Everything happens at once. This year at once translates to the last two weeks in February.
My husband’s birthday is Tuesday, Feb. 27. We are going out for dinner if we make it until then. We are having family over for cake and ice cream on Sunday, Feb. 25. I volunteered to make rice pudding with raspberry sauce for 80 to 100 people on Saturday, Feb. 24.
Busy times, yes? Well, it gets better. Just to add to the general merriment, several days ago, a large chunk of ceiling fell into our family room, along with buckets full of water. The cleanup crew came Wednesday, Feb. 21, hopefully ahead of the mold, and removed furniture, bric-a-brac and lots of unnecessary paper. A few days of unseasonably warm weather have helped the drying out process, but it is unquestionably a mess. They say rain falls on the just and the unjust, but this is ridiculous.
You have to love February (might as well, it’s not going anywhere just yet).
About that rice pudding. It’s going to a gathering of Scandinavians for the traditional Fastelavn celebration (like Mardi Gras with a Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic accent all rolled into one). The children especially enjoy the festivities. The highlight of their part of the celebration is swinging at a very sturdy pinata-like contraption full of enough candy for a two-week sugar high.
I would love to take a two month nap and fast-forward through the rest of February, all of March, and into April. Think of the rewards of a nice, long siesta. I’d be well rested and skinny just as nice weather returns. My family room would be restored. I could wake up just in time to file my taxes.
Meanwhile, I’ll take it as it comes, hole in the ceiling and all. And I’ll make extra rice pudding just because I can.
RICE PUDDING WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE
For the rice pudding:
1/2 cup medium-grain rice
2 1/2 cups 2 percent or whole milk
dash of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 250. Place rice, milk and salt into a 6-quart Dutch oven or other oven-proof pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Bake for 40 or so minutes, until rice has soaked up nearly all the liquid. Remove from oven.
Stir in sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Whip cream and fold in to mix thoroughly. Chill.
For the raspberry sauce:
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 package frozen raspberries in juice
1 bag frozen whole raspberries
Put frozen raspberries in a large bowl. Allow to thaw. Mix gently, then fold in fresh, washed raspberries.
Serve rice pudding in custard cups or parfait glasses, topped with raspberry sauce.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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