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Monday, October 26, 2009

As if...

As if we haven't been eating since September 16th...

As if we've been eating only hot dogs and/or take-out...

As if the blog no longer exists...

As if!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As you know, this blog began with the basic premise: home-cooked meals need not be laborious nor do they need to be made using 15 different exotic ingredients, etc. It was designed to show you (and maybe myself) that cooking for your family should be - could be - quick and easy while also nutritious and interesting. Sometimes you get lucky and it's all of the above. Sometimes, I tend to get more involved in a meal or a recipe and sometimes I just plain order in.

But these past few weeks have been intense and overall I've been tired. That's not to say that I have neglected family meal time. As if I ever would. It's not to say that we've not eaten healthy meals. As if that would last in my house? And certainly, the fact that I haven't posted anything on the blog in more than a month has weighed heavily on my brain...I felt as if I had abandoned a project.

But tonight, I've mustered the energy to write.



Two weekends ago it was cold and my body cried out for something warm and comforting. That day I had a bolt of energy and made grandma's mac and cheese http://meredithsfoodforlife.blogspot.com/2008/09/grandmas-baked-mac-and-cheese-recipe.html followed by a roast chicken http://meredithsfoodforlife.blogspot.com/2008/10/roast-for-any-night-recipe.html which I simply carved to use as dinner later in the week. Then I made corn bread (from the box!!! but ohh soo good!) and then I made cupcakes for the girl scout troop's meeting the following day and THEN I made dinner! We had Butternut Squash Risotto with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Calvados. It was really good and as usual, it stuck to my ribs. (Recipe follows below)



This past weekend, I made a roast pork braised in red wine with carrots. This happens to be one of the best pork recipes ever. It's very simple and looks fantastic but it's not my recipe - it's Marcella Hazan's. Somehow she has managed to make the most amazing meals feel completely do-able. Some celebrity chefs don't do that...they take a simple meal and find ways to completely complicate it. Not Marcella.



And tonight I stood in front of the refrigerator like my five year old wondering: what on earth should I make for dinner? It's as if I had forgotten how to be creative. AS IF! Inspiration came quickly and I made linguine with spinach-fontina sausage, heirloom tomatoes, and edamame. Colorful, fresh, flavorful, and easy. (heat 1/4 c. olive oil, saute 4 mined garlic cloves and 1 tsp. fresh rosemary for 2 min., add 1 lb. sliced sausage from Trader Joe's, cook med./high for 6-7 min., add 1/4 c. vermouth and allow to bubble, add 10 oz. sliced baby heirloom tomatoes, saute 4 min., add 1/2 c. shelled edamame and pour over hot cooked linguine)

I say it's not as if you have to grow your own food to be a good home cook. And it's not as if you have to make coq au vin or lobster newberg each night of the week to be a good home cook. You simply have to act as if you are a good home cook and soon your home cooking will be just as you wish!

Butternut Squash Risotto with Prosciutto and Calvados
1 1/2 c. risotto
1 Tbsp. butter + 1 Tbsp. for later
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. diced prosciutto
2 large shallots minced
1 small-med butternut squash, chopped into 8 pieces
fresh sage (about 2 Tbsp.)
fresh rosemary (about 2 Tbsp)
1 lb. fresh asparagus tips
1/2 c. calvados
8 oz. chicken stock
14 oz. broth
1/2 c. grated pecorino

In a small saucepan, warm the stock and broth over low heat.

In a large heavy pot, heat oil and butter till foamy. Add in the shallots and saute about 3 minutes over medium high heat. Add in the prosciutto and saute about 6 minutes till fat has simmered off. Add in the fresh herbs and the rice. Saute the rice, stirring often, about 3-4 minutes till well coated with the fat. Add in the calvados and stir well. After the liquid is somewhat absorbed, add ladles of the broth to the rice and stir well. Do not leave risotto on the stove unattended - you'll be unhappy with the result. Constant stirring is needed. Add ladles of broth as the previous one becomes absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a large pot with a steamer attachment, pour about 1 cup of water into the bottom and place a steamer tray over the water. Turn on the heat to high, add the butternut squash and cover the pot. Check the squash about 10 minutes later (be very careful opening the lid!). Remove as long as it's very soft to the fork. Allow squash to cool slightly and peel meat away from the flesh. Mash meat with a fork and add to the risotto. Stir well.

In the microwave, steam the asparagus tips for about 4-5 minutes. Drain and add to the risotto.

Once all the liquid has been absorbed, the risotto should be very creamy and pasty. Be sure and taste to ensure rice is soft enough. Turn off the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the cheese and mix well.


1 comment:

VINCENT said...

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