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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Eat a Peach or some Rice Pudding

      August is National Peach Month, and among the thirty-one days there is a day designated "Eat a Peach Day, on the 22nd, and National Peach Pie Day on the 24th. Now this is a month I can honestly say, "I'm in!"
      Peaches are, by far, my favorite fruit on the planet, with nectarines running a close second. Some people don't like the fuzzy skin on a peach so nectarines are for you, the same wonderful yellow juicy flesh, and identical in taste, if you ask me.  The aroma is wonderfully fresh and uplifting the color is cool and inviting.  Perfect for hot summer days. And in the middle of the winter, there is nothing finer than to pop open a home canned jar of peach preserves or jam. I haven't even picked my peaches yet and I am drooling imagining a warm scone or biscuit slathered with peach jam. But let's move on to the rest of the month's celebrations!
    August is also National Catfish Month, something else I can definitely get thrilled about consuming. Heck, I even enjoy catching a few myself, but I do not like to bait the hook, or gut the fish. Not my cup of tea. I will let the professionals do their stuff, I'll take the fillets, thank you!
   Individual days within the month are very "summer-mode" celebrations, for example the 2nd is National Ice Cream Sandwich day and the 3rd is National
Watermelon Day; the 6th is National Root Beer Float Day, the 8th is National Frozen Custard Day, the 17th and 18th are National Vanilla Custard Day and National Soft Ice cream Day respectively. The 22nd, as mentioned earlier is National Eat a Peach Day and also National Spumoni Day.
     To remind us that August is a great month for cook-outs, there is also National S'mores Day on the 10th and National Toasted Marshmallow Day on the 30th. Thrown in are a few days and ways to celebrate bananas, also, with 10th also being National Banana Split Day and the 27th being Banana Lovers Day.
     Although I am a huge peach and ice cream fan, one particular celebration caught my eye:  August 9th is National Rice Pudding Day. I have a rice pudding recipe that I found over 30 years ago and have not been able to top it. I so wanted to share it with you. It is a bit labor intensive with all the stirring and maintaining the water bath, but if you have the time to try this you will not be sorry. I also do not recommend this recipe on a 95 degree day. With all the opening the oven your kitchen might heat up too much for a sultry summer day.
               

The Best Damn Rice Pudding I've ever had

1 cup water ½ cup regular long-grain rice (raw)
 2 ½ cups milk
2 egg yolks beaten
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup white sugar
½ cup raisins (optional but worth it)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 egg whites
¼ cup white sugar

Preheat Oven to 350° F. Heat tea kettle full of water for water bath.

In a saucepan mix the rice & 1 cup water ; bring to boil; stir once, cover, reduce heat to LOW, and simmer COVERED (don’t lift the cover) 15 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Shut off heat at the 15 minute mark and keep covered an additional 5 minutes to make sure all the water is absorbed.
Beat egg yolks with ½ cup of sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the cornstarch and salt. Continue beating and gradually add the milk. Stir in the cooked rice, lemon juice, and raisins. Pour mixture into baking dish. Place baking dish in a roasting pan. Pour the heated water from the kettle in the pan so it comes up the sides of the smaller pan by 1 inch. You need to keep hot water ready to add to the water bath if the level goes down, try to maintain 1 inch of water in roasting pan.
Bake in preheated oven approximately 1 ½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
While the pudding is baking prepare the meringue: beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, continue beating gradually adding the ¼ cup sugar until stiff peaks form. When the pudding is done, remove from the oven, but not from the water bath. Raise oven temperature to 400° F. Dollop the meringue on top of the pudding, swirling meringue to make soft peaks.
Bake at 400°F for 8-10 minutes until meringue is golden. Cool slightly, but serve warm.



Baked Rice pudding with meringue Courtesy Betty Crocker Step by

Step Recipes circa 1975
I wanted to try making a crock pot rice pudding so not to heat up the kitchen, so if anyone has a fail proof crock pot recipe, please share, I'd love to try it out and review it here.
   Until next time, eat a peach, toast some marshmallows, enjoy some ice cream or frozen custard. Autumn is coming in about six short weeks, so enjoy whatever time you can spend outdoors. Oh, by the way August 31st is Eat Outdoors Day! Enjoy!                                                       ~Aunt Barbara


Credits:
American Food and Drink Days retrieved 8/9/15 from http://www.tfdutch.com/foodh.htm