When I was in cooking school, one of my chef’s mantras was “Never miss an opportunity for flavor.” He hated cooking in water because it was flavorless. He’d boil potatoes in milk, cook rice with chicken broth, and for pasta he’d at least toss in salt by the handful. In one class as he was explaining this philosophy and outlining all the different liquids that could be cooked with instead of water, he challenged us to come up with a way to cook with root beer. I immediately wrote this idea down and it’s been languishing in my notebook for years.
Now that the move is done, my book is done (and sitting on my hard drive waiting for some agent somewhere to return an email), I’m trying to get back into a routine. And that means cooking again. Oh how I’ve missed it.
Root Beer Float Rice Pudding
2 C rice
4 C plus 1 C root beer
3 C milk
pinch of salt
1/4 C sugar
Cook the rice and 4 cups root beer together in a pot or rice cooker. When the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until thickened, but not dry.
Rice pudding is so ridiculously easy to make it’s kind of a crime. This version tastes incredible with the root beer flavor, but it’s still got the traditional creaminess. Atti loved this so much he actually pulled himself to stand up, trying to get my bowl on the desk. I think I might have found the secret to get this kid moving.