Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ahh Fatso! Eat Something!

Day 147.

My paternal grandmother died years ago. I have fond memories of visiting her in the basement of her tenement home, which she owned and shared with several of her adult children. She lived modestly, but cooked feasts for anyone gracing her doorway. At minimum, a guest would be served sweet bread (with a whole egg cooked in the middle), cheese & "pops" (Portuguese rolls, and the cheese was St. George), and rice pudding. You were also likely to be served linguica, kale soup, or octopus.

She called everyone Fatso. It was a term of endearment, said lovingly in broken English. "Ahhh, Fat-SO! Eat something!"

My grandmother came to the United States from Portugal in search of a better life for her family. She raised many children. She owned a home. She attended church every Sunday (and probably even more frequently than that). She wore black to mourn the death of her husband. She spoke broken English all her life. She wore thick glasses and she loved Portuguese soap operas. She sang Portuguese songs and almost always wore a smile. And she made the best darned sweet rice I've ever eaten. This is not her recipe, but I duplicate it in her honor. It's as close as I can seem to get.

Portuguese Sweet Rice in a Slow Cooker

What You Need:
  • 7 cups of milk
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 more cup of milk
  • a stick of cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • a long strip of lemon peel
  • ground cinnamon for serving
How it's Done:
  1. Combine 7 cups of milk, the rice, the sugar, the lemon peel, and the stick of cinnamon in a large slow cooker. Cook on high 4 hours. Stir.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beaten eggs, 1 cup milk, and vanilla extract. Temper in the egg (this means slowly add some hot rice & milk to the cold egg and milk, stirring constantly, until the egg mixture is the same temperature as the hot rice mixture. Then, stir the egg mixture back into the crock).
  3. Cover and cook on high another hour to two hours. Remove lemon peel and cinnamon stick.
  4. Serve covered in ground cinnamon, either hot, room temperature, or chilled.
For more delicious recipes, visit Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and  Joy of Desserts.


Jenn said...

Great memories of your grandmother! I know she'd be proud of your recipe!

Andrea said...

Your Grandma sounds like a wonderful woman, how great that you have such wonderful memories of her! This rice sounds pretty darn good, too. I'm going to have to dig my slow cooker out soon I think :)

M said...

Arroz con leche! That's what your dish reminds me of. My Abuela used to make that.

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

These are such great memories of your grandma. I liked and smiled at her term of endearment, "fatso". Good grandmas always want to feed us, it seems. Love your recipe. I clipped it, and will be trying it soon.
Thank you for participating in Vintage Recipe Thursday. I'm very much looking forward to more of your recipes.

Anonymous said...

God bless your grandmother's heart. Too bad you don't have her original recipe. Regardless, I'm keeping your recipe for my files. I know zilch about what they eat in Portugal so this is a real find for my collection.
Thanks for sharing.


Sandra said...

Your grandma sounds just like mine :) There is something so sweet about little portuguese old ladies :)

The bread...yum....papos secos. So good.

I love the rice too, I make it all the time for my family. I have quite a few Portuguese recipes on my food blog, if you want to take a look.

Samara Link said...

This looks awesome. It's on my list of things to make this month. I love rice pudding, but I haven't made it at home in years. Thanks for the inspiration!

Haniela said...

ooh yummy, would love a bowl right now.

Samara Link said...

Hi, Michelle. So ... we tried this on Sunday. We put the first half of the ingredients together and started to get really excited. The flavor was exceptional! The lemon, milk and vanilla together were amazing. But then came the egg. I've never tempered an egg, only seeing it done of TV. My husband was the one to do it, and it didn't work. I didn't watch him. So, I'm not sure what he did, and I should have because I might end up making his same mistakes when we try this again. Anyway, it was a flop but it was user error. The recipe does sound wonderful. When we poured all that milk in with one little cup of rice, we weren't sure if that was going to work, but it did. I'm looking forward to trying it again, and this time, I'll read up on how to temper an egg first! I'll keep you posted. :)

Michelle said...

hey there loyal reader ;) To temper an egg, you need a lot of patience. You have to do it very slowly. A tiny bit of liquid gets added to the egg, then a bit more, and a bit more, slowly, SLOWLY bringing it to the same temp as the dish itself. Otherwise, you cook it, ending up with scrambled egg in your dish, as I imagine happened to you. Good luck next time!

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