Any meal, anytime…how can I use THIS up?

For us, today is meal-planning and market day. We mostly plan dinners, eating leftovers the following day, or a salad or soup. At the end of the week we take stock: what didn’t we make? What made too much and needs to be used up?

Last week we tried a recipe for bacon and leek risotto. Even reducing the arborio by half, it was more than a meal’s worth for the two of us. So we tucked away the leftovers in the fridge with all good intentions. Here we are, Saturday, and that little package of risotto either must be used or thrown away. Sure, it could form the basis of a creamy rice soup. Or it could get buried in some casserole, or formed into patties and browned until slightly crisp on the outside, given that it has absorbed the liquid and sort of, well, solidified. But all that seemed boring. 

What about breakfast? I sautéed an onion, four mushrooms and a stalk of celery (all sliced or diced) with any leftover fresh herbs from the fridge, chopped. Then I tipped in the risotto (about a cup, for two) and a chopped tomato that was on its last day. A quick stir, and then I cracked in two eggs. On low heat with a lid, it took just 5 more minutes for a tasty medium poached breakfast bowl to be ready for each of us.

A grind of pepper on top and we are off to a healthy, happy start to our weekend!

Risotto Helps You Slow Down the Madness

Ah, Friday. I went down to Hooked to get some fish. But it was a complete madhouse. Yes, I admit it. I had worked four overtime type days and I wimped out and took the car (to be fair, I had more work waiting at home). Problem was, that was a stupid idea. I got down to Queen and there were no parking spots to be had.

What to do? Save Hooked for Saturday when I had more time, and make a nice barley and brown rice risotto. (I know, time consuming. But VERY therapeutic).

We opened a bottle of wine, and stirred away our stress. De-lish!

Warning! Slow Food Alert! Barley and Brown Rice Risotto

Once in awhile you just need to s-l-o-w down. The other night we had some fish we wanted to use to make a nice fish risotto. Just as in many places, it’s been raining. And raining. And raining. So when we opened the cupboard to discover that we didn’t have any risotto rice left (arborio, or canaroli, preferably), we were worried. What to do?

We did have some delicious short grain brown rice from Better Bulk. But it doesn’t really give enough starch to give the creaminess we like. We did have some pearl barley. Why not the two? So since we were in a kind of “use up what’s there” mode, we also threw in various veg that were in the fridge.We started by the usual risotto method – cooking the barley and rice in a little olive oil, with some onion, garlic, and carrots from Kelly’s. When it started to get translucent, but not toasted, we de-glazed with a little vermouth (but apple juice would work, if you prefer, or even a little vinegar).

Next, the rest of the veg – a bit of spinach that wouldn’t hold up another day for salad. A half tomato hiding in the fridge. Another half tomato with the nasty side cut off. And a little bell pepper and a few mushrooms.

All the while, keep adding liquid – for us, vegetable stock. Add a cup, stir. Keep simmering! Another cup…for barley and brown rice this might take an hour. Do it with a good friend or significant other. Play nice music. Drink some wine. It will be worth it!

When all was cooked down to creamy deliciousness, we stirred in the diced trout fillet, and a couple of spears of asparagus, broken into lengths. Soon it was done. Comfort food for a very un-spring-like day. A great meal to share.