What is the best of year’s food?

Published 8:38 am Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Besides the onslaught of catalogs that come this time of year promising the perfect gift I love to get my end of the year Bon Appetit magazine that tells what they think are the best of food things for the year.

Since this magazine usually reflects the tastes of larger cities such as New York, Los Angles and Dallas I like to see if we here in the Miss-Lou are anywhere close to accepting and using the trends that they swear are the hot item.

This year’s best of the year started off with the dessert of the year being pudding. First thing that came to my mind was chocolate pudding, and I wasn’t so impressed with that thought.

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Then I read that they were including rice pudding and bread pudding. Now you’re talking memorable desserts.

I love rice pudding warm and creamy with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.

As for bread pudding, honestly, the best I have ever had is the white chocolate raspberry from High Cotton. But since, that recipe is difficult to get I will share one for rice pudding instead.

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

1/2 cup plain cooked rice

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup raisins, optional

3 1/2 cups milk (I use half milk and the rest in half and half or cream) ground nutmeg, freshly ground if possible

In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients except nutmeg. Pour mixture into a lightly buttered shallow baking dish and sprinkle with nutmeg. Place baking dish in a pan of hot water in the oven and bake at 300 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours, or until set. A clean knife inserted into the center should come out with nothing clinging to it. A lot of people serve this dessert cold with whipped cream on it. I love mine warm.

The year’s favorite indulgence seems to be against every health trend and diet we hear about, but I guess that is why it is an indulgence. The winner — French fries. I am definitely in agreement with this. I’ve made my own and no matter how I prepare them they don’t make me as happy as some from the local fast food place with golden arches.

Ingredient of the year went to fish and I have to say that surprised me, but it is one I can live with. Here in the Miss-Lou fish is pretty common and everyone I know has a favorite way to prepare. My friend Ricky Smith has a red Snapper Vera Cruz recipe that I am going to finagle out of him to give you. But my favorite fish hands down has always been and will always be my father-in-law’s fried fish. Bobby Hall has been feeding my babies his boneless fish fillets since they were old enough to gum on little pieces at the table. His fish is dusted just enough to produce a crisp exterior that hides a moist firm interior.

Dish of the year — Asian inspired noodle soups. While I do love them I’m not sure they are the dish of the year. But then I haven’t seen enough recipes using brown butter as a major component to qualify it for flavor of the year either.

Maybe next year I will just send Bon Appetit a copy of the “Best of” contest winners that the Democrat runs. Because our list beats theirs hands down.

Christina HAll can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.