Hey, guys. Meet my mental health doctor…. It’s me. Hey. After this week, I prescribed myself the following:
-An extra day off. A long, icky week deserves a long, non-icky weekend.
-Lots of sleep… With a pillow under my waist for maximal spine-straightening comfort. Side- or stomach-sleepers, try it! Especially if your bed sucks.
-Half a bottle of wine, a new knitting project, and Wet Hot American Summer streaming on the Netflix. “It’s my gurnal. I write my thoughts in it every day.”
-A bunch of 80s music, impulsively purchased on iTunes after consuming said wine. Plus, ABBA. I will never stop loving ABBA.
My boyfriend is my assistant mental health doctor. A resident, if you will. He prescribed (and provided) a Dutch apple pie from the incomparable Ikeda’s. It’s just the best ever.
And if I were up for cooking (and didn’t already have a pie), this is what I would have made for myself. Warm, creamy (really, really creamy) rice pudding, dotted with citrusy zest, specks of vanilla bean, and cool, bright blood orange segments.
This is really the best way to self-medicate. It takes some effort, but so does doctor shopping, no? If you do that, stop it. Make rice pudding instead.
Oh boy… I’m feeling dark today. Show of hands–Drugs: funny or not?
This is going to be good. We use arborio rice, which makes beautiful creamy things like risotto (and rice pudding, obviously). It bubbles in the milk of your choice, which is unsweetened vanilla almond milk for me. It is slightly nutty, subtly flavored and luxuriously creamy without being fatty. I’m a full-blown convert, and I’m pretty sure the only reason I’ve bought real dairy milk lately is for cookie photo shoots; almond milk is not quite white but rather beige-y.
We whisk heavy cream with the brilliantly red juice and an egg yolk. This mixture will be gently heated, which ensures that nobody gets sick. I don’t really care about using raw eggs, but salmonella is the last thing you want on your mental health day, no? Let’s not get legit doctors involved in this.
Being your own doctor is probably a lot like being an associate professor.
It’s okay, David Hyde Pierce. That’s why we have pudding!
Blood Orange and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding
(adapted from Apt. 2B Baking Co.)
1 cup arborio rice
4 1/2 cups milk (I really like unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped, pod reserved
1/2 cup white sugar
Pinch of salt
1 blood orange
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
Zest the blood orange and add the zest, along with vanilla bean scrapings, to the sugar in a medium bowl. Rub zest and vanilla into the sugar with your hands to make orange-vanilla sugar.
Peel the orange with a sharp knife, removing most of the white pith, then, over a large bowl to catch the juice, segment the orange. (Here’s a helpful tutorial if you need it.) Reserve the juice and set the orange segments aside.
In a large saucepan, combine the rice, milk, salt, sugar mixture and scraped vanilla bean pod and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Lower heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod.
Whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolk and reserved juice in a large bowl, then slowly add all of the hot rice mixture while whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the it boils and thickens, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool a bit before serving. Serve pudding topped with reserved orange segments.