Friday, July 17, 2009

Mmmm.. greens

My week has been spent kicking butt at work (or work kicking my butt, whichever), so I haven't had as much time to devote in the kitchen this week as I might have liked. In fact, I bought all of the ingredients to make pickles out of my CSA cucumber overload, and in the fridge they sit. I did make a warm, crisp broccoli salad a few weeks ago and had the decency to take pictures for you.



It's featured on Sprouted Kitchen, and her pictures are better. Aren't you glad I'm back? ;)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Carrot Risotto and Spicy Cucumber Salad


It can be a challenge for me to cook with what I have in the fridge. I love to search for new recipes to try out, but most send me running to the store, spending more than I need to on last minute ingredients. Sure, dinner usually turns out great. But my food budget isn't quite as healthy after those little daily indulgences.

Summertime is here for us, and that means weekly boxes of veggies and fruit from our local CSA share. The challenge is to eat everything that comes in that jam packed box by the next week. And that is harder than it might seem, especially when you're completely sick of cooking greens and lettuce. There's only so much you can do with swiss chard (tasty new recipe coming soon).

The antidote for this weeks green overdose was this soothing carrot risotto. I paired it with a cool, crunchy (okay, and light green) cucumber salad. Both recipes took a bite out of the produce overload in my fridge.

Carrot Risotto

6 medium carrots, peeled and diced small

2 cups of arborio rice

1 onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 box of organic vegetable stock (4 cups), warmed

2-4 cups of water, warmed

1 cup of whole milk, warmed

1 cup of good quality shredded parmesan cheese

coarse salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of butter

a handful of chopped parsley

Heat the butter and oil in a medium sized stock pot over medium high heat. Once the butter melts add the onions and sauté until the onions begin to soften. Toss in the garlic and sauté for one minute more. Add the rice and the carrots and stir until the rice is lightly coated with the oil/butter mixture. Pour in two cups of the heated vegetable stock. (I microwave mine in a glass measuring cup and take it out at the last minute to use. No messing with another pot on the stove.) Keep stirring the rice occasionally until the stock is mostly absorbed by the rice. Add another two cups of stock and stir again. After the rice has absorbed most of the stock, taste for salt and adjust seasoning, add pepper to taste. Continue this way with the warmed water until the rice is al dente and the water is mostly absorbed. The rice will be gooey, but not runny. Add the milk and cheese and heat thoroughly. Taste for seasonings and adjust, the cheese and stock will make the dish slightly salty, so go easy on the salt in the first addition and correct it at the end. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Cucumber Salad

2 large English cucumbers, washed and sliced thin

salt

Dressing

3 tablespoons of plain yogurt

2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

½ teaspoon of dried mustard

½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill

3 scallions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons of sugar, to taste

In a large colander set over the sink, lay the cucumbers in layers, sprinkling each layer with salt. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to assemble the salad, press down on the cucumbers in the colander to get them to release a bit more of their water. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl. Toss the cucumbers in the dressing. Serve. This is even spicer and better the next day.