Friday, January 19, 2007

Day 19

What I ate today. . .
Two shots of espresso with tsp of raw sugar and 1 T whipping cream; slice wheat toast with T peanut butter, 1/2 banana, 1/2 sm. Pear, 1 c. blueberries; the other 2/3 of my non-beef jerky, five RF ritz crackers, 3 slices cheddar, squirt of mustard, 3 slices of yves fake turkey (trying to eat it up), grande chai w/ whipping cream; large scoop of cauliflower risotto, 1 c. roasted parsnips with parmesan; sm. Vanilla cone from McDonalds, brewed chai tea w/ 2% milk.

I tasted the Yves Turkey slices again. Plain, they are horrible! But I found them edible with a sharp cheddar and some mustard. I’m not sure why I felt I needed to try them again, except that it’s really expensive to buy: $4.29 for 2.5 servings. Anyway, I feel better that I tried again but I won’t be purchasing these slices again.

Tonight, George rated a cauliflower dish a 7 on the scale. For those who don’t know G-Dogg, he hates vegetables and cauliflower is top of the worst list. But I blended tiny bits of it into a creamy risotto tonight, and he loved it. Yummy parmesan masked the veggie-ness, plus a good dash of wine helps everything along. Special thanks to Jamie Oliver for inspiring the recipe, which I read last night and then just winged it today.

Cauliflower Risotto
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1/2 head cauliflower florets, washed, stemmed, and cut into 1” pieces
2 spears of celery, diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6-7 c. vegetable broth
1 c. white wine
2 c. Arborio rice
2 T butter
1 c. grated parmesan
salt & pepper

In a heavy pan on medium-high, heat olive oil and butter. When sizzling, add onion, garlic and celery. Cook until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, warm your broth in a separate pan. When the broth starts to simmer, add the cauliflower chunks, turn off the heat, and keep the lid on. Add the rice to the vegetable pan and stir to coat with the fats. Let cook 5 minutes, until the fats are soaked into the rice and the pan gives off a yummy smell. Add the wine and stir until evaporated, leaving a nice essence. Ladle the broth into the pan with cauliflower, one cup at a time, stirring briskly until each addition is absorbed and pressing the spoon into the cauliflower to mash it up. After about 15 minutes of additions, taste the rice to check doneness. You want just a little bite in the rice, but the vegetables should be soft. If it’s not ready, keep adding broth and stirring the rice until it reaches that point. When the rice is ready, reduce the heat to low. Add the last two tablespoons of butter, the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine until the butter is melted. Put the lid onto the pot and leave for 10 minutes. Serve this risotto with crispy, garlicky bread crumbs (below) to make it even more yummy.

Garlicky Bread Crumbs

2-3 slices of your favorite bread
1 clove garlic
2 T finely grated parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil or melted butter
1 tsp Italian herb mix of your choice (I use oregano, basil and parsley)
salt & pepper

Process everything together and then spread onto a baking sheet. Put under the broiler for 5 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Serve over risotto or spaghetti with butter.

The part of the risotto recipe that really made a difference was what Jamie Oliver does differently than others I’ve read was leaving the top on for the last 10 minutes. It made the rice so creamy and oozy. I highly recommend you try it with whatever your favorite risotto recipe is.

I asked George today whether he was tired of veggie food yet. He thought a minute and then said, “No, but I need to reinstate wing night with the guys.” So I guess we’re doing okay so far. I’ve tried not to make too many weird things in a row, breaking up the experiments with common things like spaghetti. It must be working.

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