Posts tagged ‘Old Fashioned’

December 18, 2011

Seriously The Best Rice Pudding

The Best Rice Pudding

My all time favorite dessert at a diner is rice pudding. They always serve it in a big cup, the pudding overflowing, with a huge swirl of whipped cream and a little sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Could there be a better ending to a meal at a good diner? A mile-high turkey club, followed by a dreamy cup of homemade rice pudding. Don’t tell me the diner doesn’t make it from scratch! I’ve always envisioned a grandmother back in the diner kitchen making batches of pudding. The creamy simplicity of diner rice pudding is what gets me every time. I’ve never been served rice pudding with raisins, almonds, cardamom or lemon at a diner. Never mango, coconut or nutmeg either, just plain old-fashioned creamy rice pudding.

Many years ago I found a recipe for rice pudding on the Epicurious website. It included an article from 2002 about Company 18 of the New York Fire Department. They named the pudding after a firefighter named Steve “Gonzo” Gonzalez. This really is the best rice pudding, ever! Over the years I’ve adapted some healthy changes to the original, which I like to think allow me to eat massive quantities in one sitting – wishful thinking. Making this is a labor of love. It’s not one of those recipes that you can throw together, walk away and let simmer on the stove untouched. It will need about an hour of your attention, but you will find it’s worth every minute.


  • One half-gallon fat-free milk
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle on top

* If you’re a full fat lover, feel free to use whole milk, but you don’t need it.

Put the milk, rice, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes or until the rice is tender. The key is frequent stirring and simmering on a very low flame. A film will develop on top of the pudding as it cooks if you don’t stir frequently.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Once the pudding has thickened and the rice is tender, remove the pan from the heat and ladle one cup of the pudding into the bowl with the eggs, stirring vigorously. Then add a second cup and stir vigorously again. This will temper the eggs so they don’t end up scrambled from the heat of the pudding. Immediately pour the egg mixture back into the pan and stir well. Pour in the heavy cream and stir until combined. Bring back to a very low simmer for about 15 minutes longer, still stirring frequently.

Pour the pudding into a 9×13 casserole dish or I use an oval Corningware dish that’s about 3 liters in size. Smooth the top of the pudding and sprinkle with cinnamon. Let sit to cool on your counter for a bit before covering and placing in your refrigerator. Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator before serving – at least 4 hours or overnight. It will continue to thicken in the refrigerator as it chills.

* Yes! That’s a can of Reddi Wip in the background of the photo! You might need a can of this for your week of rice pudding eating. Unless of course, you’re willing to pull out the mixer and make a batch of homemade for the occasion.

September 1, 2011

Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

When it comes to chicken soup, my husband always says… “It might not help, but it can’t hurt.” So a stormy weekend had me making a big pot of old-fashioned chicken soup. I’m not really sure how to make soup for 4 or even 6 people. I only know how to make lots of soup. I made this in my 9qt dutch oven. It makes enough for leftovers, which I put in containers and freeze. A great grab and go for lunches during the week.

I think the key to great chicken soup is keeping it simple, like my grandmother’s. Although the smell of boiled chicken is not a memory I need to revisit, the result in the bowl was always delicious. I can envision her standing at her stove, stirring something in a big pot… always tossing in a little of this or a little of that. Who knows what she was doing? I should confess that I don’t make my own stocks. If you do, then bravo! Use your homemade chicken stock for this recipe. For the time being, I think a quality store-bought, low sodium natural chicken stock does the trick here.


  • 2 whole chicken breasts (4 split) – on the bone
  • 6 carrots, large dice
  • 4 stalks celery, large dice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Small bundle fresh thyme (4-6 sprigs)
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups extra wide egg noodles
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley (for right before serving)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh pepper. Roast in the oven on a sheet pan for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (it will depend on the size of the breasts). Remove from the oven and let sit to cool. Remove the chicken meat and cut into a large dice, discarding the skin and bones. Set the chicken aside.

Chop the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Heat a large dutch oven on medium heat. Add a little olive oil to the bottom of the pot and sauté the carrots, celery and onions until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Toss in your thyme bundle and pour in the chicken stock. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer partially covered for about 45 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Add the chicken and continue to simmer for 20 minutes more. Taste the broth and reseason with salt and pepper as needed. Remove your thyme bundle and add the egg noodles, simmering for the last 6-8 minutes to cook the egg noodles. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve.

* If you prefer to use pasta, I suggest cooking it separately from the soup. The starch in the pasta will make your broth cloudy and the pasta will continue to soften as it sits in the soup. To serve when using pasta, put some of the cooked pasta in the bottom of the bowl and add the soup.

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