Radicchio & Mizuna Risotto

SLP CW Treviso CW

A handful of rice per person, a smaller pot than you might think, and yes, more stirring than I typically do. . . these are a few of the tips I learned when cooking with long-time friend and Chef Cathy Whims (Nostrana, Oven & Shaker, Hamlet) this week.

SLP CW chopping radicchio mizuna

I thought it would be fun to cook with a pro whom I admire. I wanted to see what we might create together or what my pantry’s contents would inspire in someone else. This risotto, among other things, was the result of a delightfully relaxed afternoon in my kitchen. Thank you Cathy for sharing your time and love of vegetables with all of us!

And thank you Shawn Linehan for documenting it all! All photos by Shawn Linehan Photography.

This and the other dishes we cooked will be posted on the Seasonal Recipe Collection. Subscribe if you haven’t already!

SLP CW KD picking thyme

Radicchio &  Mizuna Risotto

Cathy uses one handful of rice per person, plus a handful if you want leftovers. My 9-year-old devoured the leftovers when he got home from school.

We used a chicory called Arch Cape from Ayers Creek Farm. It is a variety they have been cultivating and adapting to their growing conditions here in the Willamette Valley so they renamed it this year and let go of the original name Radicchio Treviso. Any chicory would work in this preparation.

Serves 4, plus leftovers

1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
1 good-sized head Arch Cape or Radicchio Treviso, trimmed and washed (or other chicory, see headnote) and finely chopped, divided
1/2 bunch mizuna, trimmed washed and finely chopped, divided
5 handfuls risotto rice, arborio, carnaroli, vialone nano
1/2 cup dry white wine
6-7 cups water or vegetable broth or veggie bouillon broth
1-2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup grated Asiago Stella (an aged Asiago) or Parmesan, divided
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water or vegetable broth to a simmer in a small saucepan.

Heat the butter and oil in a 3 – 4 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add 2/3 of the radicchio and mizuna and cook for a few more minutes. Then add the rice and cook, stirring frequently for another 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and stir well and cook until evaporated. Now add the hot water/broth, ladle by ladle once the rice has more or less absorbed the liquid, stirring almost constantly. If you’re using water (not broth) add several big pinches of salt at this stage. Continue cooking the rice in this manner until the kernels are tender on the outside with just a bit of firmness on the inside. You may not need all the broth/water. Stir in the remainder of the radicchio and mizuna and cook for an additional minute or two. Stir in most of the cheese and the butter. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed. Let risotto rest for a few minutes before serving, topped with the remaining cheese.

SLP CW meal wine

 

 

Silver Linings and a One-Pot Dinner

Wild Rice with Veggies and Sausage

I like to get things done. I usually love working hard, whether it’s prepping for my classes, reviewing budgets, cleaning the bathroom, cooking three meals a day or planting the garden. I think of myself as strong and able, or thought of myself that way until recently, and not often in need of asking for help. But now I have some disk/spine issues that are turning my m.o. on its head. It’s painful physically and challenging emotionally but over the last few weeks, it’s gradually become less so.

As a dear friend said to me recently: “People really like helping out!” And it seems she’s right and come to think of it, I like to help others out too. So I have been asking for a lot of help lately. It’s getting easier to ask and with the additional help some of the physical pain is easing too. I’m definitely not used to my new, physically weaker, self and have my moments of intense frustration, but having people around to help me prep for and assist with classes, do the heavy lifting in the garden, etc. has been fun. I have a fairly solitary job, except for the actual time spent teaching, so having other people around for these  tasks is a joy.

I’m letting go of some of the control I didn’t quite realize I liked and practiced so much and learning as a go. I am doing things more slowly, I’m cutting more corners and not feeling guilty (the back steps did not get swept before my students arrived on Saturday and I didn’t scrub the hood over my stove within an inch of its life). And when it comes to cooking, I’m trying new things too. I’m using my food processor much more since I just plain can’t chop much by hand and have had to slow down.

And now I’m going to ask for your help and comments. Last night I pulled together a somewhat typical cook-with-what-you-have kind of meal. It wasn’t great (yet) but it was certainly fine. And the method was fun and got me thinking about all the possibilities of what I think I might call Dinner Pilaf for now. Pilaf has its roots in Turkey and Persia but there are versions from dozens of countries. Principally it is rice cooked undisturbed in broth or water with seasonings and other additions.

