Tag Archives: winter greens

Kale Risotto with Blue Cheese and Raised Beds!

9 Mar

Hi Everyone!

Now that I am a homeowner I am discovering that I have a whole new relationship with Spring. Every morning Jo and I tour our yard and celebrate the little buds that indicate another favorite plant survived the cold winter. I find myself more in tune with the needs of the plants too. What first seemed like a completely foreign and overwhelming garden that came with the house is starting to make sense to me. I see where the plants need cutting back, with guidance from Jo and my mom! I can tell which plants are weeds and have cuts all over hands and Home Depot refuse bags lined up to prove it. As a renter, I always thought spring was nice enough, but the yard was someone else’s problem. It was flip-flop weather that excited me. This gardening thing is a whole new bug!

To top if off, we have just built 100 square feet of raised beds that are just waiting for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and a whole lot of herbs that we got this weekend at the Sunshine Community Garden plant sale. Furthermore, raised beds are springing up all over our sweet little corner of the world and we are conspiring with our neighbors what to plant when and leaning heavy on Jalene and Aaron down the street for guidance. They have done this before and they are good!  I woke up this morning and grabbed the seed catalogue to learn more about what these plants need and have played with the layout a million times on our kitchen table, where our starts sit, while we wait for the nights to get warm enough to plant them. I can hardly wait to eat the first tomato grown in our very own garden and I am sure I will tell you and anyone who will listen about it!

Now, for the food… I have chicken stock on right now and anytime I make stock, I make risotto. There is something very satisfying about putting some of that good stock to immediate use! So, in celebration of the last of the winter greens, I am adding kale to the dish today. There are few foods that I love more than a well made risotto. It can be an intimidating dish, but all it takes is time and a little patience, and it its well worth it. It is important to use the arborio rice. It is a short grain from Italy and the key to making creamy risotto. Enjoy!

Kale Risotto

1 T butter

onion, chopped fine

arborio rice

wine (white is typically used, but we had red on hand, so that is what I went with and it was a good move!)

chicken stock, warm

salt

pepper

kale, chopped fine

2 oz parmesan cheese, grated

thinly sliced Velhuizen Bosque Blue Cheese

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until they are translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the rice and stir constantly until the grains take on a pearly look (about 7 minutes). Add white wine and cook stirring constantly until it is mostly absorbed. I keep my chicken stock in a pot on warm and add to the rice with a ladle. Once the rice has absorbed the wine, start adding chicken stock a ladle full at a time. And stir, stir, stir. The stirring causes the rice to release some of its starch, which is what makes risotto so creamy and delicious. Keep adding the heated stock and stir every few minutes. Once the risotto has reached the desired doneness, add chopped kale and it will wilt right into the dish. Stir in parmesan cheese. Serve in bowls and garnish with shaved blue cheese.

Update on the Challenge

We are still truckin’ along 6 months into the challenge. One happy thing that we have noticed is that the jeans we have been wearing since the beginning of the the challenge, are now baggy on us and that is pretty fun. I can’t believe that it has been half of a year since we stepped foot into an Austin restaurant. I am starting to feel pretty out of it as far as the new restaurants go. I can’t wait to try Haddingtons, Barley Swine, Foreign and Domestic and a handful of others. Readers, tell me what I am missing and what needs to be added to my list! This next 6 months will fly by and we will be back on the scene in before we know it. Jo’s first stop will be Tamale House.

The last couple of weeks,  cooking wise, have been devoted to perfecting my pork recipe for The Pork Experiment, put on by The Food Experiments and Brooklyn Brewry. The cook-off is this Sunday, March 13 and starts at 12. The stakes are high as there are a whole boat load of prizes and a trip to Brooklyn on the line. I am in it to win it and would love to see you all out there. There will be 20+ participants and the cost is $20 to attend. If you think about it, that is just a dollar for every taste of porky goodness. Sounds like a deal to me!

