I’m not quite sure why I decided to do it but I finally did.
I made risotto.
That little box of arborio rice has been sitting in my pantry for a few months now. Untouched. Hidden away.
While I love to zoom in on risotto in restaurants, the thought of making it had always seemed so daunting. Too complicated. And turns out, it wasn’t.
Here I should explain that the risotto I cooked would probably appall any Italian. I just used whatever I had in my fridge and pantry which meant no wine, no Parmesan, essential ingredients for a good risotto! Instead I made a simple shiitake mushroom peas and edamame risotto with Gouda cheese. And yeah the edamame and peas were the frozen kind. Then I added a little lime juice (no lemons on hand) for a hint of extra freshness. Sorry, it’s an iphone photo.
Yet it turned out well! It was tasty and creamy and just the perfect lunch for a rainy day. It didn’t take too long to cook either, as long as it usually takes me to cook rice porridge, except with a bit more stirring and tasting (with rice porridge it’s better when soft but risotto really needs to be al dente).
I was glad I gave risotto a try! I’m definitely going to try out different ingredients next time. Prawns and peas. Butternut squash. Asparagus and mushrooms. Plenty of ideas to try!
Another kitchen experiment this week was the cooking of Brussels sprouts for the first time. Brussels sprouts don’t really feature in Asian cooking and I can count the number of times I’ve eaten them on one hand. An absolutely yummy brown butter version at Perbacco, an Italian restaurant in San Francisco, in particular stands out. It made me want more! So I tried to replicate that, with plenty of garlic, butter and some lime juice (I really need to get lemons). It was great. And wee reader enjoyed it so much he had it three dinners in a row.
Another first was our Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been in the US for three thanksgivings so far. The first was at a lovely Chinese restaurant with friends (foie gras fried rice!), the second at another friend’s house for a potluck dinner, complete with turkey, Chinese roast meats and a ridiculous number of desserts. The next year we were in Singapore and so no Thanksgiving there. This year we went a different route and invited a few other Singaporeans over for a hotpot dinner. A hotpot meal isn’t as complicated as a turkey dinner. Chop up the vegetables (here I used napa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, bunashimeiji, carrots), dice the tofu, set out the presliced meats (beef and black pork) and other assorted items from the supermarket like an oden set, cuttlefish and fish balls, fish cakes. And of course prepare the broths – we had picked up a dual pot from the Asian supermarket so two broths were needed – one was a miso-based soup and the other more of a vegetable stock. On hindsight I would’ve liked to have something more spicy, maybe a tom yum soup type thing. And to finish, an almond jelly with longan.
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