Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rooster Sauce

It's amazing to me that after years of cooking for myself almost daily, I still often find new cooking techniques and new ingredients to fall in love with.  Right now my obsession is Sriracha sauce, a.k.a. Rooster Sauce, a Thai hot sauce.  I've been making a simple spicy stir fry sauce of 1 part Sriracha sauce, 3 parts reduced sodium tamari, and 3 parts rice wine vinegar (that is, 1 tsp: 1 tbsp: 1 tbsp).  I stir fry my main ingredients in Asian chili oil, hot toasted sesame oil, or peanut oil, then add my spicy stir fry sauce at the end.  It's so simple that it might seem silly to blog about, but if you eat as much stir fry as I do and Sriracha isn't one of your kitchen staples, go buy a bottle NOW!

Soba noodles, broccoli, and tofu with spicy stir fry sauce:

Soba noodles, red cabbage, and edamame with spicy stir fry sauce:

Brown rice sushi with various fillings, including a drizzle of Sriracha sauce:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Greens Risotto (a recommended recipe)

I visited my parents in Kansas City while I was on spring break from law school last week.  My first day at home, I noticed a recipe that my dad had printed off sitting on the dining room table.  It turned out to be Ina Garten's recipe for Spring Greens Risotto, a recipe that I had made last summer and LOVED.  My dad had picked it out for us to make for St. Patrick's Day dinner because of all the green veggies.  It was even better than I remembered, and we loved the bright citrus-flavor and creamy texture.  You can get the recipe here, but for your convenience I've also posted it below (with vegetable broth instead of chicken stock).

•  1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
•  1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
•  3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
•  1 cup chopped fennel
•  1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
•  2/3 cup dry white wine (I believe we used a Torrontes)
•   4 to 5 cups simmering vegetable broth (if you don't want to keep an extra pot simmering, that's okay, it just might take a little longer)
•  1 pound thin asparagus (make sure to trim off any thick, woody bottoms)
•  10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
•  1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
•  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•  2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
•  1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
•  1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving if desired (I didn't think it necessary)
•  3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the vegetable broth, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. (If you're wary of having several pots going on at once, you can cook the asparagus before you start the arborio rice).  Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese (optional).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy (early) St. Patrick's Day!

I swear I'm not gone for good.  Life has been crazy this semester, but it should be slowing down a bit soon.  I've been traveling twice a week for the past few months, so I haven't had time to do much cooking.  An illness in the family (he's all better now, thankfully!), visiting Boyfriend in Houston, and working on a motion to dismiss in a death penalty case have also been keeping me too busy (and sadly uninspired) to post anything worthwhile.  I'm feeling some inspiration coming back to me, though, so please stay tuned. 

For now, if you're looking for a St. Patrick's Day dessert, I wholeheartedly recommend my Chocolate Guinness Cake!  I'll be making it tomorrow upon my sister's request.