The raised beds are a new dimension of sustainability for us. The beds were really simple to build. Just untreated lumber with braces screwed in on the corners. The Natural Gardner delivered the dirt and we got a ton of plants last weekend at the Sunshine Community Garden plant sale. I will keep you posted on the progress of growing our own food.

As always thanks for reading!

Not that Martha

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Romaine and Fennel Salad with a Poached Egg

19 Jan

Hello All!

I hope that the holidays and new year are treating you all well and that life is good.

Though I have taken a break from writing, from cooking I have not. I have been working on a lot of new recipes that I am so excited to share. I am committed to writing a post a week and getting these ideas out to you all.

I spent a little chunk of my morning at Boggy Creek, a ritual I relish. The produce is heavenly and there is always the promise of a hug from Larry and good conversation that stretches my brain a little more. This morning, my friend, Barrie, conspired with me on this fresh winter salad. The carrots have given way to lettuces that are almost too beautiful to eat. I couldn’t resist the red and green romaine. The fennel was at the welcome table and irresistible. Fennel and citrus are perfect partners in crime. I let mine soak in some grapefruit juice and the tart and bitter of the grapefruit play very nicely with the perfume of the fennel. The egg is key here because when the velvety yolk breaks over the salad all is right in the world. If you are able to get your hands on a farm fresh egg, please do. The deep yellow-orange yolk puts supermarket eggs to shame. It is worth what you will spend in time and money to get these little gems. It’s good. Real real good.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe. Stay tuned for some heartier recipes coming soon!

Romaine and Fennel Salad with a Poached Egg

(serves 2)

1 head, romaine lettuce

1/2 bulb, fennel

1/2 grapefruit, juice

2 farm eggs, poached

1 handful, pepitas (or other seed)

Maldon or other flakey salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the lettuce and make sure it is nice and dry. Shave fennel or cut thin and pour grapefruit juice over while you do the rest. The fennel will soak up the grapefruit flavor. To poach an egg, bring salted water to a gentle simmer with 1 T of vinegar. The vinegar helps the egg whites stay together. Crack the eggs into separate bowls. Once the water reaches a gentle simmer, swirl the water with a wooden spoon and gently pour one egg at a time into the water. The swirling water keeps the eggs in motion and doesn’t allow them to drop to the bottom. Let the eggs cook for 5-6 minutes if your eggs are room temperature. Add a minute if they come straight from the fridge. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let rest on a towel. To assemble the salad, chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces, top lettuce with shaved fennel, drizzle a little of the remaining juice over the lettuce. Top the fennel with the poached egg. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and pepitas.

Challenge Update

Well, its official, I am SICK of my clothes. On pretty much every level of wardrobe, I am sick of mine. I was daydreaming this morning about finding some fun, new socks in my drawer, to no avail… It might be time to break out one of the white t-shirts I put aside at the beginning of this challenge. It could do wonders.

I can’t believe that we are nearly 5 months into this, that means nearly half way through.

On the food front, the seasons are really keeping us on our toes and enthusiastic about cooking. I can’t stop making slaws right now. Slaw as a side, on fish tacos, veggie burgers,  with avocado in it. I love it. I recieved a fabulous Indian cookbook for Christmas and can’t wait to dig into some curries and paneer and you know what? I will probably put slaw on that too.

Work has taken Jo to Houston recently and she has taken me, so we have had the pleasure of dining out. We were thrilled and a little in awe at the reality of having menus in our hands and someone else doing the dishes. Eating out was great, but we were both anxious to get home and back to our routine. On the last day of our trip I couldn’t stop thinking about the cauliflower sitting in our fridge. Something we both noticed is how much better we feel when we are eating at home. We have been away from restaurants for long enough now to notice a major difference in how we feel when we know where our food is coming from and exactly what is going into it. I’ll say this, in our time in Houston, we took more Tums than we have in the last 4 months combined. Capice? That alone has been worth the journey.

Thank you all for reading!

Not That Martha