Rice Pudding Is Good Enough for Breakfast

Shaw is free-lance writer in Los Angeles.

The windows were what sold me on my tiny cabin in the hills, and if cold winds keep coming, those windows just might drive me out. It's gotten to where I'm wondering if trading in some major household appliances would cover the bill for the heat that's seeping away through the seams of my skylights and glass doors.

Meanwhile, I'm preparing hearty dishes that require hovering over a hot stove, such as this ricotta-rice concoction with fresh applesauce. Sweet enough to serve as dessert, there's ample nourishment from fiber-rich wehani rice, milk and cheese to pass this pudding off as breakfast.

RICOTTA-RICE PUDDING

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

1 cup milk

1/4 cup raw sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange peel

1 cup cooked wehani rice or medium-grain brown rice

1/4 cup currants or raisins

1 extra large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup Fresh Applesauce

Beat ricotta cheese with hand mixer until smooth. Place in medium saucepan and stir in milk, sugar, lemon peel, rice and currants. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture becomes creamy, about 20 minutes. Do not boil. Remove from heat.

Beat egg in bowl. Add 1/4 cup rice mixture and stir well. Pour egg into pudding. Stir over medium heat until mixture sets, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving. Top with warm Fresh Applesauce. Makes 4 servings.

Note: Wehani rice is nutty, slightly smoky-flavored brown rice hybrid, medium-grain, dense and chewy, and available in gourmet and health food stores.

Fresh Applesauce

2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/4 cup apple juice (preferably thick kind, not from concentrate)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Dash cinnamon

Steam apple slices in apple juice in small covered skillet until mushy. Transfer to blender or food processor. Add maple syrup and cinnamon. Process until smooth. Serve warm over rice pudding. Makes about 1 cup.

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