cheesy, creamy, garlicky rice.

This was not at all what I intended to share with you today - but I've had one baking flop after another in my little kitchen and its left me humbled, embarrassed, and generally lowered my confidence to produce a decent dessert. Friar Matt thinks I'm jinxing myself by trying to combine my upcoming mawwiage and being a domestic goddess all in one and that something will have to give, and God forbid it should, because I must have Justin and I must bake.

There was a wickedly-good cookie recipe I wanted to share with you, but it crashed and burned the moment I took the pans out of the oven. And I had high  hopes for those cookies, not only because they were headed to join the ranks of fully loaded cookies on this blog, but because the raw dough tasted like coffee ice cream. Coffee ice cream. In hindsight, I should I have just plowed through that dough with a spoon because the moment those cookies met the heat of the oven, they spread into massive, transparent discs and crisped up into pieces of sheet metal after they cooled. The fury.

Feeling the pang of defeat in my grumbling belly, my mother suggested it might be wise for me to step away from the stand mixer for a short time and regroup - that's code for "Your father is going to kill you if you don't lay off the butter, please make something for dinner." Roger that.

So I stuck my bottom lip out just far enough to keep from burning it on the stove-top and chopped an onion, shed some more tears, added a little spinach, a handful of sharp cheddar cheese, and a swirl of cream into the silky smooth rice and shoved a forkful into my sourpuss face. People - there is no longer reason to pout.

Not only is this a perfect all-in-one side dish to pile up next to a few slices of roasted chicken, it fills your belly up on the coldest night when you have the crispiest cookies glaring at you from the cookie jar - a cruel reminder of your cookie inadequacy - and suddenly you think that perhaps sleeping it off and trying again is in the cards after all.

Cheesy, Creamy, Garlicky Rice
Adapted from Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan

1 cup Arborio rice
3 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10 ounce box frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1 cup grated cheese, any kind
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the rice all at once, give it a quick stir, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook until the rice absorb the liquid and is smooth and creamy - it should take about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil until they are translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add in the spinach, breaking it apart with the spatula, and then the cooked rice. Add the shredded cheese and heavy creamy, giving it a few good turns in the saucepan to be sure everything is mixed.  If it looks a little dry, add a splash more stock or cream. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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