We all wish life would unfold like a magical fairy tale, the kind that allows you to flip through the pages without much forethought because after all, it's written so incredibly smoothly, brainstormed through what I imagine would have caused sleepless nights, painstakingly edited, not just once but twice. Not the case at all though--at least not when it comes to life. It in fact has a knack for sending the world into commotion in the blink of an eye, much like a suspense novel. It gives us no time to prepare for what's to come, and that is why I'm a firm believer of being ready both in and out of season. Spiritually, mentally, physically, what have you.
But what can I say as a food blogger, you know? I can't let fear cripple me even after tragedy has stricken upon humanity the past few weeks, but neither can I say that all is good because the truth of the matter is, it's not all good. Not for the many who've lost their loved ones. As Tolkien said, and as Mandy so eloquently resonated in a thoughtful post, of which I share her feelings one hundred percent, it would be so great if we could all get along on the basis of food. Our bellies can tell countless of stories of where we've been, whom we've met. They are aware of that commonality because it is as universal as music. As beautiful as the sunset and sunrise. Or as darling as the cooing of a newborn babe. How I wish we could love and share in those delights and call it a day. Through it all, though, I say there's hope. Hope is not seen, but quite often felt as the wind tugging on a flower, and I know God says it's there for the taking.
I find myself scurrying to find comfort in many things but truthfully, there is nothing like meditating on His promises and well, comfort food. Because comfort food never hurts in times like these. My idea of a comfort meal is usually something light yet hearty. Sort of like a combination of creamy and just slightly sweet, with an aromatic twist at the end. Arroz con Leche fits the bill and it never failed to cheer me up. It's the same now as it was back then in Argentina.
My favorite version consists of mostly milk and granulated sugar as the thickening base, but you will find that some cultures add egg yolk and condensed milk for a richer taste. As delicious as those are, I prefer a lightness to my pudding as it allows me to have extra helpings whether it be in the morning or afternoon. It is such a versatile recipe that I believe soy or almond milk would work just as well, but I suggest adding more vanilla and cinnamon for a rounder taste. I also saw Marta's rendition of chocolate risotto which sort of reminded me of Filipino champurado, so I'm definitely looking forward to that. Take care my friends! I pray you would have an amazing Thanksgiving with the ones you love and the best comfort food on your table.
Arroz con Leche Topped with Maple Pumpkin and Toasted Almonds
Makes 8 small servings
Time: approximately 35 minutes
Equipment: heavy pot or saucepan, wooden spoon or stirrer
1 cup long grain white rice
4 cups whole milk (or other vegan options)
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean pod
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp pure maple sytrup
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Cook rice, milk, and water in a medium-large saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir often. Add cinnamon, salt, sugar, and gently slice open a vanilla pod lengthwise. Scrape the beans inside with a knife and throw it into the cooking rice. Stir often and cook for approximately 15 minutes or more. The mixture should be thick and creamy but not so sticky that the rice clumps up. Add a little more water or milk if needed. Remove from heat.
While the rice is cooking, you can make the pumpkin mix. Simply combine the puree, maple, and cloves. Add it as topping on the arroz con leche for Thanksgiving!