veggies

Buttery Summer Corn Risotto

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I have only one go-to risotto recipe: a butternut squash risotto that I make in the fall. As much as I love to eat that rendition, I do not particularly love to make it. The inordinate amount of time risotto requires I spend stirring liquid into rice takes patience. And while a virtue, patience is not a virtue I possess.

Unless homemade bread is involved. Then I have all the patience in world.

Even with a glass of leftover wine to sip on throughout the process, I dread making risotto. Instead, I collect risotto recipes with the thought of making it “one of these days” in mind.

My first risotto foray away from the fall rendition I love so much was a summer recipe that incorporates fresh sweet corn. At the very end, the corn kernels are stirred into the risotto. Long before that final step, the water in which the ears of corn are cooked is used to make a broth.

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To incorporate this recipe into a busy lifestyle, or make it more appealing to an impatient sort like myself, forgo the homemade corn broth and use store-bought chicken or vegetable broth instead. Ultimately, this may not make too much difference since you have to cook the corn at some point. It would likely come in handy if you would like to use this risotto recipe to use up leftover corn kernels.

Another idea it to serve the corn one night, then use the reserved broth and leftover kernels in the risotto the next. Or you could really get into it and up the flavor by roasting the ears of corn, again reverting to a store-bought broth.

I am really pushing for a different broth here because overall, I found the flavor of the corn broth lacking. I will give the recipe the benefit of the doubt and blame myself for using too much water. The recipe instructs the cook to cover the ears of corn with water, and I am willing to bet I used close to six to eight cups. Next time, I will try to use closer to four or five cups to boost the flavor.

Despite my so-so outcome, I still enjoyed this dish as a dinnertime meal and lunch hour leftover. It is best served with bit of freshly grated Parmesan over the top. Enjoy!

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5.0 from 1 reviews

Buttery Summer Corn Risotto
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the Broth
  • 4 ears sweet corn, shucked
  • 2 leeks, roughly chopped
  • 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bouquet garni: a few sprigs each of fresh parsley, thyme and tarragon
  • For the Risotto
  • 1 tablepoon butter or olive oil
  • 1 or 2 shallots or green onions (white parts only), diced
  • 2½ cups risotto (I used Arborio rice)
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 small bunch parsley, minced
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Begin by preparing the broth. Place the ears of corn, leeks, celery, coriander seeds, bay leaf and bouquet garni in a large pot and cover it with water.
  2. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the corn with tongs and strain the stock through a mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard the solids.
  4. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the ears of corn and set aside.
  5. Heat the butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add the shallot or green onion(s) to the skillet and cook until softened.
  7. Place the risotto in the skillet and cook,stirring constantly, for two minutes.
  8. Pour the wine into the skillet and stir constantly until absorbed.
  9. Add the corn broth, a ladle at a time, to the skillet and stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  10. When the risotto is tender, about 30 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the kernels of corn, parsley and Parmesan cheese.

 

Things That Make Me Go Hmm…Broccoli & Cottage Cheese Cornbread

Poached Pineapple 038 Edited Things That Make Me Go Hmm...Broccoli & Cottage Cheese CornbreadThis is the type of recipe I had in mind when, in my last post, I mentioned I simply enjoy the experience of a new recipe. Cornbread baked with broccoli and cottage cheese ranks high on novelty but falls a bit short on taste. While I enjoyed the savory aspects of this recipe, it did not change my mind that cornbread is best served warm with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey.

I have no issue with broccoli. As long as it is topped with cheese of course. In hindsight, I should have toasted a bit of cheddar cheese over the top of this dish. Or perhaps I should have just left the vegetables out of it all together.

That’s what I’ve got in way of an opinion on the broccoli aspect. As for the cottage cheese, well, I have no idea what to say. I did not detect its flavor, so I am left to believe it served to moisten the bread. Surely that is nothing a little butter melted over the top could not fix?

I have little else to say this evening. I think I am still stunned by the idea of broccoli…in cornbread…with cottage cheese. It’s either that or the 37 degree weather today that has me stumped. Yes, that is 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Just five degrees above freezing. In the South. When the typical temperature hovers around 70 this time of year. I mean, why not just move back to Ohio? For now, I’ll just read this instead. Enjoy!

Broccoli Cornbread
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 box (8½ ounce) corn muffin mix
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • ¾ cup cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Transfer to a lightly greased cast iron skillet.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Notes
The recipe as written here is halved from the original, which called for baking the cornbread in a 9 x 13 pan. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, baking the bread in an 8 x 8 pan or even a muffin tin should work.

