Asparagus + leek +  mushroom risotto

  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 5 cups water
  • .5 large onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1 bunch asparagus, grilled at 400F for 10 minutes
  • .5 cup dried mushrooms, reconstituted
  • salt, pepper, parmesan to taste
  1. Saute the onion until golden brown.
  2. Add rice; stir dreamily for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the first 3 cups of water one by one, stirring regularly and replenishing the liquid as soon as it starts getting puny.  I know that this seems like a nuisance–but it won’t be, really, if you’re chopping the leeks and watching Rachel Maddow along the way.
  4. Dump in another cup of water, along with the leeks and mushrooms.
  5. You will know when the final cup is needed, just as everything is starting to look almost done.
  6. Top with asparagus and parmesan.

Monday kicked my butt.  I actually thought I was masking my scatter-brainedness rather well with a carefully choreographed series of motions and scripted exchanges delivered at strategically chosen times over the course of the day… until I tried to make dinner.  And washed an onion.  And, while opening a can of garbanzo beans, got splashed with bean juice both on the forehead and, intriguingly, up by my left elbow under a long sleeve. And then sat down to write about it and typed “eggplant” with two ts.  And typed “typed” with two ps.

But you know what’s great about eggplantt and leeks and cracked wheat and garbanzo beans?  You really can’t go wrong, even with markedly diminished cognitive skills.  For that, on a night like this, I’m most grateful.

Cracked wheat with eggplant + leeks + garbanzo beans

  • 1 cup cracked wheat
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 Chinese eggplant
  • 1 leek
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can tomato sauce (my cupboard suggested “Spanish style” and I didn’t argue)
  1. I sauteed the cracked wheat in some olive oil just because that made me happy.  Then the water joined the party, and it all boiled and then simmered for some 20 minutes or so.
  2. In the meantime, I sauteed the onion and eggplant in a separate skillet, all the while getting rather distracted by The Daily Show.  So, I think I added oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper.  It kind of tasted like I had.
  3. Then, when the eggplant and onions became soft, the leeks and tomatoes went in for an additional couple of minutes.  And lastly, after the forehead + elbow splash incident, the garbanzos jumped in.
  4. And then we ate and were happy.

Colcannon

December 22, 2009



We marked the solstice with colcannon.  An Irish dish–albeit loosely interpreted–somehow seemed suitable for the shortest day of the year, since the Irish strike me as folks who know a thing or two about darkness.

Colcannon

  • 5-6 medium red potatoes
  • 1 turnip
  • 1/2 rutabaga
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cut into strips
  • 1/2 bunch kale, cut into strips
  • 1 medium leek, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk or kefir
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the potatoes, parsnip, and rutabaga in a pot of boiling water until soft.
  2. Drain; mash with buttermilk and a touch of salt.
  3. In a separate pot, saute the onion for 2-3 minutes.  Add the cabbage, kale, salt, pepper, and a splash of water; steam on low heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Toss in the leek and cumin; cook for another 2 minutes.

Now, you can simply serve the cabbage+kale+leek mixture on top of the mashed roots.  I happened to also want some black beans + paprika (prepared along these lines)–and yes, a poached egg, for a touch of sunshine on this darkest, longest of nights.