So part of being on a budget means cooking at home and since I’ve been home quite a bit more recently I was able to make one of my favorites: Risotto. This rice dish is made with arborio rice and requires quite a bit of attention. The first thing I did was fry up the rice with some great olive oil.
This just gets things going. Then cover with a decent white wine (I used a chilean late harvest for sweetness) and let it consume about 3/4 of the wine.
The key element to making risotto is to keep stirring. That releases the starch in the rice into the cooking liquid making it nice and creamy. I generally give it a stir every two or three minutes just to keep it moving. Once the wine is mostly gone cover with warm stock. I used a vegetable stock I make and keep frozen for just such an occasion. That way I just toss it into a small pot on the stove and keep it simmering while I cook. Here’s about the amount of stock you want in there.
Remember that you want to just cover it so that you’re keeping it fairly creamy. Each time it will get thicker and thicker. This will also cook the rice to just the right consistency. Conventional wisdom says to cover once with wine and thrice with stock. Once it’s mostly reduced to a creamy consistency put in about 1 tbsp of butter for each half cup of risotto along with a quarter cup of parmesan (guesstimate, use what feels right and add to taste). This will up the creamy factor and serve immediately. Pasta and Risotto wait for no one!
Here we had the risotto with a baked pork chop covered with a sweet pico de gallo. Another thing I was really curious about making, and was later very happy that I did, was my kitchen hero, Adam Roberts Spatchcock Chicken. It’s very easy and straightforward. Basically you remove the backbone and cook it flat!
It was very moist, flavorful and oh so tender. It took quite some effor for me to stop devouring it and call my wife down for dinner! That also led to me experimenting with Shirred eggs. I’d say it was a 50/50 success but will require more in depth research and tests later on.
It looked very pretty but didn’t quite make it to the right consistency and I was so worried about overcooking the yolk that I went overboard and undercooked the whole thing! We decided to take a day off of diet and budget and went to La Palace, a quiet stuck in time cafeteria with good food and decent prices that I first wrote about around a year ago.
My wife, as usual, order her volovant in a mushroom sauce with chips. It is by a long shot her favorite thing to order there. After trying several different things, I landed on the BLT. It’s very simple and straightforward but they do get it right.
Now, another little soemthing I threw together was Flan, which I think I’ll delve a bit more into later but for now I just want to announce that I was finally able to make caramel! It had for so long eluded me, I just couldn’t figure it out. Basically I just melted sugar in a pan and poured it into my molds.
Of course it turns rock hard in seconds so be quick! Then just mix up the custard and pour it into the molds and pop in the oven in a water bath (fill outside recepticle with hotwater halfway up the ramekins). Once firmly set remove from oven and allow to cool in the water bath. Once it’s cool put in the fridge for at least 4 hours but at best 24 hours. Flip it onto a plate and voila, egg flan.
I just loved it, just how I remembered it! Then last Sunday we took my in-law’s to Pizza Vesuvio. It’s been a while since we’ve gone there but I love it because the wood oven gives these pizzas such a great flavor and texture. This is my favorite, with tomato, garlic and basil.
So I hope you enjoyed this weeks cooking adventures, we’ll have a big announcement coming up soon to share with everyone, keep your eyes peeled!