Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Arroz con leche (my version) and Jicama salad (improvised)

In Spanish class, my teacher decided to have a restaurant "project". In other words: make groups of 3-6, bring food from a specific Spanish-speaking country, choose a waiter, and eat! I was in a group of 3 with Annabel and Jonathan, both of them Sophomores I don't know very well, but generally pleasant people. We chose Mexico as our country and I volunteered to bring dessert and appetizer, Annabel brought fruit salad and drinks, and Jonathan brought his dad's tortilla soup. The drink was Sprite, but the fruit salad was tasty; it included apples, grapes, and oranges. The tortilla soup was strange. It tasted good, but the texture was like liquid goo... I don't know what went inside the pot, but I think cornstarch gives this kind of texture.
Anyways, down to the most important part: Me! As a starter, I decided to make Jicama [heekahmah] salad. I had bought pre-cut jicama during the weekend, but I needed more than just that. I looked in the fridge and I found packaged pre-cut lettuce and grated carrots. I just tossed everything together and put it in a Tupperware. Done!
The Arroz con Leche (rice pudding with cinnamon and raisins) was more complicated. The problem with rice pudding is that you have to stand in front of the pot stirring constantly. This was a problem because I had homework and I can't concentrate if I have to get up every five minutes to stir. Earlier in my life, I had made rice pudding in the oven, and I wondered if I could adapt the baked recipe to arroz con leche. I boiled milk with a cinnamon stick, sugar, and raisins. When it started to bubble I poured it into a buttered oven dish and added the rice. I gave a quick stir and cooked it in a 250 oven for 50 minutes. After that amount of time, it wasn't done yet, so I mixed it again and put it back in for another ten minutes. When I brought it to school it was pretty good, but on the dry side. As there was a large quantity of leftovers, my family and I ate some for dessert for dinner. My dad had the great idea of adding some milk to the rice in his bowl. I followed suit, and I agree that it gives the pudding a better texture. Maybe adding more milk to the rice before cooking it would eliminate the need for this, but I don't know yet. If I ever try this recipe again, I will attempt to fix this problem.
Also, the rice pudding was brown instead of white, probably because the raisins were there the entire time. Most recipes instructed adding the raisins during the last fifteen minutes, but I wanted them nice and plump. The color was not bad, just surprising.
Now for the recipe!

My version of Mexican Style Baked Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)
  • 5 c. milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick with a lot of flavor, or add a little powdered cinnamon as well
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c.–more to taste sugar
  • 1 1/4c. uncooked rice
Pre-heat the oven to 250F. Put everything except the rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring regularly. While the milk is heating, butter a oven-proof casserole-style pan that can hold more than 5 cups. Taste the milk and make sure it is sweet enough (it will taste less sweet when it has been absorbed by the rice). When the milk mixture starts to boil (it may take a while) pour it into the dish and mix it with the rice. Put the dish into the oven for 50 minutes. After this time mix it well and oven-ify it again for another 10 minutes. Serve with milk or cream on the side.


Matthieu Devin said...

"Earlier in your life"??
How long has your life been so far :) !
Hehe, I'm glad there are still leftovers left over in the frigdge. They will be my desert tonight. But maybe we should add cream instead of milk this time...

--- The one with the growing belly

happy said...

My life has been longer than the rice pudding's life!
Sorry, we don't have cream. The one we had earlier was "best before Feb 21". We could try with yogurt tonight!

agnes said...

questions, questions, questions ..
why not add the extra milk when you stir after 50 minutes? Could you also of adding the raisins at the same time? Does this work with any variety of rice or do you need round rice like arbolo?

And ... no vinaigrette for the jicama salad?

tatie Grammaire

happy said...

That is a good idea! I used Jasmine rice, but I think any rice would work. Some types of rice may need more liquid than others though.
I didn't use vinaigrette for the Jicama salad because the jicama was already juicy and flavorful. I didn't want to hide it.