THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for August 28, 2015

RECIPE: Rice Pudding With A Modern Twist

It’s almost comfort food time again.

Nibblers are always on the lookout for a new twist on just about anything. But sometimes it’s hard to change on when it comes to comfort food. We like what we like. We don’t mess around with favorites, like, say, rice pudding.

Rice pudding, the way mom used to make it or the way it scoops out of a cinnamon-y plastic cup, is a basic feel-good food. It soothes stress, its velvety smoothness coats the tongue, its toasty quinoa topping—whoa! Its what?

Cue pastry chef Jessica Sullivan, pride of Delfina’s and five other same-owner neighborhood eateries in and around San Francisco’s Mission. Delfina’s is a long-standing favorite that’s managed to survive the Mission’s trendy rebirth. Its loyal customers liked the menu that had served them for years, so Jessica didn’t want to disrupt too much when she arrived as pastry chef.

But the rice pudding sparked her interest. What could she do to make it rice pudding with more? Her solution was to combine crunchiness and creaminess in every mouthful with the puffed quinoa, candied with toffee.

   

/home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/rice pudding 2 rowann jessicasullivan 230

Rice pudding with roasted apricots and a crunchy quinoa-toffee topping. Photo courtesy Jessica Sullivan.

 
The results are irresistible. Pick up your spoon, plunge it through the crunchy candied quinoa topping into the thick, creamy pudding and you’re in on one of the best dessert adventures of the decade. While the recipe may seem like work, it’s really not. The rice pudding, candied quinoa and apricots can be made ahead of time, and everything assembled right before serving.

RICE PUDDING WITH CRUNCHY QUINOA TOPPING

This recipe is courtesy Jessica Sullivan, Delfina, San Francisco.
 
Ingredients For 8 One-Cup Servings

For The Rice Pudding

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1¼ cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice*
  • ¾ cup crème fraîche
  • Heavy cream, as needed
  •  
    For The Toffee

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    For The Candied Quinoa Topping

  • 2 cups puffed quinoa†
  • ½ cup ground toffee (recipe ingredients above)
     
    For The Apricot Topping
  • 4 fresh apricots, or 8 dried apricot halves‡
  • ½ cup sparkling wine, such as Moscato or Prosecco
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: fresh berries in season
  •  
    *See the all of the different types of rice in our Rice Glossary.
    †Puffed quinoa is available at health food stores in the bulk cereals section.
    ‡If using dried apricots, plump them in brandy or Cognac for half an hour before using.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/carnaroli rice finecooking 230

    Carnaroli rice is a short-grain rice bred in Italy to make superior risotto. Cooks often use the more widely available Arborio rice, but Carnaroli is a smaller grain with an extremely high starch content. These properties enable it to absorb large quantities of liquid without overcooking, engendering an ultra-creamy yet toothsome risotto—or rice pudding! Photo courtesy Fine Cooking.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pudding. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, sugar, vanilla seeds and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture returns to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and lightly simmer, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes until the rice begins to thicken. When the rice thickens, taste it for doneness, continuing to stir every few minutes until it is soft and cooked through.

    2. REMOVE the rice mixture from the heat and transfer to a bowl set on top of an ice bath. Stir continuously so that the mixture cools quickly.

    3. CAREFULLY FOLD in the crème fraîche and taste for salt, adding more if necessary. If the pudding seems too thick, thin it with a touch of cream to achieve the desired consistency.

    4. MAKE the toffee. Place a silicone baking mat on a rimmed cookie sheet. In a small saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup and enough water to wet the syrup until the mixture has a sandy texture. Cook until a candy thermometer registers 315° and the mixture is rich amber in color.

     
    5. USE a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe down the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the salt and vanilla extract; stir well. Pour the mixture onto the silicone mat. When cool enough to handle, break up the toffee, then grind it in a food processor until fine.

    6. MAKE the candied quinoa. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a silicone baking mat on a rimmed baking sheet. Evenly spread the puffed quinoa over the mat and sprinkle the ground toffee over it. Place the baking sheet in the oven; after about 5 minutes, stir and bake an additional 5 minutes.

    7. REMOVE from the oven, stir again, and place the quinoa-toffee mixture on a cold surface, such as a counter top or unused baking sheet, to cool. Then break it up it into small clusters. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container until ready to use. Do not refrigerate.

