Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Exams/Coconut Ginger Rice Pudding

I would be lying if I said I liked exams. I would also be lying if I told you my exam today went well, to be honest it didn't go at all. Exams in Italy are oral, which if you ask me is a cruel form of torture that should be outlawed if only for the fact that its sole aim to humiliate students. Well that being said, I studied non-stop for a week, went to take it and froze on the spot. It was as if I pushed the off switch on my brain and nothing...oh wait, then I started to cry, bawl, blubber etc. While the three professors (because yes, they have THREE, professors questioning you) sitting in front of me were at a loss. So, that being said, my day did not start off well.

For me, exams usually mean several things, messy apartments, several tears, and comfort food to cure the latter. As far back as I can remember, I have loved rice pudding. But like, really loved. My favorite always has been, and always will be, from Zabar's on the Upper West Side. Maybe it was the first one I ever tasted, alongside chewy bagels and smoky lox at Sunday brunch or maybe it's the first bite from the pint, the one where I scrape the cinnamon off the top, the slight spice accenting the luscious creaminess of the pudding. Whatever it is, I have never been able to recreate it and I have never had another rice pudding that offers me quite the same satisfaction. To be honest, I have never really tried to make a classic rice pudding for fear that it would just dissapoint. I have however, attempted some riffs on the classic, with outstanding results.

If I may say so myself, this Coconut Ginger Rice Pudding, is absolutely perfect. Not too sweet, just creamy enough, with the spicy ginger complementing the hint of gentle coconut flavor. This isn't the first time I have made this, but it is the first time it came out just right. Last summer, I spent a weekend in Toronto at one of my best friend's houses. For breakast, I was stunned when her mom prepared a bowl of warm rice drizzled with coconut milk and sprinkled with turbinado sugar. After tasting it, I was hooked. The combination was perfect, and I knew that I would have to turn it into rice pudding. I have been planning on making this rice pudding all week for a super top secret reason, which I promise I will share when I can. But get excited, it's going to be good. After sifting through recipes, I settled on the most simple one I found and adapted it to fit my needs. This is the perfect example of how simple can be better, I beg you try this at home. Top it with fruit or eat it as is, you will not be dissaspointed. Trust me, I may not be able to do an oral exam, but I am a rice pudding aficionado.

Coconut Ginger Rice Pudding

(adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from Gale Gand)
Serves 4-6 (depends how much you like it...)
Time 30-40 mins.

1/2 c. arborio rice
1/4 c. turbinado sugar
1.5 cans Coconut Milk (use the whole one, not light)
2 c. whole milk
2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger


Put everything in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring from time to time. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Cool before serving.