Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The world according to my kids

The red condiment commonly used on French fries is “dippy.” If more than one variety of dippy is available, they are also designated by color, “red dippy, yellow dippy, white dippy,” and so forth.

The man with the big white beard and red suit that breaks into kids’ houses at the end of December is called “Tinkerbell.” (Boudica-specific nomenclature)

The little squishy, stretchy toy animals (think gummy worms and the like) are made of a substance called “squeeze.”

The round, minty, chocolate-covered candies that give you the sensation that you are standing on a wind-swept mountain top are called “circle treats.”

Puff the Magic Dragon is completely acceptable for story time, but I should not, under any circumstances, have Puff engage in a conversation with Dippy the Dinosaur because, “Dippy is a statue, Mommy. He can’t talk.”

Ok. Good to know.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Risotto al funghi

Back when we first started dating, Mr. D gave me an Italian vegetarian cookbook (I can't remember if I was still a veg-head at that point or had just recently been). I can't find a link to the book or I would share it because it is chock full of lovely recipes. One thing I learned to make from this book is risotto, and while it does take some patience to make, it really is yummy stuff.

On Sunday, neither of us really wanted to go shopping, so when the "what's for dinner?" query was raised, I turned to the pantry* for an idea. And found everything I needed for mushroom risotto. To share with you the fact that it really isn't that hard to make (and to allow my closet foodie to get a little blog time), I thought I'd share the recipe and process with you (complete with my recipe modifications).

Here goes!

Risotto al Funghi


One pound mushrooms (the type you use will vary the flavor--you can use fresh or dried, but make sure to rehydrate dried ones first or it will affect the moisture of the dish)
Two cups arborio rice
4-6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup wine (I've used white and red--it's up to you)
6 cups stock (chicken or veg--homemade is best)
1/2 cup grated parmesan plus additional for the table
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Medium onion chopped (I normally use a sweeter onion)
1-3 cloves garlic, minced

Before you start working with the rice and veg, heat the broth to boiling and then reduce to a simmer for use in the dish. Chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces (or smaller if you like) and sautee until tender in about 2Tbsp of butter. If you are using rehydrated mushrooms, skip the sauteeing step and simply rehydrate them in just enough hot water to cover (save the water for use as broth!).

Remove the sauteed mushrooms from the pan and add 2 Tbsp more butter to sautee the onion and garlic combo. When the onion is just becoming translucent and before the garlic browns (watch it carefully), add two cups of arborio rice to the skillet and sautee on medium heat for another two minutes. If you need to add a bit more butter at this point, feel free. I keep pretty close to 4 Tbsp and the taste is still plenty rich.

Add the wine to the skillet and stir until absorbed. Now, add the broth to the skillet a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously and not adding a new ladle until the last one has been absorbed. Does this take a while? Yes, you need to plan on at least 15-20 minutes for this step. But, without the slow addition and constant stirring, your risotto will be crunchy, not creamy. It's worth the time.

After all of the broth is incorporated, taste a bit of the risotto and be sure that your grains are no longer crunchy (they will be al dente, but should not be hard). At this point, stir in the 1/2 cup parmesan and 2 Tbsp parsley.**


*Pantry = traditional dry pantry plus fridge and freezer. Basically, whatever is in the house and is edible.

**I used more than 2 Tbsp in this dish. Also, you really must use fresh parsley, either truly fresh or fresh-frozen. Dried just doesn't cut it.