October 9, 2012
I don’t know if you can tell, but I get really excited about food. It’s not just the end product, the delicious thing I get to put in my mouth that does so much more than just nourish my body. It’s the process, too, the learning and doing and standing in the kitchen, working with my hands, listening to things sizzle and pop, my glasses steaming up as I open the oven door. I had some amazing kale and taleggio arancini during the kale party at Verjus a couple of weeks ago, and they were stellar. Perfectly prepared balls of rice and cheese and vegetal kale, deep-fried to a golden brown and served with a salty-sweet bacon compote. It’s a dish that makes sense — you know by reading the description that there’s no way that this could be bad, and chef Braden Perkins didn’t disappoint. The plate cost €8, a steal for such high-caliber food. And yet, and still. There was something missing. I didn’t make it myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love dining out, and I know my skill in the kitchen can’t match a trained chef’s, but… but what? I guess I miss the challenge. How extremely clever I feel whenever a dish turns out just how I wanted it to. I wanted to be the one whipping out those perfect arancini with that sticky, perfectly paired sauce. And yes, I felt extremely clever. Continue Reading
October 4, 2012
Have you noticed how quickly all the food on this blog has turned its colors for fall? I didn’t until I started editing photos for this post, but now I’ve looked back and see that all I’ve posted in the last few days is orange, red, yellow, and brown.
Bring it on if it means more food like this. I’d never made mushroom risotto before, but it seemed a shame to do anything else with these glorious chanterelles, black chanterelles, and criminis. I wanted something that would really showcase the earthy flavors while backing them up with something more substantial.
Risotto, good risotto, takes dedication. Dedication to standing in front of your stove, stirring and stirring, for at least half an hour to release the starches for that creamy base. Dedication to tasting many crunchy, underdone pieces of rice until one gives under your teeth white that perfect al dente texture. Dedication to possibly wasting a cup or two of broth if your rice doesn’t need it that day.
But in the end, you’re rewarded with a big bowl of plump grains suffused with the flavors of the mushrooms, and with a creamy mouthful without adding a drop of cream.