for those who are in or around sane

Saturday, March 27

time, farmers market, "risotto," and wine

time's a funny thing. i really thought the last time i wrote on here was about a pizza that i had a month back that was particulary impressive. however, it appears i neglected that entry... and many, many others i should have created in the meantime.

i'm not "rushed" or "busy," per se, but i am well-scheduled and slightly sleep-deprived. this past week i spent more on take-out than i care to admit, and by today (farmer's market day), i absolutely itched for real, homemade, healthy food.

i did schedule time for the bi-monthly, winterized, green city market. i missed the last one due to illness and, consequently, my craving for mushrooms suffered greatly. i know i've talked about it before, but i really do love the farmers markets here. i can't get the variety of goodies in the winter that i splurge on in the summer. but, i adore the fresh criminis & eggs, sampling cheese & butter, trying new meat (bison!) and stocking up on onions & potatoes. today i saw a few fresh little green things... i had hoped for asparagus, but i settled for scallions. wee, little, sweet-smelling scallions. i'm very excited to put them on my eggs for tomorrow's breakfast (along w/ some real, greek feta). but i couldn't wait that long!

there's a tub in my cabinet that holds both white and red quinoa. i haven't opened it in a shamefully long time. turns out quinoa is very shelf-friendly! i figured it would be healthier and more filling to use quinoa as my grain, so i played around with a recipe i was inspired by on epicurious. it's called a quinoa risotto, but they dont tell you to cook it like a risotto. i'm actually not a fan of risottos (too creamy and mooshy when done incorrectly), but i figured using a less-starchy grain would actually appeal to me. i also cooked it like risotto, to cultivate at least a little creaminess.

you can sub almost anything into it. next time i'll add some pinenuts, and possibly feta for the parmesan. i had no white wine (sacrelidge! good thing i work the wine store today and will pick some up for future use), so i used all stock, but you can go halvsies, stock-to-wine.

quinoa risotto

2 cups [chicken] stock (or 1 stock, 1 dry white wine)
1 cup quinoa (i used halfsies red & white), rinsed VERY well
1 cup diced mushrooms (farmers market fresh!)
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup diced fennel
1/4 cup diced celeriac
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tbsps chopped scallions
1/4 cup parmesan (i used medium-ground, fresh)
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (i did 1 tbsp oil and 1/2 tbsp reserved bacon fat for extra flavor)

in a large pot with a lid, saute the onion, mushrooms, fennel, and celeriac in the olive oil for a few minutes, until the onions just turn translucent. add the garlic and salt & pepper to taste. stir to incorporate. add the quinoa to the pot and stir. let the mixture saute further for a few minutes, to toast up the quinoa a bit and mingle the flavors.

add 1 cup of the liquid (if using wine, use that first, to burn off the alcohol). bring to a boil, and turn the heat to low to simmer for 10 min, covered. add the last cup of liquid, bring to a boil and cover to simmer for another 10 min. uncover and stir to be sure quinoa is cooked through (you'll see little curly-cues everywhere).

remove from heat and add in the parmesan, stirring well. serve in bowls, and top with scallions. it makes about 3 - 4 reasonably sized (re: small; quinoa is a hearty grain) bowls .

this dish was easy & quick to cook, made me very, very happy, and kept me reasonably full for the duration of my wine store shift - not a small feat; i have to (oh yes, have to) taste the products for quality and knowledge. this one may become a staple in my regular rotation. i'm not sure if i'm brave enough to fix it for guests, though. we'll see though; if it passes the mom & sister test (kinda like "mikey likes it"), i'm set.