Well, it looks like I'm doing a good job of keeping myself busy, that's for sure! I spent most of the last week with various friends having all sorts of fun. That's what summer is all about, right? I missed having a holiday-inspired dish for the fourth though, I was too busy "swimming" with some of my theater friends at a nearby swimming hole. And by "swimming" I mean I sat in the water because I cannot swim, and when we had to make our way to the beachy area of the river via crossing it (where are my cattle to ford the river for me?) I had friends stand on river rocks in between the deep places so that I knew where to frantically doggy paddle to. And on the way back, when the current was too strong, two friends pulled me across as if they were magical dolphins or something. Not my proudest moment, but I cannot swim (frantic doggy paddle for short periods of time at best), and wanted to participate, and my friends were nice enough to comply. Aren't they great?
Thankfully I have some posts saved so that even when I cannot find the time to cook something, I still have stuff to share with you. Because I think ahead like that.
I have an audition for another play tonight, wish me luck! It's a play I've wanted to be in ever since my Dad showed me the movie when I was 12--The Rocky Horror Picture Show! Not going to reveal what part I'm hoping for, mostly because it's probably bad luck (theater can be SO superstitious!) but also because I'd even be happy to be in the chorus. Just to be a part of this show would be wicked cool! My audition song has been on repeat for the past three days in preparation...
Next week I'll be on vacation in the Carribean with my family. I'm excited, it's the first place on my Visit Two Places a Year pact I made with myself. Next up will hopefully be visiting my friend in Austin, Texas at the end of the summer. Who knows, maybe I'll sneak one new place in before 2013. And Sarah from A Dash and a Pinch has offered to do a guest post!
I have nothing insightful or thoughtful to say in this post. Not every thing I write here needs to be a personal essay, I suppose. Y'alls just want the food, right?
Risotto is my favorite go-to side dish. It's such a great side dish that it can easily be adapted to be the main course--just add a bunch of veggies and a protein! My friend couldn't believe there wasn't cream in the dish, since it was so very creamy. Even without the cheese, the starch from the rice reduces and makes a nice thick sauce. I remember the days when risotto scared me with its complexity, but once you become more comfortable with it and the constant stirring and checking and tasting, it really is quite easy.
Easy, Cheesy Risotto
(Adapted from Eating Well)
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio, carnaroli or other Italian “risotto” rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Zest from 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsely
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Warm broth in a saucepan or in a heat-proof dish in the microwave until hot and steamy.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add rice and salt and stir to coat.
Stir wine into the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to cook on medium-low, adding broth in 1/2-cup increments and stirring frequently after each addition, until most of the liquid is absorbed. The risotto is done when you’ve used all the broth and wine and the rice is creamy and just tender, 25 to 35 minutes total. If the rice is not cooked to your liking (I like mine softer rather than al dente) just add more liquid in 1/4 cups--I used more wine because... I like wine.