Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rice Pudding

 Simple. Humble. Frugal. Filling. Homey. Warm. Delicious. The end.

Just kidding!
While there are many things rattling around in my brain that seem like potential blog posts, this one just keeps coming back to me. It is sort of a recipe... but not really. It makes an awesome breakfast or a simple dessert or even a nice filling snack. It is easy on me and easy on the wallet and also happens to be gluten free. What's not to love? You can make this for breakfast with simply leftover cooked rice, milk, a sweetener of your choice, and cinnamon. However, it benefits greatly from the addition of eggs, butter/coconut oil, raisins and vanilla.
Now. I love, love, love recipes and cookbooks of all sorts, but I tend to be a kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants/ process oriented kind of person in the kitchen (and most other endeavors as well) so what you are getting here is not exact. No real measurements or anything but the good thing about that is it allows you to make do with whatever you have on hand. Bad thing is, if you are a by the book and measure everything exactly kind of person, this sort of recipe might freak you out a little. But it is super easy, I promise!
What you need:

A quantity of cooked rice that was not cooked in stock/broth but it's okay if you used salt.
(for example I had about 2 cups leftover cooked rice this morning)

Enough milk to cover the rice in your pan by at least 1/2 inch (I actually cheated this morning because I am running low on milk and used about half whole milk, half water. Nobody, including me, noticed any difference-probably because I used a generous portion of butter and coconut oil as well, but I digress...) You can use any kind of milk.

Sweetener of your choice to taste. I like Maple syrup. You do what you want.

Go ahead and put all of this in your pan and if you are lazy clever and efficient, like me, you probably already left your rice from several nights ago in the pan it was cooked in and just shoved it into the fridge before you stumbled off to bed. Ahem.

Now. You can just heat this up to simmering, stirring occasionally, until it is the thickness you prefer and you are done. Yay! Wasn't that simple?

Somebody is coming to 'help' Mommy!
Or, for extra nutrition*, you could do what I do next to add more protein and healthy fat and flavor. Ready? Okay. Now you are going to need the rest of the stuff I mentioned back in the beginning.

Let's start with eggs. (Oh, and please note that each of these next ingredients/steps is optional and you can include or omit any of them at any time and quit after one or after all have been added. Make sense? Good. Back to the eggs. ) Unfortunately I can't really tell you how many eggs you need but I can give you an idea. It all depends on how much rice you have and how custard-y you want your pudding to be. I usually use about 1 egg per cup of rice. Now what you need to do is beat your little eggs in a separate container of some sort. Small bowl, pyrex measuring cup, whatever. Just make sure it is big enough to hold double the volume of the eggs. Then, before your milk and rice start to get thick but while it is nice and steaming hot, start adding spoonfuls of it to your beaten eggs while stirring them. This tempers your eggs so that they will not curdle and become scrambled in your piping hot pudding. Keep adding spoonfuls of hot milk/rice to the eggs until you have approximately doubled the volume of the eggs. Now pour this egg mixture back into the pan with your milk and rice and stir it in. It helps if you turn the heat down on the rice pan while you are doing this so that you don't accidentally burn it while you are tempering the eggs. Heat up your rice pudding till it is simmering again and it should start to get a nice creamy thickened texture. If you want to play it safe use a thermometer to make sure your eggs get heated up to, um, 160 degrees F. I think. Better look that up just to make sure and don't take my word for it.

After I have added my eggs and while the whole thing is heating up again I like to add in a handful or two of raisins and a generous amount of butter and/or coconut oil and stir them in as well. For the pudding I made this morning (about 4 cups total) I added about 3 Tablespoons of butter and about 4 Tablespoons of coconut oil. The oil likes to float on top when it melts but just keep stirring and it will incorporate.

Finally, after all of this has come up to temperature (or simmered for a few min and thickened if you are not as worried about temperatures) I take it off the heat and stir in some vanilla. A teaspoon or two for 4 cups is about right but adjust to your taste accordingly.

That's it! Feed this to your hungry baby and he will be happy. :) My older kids also gobble this up and usually request seconds. I find it keeps them (and me) full all morning so they aren't chirping at me for snacks an hour later and I am not walking around grumping at them all hungry like.
See? Happy!
One final note: for those of you who appreciate an ingredient list, here it is in one spot:

Cooked rice
Milk of any kind
Eggs (optional)
Coconut oil and /or Butter (optional)
Raisins (optional)
Vanilla (optional)

Make and enjoy as often as necessary to get you through to the end of winter.


This one taken by my 5 year old daughter.

*That was for you Dwija ;)