Adventures in Composting (or not)
As I begin writing a blog entry about my compost pile, the mind numbing absurdity of the topic becomes evident. Do my readers really want to know about rotting vegetables, worms, rats and noxious smells? Do I even want readers who want to know about rotting vegetables, worms, rats and noxious smells? I think we can all agree the answer is “NO”.
Suffice it to say I’ve started a compost pile. I’ll be making dirt. End of subject.
Now on to a delicious topic.
The bounty has started marching from the backyard into my kitchen and I scored with tonight’s dinner: Saffron Risotto with Lemon Basil and Roasted Summer Squash. I have been inspired to vary from traditional recipe format to tell a story of today’s recipe.
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick celery
- 1/4 onion
- bunch of parsley
- smashed garlic clove
- bay leaf
- 6 cups water
- big pinch of salt
- several grinds of pepper
Boil, boil toil and trouble. Not from this magic brew though. I have found an absolute perfect way to make any broth called for in a recipe. Just chop up a few extra basic vegetables (carrots, celery etc.) to combine with peelings from the vegetables to be used in the final dish. Add some herbs, cover with water, simmer away and everyone is happy. So easy and economical!
- 4-6 cups yellow squash and zucchini chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
Toss squash and zucchini with the olive oil. Apply fire and brimstone (or put the veggies on an indoor grill pan like I did) sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once or twice until tender.
- 1/2 onion finely diced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 big pinch saffron
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup lemon basil chopped
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated – plus a bit more for sprinkling on individual servings
Once upon a time, pearly Arborio rice joined a snappy onion sautéed in butter and oil. White wine came along and scented the duo with its fruity fragrance. A pinch of saffron added its exotic nuance and then torrents of broth bathed the whole mèlange over and over and over and over while a wooden spoon kept up a dizzying dance of circles, figure eights, and zig zags. Seeking perfection, the rice drank all of the elixir and transcended its former dull existence to reach nirvana, otherwise known as al dente. Vibrant cherry red tomatoes and summer green herbs jumped in to enliven the golden hued porridge. A dusting of nutty, cheesy goodness, a few grinds of black pepper and happily ever after is just around the bend.
To serve: Mound a portion of the risotto on a serving dish and top with the grilled zucchini. If you are feeling particularly indulgent, sprinkle with more grated cheese. Eat, enjoy and then go forth to live happily ever after.
Silly yes, but somewhat more entertaining for the writer than the traditional recipe format.
Would you call me irresponsible if I admit that I forgot the garlic in the preceding recipe for Redemption Soup? If you are reading this note before you begin the recipe, throw a smashed clove of garlic in the blender with the vegetables. If you have already made it and loved it then don’t even give it a second thought.