Easy as pudding – but uglier

The hubs and I have developed a Saturday habit of brunching at a local Asian-fusion joint that does a fun dim-sum thing on the weekends.  Now, I love small-plate-style dining for many reasons, but this place in particular has a knack for serving carts full of creative nibbles that get me thinking about my own kitchen:

Shrimp and coconut cupcakes?  Calamari pancake?  Korean short-rib sliders? Yes, yes, bring it on!  I want to taste and analyze and recreate.  (The crispy pork belly that leaves me melted in a puddle of pleasure on the floor?  Well, that one I will leave to the professionals.)

A couple of weeks ago, the dessert cart rolled by and I caught wind of something strange and wonderful: Black-Eyed-Pea Pudding.   With fresh berry and mango on top.  Of course, I snagged it.  And of course, as I savored each rich, sweet, coconut-filled bite, I thought to myself: I could make this.

And you know what?  I can make it.  The flavors are bold, but simple.  An easy and fun thing to replicate.

There’s just one problem: it looks like a pile of steaming barf.

Well.  I can see why the restaurant topped it with pretty chunks of fruit.  Because although this is insanely delicious, no one would pick it off the dessert cart.  Poor little pea pudding.

I encourage you to give it a shot anyway – especially if you have leftover rice to use up, or a can of coconut milk in your cupboard collecting dust.   And although black-eyed peas lend an earthy, Southern touch to the dish, you could really substitute any legume.  A flavorful, rich and high-fiber dessert or side dish – if you can forgive its appearance.  Which you definitely should.

Recipe: Black Eyed Pea Coconut Rice Pudding (original recipe; inspired by An)

Today’s EAT:  I paired my homely pudding with some sea scallops from the freezer, salted and seared:

Major props to those scallops, from a Trader Joe’s purchase over two months ago, for holding up in the freezer.  They were actually pretty good.  I had to wring the heck out of them with a paper towel to get rid of the moisture that had accumulated, but other than that?  Good as new.

Today’s DRINK:  Oh, store-branded, private label wine.  You’re such a gamble.

I’ve had plenty of respectable private-label bottles – namely, on separate occasions, from TJs and Costco – so I thought I’d take a chance on this $9 offering from Fresh Market.  FM is generally a pretty classy place, so I didn’t think it could be too bad.  Alas…I was wrong.  Borderline undrinkable.

Oh well.  Win some, lose some.

Today’s RUN: Four grudging miles on the treadmill, wrapping up in just under 31:00.   I could not wait to get offa that thing.  I followed it up with 20 minutes of upper body weights and some core stuff.  A decent enough workout, considering that the sidewalks were a slushy, icy mess.

Today’s QUESTION: Have you ever cooked something that was horrendously ugly but delicious?  Did you try to mask its heinousness in any way? I will admit that I can be a bit of a visual snob when it comes to food – unless I’m the one making it.

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16 responses to “Easy as pudding – but uglier

  1. I am proud to say that at least 75 percent of what I cook looks like some form of excrement. But it tastes amazing! I’m partial to stews/soups that can function as main courses, so I get a lot of grain-vegetable-bean concoctions. These do not tend to be pretty. And I don’t try to gussy them up – who am I trying to impress, eh?

  2. It’s true- I’m totally ok with eating whatever I make, but if someone else makes something “ugly”, I’ll probably think twice about it. That sounds so shallow.

  3. I made No-Bake Cookies last night: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/No-Bake-Cookies-I/Detail.aspx

    They look like a little pile of poo, but are delicious!

  4. most of my food is not so pleasant to look at. maybe not heinously ugly but i definitely will never win a most-beautiful-plate contest!

  5. “Now excuse me while I go whisper sweet nothings to my pudding…”

    I made a lobster ravioli with alfredo sauce once and thought I’d be cool and add some hot sauce and cayenne to the alfredo — turned it into this really gnarly shade of Pepto pink. But it was delish.

  6. Wow that does look like barf, haha, pea pudding sounds interesting. I’m with you, if I make something and it’s ugly I’ll probably still eat it, but coming from someone else, not so sure.

  7. My lentil stew basically looks like deer poops. Although I have never personally tasted deer poops, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that my lentil stew tastes a lot better. I haven’t blogged it though because it does look like a big helping of dung…maybe I will now.

  8. I just made one of my favorite comfort-food desserts, rice pudding, last weekend and we devoured it, so this recipe could be just the thing to change up the traditional a bit!

    “Ugly food” totally reminds me of when I posted “Sweet and Spicy Mexican Steak and Yams” on my blog. http://cowspotsandtales.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/sweet-and-spicy-mexican-steak-and-yams/

    I appologized for the picture looking awful, but the recipe still got 2 thumbs up 🙂
    Glad you survived the treadmill today!

  9. I am totally and completely intruiged by that pudding! It is heinous, not going to lie! But it sounds amazing! I made sweet potato rice pudding this week and it looks like heck, too. Speaking of, so did the black bean soup I made. It’s been an ugly week, but DELICIOUS! 🙂

  10. I’m with brie – the no-bake cookies always look disgusting when i make them, but awfully delicious!

  11. We’ve struggled to make scallops in the past. It’s been a long time since we tried to make them because we never seem to get them right. 😦

  12. Sometimes, I make myself stuff that is so ugly to look at that if I do, I cant eat it. Its sad really.

  13. Doesn’t look all that different from the fancypants oatmeal concoctions I eat on the regular, and I’m sure it’s scrumptious! I eat a lot of ugly foods, mostly because I lack the creativity to do anything other than throw a bunch of things into the pan and cross my fingers.

  14. My dad makes Omani lamb that is tender and delicious. The chunks of lamb in the delicious brown sauce looks like a pile of shit. I almost refused to try it. The best part is he serves it for dinner guests because it is so good.

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