Tag Archives: Bob’s Red Mill

A Winter “Risotto”

15 Feb

It seems odd posting about winter dishes when it’s almost 90 degrees outside and looks like this:

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Ah, Southern California!

Whatever the temperature, it is still winter and for most of the country, a soul-warming bowl of goodness is a perfect dinner. Actually, this kind of dinner sounds wonderful to me even when it’s 90 degrees out.

Risotto ingredients

ingredients for winter risotto

Risotto used to make me nervous. I read over and over that it was very difficult, that you have to stir it constantly, never leaving the stove; if you look away for a nanosecond, it’s ruined. Oh and chances are whatever you do, you will ruin it.

Total BS. Risotto is pretty easy to make.  You do not have to stir it continually or even watch it constantly. True, this isn’t stew which you can leave for hours and never look in the pot but you can be in the kitchen doing other things and not be scared your risotto will get messed up. I assure you: once you make a risotto, you will make it over and over again. You probably already have on hand what you need to make a basic risotto, the variations from the basic recipe are almost infinite and risotto tastes so damn good!  It’s also great to learn because this dish is a perfect meal any time of year. Spring and Summer risottos, for instance, with fresh vegetables from the garden or the Farmer’s Market are divine.

Let me then give you a wonderful recipe. But first, a few notes on my winter risotto:

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Christmas Cassoulet Cookoff

11 Dec

Who, me? All I want for Christmas is some Cassoulet!

cassoulet-oie-frais

Cassoulet in a cassole

Cassoulet is a marvelous dish, a slow-cooked, one pot meal with a little bit of everything that is as deeply satisfying as it is incredibly tasty. Named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, Cassoulet originated in the south of France as a peasant dish: let’s take a lot of leftovers or ingredients we need to use before they go bad, throw them together in a big pot and make a hearty meal. Which means, of course, what goes in a cassoulet differs from region to region and kitchen to kitchen.

Which also means with good ingredients, cassoulet is difficult to screw up! 

cassoulet-history_HomeMedium

Cassoulet from Dartagnan.com

(For a brief and wonderful history of the dish, check out an excellent post on Dartagnan.com by clicking here)

Over the years, ‘definitive’ versions of the dish have emerged, with fancier ingredients than the peasant origins. I doubt, for instance, the first cassoulet contained Duck Confit and/or the expensive Tarbais bean. Nevertheless, for the adventurous cook, these more ‘upscale’ versions are a blast to make, with mouth-watering results. 

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