All rain and no sun makes this foodie a nasty grouch. I'm tired of looking at these bare trees. A month ago I was still able to appreciate their stark beauty, but now they just look like they're taunting me. I started this blog in the dead of winter, but now I want to start incorporating some cheerful outdoor shots into my posts! There's only so much inspiration I can get from chilly winds and dull grey skies.
There's also this other thing that's making me grumpy. Usually DH and I like to take one "honeymoon" trip every year - you know, while we can (no kids, yet!). Well, this year we started to think about our annual vacation, and what with this recession raising its ugly head, we've basically decided to go on a "budget" vacation. Ugh. Look, call me high maintenance or whatever, but I used to think that going on vacation meant getting away from it all, including worrying about the budget! Don't get me wrong, I do agree that this year we have to cut back, but that doesn't mean I can't gripe about it, right? I'll do the right thing, but I'll do it kicking and screaming dammit! *Sigh* ... oh don't worry, this is just a phase. It's called "initial resistance" - I'll be a happy camper (it's just a phrase, I will not go camping as my much-needed annual vacation, so please don't suggest it dear readers!) once we decide on a place that really speaks to us. I'm open to suggestions! It just needs to be in the continental US. I have a feeling you're a well-traveled lot, my dear readers, so spill.
To make up for the lack of green outside, I went and brought some for my insides - gorgeous, leafy swiss chard. I came across this good-looking recipe that Brys posted on Cookthink (me likey this site a LOT), and decided that this was a great way to not only use up the chunk of leftover gorgonzola I had in my fridge, but also a delicious way to use this chock-full of nutrients veggie. Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and K, carotenes, chlorophyll, and fiber. It's also rich in several minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Then there's vitamin B6, protein, calcium, thiamine, selenium, zinc, niacin, and folic acid ... *whew* - that was a mouthful. I just think it's purrdy.
Risotto With Chard, Gorgonzola & Walnuts (original recipe on Cookthink; I made some changes)
1 cup arborio rice
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5 cups vegetable broth
Half a bunch swiss chard, washed, sliced into thin strips
1/2 crumbled gorgonzola (or more, per your taste)
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Half a lemon, zested
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Set the vegetable stock to boil. When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat so that it's simmering.
2. Toast the chopped walnuts in a tsp of oil, and keep aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions till transparent, then cook the chopped garlic in there for another minute.
4. Add the rice, and stir about for 1-2 mins, till all the grains are coated with the oil.
5. Pour in a ladle full of the simmering broth, and keep stirring occasionally till the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Do this until the rice starts to soften, 8-10 mins.
6. Stir in the strips of swiss chard, and continue with adding one ladle at a time of the broth, waiting for the liquid to absord between each time, until the rice becomes tender. Another 10 mins.
7. Finally, throw in the toasted walnuts, gorgonzola, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Stir for another 2 mins, then you're done! Best to eat this right away, which shouldn't be too hard.
Verdict: I felt really good about this recipe. Maybe it was all those nutrients coarsing through my clogged veins. Maybe it was simply delicious. It's definitely a keeper, and I'll make it again when chard is in its peak season. There are no real spices in this dish, so you have to make sure your ingredients are flavorful enough to really shine through. The crunch of the walnuts is a really special touch here. Nothing like a successful kitchen experiment to get me out of my funk! Oh, and the fact that DH liked it too (enough to have seconds), well, that's just sweet sweet icing.
The first time I tried out this dish, there was still snow on the ground ... which wasn't that long ago!