Friday, November 11, 2011

30-minute Thursday: Mushroom risotto + spinach salad

More mushrooms, shown here in my adorable new baby cast iron pan (almost as cute as a kitten, isn't it, and I have an oval one too!  Shopping for Christmas presents, I nearly always find some little treat for myself; too much altruism in a shopping trip just isn't healthy).  This is almost the last of the mushrooms...but while I had them I thought I would try the mushroom risotto from Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes.

I don't make risotto much, but that is about to change.  This was fun and easy, and you get a great big bowl of warm, comforting deliciousness for a measly quarter cup of rice. 

I used, by the way, sushi rice rather than arborio.  I think I have some arborio rice, somewhere, probably at the very bottom of the freezer, but it would have taken me longer than 30 minutes to find it.  In any case, the sushi rice worked fine, and the risotto turned out soft and creamy (or oozy, as the recipe puts it).

This is Jamie Oliver's meal, slightly veganized, and without the dessert.  His recipe can be found here, with a video here, and the Web Goddess has done a very detailed step-by-step of the whole meal here.  I subbed almonzano (see sidebar for recipe) for the parmesan, and my salad was made with mixed greens, roasted red peppers, and pumpkin seeds because that's what I had around, rather than spinach, oil-packed sundried tomatoes, and pine nuts.  Andrea had suggested the pumpkin seed substitution; I liked it--the taste is milder than that of pine nuts and not as overpowering, and what I really wanted to taste in this meal was the risotto.

Which was incredible.  The genius part of it was that you start by grinding up a few dried mushrooms in the food processor (Jamie used porcini, but every dried porcini I've ever found has been full of grit so I don't cook with them anymore and only use them for stocks that I can strain--I used a mixture of dried mushrooms from here and there, mostly oysters).  So you get the dried-mushroom flavour, and the flavour from raw mushrooms that you stir into the risotto while it's cooking, and the grilled mushrooms that go on top as a garnish, so the whole dish is a soft, fragrant, mushroomy extravaganza!  (Sorry, mushroom haters; this recipe is not for you.)

The salad was basic but good...and I wanted something more with this meal.  The protein in it comes from the parmesan and the nuts in the salad and the hazelnut-cheese-based dessert, which I didn't make.  I felt like a few slices of tofu would have rounded it off nicely, something like this:

...which is basically one of the braised seitan marinades from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Authentic Chinese Cuisine, but with fresh yuba rather than seitan--and which will definitely be the subject of a future post very soon.  This was a Chinese-type meal from a few days ago, also mushroom-based.

But enough of mushrooms for now.  Today I'm taking some time to experiment with seitan, specifically to experiment with staining it with beet and maybe other vegetable juices, and to create if I can a tender steamed white pork-type seitan that can be, for instance, marinated in Korean barbecue spices and grilled or braised--that braised yuba is the kind of thing that makes me nearly swoon with its beauty and I'm eager to explore the technique.  Ooh, I'm excited!

I've been on holidays all this week, shopping at all my favorite food stores, stocking up for the winter which is fast approaching, making arrangements for the next steps in my home reno, getting ready for the holiday season (our family gets prepared for this stuff way early so we can just enjoy it later, stress-free) and generally doing all kinds of nesting-type activities.  Really, my ideal job would probably be as a housekeeper in some upper-middle-class Victorian household--if you hear of any openings, let me know--


  1. The risotto looks delicious! But I'm *really* intrigued by the yuba! It looks so.....succulent? Savory? Incredibly tasty? Give us the details!!!

  2. You make me WISH I didn't hate mushrooms, but I can't help it! However, I'm really looking forward to these yuba and Korean seitan posts of which you speak. And your cast iron pan is cute!

  3. Those mushrooms look fabulous! I love anything with mushrooms!

  4. Your mushroom risotto looks extraordinary. I've watched someone cook risotto, and bought the rice, but never got around to making it myself. All those mushrooms are what's making want to locate the rice and start stirring. I'm jealous you can find fresh yuba — I haven't located any here, yet so am stuck using the dried. I love the stuff!

  5. It almost looks like mushrooms with polenta, which also sounds delicious. I am a mushroom LOVER and all over this.