Happy Birthday Pam

I wanted to make something special for my neighbor who is always there when I need anything. She and her husband never mind picking up the mail or watching the house (or checking to see if it’s just a rat in the attic and not a burglar in the house–thanks Mark!) and we also enjoy spending time finding cool restaurants and seeing movies and things with them. They are that kind of neighbors.

So, I thought I would combine Handmade Monday’s blog and share a favorite recipe. This was my Father in Law’s favorite and I have been making them for so long I can’t even recall where I first ran across it. It doesn’t require very many ingredients, and makes a wonderful gift with very little work. I know most people think candy is difficult to make, and are little intimidated by it, but if you will buy a candy thermometer and just try it, I promise, you will get over that notion and be impressing your family in short order! It will make you a favorite!

Oh, and if you have ever bought these somewhere, I have to say, I think these are better than any I have ever found in a store. But maybe I’m just biased. 🙂 Go ahead, try making them yourself, and see if you don’t think these Pralines aren’t the best you’ve ever tasted!

And don’t forget to go over and check out Handmade Monday when you’re done either. It’s the best collection of crafts! I’m going there myself!

Mochi Brings Things Full Circle

Recently we were at one of those trendy yogurt places that seem to be popping up all over the place, with friends. I noticed an interesting topping I had never seen before, and I asked the clerk what it was. He said it was “mochi”. He explained, upon questioning that it was a Japanese candy made from rice flour and offered me a taste. I was immediately in love! Having lived in Japan as a child, it reminded me of the rice paper wrapped candies I remembered but had not had in almost fifty years.

So, I decided that if I could find a recipe, I would attempt to make mochi and if successful, share the experience. Little did I know what an undertaking it would be! My neighbor, Pam, who had been at the yogurt shop with us had a recipe in my inbox within a day, so I thought, this is going to be a piece of cake (or mochi!). Haha! Do I never learn?

I looked at the ingredients. They all seemed pretty benign, and the directions were wonderfully simple. So, when the weekend came around, Jeff and I set out. Sugar, baking powder, vanilla and red food color I had. That left only coconut milk, potato starch and mochiko (glutinous rice flour). I knew I’d seen and actually bought coconut milk and potato starch. And maybe the rice flour was the same as the rice flour I’d also bought before but I wasn’t sure. But even if not, surely the Greenwise market would have it.

Potato starch was easy. Coconut milk a little harder, but, finally I found it hidden on the bottom of the shelf by the ethnic foods in not quite the size can I needed, but close enough. Then it turned out, the mochiko or glutinous rice flour was NOT the same as rice flour. And it was not available at Greenwise. Nor at Whole Foods. Nor the Fresh Market. Or anywhere else. I came home home and went online and read to see what on earth it was. I found some online, but I had to buy $27 worth, and I didn’t even know if the recipe was going to work or if I would like it when I was done.

So, I put a message up on Face Book, to see if any of my friends had any ideas. A couple of them thought they knew of places that might have it locally (Asian markets) and my good friend Deena thought she could get it where she lived and might be able to get it to me.

Then, someone I had known when my kids were small sent me a message on Face Book and said she actually had some she had purchased and not used and would I like her to send me a box? I really thought this was the kindest thing! I said yes, and within a few days, I had a box of Mochiko! All because an old friend saw a need and filled it! Thank you Marsha! 🙂

Find the recipe in Cook It at Mochi.