rice pudding

The high temperature yesterday in Atlanta was 47 degrees. With gas prices high and our gas bill skyrocketing we vowed that we weren’t going to turn on the heat in April. We didn’t, or at least we haven’t. Which means that I spent last night huddled under my down comforter and my quilt, desperately trying to keep both my nose and my toes warm. It also means, that this morning I spent an hour reading in bed so that I could be productive without touching our icy cold wood floors.

I guess Spring isn’t quite here, or rather it showed up and then decided to go on vacation, again. On a day like today, I crave comfort food, but when shopping this weekend (which was glorious and warm), I wanted light crisp flavors. So tonight’s meal is a compromise. I’m sticking with the cold shrimp salad, but I’m making mango rice pudding.

One of my favorite desserts has always been mango with sticky rice. I love to order it out, but I’ve never made it. It is slightly more complicated than rice pudding, but more importantly, it required advanced planning. I would have had to start soaking the rice last night. This pudding can be pulled together quickly, and when the weather is chilly it has the advantage of being served warm.

Mango Rice Pudding (serves 4)

I like the contrast of the cold juicy mango with the soft warm rice, but this recipe is open to variations. Feel free to try it with another fruit, either cold or stewed. You could also make a more traditional rice pudding with raisins cooked with the rice and perhaps some cardamom and cinnamon to make it even cozier.

1/2 cup short grained rice (arborio or sushi work well here… arborio is a more classic choice, but sushi rice matches the Asian influences)
2 cups coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, split open with the seeds scraped
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 mango, chopped into bite size pieces
1 teaspoon seasame seeds, toasted (optional)
1/2 cup toasted coconut (optional)

1. Rinse rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
2. Heat the coconut milk with the vanilla bean and seeds.
3. When the liquid starts to boil, add the rice and stir.
4. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occassionally, for approximate 25 minutes, until the rice is tender and most of the coconut milk has been absorbed.
5. Discard the vanilla bean, add the sugar and mix.
6. Serve lukewarm topped with mangos, sesame seeds, and coconut.

shrimp salad

white bean salad with shrimp and arugula