I miss him all the time.
I miss his smile, his laugh, his encouragement and his whistling.
There are so many moments when I think about him, that I envision him here with us.
I think of him laughing along with us at James’ bouncing feet and being able to conjure up the biggest smile from his grandson.
I hear him telling me again that my mother is “one beautiful women” and being so proud of how strong and truly lovely she is.
I picture him at our dinner parties, agreeing with me that we should open another bottle of wine and turn the music up.
I picture Bryan talking him into buying a Subaru Outback and planning a fishing trip together.
I know he is proud of Lindsay and I and the happy homes we have built.
I see him when the snow falls and remember one of the last afternoons we shared together cross-country skiing, just the two of us.
I think of him enjoying Whole Foods as much as I do and letting me make pickles from his garden goodies.
I see him being amazed that I now eat things like beets, bone marrow, olives and prunes.
It has been 10 years and I know that he would love this dessert.
This is a fairly simple recipe although I have added a few components that make it fancy. Feel free to make all three, or make each one separately since they all have multiple uses. I enjoy the prunes with everything from yogurt in the morning to ice cream at night. The nuts are lovely sprinkled over a salad. The pudding can be served as suggested or with a spoonful of your favorite store-bought jam, warmed slightly enough to drizzle.
Rice Pudding with Stewed Prunes and Candies Walnuts
yield = 4-6 servings
I would make the prunes and walnuts first and then make the pudding so you can serve it warm
For the pudding: adapted from The Last Course by Claudia Fleming
3 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/4 cup sugar
3 strips of orange peel (no white pith – use a vegetable peeler)
1/4 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods
1/2 a vanilla been, seeds scraped and added (can sub a tsp. extract)
1/2 cup Arborio rice
In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk, sugar, spices and orange peel to a gentle boil. Add rice and boil for one minute. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring every 6-8 minutes to make sure it doesn’t stick. After 20 minutes, crack egg into a bowl and whisk, temper in a half cup of hot rice and milk mixture and then return back to pot. Cook, stirring every so often for another 15 minutes until rice is tender and mixture has thickened.
Transfer to a bowl, removing zest and whole spices. Serve while still warm or cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
For the prunes: adapted slightly from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
1/2 an orange, sliced in very thin half moons
1 pound of good quality prunes (I finally used the ones I got in Oregon)
1 cinnamon stick
1 earl grey tea bag (preferably blue flower earl grey)
Put oranges and prunes in a medium sauce pan, add the tea bag and cinnamon stick and add enough water to just cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 30 to 45 minutes until the prunes are tender and there is just a few tablespoons of syrupy liquid left. Remove prunes and put into a container, strain the liquid from the pt and discard the oranges. Let cool.
For the walnuts:
Toss 1/2 cup of walnuts with 2-3 Tbsp of maple syrup,2-3 Tbsp of turbinado sugar and a tiny pinch of salt. Spread on a parchment lines sheet tray and bake at 350 for about 5-7 minutes till toasted. Let cool.
To assemble, spoon warm pudding into bowls and garnish with 2 – 3 prunes a bit of the prune syrup and walnuts. In the photo below my pudding was cold and firm enough to keep its shape when spooned, although I enjoyed it this way, I think I would prefer warm right from the pot.