Dinners and cooking in general since we returned from a three day trip to southern Utah have been unexciting and very, very simple because I’m tired. And when I’m tired, I’m not prone to being creative, or willing to try much of anything new. That said, I needed a dessert for this week’s lunches (and honestly I’m frightened of what my own unsated sweet tooth might do to me to get a fix). Last Saturday, I was up early enough to catch Mexican Made Easy on the Food Network and jotted down a quickie recipe for rice pudding. I even purchased raisins specifically for the occasion of preparing this dessert (I hate raisins but Erik loves them). There’s no sugar in this – instead we rely on the thick, creamy sweetness of sweetened condensed milk. The combination of regular milk, evaporated milk, and the condensed milk reminded me of tres leches cake and anything that does that wins my undying love and affection FOR LIFE.
Arroz Con Leche
recipe adapted from Marcella Valladolid
7 cups cold water
1 cup long grain white rice
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
2 cups whole milk (I used my usual 2% and it was fine)
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
ground cardamom (optional, because I just like the flavor)
Place the water, rice, and cinnamon stick(s) in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is tender. If there’s any water left (I didn’t have any at all) drain it out and discard the cinnamon. Return the rice to the pot and stir in all three milks. Cook over medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until everything is thickened. If you’re using raisins, add them in. I left these out and just incorporated them into Erik’s when I packed the rice pudding up for his lunches. Stir in a teaspoon and a half or so of cinnamon and cardamom, if you want. If not, just sprinkle cinnamon on top when you serve it.
cooking music: Elliott Smith, XO (on vinyl, purchased from a wicked awesome record shop in Cedar City, Utah called Groovacious. Truly a legit record shop. They sold 8 tracks and cassettes, a lot of awesome vinyl – we purchased $100+ worth of records – and it smelled like incense and mold. Wonderful. You don’t see places like this much anymore.)
Our trip to Utah wasn’t bad, despite all the time spent cooped up in the car traveling from place to place. We stayed in Cedar City and ate a great breakfast at a greasy spoon called Sullivan’s Cafe and totally decimated some wonderful Mexican food at a hole in the wall called Casa de Don Miguel or something like that. Erik had steak tacos and I had the taco sampler special – it consisted of a taco de carne asada, taco al pastor, and a pork carnitas taco. Both plates came with a mountain of rice, beans, pickled condiments, guacamole, etc. Needless to say, we polished it all off and were miserably full afterwards, but I think we’d totally eat it all again if given the chance.