I just returned from my favorite week of the year! Every year at the end of July I am lucky enough to participate in a camp for kids of all ages, some even older than me. 120 of us set up a village in the woods complete with a vegetarian kitchen under a shelter, a dish washing and pot washing area (this year we even had a viaduct to carry off the gray water and decided that the Romans must have started this way), a campfire area and a dock over the lake for morning meditation. For 5 days we hang out in the woods, camp, swim, tie-dye anything that is not nailed down, meditate, cook, clean-up after ourselves and then we tear it all down and put it away until next year. It is the most fun in the whole world – the best time ever.
We cook for a lot of people and some years ago we used to have leftovers, the kids are getting bigger and now we have fewer and fewer leftovers so next year we will even have to make more, more, more of everything. Several years ago I had a lot of leftover brown rice from the night before meal of Temple Tofu – perhaps a subject for a future blog. Since we mostly use gas burners instead of ovens I came up with a quick stove top rice pudding which is now requested and looked for by many of the campers. This year the “recipe” was even requested. I have never written it down before – not even on a scrap of paper but for the benefit of the community here goes.
Good Morning Rice Pudding
Brown Rice or other leftover grain (as much as you have leftover)
Soy, Rice, Almond or even Coconut Milk (enough to make the brown rice stir-able in the pot but not so much that the mixture is soupy)
Brown sugar or maple syrup (use your taste buds)
Raisins or dried cherries (whatever you have on hand)
Cinnamon (to taste – not too much)
Vanilla (optional if you have it around – about the same amount as the cinnamon)
Cook the whole mixture on top of the stove in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Mindfully stir so that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan. While cooking chant or sing your favorite mantra or song. Add more ingredients as the mixture cooks, sometimes more liquid is needed, sometimes more cinnamon or sweetener.
The mixture will be very thick and heavy so it will be hard to see that it is actually boiling but you will know when it is ready if you use your best judgement and skillful means. It will probably take about 10 to 15 minutes to prepare, longer if you are making it for 120 people. If you do make a massive batch consider using two pans otherwise you will probably brake your wooden spoon while trying to reach the bottom of the pan while stirring and we don’t want that.
Remember that looks can be deceiving – it looks like gruel and tastes like heaven. The best thing about it is that everyone from the vegans to the gluten-free campers can have it with no substitutions.
May all campers be happy!!!