Thursday, December 01, 2005

Risotto and Olives

(in the same entry, not the same dish) ... This afternoon, Celeste was down for her nap when I got home, so I took advantage of the break to quickly rake the front yard. Thursday is our day for the city to come along and vacuum up the leaves, and this was supposed to be the last week of pickups, which is one of the reasons we came back from Louisiana on Saturday. However, my Sunday raking was all for naught as the fronts that pushed through Tuesday pulled a bunch more leaves off the trees ... and a ton of leaves remain up there, which is why I'm glad to see that the city is extending the leaf collections into January. But I digress ... while she napped, I cleaned up the front yard and had time left over to get a head start on dinner.

When Celeste and I went to the grocery on Tuesday, I picked up some green peppers. Evelin and I had talked about having risotto this week and I thought it'd be nice to have risotto-stuffed peppers. For the risotto, I decided on a mix of wild mushrooms (I had a package of dried mushrooms, so it was an easy decision to make) and got to work. Just as I was about to start the soffritto, I thought I heard something from Celeste over the baby monitor. I paused, but no further noise, so I dove in to the cooking. That worked out okay, until I heard Lamba's rattle about 10 minutes later ... with about two minutes to go before it was time to release the pressure on the pressure cooker.

Fortunately, Celeste was entertaining herself and never started crying and I was able to finish up the risotto. In fact, she was glad: While changing her diaper, I casually mentioned that risotto was on the menu for lunch for her and she screamed with glee and almost flung herself off the changing table.

(Skipping forward to later, the peppers turned out pretty good, especially the nice crust of parmesan that I melted on top of each of them, although the risotto itself was on the weak side. I used a new vegetable stock concentrate and it was a little watery ...)

As for the olives, I've mentioned before my fondness for gin and bleu cheese-stuffed olives. Also during our Tuesday run to make groceries, Celeste and I picked up some olives. The olive cart at our regular grocery has been upended and there are only a few varieties of olives still available (and sadly none of them are stuffed with bleu cheese), so I picked up a bottle of olives. Bad, bad decision. I read the label, not the ingredients.

That evening, I wasted a bit of The Quintessential dry gin in discovering that the olives were stuffed with "imitation blue cheese." Whatever that is, it certainly isn't edible.

So, when Celeste and I made a run to Whole Foods this afternoon, I picked up a bottle of Divina blue cheese stuffed olives ... much better. The olives are little crunchier than I like, but the cheese taste is good and it goes well with the cold Quintessential ...

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