Food as Comfort
For some reason a lot of sad and tragic things have happened/are happening to people I love right now. And I have that deep, sorrowful feeling of helplessness. When I’m sad I actually have a hard time eating, and an even harder time mustering the energy to cook. So I’m going to get cooking for people and hope that a little warm food might help just a little with the ache of it all. I apologize for the morose post but I guess what is this blog if not personal.
So here’s a recipe for a very comforting and nourishing dish:
Citrus and Coconut Brown Rice Pudding
–adapted from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters
This takes a while to make but it’s almost all unattended time in the oven and it’s a treat especially in the winter. You can vary this in many ways to suit your tastes. Mark Bittman suggests pulsing the grains of rice in a food processor a few times to break them up a bit which does result in a more luscious pudding but you can certainly skip the step.
½ cup long or medium-grain brown rice
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (I use full fat but you can use light too) and the equivalent amount of whole milk
½ cup brown sugar
1 two-inch long strip of lime peel (I use a carrot peeler to shave this off)
grated zest of half a lemon
1 small cinnamon stick and/or a 3-inch piece of vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped into mixture and pods added too
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients well in a 2 or 3 quart oven-proof pot or Dutch oven. Cook uncovered for about 45 minutes then stir well. Cook for another 45 minutes and stir again. The mixture should be bubbling by now and might be getting a bit golden around the edge. Cook for another 30-45 minutes. Now it will start looking more like rice than milk. Stir every 10 minutes now. It will thicken considerably as it cools so take it out just before you think it’s the right thickness. But even if it gets really thick it will taste wonderful so don’t sweat it too much.
Remove the cinnamon stick. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. You can add raisins or other chopped, dried or fresh fruit half way through the cooking. You can also serve it topped with toasted coconut, shaved chocolate, chopped nuts or fruit compote of some kind. It’s very good with slices oranges that you macerate in orange and lemon juice, a bit of Cointreau, and some orange zest and sugar (if you’re feeling fancy!)
Send some good vibes out in the world and cook for a friend in need!