Monday, October 19, 2009
My Rice Pudding Recipe Is In Paula Wolferts' New Cookbook!
I can't believe that a recipe of mine actually made it into a cookbook, but it has! And, not just any cookbook but James Beard Award Winner Paula Wolferts' new cookbook Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking
I first met Paula Wolfert when we moved to Sonoma abut 4 years ago. We were both guests at a mutual friends' dinner party. Sonoma is a small town, sort of like Mayberry with a lot of wine, and sooner or later almost everybody meets everybody. It's why we're all polite here when driving, nobody flips anybody off because you will likely see that same person about three more times during the course of the day and the worst possible insult that can be hurled at you is "You must not be from Sonoma!"
So, ok, here we are, a couple of screenwriters from LA moving to our former vacation site getting used to small town living. Mainly small town living where my whole family resides. Where I walk into a store and then get a call from my mother later asking why I was buying socks..you get the picture. So, in the midst of all this small town coziness, I met Paula, and she started me on the road to using clay pots in my Indian cooking.
She's encouraged me in doing this blog, in fact I most likely would never have done this without her encouragement.
One of the things I love about the way Paula writes about food and cooking is the concept of taking one's time. Cooking in the old style, using the old vessels, pure ingredients, and no shortcuts. Finding out how a dish actually comes together. It's a slow build, kind of like that musical piece "Bolero".... you get where I'm going.
Being a writer, I work from home and cook lunch almost every day. I'm always looking for something that I can put in the oven, and just leave there for a while. My Rice Pudding is just that sort of recipe. How it wound up in Paula's cookbook happened when I mentioned to her that I'd made a 5 hour rice pudding. I'd made it in an Emile Henry ceramic bowl in the oven and it was insanely good. Paula was intrigued I think mainly about the 5 hour part, and immediately suggested I try making it in a clay pot. In fact, she gave me a Korean clay pot to try.
When Paula asked me for my recipe so she could test it, I was nervous. A lot of the time I never write things down when I play around with them, or at least I didn't until my husband bought me a nice leather bound book and told me to write down some of the things I was cooking. Just for the record. So, I looked up my recipe, copied it out, Paula tried the pudding and liked it and now it's in her new book along with tons of amazing things to cook and eat and believe me, clay makes a difference!
My pudding recipe is my adaptation of a traditional Italian Rice Pudding or Budino Di Riso, very similar to Indian Rice pudding or Kheer. But unlike other Kheer recipes I've made, there is no standing over a stove continuously stirring and stirring. This is a leave it and love it recipe. Here's how it goes:
Start with an oven proof clay pot, you can also use any ceramic, or pyrex for this.
Rub the inside of the pot with butter so that it is lightly greased.
Into the pot add:
1.) 6 cups of milk
2.) 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs of sugar
3.) a pinch of salt
4.) 3/4 tsp of vanilla extract
5.) 1/3 cup of Arborio rice
Mix it all together with a wooden spoon
Put the bowl into the middle of a cold oven. Set the temperature to 350 degrees.Let it bake for about 4 to 5 hours. Stir it up every 20 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom making all the golden bits together.
Do this until the pudding is thick and creamy with all the golden bits mixed in.
6.) While your rice pudding is in the oven soak 1/2 cup of golden raisins in warm water until they soften, about an hour. Then take them out and drain them.
7.) Also, take 1/2 cup of raw pistachios and roughly chop them. Set the raisins and nuts aside.
When your pudding is done, take it out of the oven and place it on a wooden surface or a thick towel or oven mat to cool.
8.) Stir in the raisins and nuts
9.) Then add in 1 Tbs of Rosewater and
10.) 1 Tbs of kewra water (screwpine essence)
Serve it warm, or at room temperature.
Of course you can do this with 2 Tbs of Rosewater, or just vanilla, or you also might try Orange flower water with it. It haven't attempted that yet, but I've been thinking about it.
This is a great rainy day recipe, or any time when you want to kick back and take things slowly. And pick up Paulas' book. It will open up the wonderful world of clay!