Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Inspired by the Tex's Simple Eats... Let's Head South of the Border for Arroz con Leche!

Hi, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I know I just said we're headed South of the Border... but before we do, let me share a few fun photos of our camping trip!
Here is Lake Wallowa, as we are driving in to the State Park, near Joseph, Oregon.
The kids had a great time running all over, swimming, snorkeling, floating on inner tubes, etc. It was actually fairly warm... during the day. At night it was chilllllllly.
We took the tramway to the top of the ridge. Yeah. I'm glad we did it and I'm glad we didn't die. But I probably won't do that again. I kept wanting to ask where the engineers and mechanics were. I swear the same guy who served us our ice cream cones was servicing this fifty year old tram. He told us all about getting his driver's license last month. Yikes. Anyway, we're alive.
I love this old building SO MUCH. I told my husband we should buy it. Every kid could have their own room, finally. hahahaha! There was a sign that said it was available for wedding receptions. I'm assuming that's an old sign. I can't be sure. I just might be tempted to have a reception there.... on Hallowe'en night... with candles. If we didn't fall through the floor.
 A cute little ice cream shop had a collection of bucket churns. I want the one in the middle Adorable!
 The Wallowa County Stage Stop. See the rounded door for the carriages? My husband thought it was funny that it's now a Mexican restaurant. Hey, we're the land of the adaptable. What can I say?
So, on to the recipe! When the weather starts to get chilly at night, my husband likes to make a few different dishes.
One is boiled pumpkin. (You read that right.) He slices, seeds, and boils a small pumpkin in honey water, then eats it with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Like pumpkin pie but... no crust. Or milk. Or sugar. All right, it's not really anything like pumpkin pie.
Fall is always a tense time around here because we all want to do this sort of thing... And pumpkins are FOOD to him. It would be like stomping on T-bone steaks for fun. But he tries to respect the fact that Americans like to play with their food. (Remember that? Still true.)
So, let's make some Mexican rice pudding! Not the fancy kind. This is the poor mountain folk kind. Like boiled pumpkin/pumpkin pie. Same idea, but different.
 OK, here is my vintage Mason Ball jar, so pretty and BLUE. :) Full of sugar. We'll use sugar because I'm too lazy to go and get panocha, which is a coarse kind of cane sugar.
First, fill a pot with water. Really, there aren't any measurements. It was kind of fun. (But to be kind to blog readers, I'll say about 8 cups of water.)
 Add 2 cups of rice. I know, that sounds like a lot of water. And doesn't look so yummy.
 Boil, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes until the long grain rice has cooked. It will be very soupy.
 This is my husband showing me how much milk to use. He lifts the jug and points to what's left. Hahahaha! (And then when he left the kitchen, I measured it out. About 2 1/2 cups.)
 Now, sometimes they add fruit to the top. Whatever is around. Guava, papaya, sweet grapes. We do have grapes so I washed a few and put them in a bowl.
 Whole cinnamon sticks...
 Into the boiling pot. Let it continue to boil for another 15-20 minutes until thickened. Stir constantly.
Add 1-2 cups of sugar. He said one cup. It's a big pot. It was just barely sweet. I say 2, because I like things sweet enough to choke a horse. Add and taste, add and taste, that's my advice.
Finished product! The kitchen smells amazing!! He said sometimes they added fresh coconut to the top, if anybody had any. Sometimes they'd add a few eggs, scrambled, whisked in with the milk before the second boiling. Then they'd pour it into a flat pan and set it on the fire. It hardened and caramelized... sort of like a custard, I assume.
We were at the apple packing shed this afternoon and got the first crop of Gala apples! YAY! I wonder what tasty thing Edna would like to cook for next week??? I remember this one time we made a secret apple cake recipe. MMMMM!

 And then there's the Texan's apple cake with a kick. What to make, what to make??
 Anyway, thanks for stopping by and I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Until next time!


  1. Mmm...looks like everyone is gearing up for fall. Virginia, Arroz Con Leche sounds so exotic. Much more appealing than Rice with Milk. Nonetheless, this looks yummy. Especially with the cinnamon. Yum! However, if I make it, I will likely be the only one eating it, and that would be bad, because I would eat it all. I can hear these boys of mine now--"Ew, what's that?" They have no sense of taste. Sigh.

  2. It's one of those comfort foods I crave every once in a while. the rest of the time.... not so much! And hubby eats it cold the next day. You couldn't pay me to do that, hahahaha!

  3. I want that building too! I love old buildings but lack the no-how and gumpstion to fix one up! (and lack the $ too)


    1. Me, too! If it were free, I would have signed right up! There are always youtube videos to help us fix it up, right?

  4. This looks so good - kind of rice pudding/soup? Not as thick and creamy as rice pudding?

    I'll have to try it. Someday. When I'm cooking again.

    And I'm becoming convinced you never sleep, Virginia. Between writing, homeschooling, canning, talking with Edna...does your head EVER hit the pillow?

  5. It does! When we were camping, I realized I do sleep, because I was EXHAUSTED by trying to sleep on the cold, hard ground.

  6. What a fun trip! I love the photos!

    And I love sweet rice (used to eat rice leftover for breakfast with white sugar and butter). YUMMO!! I'll want to try this!

  7. I think it smells better than it tastes, but I'd definitely love a custard version. Mmmmm!

  8. I missed getting over here yesterday. Our first day of school here, kids running amok, and the carpet for the new room comes TOMORROW!!!!! And the room is not quite ready, so there was no time to browse around. BUT... Ginny, this is very similar to how my Greek boss made rice pudding. I waited tables in a Greek restaurant for eleven years, and I loved the owner's mother. Well, the second owner's mother, the first owner sold, then died, and I never met his mother, but I did well, don't you think, to make it in good standing with TWO GREEK OWNERS???? Anyway, I loved Rula, the mother, she is such a good woman and I watched her make baklava (and then re-styled it my way) and rice pudding (very similar to this, the slow simmer, long-grained rice, version...)

    I love rice pudding. If I make it, I eat the whole thing. THE WHOLE THING. It's like having an illegal drug in my fridge, it calls my name.... R-U-T-H-Y!!!!

    And I want that old building, too. We could fix it. It's a gorgeous log building, it needs help, oil and love. I mean that's a WRITER'S HOUSE.... And it wouldn't be scary at all in a few years, and kids do get over childhood trauma, right??? Eventually???

    Let's hope, or hope they have short memories!

    It's fun to see the different versions. I developed the "separated" rice pudding because I like the rice to stay firmer... and by cooking it separately in sweet cinnamon water, then adding it to homemade custard, it's fool proof and doesn't dry out like the baked version.



    And I still want the house!!!!