So I make risotto. A lot. Once I figured how easy it was to make (assuming you pay attention to your pot) I was in love. Count the chopping on ingredients and all it’s probably a 45 minute meal, but one well worth it. I love that you can pretty much make as much or as little as you want–I opt for more because it’s great as left overs. Some recipes use cream and lots of butter, but (forgetting about the mass of white rice) I think mine’s pretty healthy. One of my favorite things is in addition to the normal onion and garlic, you can really chock it full of veggies. Almost all of my risotto recipes end with some greens being stirred in at the last minute. Spinach is one of my favorites, but I also love kale, chard, mustard greens, and in this case Bok Choy.
I had the best intentions of cooking fish last night. I had to run some errands in the city and would be right by Whole Foods so would be able to pick some up. But like always the day got away from me and afternoon became evening and I knew my plans were foiled. I had some beautiful leeks in the fridge and instantly thought of risotto. But with not much else in the kitchen, I needed some inspiration. I googled “leek risotto” and came across Bon Appetit’s amazing recipe for Bacon and Leek Risotto with Poached Egg. I was immediately in love.
Growing up as a kid, I was a Kraft Mac & Cheese girl all the way. I had a very discerning palate and if someone tried to feed me Velveta or worse–store brand–well, let’s just say I wasn’t a happy camper. I soon learned the error of my ways (though still rely on Annie’s Mac & Cheese for a quick dinner or lunch). There’s just something about all that artery clogging gooey cheese and cream that makes me happy. I seek out Mac & Cheese at places like S’MAC, Dumont Burger and Artisanal. But the stuff I make at home, that is truly my favorite spin on Mac & Cheese is actually healthy! That’s right–no cream or butter, yet still super creamy thanks to one special ingredient.
I love, love LOVE pasta. If I’m really lazy, I eat it “plain” with some olive oil, garlic, salt and maybe some Parmesan cheese. But otherwise I’m a sauce kind of gal. Pesto works great or gravy. But I don’t like plain old tomato sauce. It has to have something to jazz it up a bit. And jazzed up sauce takes time, so like most things I cook in bulk. Gravy is super easy to freeze and defrost, so generally around this time of year, before it gets too cold, I make a few giant pots of Bolognese. This year I made a veggie version, but my real go to is a nice meaty sauce. If I can get it, I add ground pork and veal, but otherwise plain old ground beef works just fine.
You were waiting for the cider braised pork recipe, weren’t you? Too bad! One more day to wait. I figured I’d build up the anticipation and share the main event and desserts last. So you’ll just have to continue reading. Serving a bunch of Irishmen (and women) potatoes were an obvious choice. I could have probably just served the gratin and been golden, but greens are important too! I try to follow the three part meal–one quarter protein, one quarter carbs, one half greens. Or sometimes it ends up being more like three quarters greens, of a variety. But enough chit chat, on to the recipes!