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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Raisins, Two for the Price of One

My father in law has asked me from time to time to make him rice pudding. He said no one ever makes it anymore and he loves it. I've never made it before, but I thought I would give it a try. I found some recipes, and as I usually do, took the things I liked out of several to create my own. I started out with a short grain white rice, arborio is good. One of the recipes said to bring 4 cups of water to a boil and then add 1 cup rice and cook for two minutes. I decided to give that a try and it worked out well. Blanching the rice seems like the way to go here.

Once that is done, or while it's cooking actually, heat up 4 cups of milk. I suggest you use whole milk for this. I don't know how it would turn out if you used a lower fat content of milk. You do not want the milk to boil at this point, just warm it. The the milk add the flavorings of your choice. My choice was vanilla extract, a little cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.

When the rice is done blanching, turn the heat up on the milk some and let it get to a very light boil, then add the rice to the milk. Cover and simmer on a very low heat for 30-45 minutes. If you have a gas stove, as I do, you may want to check on the rice several times and give it a stir. I can never seem to get my flame low enough no matter how low it is!

After 40 minutes or so (it should be thick and creamy), add half a cup of sugar and stir well. Then turn off the heat. Add 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter and stir to incorporate completely. After the butter is mixed in, add 2 egg yolks, one at a time, mixing each one into the rice completely. Then add in your raisins. I used about 3/4 cup.

This really isn't pretty too look at, but it tasted absolutely delicious! Nick and I were both very pleasantly surprised by how yummy it was.


4 cups whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup short grain rice (like arborio)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 egg yolks

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add rice and cook for 2 minutes, drain. In the meantime, heat 4 cups of whole milk with the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. When rice is drained, turn up the heat and bring milk to a very light boil. Add rice and stir. Cover and simmer on a very low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 30-40 minutes, stir in sugar until completely incorporated. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter until completely melted. Then add one egg yolk at a time and stir completely after each yolk. Serve warm.

And since I had to buy raisins for the rice pudding, I decided to make some oatmeal raisin cookies too. I did not have enough butter to make the recipe I usually make so I had to search. I found a great recipe on the Simple Recipes blog that used all shortening, no butter. I wouldn't usually make a recipe that is all shortening since I prefer butter but in this case I made the exception. The blog was so great, and reminded me so much of the recipes I have that are handwritten by my own Grandmother.

This recipe is SO simple it's not even funny! Start out by creaming the shortening with brown and white sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Sift the dry ingredients together... flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

Add to the creamed shortening and sugar mixture and mix well. Then add your raisins and nuts if desired. I used pecans because I had them on hand. Then add the oats last, mixing them in by hand.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls or with a tablespoon cookie scoop, and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Leave on sheet for about 2 minutes after they come out of the oven, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
3 cups oats (you can use quick or old fashioned, but not instant!)
3/4 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins

Cream shortening and sugars, add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Sift flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and mix well. Add raisins and nuts. Add oats last, stirring in by hand.

Spoon by rounded tablespoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Leave on sheet for 2 minutes after coming out of the oven, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

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