Thierry Rautureau — of Luc, Loulay Kitchen + Bistro and the late, great Rover’s — recalls that his favorite memories of his childhood in France are of going with his father, Luc (for whom the chef’s Madison Valley bistro is named) to dig for oysters at the low equinox tide before the holidays. They would haul as many as they could carry back in an old potato sack, storing them on the dirt floor of their wine cellar for a fresh supply on the half shell all the way through New Year's Eve.
In Seattle, with his wife, Kathy, and his own two sons, the family lunches with friends on December 24, then stays home in the evening with treats like rice pudding and hot cocoa and board games. Christmas morning, Rautureau might serve a simple breakfast of omelets or scrambled eggs, pastries or cake. The rest of the day is "snacky" and celebratory — "really, that's a day when we drink Chae and have caviar."
Kathy's Rice Pudding
1 cup cooked rice
3 cups milk
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup dark raisins
½ cup maple syrup
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Fill a large rectangular Pyrex dish about halfway with hot water, and place in the oven.
In a saucepan, slowly bring milk to a boil. Meanwhile, mix together the rice, raisins, maple syrup and eggs in a large bowl. When the hot milk is ready, slowly and gently whisk it into the rice mixture, adding one ladle full at a time.
Pour the pudding into a 2-quart round Pyrex dish. Top with a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon.
Place it in the hot water bath in the large rectangular Pyrex. Bake for 55 minutes until firm.
Let cool, then enjoy!