Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Twice As Rice

For a food blogger, I am a ridiculously picky eater. I don't think I dislike more foods than other people do, just that the ones I can't stand are probably some of the most common in American cuisine. Give me a warm plate of foie gras with fig compote and brioche toast points and I will relish it--actual relish however? Ugh, I hate pickles. And mustard. And I cannot describe the absolute loathing disgust I feel towards tomatoes. As you can imagine, my cheeseburgers are pretty boring.

You probably also remember that I may have possibly said at one point that I hate rice pudding. Cold, mushy, bland and with a texture that's just...eeww. I mean, what's to like? I remember going to a school sleep away camp in junior high where the dessert at dinnertime was rice pudding every night. Even ravenous teenagers that had been drug through the woods for three days would not eat this stuff.

So why the change? I have no idea. I simply woke up one morning in February craving the stuff. And not just any old stovetop or refrigerator rice pudding but warm, thick, delicious rice pudding spiked with--you guessed it--cardamom. At the Washington Cooking & Entertaining Show way back in November, I happened to try an eensy, weensy, safely tiny portion of rice pudding offered by a Thai food stand and remember being intrigued by their use of coconut milk. Maybe this was the subconscious beginning of my rice pudding craze.

I say craze because I have a feeling this is only the first of many rice pudding attempts. Even though I was pretty content with this batch, I know I could do better. While I liked the custardy feeling of the baked pudding, I think I might actually prefer more of the creaminess you can get from a stovetop pudding. Also, this time I was timid with the coconut milk, afraid to go overboard with the modern twists on this traditional dish. But next time I'm hoping to do the basmati rice justice with a healthy dose of coconut milk and maybe even some chopped mangoes.
Of course, you can always make this dish with regular milk and short-grain rice, so don't feel like you have to get too fancy. Or, like me, if you're just easing into a dish you previously detested with the passion of a thousand suns, you may want to take it slow. Who knows, maybe this time next year I'll be singing the praises of Caprese salad. But I wouldn't count on it.
Anyone out there have any similar experiences with a food they used to hate?

Baked Spiced Rice Pudding
3 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp each cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl combine eggs, milk, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla and spices. Beat until combined but not foamy. Stir in rice and raisins. Pour egg mixture into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.

2. Place casserole dish in a 2 quart square baking dish or pan on an oven rack. Pour boiling water into baking dish around casserole to a depth of 1 inch.

3. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

1 comment:

  1. Love the rice pudding! I'm not big of a fan either, but this looks mighty tasty! And if you would have asked me 5 or 10 years ago that I'd be cooking with duck, or anchovies, or brussel sprouts, I would have called you crazy, but it's funny how some things we just grow out of and learn to appreciate!