Happy Prez Day! Were you off today? C and I were off and spent the morning with Z at IKEA. It is quite the kid friendly place. Some day we would LOVE to remodel our kitchen and checked out their cabinets and appliances etc. It was fun but a kitchen remodel is a scary prop ya know.
Then we went to Bellevue's Goldberg's Deli for an early lunch. Z had his first matzo ball. It was a special moment. He chowed! It actually made me want to make my own batch cuz the matzo balls seemed heavier than I'm used to. Still pretty tasty though.
My new vegetarian cookbooks have drool all over them by now. I bought four books which I realized is three too many. I have major recipe overload and couldn't decide what to make. Combine that with a crazy busy project at work and here comes take out Chinese. [Never a bad thing but still...] Friday night I sat my butt down and made a menu for the week and a grocery list. Sunday I went shopping during Z's nap. Here's the menu if you're interested:
Sun: Pizza (duh - stay tuned for post)
Mon: Herbed Risotto with Piperade
Tues: Falafel with cucumber sauce
Wed: Bubbe evening with Z, I try to wokout (wish me luck)
Thur: Black Bean burgers
Fri: Dinner with Bubbe and Queen to celebrate Bubbe's bday (woo hoo!)
Tonight I made risotto. This was my first attempt at risotto. I'm a cooking show junkie and have seen shows where the person makes risotto and touts how easy it is to make. The trick is you must have everything ready to go and the patience to stand over it and stir close to constantly for about 20 minutes. Quite the commitment even for an avid cook.
Risotto is made with Arborio rice and is wonderfully creamy. The interesting thing about it is there isn't any cream or butter needed. You can add some at the end but the starch from the rice is what makes it creamy. Probably the cooking method too. C found all this out and was on board [Not a cheese or cream guy].
The verdict? The risotto was lovely! I was ecstatic with how well it came out. C and Z both ate seconds! If you make this, which I highly recommend, prep all the ingredients before you start cooking. Read through the directions a couple times, especially the risotto part, since the beginning is pretty fast. btw - a Piperade is a pepper, onion, and tomato sauce from the Basque country. To serve ladle some risotto into a bowl, make a well in it, and fill it with the Piperade. Heaven!
Herbed Risotto with Piperade
Adapted from Vegetarian Planet
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 onions sliced
2 green bell peppers, cut into thin strips (julienne)
2 yellow, orange, or red peppers, cut into thin strips
4 cloves garlic minced
15 oz can of diced tomatoes drained
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
4 1/2 cups broth (I used low sodium organic chicken)
2 tsp olive oil
4 shallots minced
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice (uncooked)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (makes the whole dish!)
Prep all ingredients then start Piperade first. Once it is cooking for the 15 minutes then you can start the risotto if you are comfortable double-tasking. Otherwise, just finish the Piperade and let it hang out while you make the risotto.
Preheat large skillet over medium heat. If using non-stick add oil right away, if using stainless steel let skillet preheat and add oil right before adding the onions. Saute onions until they soften then add the peppers and garlic. Lower heat to Medium low and cook for 15 minutes, stir occasionally. At this point you can start the risotto if you'd like. After the 15 minutes add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if using. You will make a lot and could almost halve this recipe.
In a pan bring the broth to a simmer and keep hot. Put a ladle in the broth. Preheat a medium sized pot over medium high heat. Add oil and saute shallots for two minutes stirring constantly. Add risotto and stir one minute. Add white wine and 1/2 cup of warmed broth. Stir. I ended up turning the heat down to just warmer than medium to avoid burning. When the liquid is mostly all absorbed add another 1/2 cup of broth, stir, add more broth when liquid is mostly absorbed. Repeat until all the liquid is used. It will take 18 to 20 minutes. Risotto is done when all liquid is used and rice is tender but still slightly chewy. Stir in pepper and Parmesan cheese. Add all but 2 tablespoons of basil, stir.
Mound risotto in bowl. Use a ladle and make a well, ladle in piperade and sprinkle parm and basil. Enjoy with the rest of the white wine you used for the risotto!