I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I fell off the wagon. I haven’t written in almost a week, and as I said in the beginning I have a history of flaking out on resolutions.
Well here’s my case:
1. I haven’t stopped cooking. Quite the opposite actually. I have three recipe’s in the wings just waiting for their time to shine on here.
2. Last week, you know, my week off? Well it was the calm before the storm. This week I have a meeting every day, am starting the beginnings of planning and recruiting for a big event at my after school site, and had a gigantic project due last night in class that required all of my writing energy.
3. My mama came in town! So, of course, blogging came second when Mama is in the mix.
How’s that? Do you buy it? Too much excuse, not enough food? I agree.
Last time you heard from me I had made a sandwich which was delicious but didn’t involve much cooking. Then it was Thursday, and I took a much needed, ahem, sick day…. so didn’t cook. Then Friday my beautiful, talented, oh-so-fun Mama came in town, so we lived it up and ate out, then repeated this on Saturday. Come Sunday, I was feeling disconnected from my tiny kitchen. I missed that unbelievably small sink, and the oven that takes an hour to pre-heat. It’s not much, but it’s mine.
Thus, Sunday night, instead of going to Sinatra Sunday and eating sliders or something fried, I asked Mom and K if they wouldn’t mind if I cooked them dinner and watched the Oscars instead. I like the fashion… and I’m a junkie for cooking now. I needed my fix.
I decided on Steak, because I saw it on a menu this weekend and was craving it (who am I?) and Risotto. We bought two pieces of Filet Mignon and with my handy-dandy new cast iron skillet, that is oven-proof, by the by, I seared the steaks on all sides, then finished them off under the broiler for about 10 minutes.
The result was cooked more than last time, but because of the cut of the meat, it was tender and delicious. I didn’t have a sauce or anything with it because the Risotto was going to be so starchy and creamy I didn’t think I needed it, and I was right. A little A-1 and we were good to go.
My mom is a vegetarian so obviously did not eat that big hunk-o-meat. To substitute the meat but not lose the meaty texture, I marinated a Portobello mushroom in olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder for about 10 minutes, then cooked both sides in a skillet for maybe six minutes total.
As mentioned before, I paired all of this with Lemon Spinach Risotto. Risotto is a Northern Italian rice dish that is creamy and decadent. I have always made Mushroom Risotto which is to die for, but I really loved the bright flavor of the lemon zest and the freshness that the Spinach brought to this creamy dish. Risotto isn’t hard, but it is labor-intensive and requires all of your attention, so be warned. However, all that work is worth it when you see how beautiful and tasty the outcome is (and everyone who knows about Risotto will be so impressed with your hard work. Trust me).
Lemon Spinach Risotto
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2 Cups Arborio Rice (this rice is best for Risotto because it’s short and fat and releases a lot of starch)
1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
6 cups Chicken Stock (or more, if needed)
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (I used Half and Half)
1 pound Baby Spinach
2 teaspoons of Lemon Zest
1/2 Cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
In a large stockpot heat the olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. Saute onions and garlic and add a little salt and pepper. Do not let the garlic brown, because it will get bitter and bitter garlic is not good. While doing this, heat the 6 (or more) cups of Chicken Stock to a simmer. Once the onions and garlic are fragrant but not brown, stir in the rice and continue stirring 1-2 minutes. Pour in the wine and continue stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add a little more salt and pepper and begin adding the warm Chicken Stock, a little bit at a time, just enough to cover the rice. Then, stir, stir, stir. Continue this process, adding just enough stock each time and never stop stirring. KEEP STIRRING! (said in Ursula’s voice from The Little Mermaid… Keep Singing.. except don’t sing. Unless you want to.)
Sorry for being bossy.
This entire stirring process will last 30-45 minutes and will make your arms lean and toned. It’s better than the gym, or so I’m told. When the rice is almost done, and you’re out of stock, add in the Cream (or whatever you’re using), the spinach (I tore it up a little bit so there weren’t big chunks of spinach in there) and lemon zest. KEEP STIRRING. The spinach will wilt into the rice which is exactly what it’s supposed to do. Finally, remove from the heat, stir in the last 2 tablespoons of butter and add the Pecorino Cheese. Taste for salt and pepper content and adjust accordingly. You may garnish with some sliced up spinach if your heart desires.
While the plate is indeed austere looking, the meal was delicious and filling. The richness of the Risotto combined with the tenderness of the steak made for a elegant, grown-up meal that was fairly easy to make. If you want to impress someone, do this. I assure you they will leave full, happy, and thinking that you’re a pretty darn good cook.