Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CSA Week 17: Bakin’ up risotto.

Week 16 yielded some seriously delicious meals (I love you, chard frittata!), so Week 17 had the bar set quite high. We got a lot of green stuff, as you see:

I won’t tell you what happened to the lettuce. At this point, you can guess.

We got more lovely random hot peppers, which joined their fellows in the chopper and then in the freezer. We’ll be so set for hot peppers when winter comes, I tell you!

Now, y’all know I love me some risotto. I love it fiendishly and would eat it every day, unless I absolutely had to, then you know I’d get sick of it pretty quickly. Anyway, my mom has been telling me for ages that you can actually bake risotto, thus relieving yourself of the housewifely drudgery of stirring that damn pot for an hour. Usually I pretend that the steam is opening up my pores and doing lovely things for my skin while I stir, but it gets boring after a while.

Mama Burnout’s never steered me wrong before, so I decided to try this baked risotto business. She promised I didn’t even need to alter the recipe! Per her instructions, I sautéed my onions and rice a bit, then scooped them into a baking dish with the diced butternut squash and broth. That was a nerve-wracking operation, I can tell you, because our biggest baking dish is ever-so-nearly too small for this risotto recipe. By the grace of the kitchen gods, I managed to get it from the counter into the oven without sloshing hot broth everywhere. After that, I counted whatever came out of the oven as a job well done.

And well done it was, readers! It took about an hour or so at 350° and was just as creamy and delicious as stovetop risotto. Even better, we didn’t need to steam the squash first! I’d added an extra half-cup or so of broth to help the squash cook, and it worked very well. I thought I had a picture to show you, but evidently we were so hungry we forgot to document our success.

Oh, cabbage. I’ve never liked you. I don’t know why, but I tend to foist all cabbage-related duties off on Red, because he loves the stuff. This was a small cabbage, though, so I decided to give it a shot. We made Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage from Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen, and it was really good! I think my previous cabbage experiences must have involved overcooked cabbage, because this was sautéed until wilted but still a bit crunchy. I don’t see cabbage supplanting, say, winter squash or asparagus or broccoli in the “Vegetables Near to My Heart” category, but I like it a little more now.

Red chopped our baby bok choy, and twice I made miso soup. Bok choy is great in miso soup, in case you were wondering! Miso soup #1 included kombu broth from a Moosewood cookbook and bean thread noodles. You may already know this, but bean thread noodles are thirsty little fuckers and will slurp up whatever liquid you put them in. This is doubly true if you have soup left over and want to reheat it the next day. You’ll be reheating miso noodles. Miso soup #2 was my attempt to make myself feel better after a nasty allergy attack and consequent two-hour nap. I kept it simple (no kombu broth because we were freshly out of kombu) and it did the trick.

Sweet potatoes and mustard greens! What the hell can a person do with those two disparate ingredients? Well, you can pull Vegan Soul Kitchen back off the shelf and make Uncle Don’s Double Mustard Greens and Roasted Yam Soup, for starters. (Okay, okay, I know that yams and sweet potatoes are different, but I don’t care.) This is a super-easy soup that is light but crazy flavorful. I’d never had mustard greens before, and they are yummy! We even used Week 18’s red mustard greens, too (yes, they come in red, and much Googling was involved to figure that out). We’ll be making this again.

We had a few sweet potatoes left, and I wanted biscuits, so I made some. I tested recipes for Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s upcoming Appetite for Reduction, and these biscuits are divine. Buy the cookbook when it’s out, because it’s worth it for these babies alone. I ended up with two dozen, which I ate for breakfast every day until they were gone. (Shut up, it took longer than a weekend.)

And there you have Week 17.

1 comment:

  1. will you send me the risotto recipe? I made some "Gulf Coast Rice" (aka, Mexican Rice w/o tomatoes, like we think it must have)and it was baked for 25 minutes. So weird, I thought, but it turned out better than ANY of my rice ever does on the stove top.