Baked Rice Pudding

Rice overhead

There are fewer things that I love more than rice pudding. It makes a wonderful breakfast, a heavenly snack, and delightful dessert. You can swirl it with jam or add a little coconut milk to make it more exotic.

So naturally when we had a gallon of milk that was about to expire, I suggested we sacrifice it to make rice pudding. Despite liking to eat it a whole lot, I normally buy rice pudding. In a can. It’s embarrassing but delicious. Whenever I make it at home, it doesn’t seem to ever thicken up properly.

Rice pudding

I turned to Mark Bittman, a man of much food fame for good reasons. I tweaked it a little with the rice/milk ratio and added cardamon because it is my very favorite spice. I also cut back on the sugar. I think you could even do 1/4 c of sugar and add more after if you disagree with me. Anyway, now I have enough rice pudding to feed a small country. Who wants to come over?

Baked Rice Pudding
Adapted from Mark Bittman

1/2 c Arborio rice
1/3 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 c milk
1/2 tsp ground cardammon

Heat the oven to 300°F.

Combine rice, sugar, salt, and milk in a 3 quart baking dish. I used a Pyrex. Stir a couple of times and put it in the oven, uncovered.

Bake for 30 minutes, then stir. Bake for 30 minutes longer, then stir again. Rice will have started swelling and made a skin. Stir smooth. Bake another 30 minutes. Mixture should have dried up considerably.

After another 10 minutes, ricey should be plump and milk thickened but still pretty fluid (it will thicken more as it cools). Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. After it has cooled, you can add more milk or sugar if you like a thinner or sweeter pudding.

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Toast by Nigel Slater

One of my favorite foods, natch. Now, one of my favorite books/films. I saw the movie on Netflix some time ago and really enjoyed it. I made several lemon meringue pies.

Now I picked up the book at a used bookstore. It is even better than the movie, which I wasn’t sure if it could be. There is some overlap in the memories described. However, it still feels completely fresh. I now have an overwhelming desire for British candies, lamb chops, pommes dauphinoise, sponge pudding, steak Diane…

…mmmm, food.

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The Sun Also Rises: Book Review

The Sun Also RisesI’m going to start by saying something unpopular: this is not my favorite Hemingway. That honor goes to A Moveable Feast.

The Sun Also Rises centers itself around “The Lost Generation,” struggling to orient itself following World War I. A group of Americans and Brits decamp from Paris to Pamplona. Amongst them is Jake Barnes, a journalist and avid watcher of bullfights. His comrades include the suitors of Lady Brett Ashley, with whom Jake has also been romantically entangled. Copious amounts of alcohol and sexual tension drive the narrative and lead to some fairly spectacular rows.

Never having been to Spain, I used mental footage from bits of France and southern Italy. This book is supposed to be about moral bankruptcy and spiritual dissolution. While I suppose that some aspects of that are present in the novel, it seemed to me more that the characters were on vacation and behaving irresponsibility. Adults acting like crazy teenagers.

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Everything Summer Salad

Corn closeup

Book of the Month: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

In the summer, I find that I buy too much produce. Common problem really. So, in order to clean out the fridge, I make an enormous salad. The base recipe is always the same: corn, tomato, avocado. But everything else changes. Sometimes it is accented with canned tuna or bits of roast chicken. Other times it is strictly vegetarian with mushrooms or tofu for protein. I like a bit of red onions and almost always use lemon juice and olive oil as the dressing. It is also excellent as a side dish to bring to potlucks, BBQs, and the like.

As the summer winds down, I will hopefully have some more for you all. In the meantime, make a nice salad and enjoy the sunshine!

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Cape Cod

If you once get the sand of the Cape in your shoes, you will return.

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July 22, 2014 · 8:00 am

Celebrating Strawberries

We have been very fortunate to have a glut of strawberries. It almost never happens but it was $1 a quart if you bought the case of 6. Even though we were leaving town for a few days, I couldn’t pass this deal up. So when we returned, there were still some strawberries left in the fridge. A little past their prime but not ready for the compost.

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I’ve also had some very strong chestnut honey that was taking up precious room on the honey shelf. Yes, I have a honey shelf. Clover for teas, Acacia for buttered toast, Palmetto for biscuits, and Chestnut for cheeses. The latest batch of chestnut was collected late in the season and is mighty powerful. I find it a bit too strong straight up so I’ve been finding recipes and adapting them to include honey.

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Babbitt: Book Review

I was surprised how much I connected with Sinclair Lewis’ title character, George Babbitt. A middle-aged real estate agent in a middle-sized American city is not exactly how I identify myself. But Babbitt is overcome by a constant feeling of having missed out on something wonderful. Of there being a possibly life that is better and more free than what he has. but he doesn’t know what that would mean or how he would get there. He feels trapped.

I think that many twenty-somethings can understand that sentiment. We don’t have the stability that Babbitt has, with a house and family waiting for him at the end of the night. But we, or at least I, want more than what I have now and I don’t know how to get there.

Many emphasize the satirical aspects of Babbitt. While his actions often leads to absurd and amusing ends, he is a living, breathing person. He could be your neighbor, your parent, your friend. Confused about what is the right thing to do, what he is being told to do by society, and what he wants. In the end, Babbitt’s small rebellion is squashed by responsibilities. I’m not sure what lessons it leaves us. Perhaps the importance of at least trying to pursue our dreams while we still can. That’s what I’m choosing to take away from it.

Available from Bantam Classics, $5.95

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