Jenn's list of things that she has done or not done recently that make her proud:
-Getting Seth to recoil in horror when making a beastly noise right in his ear (ok, this happens a lot, but I will never cease to feel pride) .
-Finding the smudge known as Andromeda in the binoculars during some nighttime sky watching.
-Figuring out a workaround after Max's light-up toothbrush died
-Not telling my grandmother about her surprise 80th birthday dinner (keeping secrets is not one of my specialties in life).
-Used a plunger without having to frantically call a loved one to find out if I a) did indeed need to use one b) how to actually use it.
-Managed to leave Whole Foods with only two cartons of candy instead of the 5 (give or take) that I wanted to hoard.
-Found a replacement monitor cord just lying in a drawer, and almost successfully swapped this never-been-used one for the extremely frayed, cat-chewed one that we had been using for far, far too long (this is notable because my brain actively refuses to learn anything that remotely pertains to hooking up electronic stuff, and I actually made the correct identification of where this cord goes).
-Made and ate rice pudding, as I had previously never made a rice pudding.
Which brings me to our Creative Cooking Crew challenge entry for this month. This month’s challenge (hosted by Lazaro from Lazaro Cooks) is all about rice, asking us what we can do to transform, elevate, modernize or creatively spotlight it in a dish. Check back in a few days for a link to the roundup of everyone's dishes!
I've never been drawn to the idea of rice pudding. I was turned off by the idea of a non-savory use of rice. Texturally, the whole thing seemed utterly unappealing. Plus, my brain automatically equates pudding with chocolate.
I am now ashamed of my audacity, the brazenness in that belief, my lack of imagination, my inability to see how delicious a pudding made from rice can be.
I now understand the appeal. Instead of repulsion, there is delight to be had in sinking your teeth into those little granules of rice, all puffed up from a nice, long cook in some milk, and suspended by a creamy and sweet concoction that struggles lovingly to hold the whole thing together.
Rice pudding is also infinitely customizable, and it now seems ludicrous that I scoffed at it before. I used Bittman's How to Cook Everything to guide me through this whole new world of rice pudding. I was so extremely excited to see that the instructions amounted to basically - stir, put in oven, stir, put in oven, stir, put in oven. Exactly the kind of thing that one can handle with an active three year old demanding continuous attention.
I went with a combination of tangelo, hibiscus and coconut milk for this particular pudding. This is not really the result of a concerted effort, but one of those happy accidents in which mismatched ingredients all found a home with one another. I'm still not quite sure how it was decided that the home would be rice pudding.
The tangelos were extremely hard to not bring home. So bright, almost glaringly so, just about ready to burst with that sweet and tangy juice. So home with me they went. Dried hibiscus leaves had been hanging around in the cupboard, waiting to give a floral, tangy hand to the enterprise. Red rice (a particularly toothsome form of rice), leftover from a previous CCC challenge, was begging to be used up, and would complement the color from the hibiscus. Coconut milk gave the whole thing some heft, some sweetness, some tropical flair. I'm not sure if this fulfills the requirement of the challenge. but at least I feel proud to have tried.
*adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything
2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
1/2 cup red rice
5 tablespoons sugar
zest from 1 tangelo
2 tablespoons fresh tangelo juice
1/4 cup dried hibiscus leaves, wrapped in cheesecloth or spice bag
chopped macadamia nuts, optional, for serving
Heat oven to 300. In an ovenproof baking dish or saucepan, stir together coconut milk, red rice, sugar, salt, and tangelo juice/zest. Drop in the hibiscus leaves. Bake for 30 minutes, then stir. Place in oven again for 30 minutes, and stir. Then bake again for another 20-30 minutes, until the rice has plumped up and the mixture is nice and thick. Remove hibiscus leaves.