I discovered some wild rice in the back of my pantry yesterday. I had two leeks that needed using, half an onion, a few carrots, half a bunch of parsley and some pork sausage in the freezer. I sautéed the leeks, onions, and carrots; added the sausage cut into half-rounds. After all that was starting to brown I tossed in the rice, some veggie bouillon, covered it and brought it to a boil, then turned it down and walked away–for about an hour.

"Dinner Pilaf"

When I came back I found a beautiful pot of dinner. I had not measured the liquid carefully and it was a little wet for my taste and it was a bit bland. I minced the parsley and added two minced garlic cloves, a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice, some olive oil, salt and pepper (a simplified version of salsa verde) and stirred that in. Now it was good!  It wasn’t really a pilaf but somehow the idea of cooking rice or other grains or a combination of rice and beans with aromatics and veggies or meat with just enough liquid to cook it all seems rather clever. So I’m going to try this with barley and quinoa and other kinds of rice and with different veggies, spices and herbs . . .  And I’d love it if you experimented with this idea/method and reported back what you discover.  Or if you already make something like this tell us what you do.

Happy cooking and eating!

Peanut Sauce

Rice with leftover peanut sauce and lots of cilantro.

I have at least five different blog posts started in my head. These last few spring-like days  here in Portland have been so energizing and glorious maybe that’s translated into increased brain activity. So I’d love to muse about all the birds I hear singing all of sudden every morning or the green garlic stalks that seem to have sped up their growth a bit or the late afternoon light or that wonderful springy, damp earth sort of smell. I’d also like to write about the talk I’m putting together to give at Slow Food Portland’s Annual Potluck this Sunday (there are still seats available and it is likely the best potluck in Portland and some of the most relevant content) I’d also like to write about several totally last-minute cook-with-what-you-have meals I’ve tossed together lately. So I think I’ll do the latter and focus on just one.

The other day I was in need of a quick hearty meal for our family. I had leftover black bean soup in the fridge so I cooked a pot of white rice (I was in a hurry and I love white rice but tend to cook brown rice more frequently these days) to make the soup stretch. As I was heating up the soup I realized that this was going to be just one-too-many bean meals in a row for my husband. I’ve been doing a lot of recipe testing with beans lately and as much as my dear husband likes most of them I know he doesn’t love them quite as a much as I do.

I rummaged through the fridge in search of some other quick inspiration for him and there was a little dish of leftover peanut sauce I had forgotten about. Then I remembered a blog post I had recently read by one of my favorite bloggers (David Lebovitz). Although primarily a baker he sometimes writes about savory foods and had posted a recipe for peanut sauce (that I have not tried) and talked about how he used to just dollop it on white rice for a quick meal on the go when he was still working in restaurants. So there it was: I had my hot rice, my little dish of peanut sauce and plenty of cilantro. So that’s what Brian got for lunch and he was very happy. I ate the bean soup AND a bowl of rice like his and had to agree that the latter was more fun! The hot rice loosened up the peanut sauce and brought out the flavors of lime and chili and the cilantro was cooling and lively. It hit the spot.

So, if you make the below recipe for peanut sauce you should plan to use three-quarters of it to toss with some spaghetti or rice noodles and some finely sliced raw veggies and save the remainder for the above dish!

I have come to love this particular peanut sauce that I came across on another food blog I follow–Skillet Chronicles–by Aleta Watson.

Thanks all you fellow bloggers for the constant inspiration!

Peanut Sauce

Peanut Sauce

–only slightly adapted from Skillet Chronicles

generous ½ cup smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated ginger

4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced to a paste

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

½-1 teaspoon chili flakes or hot chili sauce (to taste)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon  brown sugar

2 tablespoons hot water

Blend all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth and set aside. Toss with cold noodles and veggies or serve with rice or use as a dip for steamed veggies or roasted meat. This sauce keeps very well in the fridge for a week, tightly covered (or your fridge will smell like garlic and peanut butter and sesame oil!)

Happy Cooking and Eating!