"When they didn't give him boiled mutton, they gave him rice pudding, pretending it was a treat. And saved the butcher.”
-- Charles Dickens
Rice pudding has been in my eating thoughts for the past week. I find this odd since it's more of a fall dish but maybe it's because the leaves on the trees are beginning to turn golden, there's a crisp feel in the late night air, the squirrels are busy, and locals are beginning to prepare their wood piles. So these could be the hints that I'm tasting autumn and wanted to go back into yesteryear and eat creamy rice pudding...
This pudding is oh so popular around the world. Long grain rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins are just some of the common ingredients used. Rice pudding can be baked or cooked on the stovetop. And this cooking version cried out to me. After all, it is warm (again) at Tahoe and last night at 8:00 P.M. I didn't want to have the oven making the air any hotter.
When I've made this dish in the past, I've always used brown rice, eggs, sugar and baked it. This time around I tried different sweetners--maple syrup and sweet consensed milk (on the stove when I tasted it cook I knew I was on track with its creamy sweet flavor). Also, I found one Web site where a chef said you cannot use brown rice. Huh? But I broke the rules and did what some others do--for the health of it. (I used white rice only when the dog or cat get sick. Or, it can be okay for homecooked Chinese rice and veggies.) I used Mahatma brown rice--and it is rich in plenty of nutrients and contains no fat, sodium, or cholesterol. It doesn't get much better than that. Whole grains are truly the way to go...more fiber, more healthy for you inside and out.
And walnuts? Wow. These little guys contain the good for you monounsaturated fat like olive oil. Not to forget their protein, fiber, and so much more in the perks department for you as well as the awesome crunchy texture. Nuts and fruit make this pudding extra special.
Health Nut Rice Pudding
3 cups whole grain cooked brown rice
2 cups low-fat 2% organic milk
1 cup (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups raisins
3/4 cups walnuts, chopped
3 - 4 tablespoons premium maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix cooked rice and milk in saucepan. Over medium heat bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook about 20 minutes, add syrup, stir frequently till creamy and before it will stick to the pan. Use the cinnamon last not during to preserve its flavor. Add nuts and raisins when you take it off the stovetop. Pour into 8" by 8" pan. Let cool and serve immediately or refrigerate. I suggest warming up when you indulge.
This morning I woke up to a tasty dish (like in the glasses in the picture above) of rice pudding. I warmed it up first in the microwave (it's creamier that way), put it in those pretty parfait glasses I rarely use, and topped it with cinnamon sticks and fresh raspberries to give it a touch of late summer. That chef who said you couldn't do it with brown rice? It's a lesson to do what you sense will work for you. It works. The pudding is both creamy and chewy, the nuts are satisfyingly crunchy, and the juicy berries make it perfect. Come fall I'll do it again and add cranberries and golden raisins.
P.S. Don't forget the Outdoor Dinner Party Contest. It's simple. Just name your fave fantasy dishes and you may win a free copy of The Healing Powers of Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate--your choice.