Saturday, October 8, 2011

Buddha's Hat & risotto recipe

View from the kitchen sink.
Dear Kindred Spirits,
     I'm not sure if you have a Buddha living at your house, but if he lives outside like ours, it might be time to get him geared up for winter.  First, find an acorn squash at the grocery store, or if you're really lucky, at the farmers market.  Look for one with a funky stem.  Cut the top of the squash so that the circumference is about 3 inches across.  It'll look like a flower looking down at it.  Now find a sunny windowsill and let this part dry for a few weeks.  You'll see over time, how it'll curl in on itself and form a bit of a 'hat'.  When it's almost dry, put it on Buddha's head for a form fit.  The final results will be very satisfying and make you laugh every time you look at it.  Maybe the local squirrels will discover it too, it won't interrupt the joy factor in the long run.
     Risotto Recipe; all measurements are approximate.  Peel the above mentioned acorn squash, take out seeds and boil or bake until done but firm.  You'll know it's ready when you mash it and it'll break down but still have lumps in it.  Lumps are yummy.  Add vegetable or chicken broth so that you have about 5 cups of liquid in all, simmering.  In a large cast iron cooking pot, fry an onion and 5-6 cloves of garlic.  When well cooked pour in about 1/2 cup of white wine.  Now pour in about 1.5 or 2 cups of Arborio rice (also known as sushi rice), these are fatter and rounder grains.  Stir the rice into the wine, onion and garlic mixture until the rice is translucent, about 2-3 minutes.  Then add about a 1/2 cup of your squash liquid, keep stirring, as it thickens, add more liquid when it gets goopy.  This is the basic combination; keep adding liquid until it's all gone and the rice is tender in a kind of sauce - a long process without a glass of wine.  It's good to have and use lots of liquid to make your risotto nice and gooey.  As the rice reaches it's right texture, add grated cheese.  We like to use Cheddar, blue cheese or Swiss or a combination. This usually makes a large pot so the second night you can make risotto cakes by making patties, dipping them in bread crumbs and frying.  Top with pesto/sour cream sauce.  Asparagus is a nice side dish.

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