Friday, March 20, 2020

Spring into Lavender Honey Comfort Food

By Cal Orey

Spring into Lavender Honey Comfort 

Rice pudding goes back to the Tudor period in England. A basic rice pudding is made with white rice, whole milk, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla flavoring. It can be cooked in a saucepan on the stovetop or baked in the oven. It’s the perfect comfort food with a cool French twist for a new way of life on the south shore during springtime.

I was a kid when I first made rice pudding. On a foggy morning in San Jose I skipped school so I could play chef and curl up with my new fluffy Norwegian elkhound puppy. I used my mom’s recipe. Sitting on the kitchen floor, reading the cookbooks perplexed me. A lot of the recipes were complicated. I didn’t understand cooking methods. Decades later, I transformed this Mediterranean dessert with different foods and essential oils or herbs. And a furry Australian shepherd kept me company while I changed it up but maintained the memorable cinnamon and vanilla aroma and flavor with lavender for a herby, calming bite.

Floral Rice Pudding

1 cup brown (or white) rice, cooked
2 ½ cups organic half-and-half
2 large brown eggs, beaten
¼ cup sugar, pure cane granulated white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 drop lavender essential oil (food grade) or ½-1 teaspoon edible lavender flowers
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries or amber raisins
½ cup walnuts or almonds, chopped
1 cup whipped cream
1 tablespoon honey
Sprigs of edible lavender dried flowers for garnish

*Use a toothpick drop for your measurement of food grade essential oils. Food grade only. Instead of whipped cream you can simply drizzle honey on top of pudding. Edible lavender is available online. Look for organic lavender flowers dried, used for tea and baking.
Mix cooked rice and half-and-half in a bowl. Add eggs and sugar. Stir well. Add vanilla and lavender oil. Fold in dried fruit. Pour into ramekins. Place in 8-inch by 8-inch dish filled with cold water. Bake pudding at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until set. Cool and top with nuts. Top with a dollop of whipped cream with well with honey. Sprinkle with edible lavender dried flowers. Good served warm or cold. Serves 4.
Pair this creamy comfort pudding a cup of hot lavender chamomile tea. (Available in different forms at your supermarket or online.) There have been countless studies on the benefits of lavender to help treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. As long as you use pure essential oils (food grade) from a source you trust, you’ll join the legions of people who adopted the oils, tea, and flowers for baking in their daily lives. It’s called bonding with Mother Nature’s goodness for the body, mind, and spirit.
(Adapted from The Healing Powers of Essential Oils: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Most Magical Medicine by Cal Orey published by Kensington)

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