In France 2 years ago I discovered that I love rice pudding. Back in the Etats Unis, I have tried a number of the commercially available brands, and found them all lacking (Jello only makes a sugar free version which is lacking, specifically, SUGAR, and the Kozy Kottage brand is plain old gross.) Thus, tonight I endeavoured to make my own:
Rice pudding is my idea of comfort food, because it comforts me. As I get older, and my (presumed) stress ulcers begin to dominate a larger and larger proportion of my life, the creamy, warm, starchy, soft, almost entirely pre-digested composition of rice pudding is a balm to my continuously roiling stomach.
Right now there is a tiny dog on my shoulder helping me write this post. He is making adorable puppy sniffling noises in my ear. That is also a comfort.
I digress. I wanted to make a spicy asian soup tonight-- another variant on the chicken, ginger, coconut milk, fish sauce theme-- but as usual I was a lot more optimistic about how much energy I had to cook on a friday night (especially after an intense session with one of my students today wherein she described for me the parts of the Republican National Convention that made her want to become a Republican) than was entirely warranted. Fortunately, seeded deep within my subconcious, even while I was still at the grocery store, was the knowledge that I was not going to actually make thai chicken soup tonight, so I also picked up the coconut flakes and half 'n half I needed to make rice pudding (note, the rice pudding recipe called for whole milk. 'Whole milk!' I scoff. Pudding is made with half 'n half or CREAM.)
The pudding was pretty easy to make: basically all the ingredients go in a pot and then simmer for 25 minutes (i.e., 15 minutes less than the recipe suggested.) I used risotto rice for a nice soft grain which I think was a good choice but I also forgot to add in the second half of the vanilla after the pudding set. I think in the future when I make this I will add all the vanilla (which means the 1/4 tsp the recipe calls for and the extra 1/4 tsp I will add because I always double vanilla) in the beginning; even if I had remembered to add it at the end the pudding was so thick (even after cooking for 15 minutes less than specified) that it would have been hard to mix in. I also want to experiment with adding some raw ginger in at some stage in the process... I have this fantasy of finding little pieces of raw ginger in my soft rice pudding and all my gastrointestinal woes being solved with a single bite.
Please note the spicy asian soup bowl which the rice pudding is displayed in: said bowl was a birthday present from LM and one of the reasons I wanted to make spicy asian soup tonight! Thanks LM! Sorry I haven't figured out how to work the analog viewfinder on my camera well enough yet to get a photo that shows the attractive leaf accents on the outside of the bowl!