The other day, Steve posted about cleaning his coffee grinder with rice. The by-product of the process is, of course, a half-cup or so of ground rice mixed with the detritus of ground coffee. What do you do with it? Throw it away, Steve suggested, unless you can think of something better to do with it. My coffee grinder, at just one day old, certainly didn't need cleaning yet, but I decided to try it just to get the rice flour by-product. After some futzing around, this is the by-product I got from my coffee grinder cleaning:
Yes, I made a coffee dessert with the grinder rice. It's actually pretty easy to make once you get past the logistics of getting the coffee grounds out of the rice. Because let me tell you, that first handful of rice comes out looking like a mixture of salt and pepper -- and that's after only one day of using the grinder. (I'll admit that the grinds hopper also had a dusting of ground coffee in it because the younger boy was the last one to use it. So, the first logistical problem was figuring out how to sort out the coffee grounds from the rice meal -- no one wants to chew coffee grounds in their rice pudding, after all.
Turns out the solution is really pretty simple. Rice meal is heavier than ground coffee - by a lot. Rice meal sinks when you add it to a liquid. Ground coffee, as anyone who has used a press pot can tell you, floats. So poured a cup of milk into a bowl, dumped in the contents of the grinder hopper, gave it a stir and let it all settle. After about 10 minutes (I wanted to let the coffee flavors seep into the milk), I very carefully poured off the milk into a cloth-lined strainer. The end result -- grounds-free coffee-infused rice milk in one bowl and a thick paste of grounds-free coffee-flavored rice meal in another. I repeated the process twice more -- re-using the coffee milk rather than using fresh milk and only waiting a minute or two instead of 10. The last run through left no grounds -- not even sediment -- in the filter. Mission accomplished!
From there, the creamy rice pudding was a simple matter. I just modified a recipe for rice phirni using the coffee milk instead of plain milk and vanilla instead of rose syrup. I'm still futzing around with the recipe -- this first try was a little heavier and not as creamy as I wanted -- but I'll post up a recipe once I have the proportions right. Until then, don't just throw away your rice meal! It's a great addition to your compost heap if you have one. If not, find a gardening buddy and offer it up. It's too good to throw away.