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Rice Pudding, Revisited

My first-ever post on this blog, almost exactly three years ago, was for rice pudding - a recipe I had taken directly from a cookbook and proceeded to ruin. I posted it anyway, imploring my imaginary readers to "not mess it up like I did." Oh, me.  

I suppose I posted it (despite its flaws) because I don't really care for exact science (measuring, temperatures, what have you) when it comes to food, nor do I care when things aren't perfect. I just don't think anyone has time for that, frankly. "Good enough" is actually pretty good.

Part of my philosophy when I coach cooking students is to help them get out of their heads and have FUN, without feeling enslaved by recipes. I do recognize, though, that there's a baseline skill and comfort level that has to be achieved before this can happen. 

One of the biggest building blocks you can understand - something that will help you for the rest of your life - is learning about why balanced foods taste good and how to correct your dish if it's tilted too far one way or another. As chefs, we look for the magic spot where lightness meets dark, where sweetness meets salt, where crunch meets silk, where acid meets fat. It's the slaw brightening the pulled pork, the herbs grazing your meaty stew, the cool yogurt on your spicy daal. It's salt and lemons. 

Anyway - in honor of 3 years of hosting dinner parties under an official moniker, here's another rice pudding recipe. It's a more interesting and healthful version of sticky rice and mango, if you're a fan of that.

Coconut and Persimmon BREAkfast rice with Cashews and Lime


In a small pot, measure 1 cup of white rice (basmati or jasmine are both fine). Add 1 can of coconut milk, one cup of mylk (pick your favorite - I used almond), and a big pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower your heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Note: feel free to use brown rice, but you'll need an additional cup of liquid and more time to cook. 

Your rice will be wet, but that's good. In fact, you might want to add even more mylk to loosen it up if it gets dry. It's not a pudding, per se, but more like pappy soft breakfast rice. 

While your rice is cooking, dice your fuyu persimmon. Make sure to use the crunchy, squat fuyus - hachiyas are soft and very tannic (I'm not a fan). Squeeze lime over the persimmon generously, tossing to cover. 

Chop ~1/3 cup of cashews roughly. In a 325* oven or in a pan over low heat, toast the cashews until light brown. 

In a bowl, serve a generous scoop of coconut rice and top with limey persimmons and cashews. Drizzle raw honey generously over everything, and sprinkle with finely chopped lemon balm, bee balm, or mint. 

Recipe: Dangmyeon Noodle Soup with Chickweed, Nasturtium, and Gomasio


I really want to tell you about these noodles. They are slippery but not slimy; silver gray and opalescent; perfectly round, chewy, and slurp-able. They are better than rice noodles. That's big.



I used a couple of neighborhood weeds in this soup - and they are quite pretty - but the noodles are the star. They are sweet potato vermicelli, also known as Korean glass noodles, and available at any Korean or Asian food market. I happen to have such a market in the neighborhood; if you don't, Amazon is your friend.

Dangmyeon noodles are most commonly used in a delicious stir fry dish called Japchae. If you'd like to try making it, check out this adorable video (thanks for sharing, mom). Like rice noodles, though, these are super adaptable to whatever you want to throw on them. In this case, I had some chicken stock brewing on the stove, some wilting chard in the fridge, a half an avocado, and some neighborhood weeds.

Dangmyeon Noodle Soup

Prep your toppings: I used a ragtag assortment of greens, but almost any veggie would be nice. In this case - quickly sauteed chard with some garlic and lime juice, Thai basil, chickweed (literally a weed that grows all over my neighborhood and tastes real nice), nasturtium for a peppery kick, some avocado, some gomasio (or furikake), and a few lime wedges. If you don't want to eat weeds or don't know where to find them, cilantro, green onions, and mint would all be nice. Same goes for other sauteed greens, carrots, roasted yams, corn...if you've got it, try it. No limits, I tell you!

Bring a pot of water to simmer and add an egg to boil After six minutes, remove and run under some cold water. Set aside.

Bring the water back to a boil and add a half bunch (handful) of dangmyeon noodles as well as a heavy pinch of salt. Boil for 1 minute, stir a bit to make sure they don't stick together, and cover to boil for another 6-7 minutes (or until they are soft and chewy). Remove, drain, and divide into bowls (or, you know, just put it all in your biggest single person bowl like I did).

Top with desired toppings, including the egg, which you will have cut in half and gently spooned out.

For the broth:

Bring chicken or vegetable stock (or water) to a boil and add some ginger chunks. Reduce heat and let simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Add a heaping spoonful of miso and a generous squirt of gochujang (Korean spicy fermented paste...sriracha is an acceptable substitute) and stir to combine. This broth is in no way authentic, it's just what I made that day.

Pour broth over eager ingredients and slurp loudly.