Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TWD: Arborio Rice Pudding


I'm having a lot of "I'm not as young as I used to be" moments lately. Like when I went into Abercrombie a couple of weeks ago to buy a present for my pre-teen niece, and was completely overwhelmed by the smell of cologne, pulsating loud music, and oversized pictures of half naked people on the wall. Maybe it's just me, but the very day that I left the 18-34 demographic, in addition to becoming less desirable to advertisers, I lost all ability to be in Abercrombie for more than 3 seconds without feeling utterly desperate to leave. As I stood in the checkout line, I found myself praying for the line to move faster, and in return I promised to be a better person and a more faithful servant starting the moment I exited the store. After mercifully completing my transaction and departing, I felt like quite the cougar walking around the mall with my Abercrombie shopping bag, which, natch, was adorned on all four sides with young naked lads.

And then there's Rolling Stone magazine, which my husband has been getting since college. Reading Rolling Stone on a regular basis will either keep you young (David), or age you prematurely (me). It has become something of a joke in our house, because as far as we know, we don't pay for this magazine. They never send us renewal notices, so we can't decline to renew, and we have never notified them of our new address when we move. And yet, somehow Rolling Stone always finds us. So every two weeks, no matter where we are in the world, the mailman or a carrier pigeon will drop Rolling Stone on our doorstep, and every two weeks, I read it and find myself perplexed, in that way that old people are, at the music that the kids are listening to today, and their crazy "Young Hollywood" party ways, and the fact that Kim Kardashian is even a little bit famous. Yes, back in the days before fire, we partied with Prince! And we did it without getting arrested!

But really, nothing tells me that I am getting old quite like the fact that I enjoyed this rice pudding. As a kid, I thought of rice pudding as an "old lady dessert." I'll have to investigate further to figure out why I thought this. Mom, did Grandma used to serve rice pudding to the ladies on pinochle night? I like to believe that my thoughts about many things have evolved a bit since I was six, but my thinking on one issue has remained firmly entrenched over the past thirty years: rice pudding = old lady dessert. And yet here I am, helping myself to seconds. Hand me my reading glasses, David, I'm making us some more rice pudding!

Well, I should have known as soon as I read the simple-seeming directions that making this would give me fits. It sounded too easy to be true. Parboil the rice and set it aside, and then stir together milk and sugar and bring it to a boil.

A watched pan of sugared milk never boils:



Eventually it did boil, of course, and like the good little recipe-follower that I am, I turned it down to low and set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes. I stirred occasionally, as I was directed to do. And thirty minutes later, it looked exactly the same as it did to begin with! I felt like I was trying to rise kugelhopf dough again, what with all that was not happening in my kitchen despite the passage of the prescribed period of time. I decided to be crazy and turn the heat up to medium low. I continued to stir occasionally, and the sugar/milk continued to not do much of anything. Finally, probably close to an hour into the process, if I looked really really hard, I thought that I could see the rice floating under the surface.

Thar she blows!



Okay, so Dorie says that means that it's almost done -- great! I let it go a few more minutes, and divided it into a couple of bowls. I made one vanilla, and one chocolate:



It was very much still liquid, but I wasn't worried -- Dorie said that it would be, and that the puddingification would occur once it chilled for six hours. Well, alas, for me, pudding was not to be. Mine stayed liquid. I almost threw it out, but then Audrey suggested that I keep it and use a bendy straw instead. I tell you, I just have the coolest, smartest blogging friends! Thanks, Audrey!

Arborio Rice Pudding: The Liquid Years



But for the fact that there is something inherently unpleasant about arborio rice coming at you through a straw, this would have been a fabulous milkshake! The flavor really was wonderful.

Well, to paraphrase my friend Lisa, "I'm no quitter," so I decided to try again to achieve actual pudding. Another good blogging friend, Flourchild, gave me the heads up that I could try heating my rice soup again rather than starting over, which sounded like a great idea. Unfortunately, the liquid stuff had been sitting in my fridge for close to a week by that point, so I had to toss it. For round two, I cut the milk down to 3 cups instead of 3 1/4 cups, and I cooked it on medium low from the get-go. It gently bubbled away, again for significantly longer than 30 minutes (I did not see Dorie's post on the P&Q until after I made this, but I bet that I cooked it in the 55 minute to one hour range), and by the time I took it out of the pan, it definitely seemed much thicker than it did after my first attempt. I was feeling more optimistic that I'd indeed get pudding this time around. And I did get pudding!

