Vanilla Rice Pudding with Roasted Rhubarb

I finally shook off the travel dust last week. I am settled back into home. I have been taking long walks with my girls - Martini and Latte, enjoying spring in Seattle, and started back in on my urban hikes. One of the many stairs I climb on some of my urban hikes. I waited until the people around subsided to snap this. So pretty and tranquil if you ask me.

If you are wondering what an urban hike is I will tell you. It is just what it sounds like; it is a steady pace I take walking across the city. I know that there are many hiking trails at the parks and in the outlining areas of the city. But due to my work schedule, my hours are off from most I know. I do not like hiking on my own out on a trail in seclusion, there is a bit of an unsafe feeling about it. Maybe that is because I am a female? Either way hiking across the city has just as much appeal. I take different routes depending on the day. I walk along the water, climb steep hills, go up and down stairs, run through different neighborhoods, and admire the city. Within an hour I do about 4 miles, and there are always people around.

Getting everything together to maKe some great Vanilla Rice PUDDING.

The other day when I got home from work and before I went for a hike I started a batch of Vanilla Rice Pudding. I will confess that I never made a rice pudding I liked; that is until this past year. While traveling in January I picked up The Best of 2015 - America’s Test Kitchen magazine to read on the plane. In it was a detailed recipe of Rice Pudding. I had to give it a try, because anything from American’s Test Kitchen I completely and totally trust. I have made it three times since then and it is perfect. This time I wanted to serve it with Roasted Rhubarb I had in mind, not to mention I had some left in the refrigerator -  a match made in heaven!

Vanilla Rice Pudding cooling.

Once the rice pudding was made and cooling I went on an urban hike, walked my girls, and started in on dinner. Once Brian was home we enjoyed our dinner, but as a surprise I presented him with the rice pudding. Just like the times I have tried this recipe previously, it had a great vanilla flavor and was super creamy with a great texture. When it was paired with the tart and sweet roasted rhubarb the flavor paring and textures were wonderful. Eating a dessert this delicious makes me glad I did a hike. I mean it is so good it is hard to just have once serving. I wish rhubarb season would never end, so I can always eat the rice pudding just like this. Thank you America’s Test Kitchen, you have debunked my rice pudding ways and opened my eyes to how gloriously simple a great rice pudding can be.

All ready to dive in on a great dessert.

Vanilla Rice Pudding (serves 6)

6 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup long grain white rice (I used Jasmine)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

First, combine 5 1/2 cups milk, sugar, and salt in a large heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat.

Next, stir in your rice and reduce the heat to low. Cook it at a gentle simmer adjusting the heat as needed. Be sure to stir it often. You want to prevent scorching, and you want to simmer it until  the rice is soft. It will thicken at this point as well, almost to the consistency of yogurt. (About 50 minutes to and hour.) Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Finally, transfer the pudding to a large bowl and let it cool about 1 - 2 hours before refrigerating. Refrigerate it until chilled, and before serving stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of milk.

Rhubarb - roasted and cooling fresh out of the oven.

Roasted Rhubarb (makes about 1 pint)

4 - 5 long rhubarb stalks; trimmed and sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp ground cardamon

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup water

1 tsp butter

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl toss together your sugar, cardamon, and cinnamon. Take a 9-10 inch baking dish or pie pan and butter it generously.

Next, take your rhubarb and toss it in with your sugar mix. To this mixture add your water and vanilla and mix well. Pour it into your prepared pan and be sure your rhubarb is evenly distributed.

Finally, place in the center of your oven to roast for about 30-45 minutes; stirring it half way. You  are looking for the rhubarb to be tender. Once tender remove from the oven to cool. Best to serve at room temperature, but can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up tp a week.