Sunday, January 28, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Tapioca and the Blood Moon / Full Blue Moon

About a month ago I posted the recipe for Ma’s Fettuccine Alfredo.
I posted the recipe because I had recently seen the movie The Holiday, and the stars, Cameron, Kate and Jack, had felt much better after enjoying plates of fettuccine.
I hope you felt better after enjoying a plate or two of fettuccine yourself.

Another winter movie which has a bit of food in it is New in Town, which starred Renée Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr.
The wintery scenes were supposed to take place in New Ulm, Minnesota, but were actually filmed in Winnipeg and Selkirk, Manitoba.
It’s always a bit of a kick for Winnipeggers to see local places in a movie.

Well, in the movie Renée manages to save everybody’s jobs when she adapts a former yogurt production line to produce her secretary’s recipe for tapioca.
I know, that must be some tapioca recipe!

If you’ve never tried it, tapioca is a sweet pudding that is a bit lumpy.
It can be thin or thick or firm enough to eat with a fork.
You won’t find tapioca on any low-carb diets as it is pure starch, from the same plant as cassava.
You can find packaged tapioca mixes in the pudding section of your grocery store.
It’s fine if you’re in a rush.
Tapioca made with pearl tapioca takes a bit longer, but isn’t hard to do.

I haven’t a clue what Blanche Gunderson’s recipe has in it.
I do know what Ma’s recipe had, and that was pretty good, too.
I don’t know if it would save anybody’s job, but it would be a nice way to finish off a winter meal... or a meal any time of the year.


About the upcoming first eclipse of 2018, which will also be the first total lunar eclipse in over two years…
A lunar eclipse happens when the earth is positioned between the sun and the moon. Some indirect sunlight still escapes around the earth’s edges, giving the moon a bit of light. But this light is passing through the earth’s atmosphere, which filters out all blue and green light. So the only light that is passing through is a reddish-brown colour. 
The moon will be reflecting this colour and is called a Blood Moon.
This full moon will be extra special since it is the second full moon of the month and will be called a “Blue Moon”. 

This might be a good time to do some good deeds. 
Tibetan Buddhists believe that the deeds you do - both good and bad - during a lunar eclipse are multiplied tenfold.


Hints:

Brown sugar gives a nice caramel flavour.

While you are cooking the tapioca the pudding will look watery. Don’t worry - the liquid will be absorbed as it cools. 

If you don’t like a skin on your pudding you can press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the top surface before you put the bowl of pudding in the refrigerator.
Yes, you can also do this with regular pudding.

After the pudding has cooled you can add either
minced maraschino cherries, and a teaspoon of almond extract, or 
mandarin oranges, flaked coconut and drained, crushed pineapple or
whatever you like.

You can also just sprinkle servings with nutmeg or cinnamon.


                        Tapioca 

Serves 6

Place in a large bowl 
1/2 cup medium pearl tapioca
1 quart cold water
Cover and let soak for at least 12 hours. 
Drain off the water and set the soaked pearls aside.

Place in a large saucepan
4 Cups whole milk
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Set aside.
Place in a large bowl
3 large eggs
Beat until they are well blended.
Slowly add a little at a time
1/2 Cup sugar
Beat constantly, until all of the sugar is added and the egg mixture is a very light yellow colour.
Set aside.

Place the saucepan with the milk mixture over low heat and bring to a simmer. 
When the mixture begins to bubble, remove the pot from the heat.
Temper the eggs with the hot liquid by beating the eggs while adding the hot liquid a little at a time.

Once the two mixtures are completely combined, pour the custard back into the original pot and and add the tapioca. Beat constantly over low heat. 
The mixture will begin to thicken and the pearls will become translucent. 
Stir in
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Scrape the pudding into a bowl. 
Chill in therefrigerator at least 2 hours.


About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

January 28 - The waxing gibbous Moon can be located inside the Winter Circle asterism. The Winter Circle is really more the shape of a hexagon, and made up of these first-magnitude stars: Sirius, Rigel, Aldebaran, Capella, Castor, Pollux, and Procyon.

January 31 - Full Moon at 8:27 a.m. In this phase, the visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. 
We’re also getting a total lunar eclipse, which occur when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon, and lines up precisely so that it blocks the Sun’s light, which otherwise reflects off the Moon. Learn more about this eclipse here.
January’s second full moon, the Blood Moon, is also called a Full Blue Moon.

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