Arborio Rice Pudding: The Pudding Years



This was SO good! The texture (which would have caused me to avoid this dessert in the past) seemed just right to me. The flavor was perfect. I preferred the vanilla to the chocolate. I was going to add in some chambord-soaked somethings to it, but I ran out of time. Maybe next time, because I'll be making this again for sure. Round 2 wasn't ready until Monday night, so I gave some to David as an appetizer before he left for a business dinner (he is getting used to me begging him to eat my desserts at random odd times). He really enjoyed it too. I think that this will be the perfect dessert to take us into our sunset years. Thank you, Isabelle of Les Gourmandises d'Isa, for causing me to take a second look at rice pudding. I'm glad that I did!

49 comments:

Audrey said...

Well, after my kugel didn't really hopf, I wasn't too surprised that my rice didn't really pud. You were so good to keep trying! I'm glad you enjoyed this...and I really like your concept of the "appetizer." :)

pinkstripes said...

Yeah, low was too low. I should have increased the heat to medium low.

Round Two looks great!

Audrey said...

Oh, gosh, I missed the bendy straw reference! I'm so HONORED that I could help. :)

n.o.e said...

I love how your bendy straw was subtly replaced by a spoon in the last picture. This is a great dessert to take anywhere, including your sunset years. We've always loved rice pudding - I think I skipped from "nursery" tastes right to "nursing home" tastes. The only clue as to temperature that Dorie provided was about the pudding "bubbling" away. Cryptic recipe.

I'm not even going to comment about getting old. My husband is like yours; the fountain of eternally youthful musical taste. We don't get Rolling Stone, but we do subscribe to Paste.
Nancy

The Food Librarian said...

Ha ha! I'm an old lady too then! I love rice pudding and can't stand A&F. :) Great looking rice pudding!

Cristine said...

Your post cracked me up! Great job on trying again!

Jin Hooi said...

haha.. u r real funny girl ;-) I didn't read the comments, so .. my rice pudding was very watery too .. great job on trying again !!

Andrea said...

Awww I love this, rice pudding = old lady dessert, too funny! I always thought of it as a baby dessert. I'm glad you tried it a second time and it turned out properly. The milkshake idea...hmmm...have to get back with you on that one ;)

Laura said...

I'll tell you something to make you feel young again Cathy - I've never even been in Abercrombie (though those huge pics of the male models are enticing). I think those days may be coming (and I can already picture myself cringing and swallowing a couple of asprin before I go in) because my oldest will be 11 in a couple months. We've already hit the Limited Too and as we walk by, I see her staring into Abercrombie.

I hadn't had rice pudding since I was a kid either, but I was looking forward to it. I also had rice swimming in milk and wished I had read the Q&A beforehand. Your second attempt looks great (I love the picture of your first with the straw though :-)

Peggy said...

I don't think I would like a rice pudding milkshake? But you really tried on this one and your second one looks great. I really liked it and thanks to the TWD comments I knew to cook mine longer so it worked. Great job Cathy!

Steph said...

After seeing your first picture, I would've never guess you had the milkshake problem earlier. It has the perfect consistency! The music and cologne at Abercrombie bothers me too.

Jacque said...

LOL, ya old lady!! Well, maybe it's an old lady dessert because you need to be mature to be able to make it... it takes patience, caring, etc., skills those young whippersnappers don't possess.

It looks perfect!

Jamie said...

You pics with the straws made me chuckle! I am almost thirty and declared myself a rice pudding hater yesterday! I will never enjoy this stuff! Glad you did though!

Flourchild said...

Girl you should try going into Hollister with two teenage daughters...music is loud..it's dark...they take forever and I have a headache by the time we leave!
Im glad you liked the pudding..only one person in my family would eat it. Im glad I got the chance to make it..it's fun trying recipes I would never try if it wasn't for TWD!

Anne said...

Great job getting your pudding! Mine was soupy but tasted fine. Maybe next time we'll get the puddification you talked about (lol, good word!)

