Monday, March 28, 2011

Rice-scapades


I’m certainly no chef, but I like to think of myself as a pretty solid home cook. Plus, I have a husband who gladly stands in as “soux chef” when I need an extra pair of hands. He chops; he measures; he grills, all while balancing a pint of beer in his free hand. It’s quite impressive.

I hate to admit inferiority, but there are a few dishes Joe makes far better than me. Me, food lover and eating expert out-cooked when it comes to stir-fry.  His protein is always cooked to perfection, never overcooked or dried out. Each veggie is crisp and green even though they cook at different times and temperatures. There’s just the right amount of sauce to coat each bite, without having a pool at the bottom of your plate. It might sound simple, but I am yet to master it.

What goes better with stir-fry than rice? Rice, however, is where both of us epically fail. It seems so easy. You follow the instructions on the package for boiling water! But, we can’t seem to get it right. It always turns out looking more like oatmeal than a fluffy side dish.

The last time we battled brown rice, it actually turned out pretty decent. There had to be a catch…and there was. We made enough rice to feed a family of four for three weeks. Too bad we’re a family of two and only intended to eat the rice once.

I had to find a use for this leftover rice. I couldn’t just throw it away. I come from a family that would wrap up one lonely piece of bacon or a third of a chicken cutlet to enjoy another day. It’s in my genes. We don’t waste.

I decided on a BAKED RICE PUDDING. I know rice pudding may have the stigma of being a totally 70’s Suzy Homemaker dessert. I could care less. I really like it. For healthy eaters, it’s a dessert that packs in some fiber and protein. You’ll actually feel full while treating yourself.

Of course I swapped out white rice for brown. I’m also substituting whole milk for almond milk. I’m not sure if you’ve experimented with almond milk before, but I’m a huge fan. It’s low in calories but has a subtle nutty, sweet flavor that makes it perfect for a dessert. If you prefer regular milk, go ahead and use 1%.

This rice pudding is, snuggle-up-on-the-couch-with-a-good-book kind of good. It’s hearty and warming. It makes me think of fireplaces and wool socks. I baked the pudding in a water bath to keep it moist and creamy without getting dry around the edges.  The raisins add a burst of sticky sweetness in each bite.

Even though this bakes for a hefty chunk of time, the brown rice holds it’s chewy texture so you can scoop out a nice serving and it won’t ooze all over the dish. Embrace the chilly breeze while it lasts. Spring is right around the corner.

* Love it? Hate it? Get cooking and let me know what you think!

Medium-Grain Brown Rice on Foodista

7 comments:

  1. Sounds delish. And I love how you ever-so-subtly mention the almond milk...hehe! ;)

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  2. And a small side note....I warned up the leftovers and ate them from breakfast the next morning. You can have dessert for breakfast after all!

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  3. Yummy! I just posted a brown rice pudding a couple days ago too, but I haven't heard of it baked before. That sounds awesome! And I'm glad to hear that using all almond milk worked well, I used half almond and half dairy because I wasn't sure, next time I'll use all almond milk for sure!

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  4. I was actually surprised it worked! I kept waiting for it to look like a big soupy mess. Definitely try the almond milk next time! I'll be sure to stop by your blog and scope out your version.

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  5. This recipe looks delicious! One question though, is it 1 1/4 cups of raw rice, cooked, or 1 1/4 cups of cooked rice?

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  6. Hey there! Thanks for stopping by the blog. The rice should be cooked. It should measure 1 1/4 cups after it's cooked. I used leftover rice I already had in the fridge.

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  7. Thanks for the quick reply Trish :) I'll definitely give this a try.

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