Sunday, September 06, 2009


There has been a cathartic liberation in not having to go to work.
I can think about food all the time, and I can actually concoct the fruits of my fevered dreams if I wish, since there are no tedious meetings to attend, no rude toll-booth attendants to grimace at, no strict limitations on my randomness.
I do have incursions on my freedom, though. There is that plum tree. It's burping produce, and not at an agreeable rate. You either deal with it all at once, or you... deal with it.
We are pruning the plums (not trimming — drying!), though we're happy to eat fresh ones too.
OK, that's too much prelude. What I really want to talk about is rice pudding.
But seriously, I had bought a new cookbook (OMG, me following recipes?) and I was smitten by a Turkish rice pudding fragrant with flavors of lemon rind (I used orange), cinnamon and rose water. I had a quart of goat milk I really wanted to use, and... yep.
Oh, this was beautiful. Ugly, only in that it looks like wet rice sludge. But stunning in aroma, texture and taste.
I had time to make this dish. You stand over the stove stirring the ingredients for a long time. Then you decide what you want to do with it. We ate some of it warm, but the rest went into the fridge to firm up.
Next day, we composed a platter with dried plums (are ya with me, California Dried Plum Board? — prunes is now a dirty, laxative word, I guess; my mom won't even eat 'em anymore for fear she'll be bathroom bound).
We accompanied the feast with grapes, almonds and fresh plums. Oh, and the rice pudding, of course.
It sounds sweet, but I cut the sugar in the rice pudding by half, and I have absolutely no objections to the sugar that Mother Nature chooses to grow in my backyard.
And we ate in a most leisurely fashion. Because I have time.


Kailyn said...

You know I had to click through to find out about the book. And now I must have it because you should know by now that I love most things Mediterranean.

And that doesn't look like sludge to me but that's the cooled down version, isn't it? Was the warm version like kheer?

dancingmorganmouse said...

I've a work mate who's mum makes that Turkish Rice pudding, for her cafe. Sometimes the workmate brings some in, smells like rice with flowers!

namastenancy said...

Prunes are used a lot in Middle Eastern cooking - lamb stew with prunes, meat tzagines (of different kinds) with prunes, fruit compote, couscous (can you eat that) with prunes? Or there's prune tart (French) or goose with prunes (German) - although it's still too hot for that. Prunes - it's the new side dish!

Sweet Bird said...

I want to eat every single thing you've got on that plate. Possibly even the plate too.

Prunes get a bad rap. They're delicious.

Nevertheless, I probably wouldn't eat a bunch of prunes AND bran muffins in the same day.

cookiecrumb said...

Kailyn: About that book. The poor author has to contend with the word "diet" in its title, which is such a turnoff for a great collection of ideas.
Yes, the photo shows the pudding chilled; I don't know what kheer is but - DAMN! - I'll go find out. xx

Mouse: Oh, lovely! And some rices themselves smell so floral. It's like... are we allowed to eat this?

Nancy: I knew I'd get some Turkish input from you, and it's welcome. Prunes! I'll save a sack for you.

Birdie: The plate, oh, that's a treasure. You ever heard of Gump's? It's from that store.
But you're right. Prunes and bran muffins might not make a happy day. I am totally immunized to beans, however, so bring 'em on.

Kailyn said...

I could see how the title could be offputting. I assumed it
was making reference to the Mediterranean diet food pyramid.

dancingmorganmouse said...

And the best bit, YES we are allowed to eat it, we are encouraged to by Turkish mothers everywhere!

cookiecrumb said...

Kailyn: You are correct; it's the Mediterranean Pyramid. But the book is old (this is an updated version) and the word "diet" somehow seems so unwanted now. Still, hearty approval from this reader. Many recipes to experiment with.

Morgan: Jasmine rice! Tastes like... jasmine. (I need a Turkish mother.)

Barbara said...

Such an enticing platter Cookiecrumb.

Chilebrown said...

We were at the Marin Farmers market and acturally witnessed and smelled a plum drying prune mobile. Only in Marin.