As for Abercrombie... not too many years ago I wanted to shop there and now I walk by and say, "Wow, isn't that poster indecent to display in the mall? Aren't there regulations or something?" :)

Amanda said...

Cathy, your pictures are amazing. The first
one especially is really really great!!! What makes me feel old is that I have a concrete dog in my front flower bed that I actually like. Yes, a concrete dog.

This post is hilarious. I'm glad you liked the pudding. Thanks for the moral support yesterday- I really thought I was going to cry- I think I need something else in my life :-)

Maria said...

Oh you are too funny! I love that you sipped the pudding with a straw! Ha!

Candy said...

My son said it was an old lady dessert too! Here's to us "old" ladies!

Mary Ann said...

So was that the mall trip I wanted to go with you on? :)
I laughed when I saw you said this was an old lady dessert. I haven't ever really thought about rice pudding, but that is funny. I think I should have cooked mine on medium too, it tasted fine, but I think it could've been thicker.
I love that you tried it with a straw!

Jules Someone said...

Wow! You made it twice?! Glad you liked it so much.

Natashya said...

Good for you for giving it another go.
Longer and a little hotter worked for me - but only because I have made a similar one in the past that stayed liquidy. It only happens once!
So happy you enjoyed it in the end.
Don't worry about being old - I didn't even know who this Kim Kardashian person was.
Cheers!

Teanna said...

HA! Great post, as always! I just turned 27 and I am feeling the same way... OLD! No more loud music, no more going out late! Your story was great, and I'm so glad that you tried it again! Because, seriously, there is something SO wrong about drinking rice pudding through a straw!

chocolatechic said...

bwahahahahaha

I almost can't handle going to the mall anymore.

Mine thickened up just fine, but I am not a rice pudding fan.

Marthe said...

Great glass!! I'm not making this... I don't like rice pudding at all: so brioche-raisin-snail-thingies it is for me!

P.S check out my blog for my first giveaway!

Matt said...

Oh, I can assure you the whole cultural age gap begins to split wide open the older you get! While there are certain things I feel that I am still on the cutting edge of, there are others that I just feel I'm a heart's beat away from using words like "whippersnapper" or phrases like "Why when I was a boy..."

Rice pudding is definitely old-fashioned, but maybe it crosses the cultural gap. It's one of those rare things that can be enjoyed by young or old alike.

Next time puree it and maybe it would go right up that straw with nary a lump...

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your rice pudding looks great! I can't stand to go near the mall! I feel so old!

Melissa said...

Ha! I'm glad it finally came around for you. I was having flashbacks of the kugelhopf as well... I was standing over the pot stirring way too frequently and trying to will it to thicken. Hope your family enjoyed it!

singletoncooks said...

Hahahaha! I swear, you can hear and smell an Abercrombie and Fitch store waaay before you can see it! A friend and I always make it a point to go in there and try to talk above the music (we only see each other about once a year so it's not like I have to go in there frequently). Congrats on the second round of rice pudding -- it looks fantastic! And I love your beautiful parfait glass that you served it in.

Engineer Baker said...

Haha - don't feel too bad, because it takes just walking past A&F for me to want to run, and I'm 23 :) And I like rice pudding. Does that mean I'm like 60 in my brain?

kim said...

glad it worked out well the second time! i think i'm going to have to try it again too. lol about the straw -- actually it reminds me of bubble tea! -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_tea

The Blonde Duck said...

I feel old when I go into Abercrombie. I think everyone over 12 does. And those bags are just nasty! You're not old at all! I was just remarking to Ben how terrible music, TV and clothing has gotten...

We can rock on the porch together and gripe at the younguns. :)

Spike said...

I love tapioca pudding even more than rice pudding, does that make me even older? Glad this one finally worked for you

Pamela said...

Okay...I almost spit my tea on the screen when I saw "the liquid years" picture. You have the best posts, Cathy!! Great job. And obviously, Rolling Stone is watching you and they know what they are doing to you!

teaandscones said...

I am glad your second batch worked out for you. Love your story.

Di said...

