It’s been really cold (and even rather gloomy and rainy!) here the past few weeks. Aside from a few golden afternoons of sunshine in late September, this early fall has felt rather wintry. The mountains are now covered in fresh snow and it’s dusk at 6:30 p.m., so it looks like winter is descending on the front range.
Last week Dr. Mister whipped up a fabulous batch of Best Beef Burgundy Ever, following my recipe quite faithfully, and it was (of course!) the Best Ever. And for the past few weeks we’ve had a surfeit of milk–some members of the family (who shall remain nameless) are failing to drink up the 2-1/2 gallons of milk we have delivered to the house weekly, so I’ve been forced to go beyond yogurt to find ways of using this nutritious and useful food. My latest scheme? Rice pudding! Bake it first thing in the morning or after supper, and the oven will warm your kitchen and house for you without turning on the furnace. (Fuel conservation is perhaps my one hangover from my 1970s Energy Crisis childhood and my graduate student days. Why heat the house when you can always put on another sweater or blanket?)
There are two schools of thought on rice pudding–the egg custard and cooked rice school, or the baked pottage school. (Well, there are actually three schools of thought, if you count the school in which the egg yolks and whites are separated, beaten, and incorporated into the proto-pudding at different stages. That school is far, far too much of a pain in the a$$ for a dish that’s supposed to be a convenient use of leftovers, IMHO.) The easiest and most warming way to go is the baked pottage way–I’ve adapted this from Jeff Smith’s recipe, which he calls “Philadelphia Rice Pudding,” and says was “from the hand of Mr. [Thomas] Jefferson’s granddaughter, Virginia Randoph Trist,” in The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American, p. 135.
Rice Pudding Historiann
1-1/2 quarts of milk (whole milk is best)
1 C short-grained rice (arborio, or other sticky short-grained rice)
3/4 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1 T vanilla
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a heavy pan or casserole and heat on the stove to a simmer. Cover and bake for 2 hours–do not disturb it until 2 hours have elapsed. Check on it at this point–if it looks dry, throw in another cup of milk and bake for another 45 minutes. (The total baking time should be 2:45.)
Good warm for breakfast, or as a simple treat any time. Jeff Smith says this will serve 6-8–I would add that it would serve 6-8 people rather generously.
What are you cooking up these days? For those of you in cool climates, what do you look forward to at the harvest? I keep hoping that we’ll see more retro recipes at the good old days, but Cleanser is in graduate school now so she appears to be on a blog break. Here’s hoping we’ll have more cuisine blogging again soon!
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