Thursday, April 14, 2011

Adventures in Stirring

I made a really, really delicious meal that a lot of people would probably say lacked a main course.  It was risotto atop kale.  The kale was cooked how I almost always cook my greens -- with garlic, water, and tamari.  The risotto is a slightly-altered recipe from Crescent Dragonwagon's (no, I did NOT make that name up, stop looking at me that way!) Passionate Vegetarian, Risotto with Green Beans, Garlic, and Sage, which is on page 489 of that tome of a book.  I didn't want to buy sage, so I just left it out and also, obviously, I didn't put any Parmesan cheese in at the end.  Plus, she directs you to make it in a pressure cooker, and not only do I not own one, but I'm actually not 100% certain I know what one is.  So I just made it in the classic way of risotto -- cooking away the wine once the rice is coated with it, adding ladlefuls of veggie broth over top, and stirring, stirring stirring.

You know, people make a lot of this business of stirring risotto, acting like it's a real pain in the patootey, a true hardship.  But it's really no big deal.  Maybe if you had to stir it and it seemed like nothing was happening, it would feel like the watched pot that never boils.  But risotto has this satisfying way of progressing visibly, and quickly.  They say it takes about twenty minutes, and sure, that sounds about right, but those twenty minutes just fly by while you stir, whistle a happy little tune, watch My So-Called Life on Netflix Watch Instantly, and so forth.
Furthermore, a friend of mine wrote a blog entry where I learned that, apparently, people really struggle to make risotto well.  That's never been the case for me and, frankly, I call bullshit.  Just get some arborio rice (obviously), stir, use a lot of garlic, use onion but don't overdo it, don't forget salt, use the lowest temperature that still has the broth simmering, and there's no problem, folks.  No need for panic.  Keep calm!  It's just fancy rice we're talking about here.

And this fancy rice is so amazingly tasty served with some tamari-infused kale, you'll be craving it.  In fact, I'm tempted to make the exact same dish again after I'm finished my leftovers.  The biggest problem with food blogging is the way that it can hold you back from making repeats.  But now I've got a yen.  Maybe I'll make a different kind of risotto next week, still with kale.  Or, if I really want to shake things up, spinach!  Or I could bake some tofu to go along with it so that it won't seem to others that I'm one of those weirdos who only eats so-called "sides."  Oh, yeah, this is turning into a wild and crazy adventure now!

In other food news, I don't know about you guys, but I tend to want to snack.  And I tend to want to snack on salty junk food.  But I don't want to eat junk, really!  Plus, that stuff's expensive.  That's why I was so pleased to find that Market District sells organic popcorn kernels in their bulk bins.  Score!  Now that's some cheap, unprocessed (until I add my own processed stuff) junk food I can get down with!  I just put some Earth Balance in my big saucepan, add kernels, heat it on high, shake the pan around to cover the kernels with butter as it melts, then watch and listen for them to finish popping, which is kinda fun!  But if you've got a problem with stirring risotto, I'm not sure this will work out too great for you either.  It really doesn't take long, though.  I just pour them into a bowl, add salt, and sprinkle in a nice amount of nutritional yeast.
Now, I've made my fair share of "cheese" using nutritional yeast, with vary degrees of success, but let me tell you, it is just perfect on popcorn.  I'm not one of these people who simply hasn't eaten real cheese in so long that I don't remember what it tastes like.  I've had processed popcorn with cheesy whatever-the-f-that-s-is on it on occasion, at parties and the like.  This tastes exactly like it -- exactly! -- yet, it's got no animal products, saves you like a million calories (that was meant to be said like Sher from Clueless), and is made out of some mysterious, magically delicious collaboration of vitamins.  Honestly, I don't know exactly what nutritional yeast is or how it's made, but I think I'll just undergo a religious conversion right now and say that's it's a miracle.

In other, other food news, I subscribed to a CSA for this summer!  It starts in early to mid-June and goes for twenty weeks.  I chose one that had a mini-share for "one adult who dines in half of the time."  I dine in more than half of the time but that sounds perfect anyway.  I couldn't be more excited about it!  Trying to find ways to prepare different vegetables, not choosing, just getting what's in season.  Why, it's almost as much of an adventure as risottos and greens!  Doesn't my life just sound unbearably exciting?


  1. If we're being honest, I have also screwed up non-fancy rice. This is why I have to stick to bags of rice. Just tragic.

  2. Well, since we're being honest, and I really believe in honesty, in the post right before this one, I talk about the fact that I, too, have some rice problems, which I suspect might be solved by buying a rice cooker.

  3. RICE COOKER, who am I, Rockefeller?

  4. Say what??


  5. This post is a few months old, but if you haven't bought a rice cooker yet, I give an enthusiastic recommendation to do it asap! You can cook all kinds of grains in there and i think you can even cook complete dishes if they are simple enough.

  6. I got one for free from a freecyle-er, but I haven't used it yet!


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