I'm totally with you on the "not as young as I used to be" feeling... My working theory is that the reason my children have so much energy is that they suck it directly out of me and my husband. Which of course leaves us in big trouble. =) I had to laugh at the "milkshake" picture, and the final result looks great!

Kayte said...

Talk about persevering...wow, yours looks totally worth it (if I liked cold ricey things I would say it looked totally wonderful and would you please share some...)...I am still chuckling over the Liquid Years...too funny. Great post, as usual!

Proud Italian Cook said...

You always make me laugh Cathy! Sipping it through a straw, it reminded me of bubble tea! Have you ever had that? Rice puddings a clasic, and clasic's never go out of style!

Kimberly said...

I was never cool enough for the Abercrombie scene, so I skipped right out of the demographic almost as soon as I entered it.

I'm interested to see how the pudding turns out. Pudding in general sort of makes me nervous...I had a run in with a boston creme donut at an early age thus things with that texture give me the willies. But I have high hopes!

Your comment made my day! Thanks so much for welcoming the prodigal baker back! The turtles are putting the finishing touches on their review.

Megan said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds the abercrombie store annoying. And faux-celebrities? Please.

And my rice pudding? Definitely the liquid years.

Jess said...

I'll have to bookmark this post for when I've lost all my teeth to overconsumption of Starbursts. A rice pudding shake - why not? I have six more months in the coveted 18-34 demographic, but I feel like I left it long ago. I almost had a seizure trying to buy a gift card for my nephew at Hollister last Christmas.

AmyRuth said...

Oh A & F. Totally older than you and I hate shopping there. Don't get the idea at all. Like isn't it the old folks who have the credit cards and $$$? Anyway, fortunately we have moved on to JCrew. Yippee Baffled
to rice pudding: loved the vanilla over the chocolate as well. sorry you had pudding woes. Loved your funny "Golden Years" story. You seriously should be writing a book. Happy Thanksgiving
AmyRuth

Cathy said...

Di -- "My working theory is that the reason my children have so much energy is that they suck it directly out of me and my husband." LOL!! Yup, that sounds about right. They are little parasites that way. Parasites in the best possible way, and I wouldn't trade them for the world, and they are so worth all of the exhaustion -- but good gosh -- they whoop me every day. I feel like I've aged 20 years in the past 6.5.

Jess -- "almost had a seizure in Hollister" -- LMAO!!! That's it exactly -- the conditions are absolutely seizure-inducing. I guess the 15 year olds like that?

AmyRuth -- THANK YOU, you have stated exactly what mystifies me and my friends with kids of prime A&F age. Do they really want to scare away the people with the money?

Lisa said...

Rice pudding is such a good old fashioned dessert. You are funny with the age thing. I feel the same way and can't believe I am no longer in the 18 to 34 range.

the Spaz said...

Hilarious! Love the part about "rice pudding: the liquid years," and the part about Rolling Stone. We had the same issue with Maxim magazine mysteriously "following" us from place to place without ever being paid for or renewed. Thank God, it finally stopped. Talk about feeling old...

natalia said...

ciao Cathy ! I'm old too and enjoied the pudding but as youors it was always to liquid ( I kept throwing in the microwave for additional boiling) next time I' put less milk and maybe not parboil the rice !

bakingwiththeboys said...

First, I cannot believe you actually tried it through a straw. You are far braver than me. I may be even more impressed that you made it again. and you are right, it is an old lady dessert. Just like cottage cheese is old lady lunch food.

The rolling stone thing cracks me up. I have been getting Better Homes and Gardens lately (talk about being old) but I didn't order it. And it is addressed to my maiden name. Sometimes technology ain't what it should be.

Pam said...

Too funny. Glad the second try worked. I went into an A&F store the other day with a girlfriend and we both felt so old! I couldn't believe some of the pictures they had on the wall - pretty risque!

leanne said...

Oh my goodness, when I saw the recipe for rice pudding I thought well if I don't like it I can take it to my grandfather. However, I too must be getting older because not one single bite went his way

Joanna said...

it's so funny you talked about abercrombie and fitch. my best friend used to work there and the managers made him spray every rack of clothing 5 times with that gross cologne!!! he would always come out smelling like evergreens- eeeek.

drinking rice pudding out of a straw sounds like fun actually. i might try that!!

 
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