The silver lining in a summer rain cloud

About a week ago, the sky darkened, temperatures dipped and rain clouds rolled into Vancouver, spilling a few drops on their way through town. A collective groan rose from the city, as beach plans were aborted and the go-getter gardeners kicked themselves for their early morning watering.

I didn't have plans to laze in the sand and I most certainly did not get up at some ungodly hour to water the lawn. The rain didn't ruin my day. The rain made my day.

Let's face it, a light drizzle can be a refreshing break from the beating sun on your morning jog.

You can pull out that pair of jeans that's hiding at the back of your drawer and avoid doing laundry for one more day.

Plus it's a great excuse to try that stick-to-your-bones dessert you've been eyeing for months but couldn't justify making, what with all that time over a hot stove and all the fresh berries to be had instead.

At the very least, it won't last forever.

Creamy Chocolate Rice Pudding

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
5 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup KahlĂșa
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup yogurt, preferably Greek-style

Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat.

In a second medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the edges are translucent (about 1 to 2 minutes). Add the hot milk mixture and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid (about 30 minutes). Remove from heat.

Add the KahlĂșa and chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cold (about 2 hours). Stir in yogurt and enjoy!

Serves 6.

Source: Based on Martha Stewart's Chocolate-Hazelnut Rice Pudding.

Notes: Martha says to serve this pudding cold but, after trying it both ways, my testers and I unanimously agreed that warm was the way to go. If you agree, either skip the refrigeration step in the directions above or re-heat the finished product.