Wednesday, June 18, 2008

sorry for the lack of updates. i moved on june 1 and don't quite have things settled in yet; still am looking for another job and a bookshelf. hopefully i will be getting internet within the next few weeks.

Friday, May 30, 2008

salad days

salad is one of my favorite dinners during warm summer months. salad, a glass of wine maybe, ahh, perfection. it's an awesome way to showcase locally grown produce if you like farmers markets or garden. if you prepare the lettuce ahead of time, you can have dinner ready in minutes on days when it's just too hot to cook.

my salad was simple. the photo above shows lettuce (which i washed and spun earlier today), mushrooms, tomatoes, green pepper, black olives, and cucumber. i also like to add tofu for protein; marinate if you like (i used broth, greek seasoning, and garlic) before frying or baking.

dressing can be a simple vinaigrette or even just a drizzle of some good olive oil, but i prefer creamier stuff. i used this recipe as a guideline, but eyeballed all of the measurements and probably added almost twice as much because i thought it was too bland. i think it also tastes better if you let it sit for a few hours or even overnight, so plan accordingly.

(i know all of my photos look the same lately, but it's hard to maneuver around a dim kitchen when the weather is yucky.)

it is hard to photograph tofu strips and salad dressing and make it look ok, just sayin'.

after i snapped this picture, i dumped on a bunch more dressing. because i love dressing, possibly more than the vegetables or tofu.

cheddar cheese risotto

i've never made risotto. i've heard of it, tasted it once, seen emeril make it on his show, but never prepared it myself. first of all, it took me a few trips to the grocery store to find it. the first time i printed off a recipe from food network, went looking for the ingredients, and found everything except arborio rice! the second time i was buying ingredients for other things to make but thought i saw the rice out of the corner of my eye in aisle number eight, which houses the "ethnic foods" and canned goods. yesterday i remembered the previous two trips and that i had clipped a recipe from the newspaper months ago. i went in hoping that the stars would align and i could once again locate the arborio rice, and i totally did!

cheddar cheese risotto
printed in the minneapolis star tribune (date unknown),
adapted from "nigella express" by nigella lawson

makes 4 servings

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 small leeks or 2 large green onions, finely sliced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
3 cans (14 1/2 oz each) hot vegetable broth
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped chives

to cook leeks: heat butter and oil in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. add leeks. cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

to cook rice: add rice. cook, stirring, for 1 minute. increase heat to high. stir in wine and mustard. cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until wine is absorbed. add 1 ladle of hot broth. cook for 5 minutes or until broth is absorbed. repeat, adding broth and cooking, until rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.

to add cheese: stir in cheese until it melts. remove pan from heat, still stirring. spoon into warm dishes. garnish with chopped chives.

yummy! i didn't realize risotto was so easy to make until i made it myself. and now that i understand the process i'm excited to experiment with different flavor combinations. i feel like cheese risotto is kind of like an adult version of mac n cheese. gooey, hot, and comforting. why did it take me so long to make this?!