Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tin Cups and Tapioca

When I get bored or down in the dumps I like to get out of the house and do a little charity shop browsing. I have one shop in particular that I love above all others. It is located in an older part of town and as lifelong residents die or move away, their unwanted treasures land up on the shelves here. I can’t even remember all of the wonderful treasures that I have taken home from this place. My daughter alone has a dining table, an antique armchair, and two Drexel bedside tables in her apartment that I have lovingly refurbished to help give her a start in life. As I write I have a backlog of mid-century furniture gems in the garage patiently waiting for my caring hands and warmer weather.

In addition to the great furniture I find here, I most often go to do a little prop shopping for my blog. I hate to use any one dish or background too many times for fear of letting boredom set in so this gives me a good excuse to feed my addiction. I must admit that I love the people watching here too which is so good that it can only be rivaled by the people of the Renaissance festival. Every walk of life is well representated here. There are ladies who like to lunch, antique dealers on the down low, screaming children (lots and lots of screaming children), and of course the needy. What I find to be the most curious group of all are the cashiers who are all very pretty young women in their twenties. After much deliberation we have decided that they either pay their cashiers very well or they are strippers doing community service in their daytime hours.

Once I arrive on the scene, I have a mosey around the small but sometimes fruitful furniture section. From there it's on to the dish and glassware aisle where I always find a little something. Then last but not least, to the aisle that I like to call “the graveyard of good ideas”. On these shelves at any given time you can find some of the must haves of the 1970s and 80s. Where else can you stumble upon a handheld Merlin game, electric coffee mug warmers, hot air popcorn poppers, prehistoric microwaves and Holly Hobby slow cookers? By the way, if you are in the market for a VCR, tube TV, a half flat Hippity Hop or a 3 wheeled wheelchair, I can definitely hook you up.

On my most recent trip this week, I managed to find a pristine pink Mirror Go Lightly for my daughter, a couple of vintage glass items for my blog and a tin measuring cup for myself. I paid the hot strippers from the change in the bottom of my purse and bid them a fond farewell assuring them that I'd see them next week. My favorite acquisition this trip was definitely the tin measuring cup. I remember when I was really young I adopted my mother’s measuring cup as my own. There was just something about drinking an icy cold beverage out of a super conductive container that made me over the moon happy. A really fun treat was eating my cereal out of it or having my super cool mom fill it up with my favorite tapioca pudding. I don’t make this treat often enough these days because I don’t need the calories and my son doesn’t really like it (is he crazy?), but for old time’s sake I’m making a batch with a new flavor twist. Since I am making an Indian supper for some dinner guests tonight, I thought this would be the perfect dessert, but if they want it served in a tin measuring cup well, they’ll have to bring their own because this one's mine.




Vanilla Coconut Tapioca

When I was young there was nothing better in my opinion than plain old ice cold vanilla tapioca pudding. As I got older and started playing with my food and changing things around, I discovered how delicious it could also be when tweaked a bit. This is a great version that is a perfect ending for a Thai or Indian meal. For something even a little more different, try adding a half a teaspoon or so of lime zest or layer with a bit of chopped mango.

1 egg, separated
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons tapioca (I used coarsely ground Minute tapioca)
1 – 13.5 ounce tin coconut milk
2.5 ounces milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (good quality Mexican extract if possible)
Whipped cream for topping

Place egg white in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. While continuing to beat, gradually add 3 tablespoons of the sugar; set aside.

Place tapioca, remaining sugar, coconut milk, and coconut milk in a medium size saucepan. Quickly beat the egg yolk, add to the tapioca mixture in the saucepan and stir well; let mixture set for 15 minutes.

Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until it comes to a full rolling boil. Remove from the heat and fold in the beaten egg white, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Transfer to serving bowls and cool for at least 20 minutes or refrigerate until chilled through.

Serves 4
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