Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rainy Risotto

There is nothing worse than a dreary day being locked indoors waiting out a rainstorm. So instead of chilling in the sunshine at central park or on the tennis court I spent the day lazily in front of the television and computer, rearranging the blog while watching a few ball games. The rain does have one perk; the bad weather motivates me to stay in and cook. This drizzly morning I was craving poached eggs and set right to work on some eggy goodness. After my tasty breakfast of two eggs on English muffins with smoked paprika, I already had my mind on dinner. My mother came into town this afternoon to spend a few days in the city so I wanted to cook something nice for her that we could sit together and eat. The two of us enjoyed a truffle and parsley risotto, green salad, and cheese course. Risottos are super easy to make and are absolutely delicious when cooked right. I began the dish by sautéing some chopped onions and garlic briefly in a pot before adding the rice to toast for a few minutes. I then deglazed the pan with a little dry vermouth, the only alcohol I had on hand, though it did impart a sweet top note. I used homemade vegetable stock flavored with tons of fresh herbs, ramps, and carrots, gradually ladled in as it became absorbed. I finished the risotto with a few healthy squirts of Italian white truffle paste, truffle salt, and a handful of chopped parsley for color and vibrancy.

I have been on a Bibb lettuce kick recently and tonight was no exception. Beets are another one of my current favorites and I eat them regularly whether roasted, boiled, or pickled. Roasted beets have a lovely earthiness that adds character to any dish and I love their color particularly when set against green lettuce leaves. I tossed the leaves and quartered beets with some leftover feta vinaigrette that I made a few nights ago. The salad looked beautiful plated and the cheesy dressing added richness to the crisp greens and roasted beets. It was great to sit and chat with my mother after not seeing her for a few weeks, especially over a couple tasty dishes and cold beers. I guess rainy days can be enjoyable after all. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

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