Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Safe and Sound

I had to take my knives to be sharpened.  I don't have children, but I think it might have felt like leaving your kid with a babysitter for the first time.  They've come back in awesome shape, though, so we (the knives and I) celebrated by making a Late Summer Garden Risotto.

It started out as an eggplant and tomato risotto, from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop.  And then my husband walked in with our CSA share, and there was a lot more produce staring at me.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out: creamy and toothy from the rice, a pop of sweetness from the corn, the acidity of the tomatoes, and earthiness from the zucchini and eggplant.

The knives and I think it's a keeper, and my husband agrees.

Late Summer Garden Risotto

serves 6-8

1 ear of corn, kernels cut off, cob broken in half and reserved
5-6 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup of rice, Arborio or Carnaroli
1 small eggplant, or 6 Fairy Tale eggplant, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
2 small to medium tomatoes, seeded over a strainer, liquid pressed into the water above, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to taste
5 large basil leaves, sliced thinly
5 large mint leaves, sliced thinly

1.  Put the corn cob, 1/2 tsp of salt, tomato juice and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer.

2.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium.  Add garlic and onion, and cook gently until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add rice; stir to coat with oil.  Add eggplant and zucchini, stir to coat with oil.  Cook about 5 minutes.  Add wine if using; cook, stirring, until mostly absorbed.

3.  Add 1 cup of the corn cob liquid to the rice mixture.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed.  Keep adding liquid by the 1/2 or 1 cupful, stirring occasionally, until the rice is almost al dente (this will take about 15 to 18 minutes).  Don't use all of the liquid--use about 3 1/2 to 4 cups.  Add about 1/2-3/4  tsp of salt and black pepper.

4.  Add the corn kernels and tomatoes.  Add 1/2 cup liquid, stir til absorbed.  At this point, keep tasting the rice.  You don't want it to get mushy.  Keep adding liquid until the rice is the consistency you want it, creamy but "toothy."

5.  Stir in the cheese; taste, and add additional salt if desired. Stir in the herbs, and serve immediately.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Almost a meal

I am not normally a smoothie kind of person.  At least not as a meal.  I don't feel like I've eaten after I have one, which kind of defeats the purpose.  But smoothies have been on my brain lately, since I have to have my wisdom teeth out in a week, so I thought I'd play around with them.  I like this one.  And I have to say, one thing smoothies have going for them: they sure are easy to make!

I was toying with the idea of turning a smoothie into "food."  What could I add that would make one more substantial?  Then I was thinking about muesli, and how if you soak oatmeal in milk it doesn't have to be cooked because it softens on its own.  The next thought was, "Well, yogurt is milk.  And it feels a little more substantial."  Blueberries were the fruit in the fridge, and voila: a blueberry-oatmeal smoothie.  It's a little sweet from the honey, a little tart from the blueberries and yogurt, and a little nutty from the oatmeal and walnuts.  There's also a texture to it from those last two.

Blueberry-Oatmeal Smoothie
serves 1

3/4 cup Greek yogurt (I used plain)
1 to 2 tbsp oatmeal, uncooked
1/2 cup blueberries, washed, water still clinging a little
1 to 2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp to 1/4 c walnuts
ice cubes (optional)

Add the yogurt and oatmeal to the blender.  Let them sit for a few minutes, so the oatmeal begins to soften.  (You could do this overnight.)  Add the rest of your ingredients and blend until as smooth as you can get it.