Comfort Food & Uncomfortable Situations: Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

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Let’s make it a week filled with comfort foods, shall we?  While we are at it, let’s go along with the hot topic of the past 24 hours and present that comfort food as something other than what it is. Macaroni and cheese? Or is it cauliflower and cheese? Like most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

In the spirit of innocent until proven guilty, I choose to believe Manti was duped. If we can offer that bit of grace up to the worst of criminals, then surely we can extend the benefit of the doubt to a young man who at worst seems guilty of fully embracing the attention the popular media so willingly lavished upon him before they thought to check their facts. Listen up reporters, it’s not that freaking hard to find a matter of public record, i.e.) a death certificate.

For the record, I am not and have never been a Notre Dame fan. The closest I ever came to feeling an ounce of affection for the Fighting Irish was after watching Rudy. Frankly, I probably just liked Rudy because I had a residual crush on Sean Astin after Memphis Belle.  You think that’s bad? The very first crush I developed was on Knight Rider. Years later when I turned on the television and recognized Knight Rider on Baywatch, I was appalled and slightly disturbed by my tastes. I figure it is only fair to offer up those embarrassing tidbits for a post that discusses the humiliation of another.

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So why am I on his side? In the coming days his character might be blown to smithereens, but right now it feels better to give his honesty the benefit of the doubt. It’s so damn easy to kick people when they are down and make fun of people for no other reason than to make ourselves feel better. I’m guilty of both.

Just a few months ago, I might not have been so quick to empathize. But as someone who has witnessed a fake persona – whose existence was and probably still is supported by multiple people – in action, I can fully wrap my head around how easy it is to get duped online. Couple that with the ignorance of youth and a runaway media train, and how on earth do you set things right?

What happened here? Do we expect those in the public eye to have it all, less we realize there are chinks in their armor and they have real-people problems just like the rest of us? Did this talented athlete feel pressured to have a girlfriend, less his masculinity be challenged? Could this kid playing football nearly 5,000 miles from his home have just felt…lonely?

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Over the years, I have been asked multiple times why I did not have boyfriend. It was a shitty question with no graceful answer I could think of. Really, how do you answer that? I don’t have a boyfriend because I am unattractive. I don’t have a boyfriend because I have a boring personality. I don’t have a boyfriend because, though I have both good looks and a personality, there is something fundamentally wrong with me. Those options are all so ludicrous in their own way that the only response I could think of was another question. Why are you dating a guy you don’t really like all that much simply to say you have a boyfriend?

In hindsight, the answer to the question was hard to come up with because it was multi-faceted. Because I am an introvert who would rather take it all in than strike up a conversation. Because I lack the patience to deal with jokers – and I’ve met A LOT of jokers. Because it hurts to have your heart broken, and on the flip side, to break a heart. Because when Nicholas Sparks created Noah and Allie he set completely unrealistic yet very believable expectations that real love written in the cosmos will take everything you’ve got, yet someway, somehow, you still want more.

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This leads me to one last thing. (Is anyone still reading? If so, bless your patient heart.) Some time ago, I watched a news program that detailed the events surrounding the mistaken identity of the lone survivor of a tragic automobile accident that claimed the lives of a number of Taylor University students. To make a complicated story short, the woman who survived was first thought to be someone else. For months, this woman was taken care of by the family of her deceased peer, as they believed her to be their daughter. Eventually the truth was realized, and everyone was like, are you guys crazy? How could you not know your own daughter?

How? Because they were told by a team of medical professionals that a girl with a swollen, unrecognizable face of the same size and stature as their daughter was, in fact, their daughter. Because in the paraphrased words of the father who wanted to believe his daughter was alive, “we didn’t know we were supposed to be putting together a puzzle with all of these pieces.” Because they wanted to believe something so very badly, they found truth in the otherwise unbelievable.

At some point, haven’t we all?

Cauliflower MacCheese 021 Edited Comfort Food & Uncomfortable Situations: Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked macaroni (2 cups cooked)
  • 1 small to medium cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2⅓ cups milk
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) pepper cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Prepare the macaroni according to the package directions.
  2. While the pasta boils, cut the cauliflower into small florets and steam until tender.
  3. Place both the prepared macaroni and cauliflower in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Make sure both are very well drained before placing them into the dish.
  4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Whisk in the flour and cook the roux for two minutes, whisking constantly. The roux should develop a nice brown color.
  6. Next whisk in the milk and allow the mixture to thicken and come to a boil, about 7 minutes. Add the jalapeno, if using, while the mixture comes to a boil.
  7. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheeses until fully melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and the cauliflower and stir gently to thoroughly coat.
  9. Immediately before baking, sprinkle bread crumbs over the top.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned on top.
Notes
I used white pepper and a jalapeno pepper to flavor this dish. To eliminate the heat, omit the jalapeno and use Monterey Jack in place of pepper cheese. The multiple steps to prepare the pasta, cauliflower and sauce – combined with the baking time – made this dish a bit too intensive to whip up for a quick dinner. I prepared and assembled this dish the night before baking, covering and storing in the refrigerator. I added the bread crumbs immediately before baking.