Rice Pudding (Gluten and dairy free): No resolutions this new year

When I was younger, Mom and Dad would ask Brothers and me every December 31, “What are your resolutions for the coming year?”  I’d stare at Parents blankly, because mostly I couldn’t think of anything.  Usually I’d mumble something like, “My resolutions are to study harder and practice piano more.”  What else was there to say?  Maybe two weeks tops I’d work on these resolutions, and then within three weeks, I’d be off doing my thing, my own way.

This year, thoughtfully, deliberately, willfully I made no such resolutions.  Why should I torture myself on a day trying to figure out how I’m going to make myself better when in reality – one day of thinking I’m going to get better, do better, live better isn’t necessarily going to end up with results.  Change, true change, comes from within, with slow deliberation, willful determination, and a lot of time.  One day to decide all of that just doesn’t make sense to me.  So instead, I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and not resolve to do anything.  I’m going to make it through 2013 and not accomplish, resolve, fix or do anything extra.

The lovely folks over at Stephen James Organics sent me a bag of their Carazuc, which is a sweetener made from the sap of the buds of the coconut flower.  It’s dark brown in color, and the flavor is reminiscent of brown sugar with hints of molasses.  I looked at it and decided that it might be interesting to make rice pudding with it and make the rice pudding something that Son could enjoy.  Enter coconut milk.

The end result was something that Daughters and Son alike enjoyed.  Daughters preferred it warm, and Son liked it with a dollop of apricot jam on top.  I liked the fact that it was a slightly sweet dessert, but not so over the top that I felt guilty feeding it to the kids.  And so, despite my attempts to the contrary – I end up doing something – a dairy free, refined sugar free dessert that the entire family can enjoy.

Ah well.  Happy 2013 to me.

Coconut-Milk Rice Pudding
Makes 4 servings

¾ cup sushi (short grain) rice, rinsed
¼ cup Carazuc or regular sugar (brown sugar also works)
Pinch of salt
3 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk (not the kind in cans, but the kind in cartons – So Delicious brand or Trader Joe’s brand)
1 cinnamon stick
3 or 4 whole cardamom pods
Fresh fruit or fruit preserves/jam for topping

In a large saucepan, combine the rice, carazuc (sugar), salt, 1 cup of the coconut milk, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods.

Cook over low heat, stirring, until coconut milk is absorbed, at least 5 minutes.

Add ½ cup of coconut milk at a time, stirring and cooking until the milk is absorbed, then repeat, adding another ½ cup again until you have added an additional 2 cups of milk and the milk is mostly absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Remove cardamom pods and cinnamon stick carefully.  Let cool and then add remaining ½ cup of coconut milk.  Serve topped with fresh fruit or jam.
Printable recipe
Here’s to a year of doing less.

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