Thursday, June 08, 2017

Lemon-Kissed Homemade Tapioca Pudding

Sometimes we just crave old-school, from-scratch desserts ... recipes perhaps that our mothers and grandmothers made throughout our childhoods. For me, that often means desserts like, homemade banana pudding, Texas sheet cake and gelatin pretzel dessert. It, also, means tapioca pudding. My grandmother used to make the best homemade puddings. My favorite was always tapioca, which works well for me even to this day because it is, also, my kids' favorite type of pudding.


I have made traditional tapioca pudding numerous times for my children over the years. Recently, I experimented with a lemon version. And, I just adore the fresh twist. The lemon is not overpowering, but is present just enough to rock the boat in the typical-vanilla-pudding sea. And, this pudding isn't one that is overly sweet, which is part of why I love making it at home. I control the ingredients.

Basic pantry and refrigerator staples are the foundation of tapioca pudding - pearl tapioca, milk, water, vanilla, eggs, salt and sugar. With a touch of lemon zest and juice added, the result is a super satisfying, refreshing and unexpected dessert that I'm sure you'll fall in love with, too.

Keep in mind that you need to use actual pearl tapioca. (Do not use the instant tapioca powder that is typically used as a thickening agent.) Also, note that the lemon flavor will develop as the pudding completely cools and hangs out in the fridge. So, don't think when tasting it at the time of preparation that the lemon essence isn't present. It will be there ... just be patient. The pudding really does need, at least, a few hours to chill in the fridge for the perfect consistency and for the flavors to develop.

Serves 4.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Festive Farro Rainbow Taco Salad

If you're anything like me, taco salads are a favorite. The blending of simple ingredients into one salad that's loaded with spice, texture and freshness always seems to be a hit. In our house, we prefer our taco salads without meat. {This particular one could easily be adapted to include some grilled chicken or shrimp, however, if you desire.} I find that the farro is pretty hearty and actually mimics the texture somewhat of ground beef. I season it up simply in this recipe by blending it with fresh salsa, so it has a lot of flavor and a little kick. Building this salad using blue tortilla chips, tomatoes, corn, iceberg lettuce, sweet peppers and cheddar cheese drives home the rainbow theme and yields quite the pretty presentation.


Farro is a grain that is pretty easily found in most supermarkets these days. You could replace it with brown rice or quinoa if you'd like here, but I think you'll agree that the use of cooked farro is a great choice in taco salads.

This taco salad is hearty and filling enough to be a meal all on its own. And, it makes for a quick and easy-to-prepare weeknight dinner that is especially satisfying in the summer.

Serves 4.