    8. MAKE the fruit topping. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the apricots in half, then cut each half into three slices. Place the apricot pieces in a baking dish along with the wine, sugar, salt and vanilla extract; roast for 5 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan after 5 minutes. The fruit should be soft but not blowing up, so watch it closely. Remove the pan from oven and let cool thoroughly.

    9. ASSEMBLE: Place one cup of the rice pudding in each of 8 glass dessert cups or parfait glasses.
    Top each serving with 4 slices of roasted apricots and drizzle with a little of the syrup they cooked in. Add fresh berries in season if desired. Just before serving, generously sprinkle the candied quinoa on top.

    NOTE: You can prepare the rice pudding and toppings ahead of time, but do not add the candied quinoa topping until just ready to serve or it will become soggy.

    –Rowann Gilman is a recipe developer, cookbook editor and Contributing Editor of THE NIBBLE.

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Okra’s In Season, What Should You Cook?

    Most people think of gumbo is a soup or stew from Louisiana, typically made with chicken or shellfish, Andouille sausage, bell peppers, celery and onions, and thickened with okra pods.

    But in the beginning, “gumbo” was simply the word for okra in the African Bantu language.

    Okra came to America with the slave trade and was introduced to the Southern white population by their African cooks. Okra became the vegetable associated with the American South*.

    Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family, Malvaceae, which also includes cacao, cotton, hibiscus, the kola nut (the base flavor of cola drinks) and the “king of Asian fruits,” the durian, known for its strong aroma and large, thorny husk.

    The valuable part of the okra plant is its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with champions of Ethiopian, West Africa, even South Asia. Today, the vegetable is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world. [Source]

    Okra is used in casseroles, soups, stews and sides; added, cooked, to salads and sandwiches (try an okra grilled cheese). They can be fried or stuffed (like poppers).

       

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/red and green okra starlingyardsFB 230

    Okra pods were originally green, but mutations have led to the development of red and burgundy varieties. Look for them in your farmers market. Photo courtesy Starling Yards.

     
    But perhaps our favorite way to enjoy okra is Rick’s Picks Smokra, the most amazing smoked okra pickles. We always buy the six-packs and love them as low-calorie snacks, as exciting garnishes for dinner guests and to give as gifts.
     
    *Okra is also an important ingredient in cuisines in areas as far-flung as Africa, Asia and Latin America.
     
    HOW SHOULD YOU COOK OKRA?

    We consulted the experts on the best ways to use okra. Here are Southern Living’s recommendations of the 12 best okra recipes:

  • Baked Polenta With Cheese & Okra, a special brunch casserole
  • Fried Okra Salad
  • Fried Pecan Okra
  • Okra & Corn Maque Chou (a corn and okra salad)
  • Okra Creole
  • Okra Rellenos, fried okra filled with cheese
  • Peppery Grilled Okra with lemon-basil dipping sauce
  • Pickled Okra
  • Pickled Okra & Shrimp
  • Shrimp & Okra Hush Puppies, fried cornbread bites
  • Skillet-Roasted Okra and Shrimp
  • Smashed Fried Okra
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/okra fries ulelerestaurant 230

    Okra fries. Photo courtesy Ulele Restaurant |
    Tampa.

     

    But where’s the gumbo?

    We looked into THE NIBBLE archives and found:

  • Chicken Andouille Gumbo from Chef Emeril Lagasse
  • Easy Chicken & Sausage Gumbo from Chef David Venable
  • Easy Chicken & Sausage Gumbo using Swanson Louisana Cajun
    Flavor Infused Broth
  •  
    HOW TO ELIMINATE OKRA “SLIME”

    Some people avoid okra because of the “slimy” texture. That okra just hasn’t been cooked correctly. Here are slime-busting tips from Okra, a Savor the South cookbook by Virginia Willis.:

  • Choose small fresh okra pods. The smaller the okra, the less slime.
  • Cook okra at high heat: roasting at high temperatures, searing in a cast iron pan, deep fat frying or grilling are techniques that limit the slime.
  • Wash and dry the pods very thoroughly. Wet okra will steam, causing it to “slime.”
  • Cook okra in small batches. Overcrowding brings the heat down, which starts steaming and sliming the okra/
  • Add an acid when cooking okra. Citrus juice, tomato, vinegar and wine add flavor while limiting the slime.
  •  
    Up first for us: fried okra with ketchup!

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.