good. When it’s done take out scraps and toss them in your compost. Put what’s left in the blender and puree. Then pour into a pitcher over some ice to cool. To serve I like to get a glass of ice, pour glass about half full of milk, then the rest with the chicha. Sprinkle with cinnamon. You can add vanilla if you like and more pineapple juice if you like. (Also, if you didn’t add sugar you can add the condensed milk to the pitcher and add a bit more water.)
I think that out of the holidays there are to celebrate my mom loves Valentine’s Day the best. She always made it special for us with a special Valentine card, box of Whitman’s chocolates and a special dinner. I have always tried to continue this loving feeling to my kids because it was something special I remember from my childhood. This Valentine’s Day I was very behind on the preparations. Jac and I had watched a show (probably Martha Stewart Living, considering that usually that is the ONLY show we watch all day) with a special Valentine’s Day menu of “Love Birds” and other special treats. I meant to get that made but??? The funniest thing was that after sixteen years of marriage I did the horrible “Get up before you and run to Walgreen’s to get a Valentine” and then Scott did the “Ooops, I need razorblades/Valentine’s day card” run also. So romantic. (Sorry babe, I’ll do better next year!) I did manage to make “Cinnamon Crispy Hearts” and hot cocoa for breakfast. The kids like these and I don’t make them very often, so they enjoyed them. I am a hot cocoa snob, I must admit, and have made my poor children into three cocoa snobs as well. The first time Emily had cocoa from a mix she said “Mommy, what is this? It is NOT hot cocoa!” I love to make the real deal, and trying to cut the calories have cut out their nightly hot cocoa fix to once a week (for my benefit, not theirs!) My mom brought the kids a box of chocolates and balloons, and Sharon brought them cards and animals so they were quite the happy campers!
“Cinnamon Crispy Hearts” 1 pkg. active dry yeast 1/2 c warm water 3/4 c flour 3/4 c whole wheat flour 1/8 tsp salt (I used salted butter and leave this out) 2/3 c butter 1 egg yolk 1 Tblsp. melted butter 2/3 c sugar 2 tsp. ground cinnamon (I used the fresh, strong stuff so only used 1 tsp.)
Sprinkle yeast over warm water, stir until dissolved and set aside. In large bowl stir flour and salt. Mix in butter with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Stir in yeast mixture and egg yolk until well blended. Cover tightly with wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth, folding over at each turn, about ten times or so. Roll out into a 12″ x 10″ rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Starting with a long side roll dough up “jelly roll” style to center of the rectangle. Then on other long end roll up that side to center mark also. Cut into 12 slices. Sprinkle some of remaining cinnamon sugar on waxed paper and place a slice on the paper. Flatten slightly with hand, pinching into more of a heart shape as you flatten, then roll with a rolling pin to 1/8″ thick. (Turn slice as you go to sugar both sides.) Repeat with other slices. Place hearts on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes.