Foodie Book Friday: A Homemade Life
Here's the recipe, enough for two with some leftovers:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable works best)
1 pound of fresh spring peas (about a cup after shelling)
1 carrot, chopped finely
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus some for the table
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and saute the chopped onions until they become translucent. Add the rice and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, so that the rice is coated with the butter, mixed well with the onions, and starts to turn translucent as well (about four minutes). Add the broth 1/3 cup at a time, stirring constantly and adding broth as the liquid in the rice evaporates. After the first cup of broth is gone, add the vegetables. Continue to add the remainder of the broth, 1/3 cup at a time, stirring constantly until all the broth is gone and the rice is cooked through. Turn of the heat, then stir in salt and pepper, and the parsley and cheese. Serve hot and enjoy. Would be nice with a glass of chilled pinot grigio!
A Slow Food Spring Dinner
The last is what today's post is about - the Slow Food Spring Dinner held at Firebox Restaurant in Hartford Thursday night. If there is a restaurant in the Greater Hartford area that epitomizes Slow Food, it is Firebox. Their commitment to seasonal, locally grown ingredients is evident in everything they do, from the contemporary American menu to the weekly farmers' market that is held on the grounds of the restaurant. For Firebox, farm-to-table is what it's all about.
Robert Sinskey wines were featured at the dinner, an excellent choice since these are organically grown in Napa Valley. We liked the Pinot Noir so much we've already purchased two bottles for the cellar.
Connecticut River Shad - With spring garlic soubise, asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, red wine gastrique. Wine pairing: Pinot Blanc, Los Carneros, 2007
Connecticut Lamb - With white bean purée, English peas, pea tendrils, Roman mint pesto. Wine pairing: Pinot Noir, Los Carneros, Napa Valley, 2006
Beltane Farm Goat Cheese Panna Cotta - With Jones Family Apiaries' honey comb. Wine Pairing: "Vin Gris," Pinot Noir Rose, 2007
Each and every dish was remarkably fresh tasting, wonderfully prepared and beautifully presented. Chris adored the shad which was served with a nice crisp skin, and I loved the lamb which was served medium rare and had a herby charred crust. Nonetheless, the star of the evening was the dessert. Airily light and not-too-sweet, it was a perfect finish to a refreshing spring meal. In honor of springtime, we urge you to get out to the opening days of your nearby farmers' market and support your local food producers. With ones like we experienced at this dinner, we certainly will be!
Guilty Pleasures - Mac and Cheese
I make mine a certain way, and my graduate school roommates love to tell (and retell) the story of the first time I gave them my Kraft-making instructions, apparently with gestures. "Firm but watery" is what they claim I said, that drunken night when we had little money for food, but plenty for cheap wine. "Firm but watery" actually is how I like it, which is why I ignore the directions on the box and cook my Kraft elbows for only five minutes (firm) and add 1/3 (not 1/4) cup of lowfat milk (watery), then eat it straight out of the saucepan.
And while I gave my school cafeteria a bad rap several posts ago, they make a mean mac-n-cheese. They sprinkle in tons of garlic salt and garlic powder, then top it with garlic croutons, so when I see it coming up on the monthly menu, I buy some mints and gum and indulge. I try not to think about the calories I'm ingesting as I fill myself up with that cheesy, garlicky goodness. I'm not even sure it falls under the new state department of education's "healthy foods only" guidelines, but what can I say? I don't really care. It's yummy.
These two very different macaroni-and-cheese "meals" don't belong in the same category as most, like the one my mom makes, like ones that everyone's mom makes. These are beyond comfort food - they are guilty pleasures. Shhhh. Don't tell.