If you’re like me, you find the history of virtually everything intriguing, even down to the foods we eat. Take rice, for instance. It has been sustaining us for over five thousand years and has a fascinating history.
The history of rice farming in this country goes way back to 1720 when a storm blew a ship sailing to Madagascar off course and the crew took refuge in the port of Charleston, South Carolina. The ship’s captain gave a local farmer some rice grains to start and that’s where it all began.
Later, one of my favorite Founding Fathers played a pivotal role in advancing America’s role as a leader in world rice production. During a diplomatic visit to Italy, Thomas Jefferson discovered that Piedmont rice was superior to the rice being grown in the U.S. Jefferson filled his pocket with Piedmont rice seeds and smuggled them out of the country, passing them along to farmers in South Carolina upon his return.
Both brown and white rice are nutritious, with brown rice providing slightly more dietary fiber, vitamin E and calcium than white and white rice containing more thiamin and iron than brown. With either choice it is a healthy food containing no fat, cholesterol or sodium.
Now, I’m not sure that rice pudding can be considered all that healthy. I suspect that the cream and sugar cancel out some of the good stuff that rice has to offer, but it sure is tasty.
Many people may view rice pudding as something only grandmothers prepare, but there are many ways to update this dish to suit your taste. Try adding fresh raspberries or maple syrup, or go wild with coconut, bananas and chocolate. Like vanilla ice cream, rice pudding can take whatever you dish out!
Rice pudding is a tasty dish that can be topped with your favorite fruits, sweets or spices to create a yummy treat.
This is one of my favorite recipes, made with Ralston Family Farms rice! Enjoy!
1/2 cup Basmati rice
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- In a large, heavy saucepan combine rice, milk, cream, butter, cinnamon and sugar. It will look like a lot of liquid, but it will cook down and rice pudding has a fairly creamy consistency
- Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the rice is tender and the milk and cream are reduced. This should take about 30 to 40 minutes. It is important to keep an eye on the pudding while it cooks and give it a good stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, especially toward the end of the cook time when the mixture begins to thicken.
- When the pudding is done, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Serve immediately sprinkled with cinnamon and raisins or whatever topping you choose! (Chef tip: Rice pudding is also good cold.)