Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Very Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

Some questions to ponder:
Q. What could be better than a warm comforting bowl of rice pudding on this f*%$ing cold day?
A. I'll tell you, nothing.

Q. What’s better than the smell of vanilla and cream cooking on the stove?
A. You guessed it, nothing.

Q. What else could make Christie and Ian catfight over the last spoonful of pudding?
A. Absolutely nothing. (We get along great sans pudding)

Q. What are you going to go make right now?
A. I think I’m psychic, Very Vanilla Rice Pudding, was I right?

It seems that this season rice pudding is the "it" food to eat and blog about. All the foodies out there have made some variation of this pudding at one time or another during this snowy winter. Heck, in this little apartment we have made it five times in the span of three days.

The secret is in the pudding, actually there are three secrets. Of course you can guess, the first is the addition of two types of vanilla, vanilla bean and the extract. If you buy the cheapy vanilla beans that have been soaked in bourbon, you will find yourself getting more bang for your buck. Bourbon, check. Vanilla bean, check. It pays to be cheap.

The second secret is to use Arborio rice. What is that you say? It’s the type of rice used in Italian risottos, so inherently it cooks up plump and creamy.

The third secret is a little out there, are you ready? It’s a bay leaf. Don’t diss it till you try it. I read about using it somewhere down the line and it really works, so lets not mess with a good thing, ok people.

A marvelous little extra to this pudding is that it is made with 1% milk, which makes this dessert low fat, equaling more in my tummy.

Also, because we eat this pudding so often I decided to get myself a pretty bowl specifically to hold the starchy gold. You may find this weird, but in my world food is rewarded for tasting so good (hence my coffee cup that no one else may use). Enjoy!

Very Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding
serves 5, or just 1 if you are like me

1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups 1% milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a pot, bring to boil, and then turn down to a simmer for 40 min. Stir every 10 minutes so that the rice does not stick to the bottom. When finished; remove bay leaf. Scrape out extra vanilla seeds from bean and stir seeds back into the pudding.

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