Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Glad To Be Home & Tucking In To This Risotto!

Never let it be said that I'm not a homebody at heart. Oh sure, exploring new places is a passion of mine, but it's key for me to always know that at the end of the trip, I'm going home! Coming back from vacation was especially lovely this time, because I no longer have to go back to a mind-numbing desk job day after day. This time around, I was just as happy returning from a fun vacation as I was going, because I had so much to look forward to (instead of dread). There isn't even the teensiest bit of sadness when I look back at all the amazing sights I've seen on this trip - just awe and gratitude. So let me wrap up my Seattle vacation series today, with what was our final stop of the week. In terms of food, I think I've saved the best for last.

The Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls is pretty swanky. It felt like one of those places where only the rich and beautiful are allowed to go. But thanks to the miracle of sweet internet bargains, it was DH and I that pulled up to their valet parking this time. Tee hee. I would've liked to look more presentable, but hey, I was still recovering from that snow trekking feat from the day before! By this time, DH and I were of the same mind - something along the lines of "Oh, who gives a f---?!". But there was something about Salish that was immediately soothing and calming. Our room, for one, was heavenly! The view of the falls from our balcony was spectacular. The entire place was perched right on top of the breathtaking Snoqualmie Falls. Take a look, take a look ...
It was all achingly beautiful - we hiked from the top of the falls, all the way to the bottom. So worth it!

I really hadn't looked into the dining scene at the Lodge, so when it came time for dinner, I just crossed my fingers and went up to their Attic Lounge, hoping for something that wouldn't disappoint too much. Imagine this now. Our adorable waitress sat us down next to these huge windows, where we could watch the sunset over the falls, and see the mist rising - talk about creating a romantic atmosphere! Then there was the food itself; hearty, complex and wonderfully scrumptious.
DH had the Oregon Elk Bolognese, with tagliatelle pasta, butternut squash, wilted chard, parmesan cheese and pumpkin seeds - a bowl of YUM!

I had the Venison Chili, served with fresh cornbread and honey butter - warms you up in all the right places!

Dessert was the crowning jewel - a delicate creme brulee with warm milk chocolate ganache at the bottom. Why did we share?!

Breakfast the next morning was in their main dining room. Once again, we were perched right next to the windows overlooking the falls - and that morning we were treated to a bright rainbow shining through! Ahhhh bliss. And I'm usually an IHOP kind of girl, but this fine breakfast blew me away. Their coffee was served with (apart from the usual milk n sugar) an offering of vanilla bean whipped cream (I'll just eat that with a spoon, thank you!) and a mixture of dark and white chocolate shavings ... crazy good! Then DH had his omelette with crab, peppers and cheese, along with yummy hash browns and a buttermilk biscuit. I gorged on my vanilla and spice infused waffles, with cinnamon whipped cream and the Lodge's own blackberry preserves. I'm salivating just typing all that!

While some may wonder how anything I make myself can top all this gorgeous food that I was spoiled with on my trip, just picture this. Me, curled up on my favorite corner of my comfy couch, watching So You Think You Can Dance (with the remote all to myself!), Ozzy napping next to me, and a warm bowl of luscious, creamy, cheesy Lemon Risotto on my lap. Seattle was a great trip an' all, but I got it made at home, baby!
Lemon Risotto (original recipe by Nigella Lawson, found here)
Serves 1 hungry chica

Click here for printable recipe

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot OR 1/2 a small onion
1-2 medium carrots
3/4 cup arborio rice
Approx. 1 quart of vegetable stock
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
Needles from 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
3 tbsp heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat up the vegetable stock, with the rosemary leaves, and keep it simmering lightly, while you puree the shallot and carrots together.

2. Heat up the butter and oil in a saucepan. To this add the shallot and carrot puree, and saute for a few minutes, being careful not to scorch it.

3. Then add the arborio rice and stir it all up for 1 min, till it's slightly toasted and each grain is coated in the butter and shallot-carrot mixture.

4. Slowly start adding the hot vegetable stock, one ladle at a time, stirring in between to make sure the liquid gets absorbed into the rice. The whole process should take around 20 mins.

5. When you're almost done, mix in the lemon zest and stir to incorporate. Separately, in a small bowl, beat the egg yolk, cream, parmesan, lemon juice, and black pepper.

6. When the risotto is ready - when the rice is no longer chalky but still has a creamy bite - take it off the heat and stir in the eggy, lemony mixture plus salt to taste. Serve immediately (like you could resist!) with more parmesan and black pepper if desired.
Verdict: I've been making this risotto for DH and myself for years. It was my very first risotto recipe, all courtesy of the divalicious Nigella Lawson. One bite of this salty, creamy, lemony goodness, and I knew there was no turning back! It's definitely one of my top 5 comfort foods, and it happens to be one of the few vegetarian options that DH doesn't want to add chicken to! I can't praise this risotto enough. Some of you purists probably shun the use of cream in any "real" risotto, but I'm telling you, give it a try. Why scoff at something that only makes a dish nummier?! And one last thing, in case you don't have fresh rosemary on hand, a sprinkling of dried rosemary works just fine too.

I'm sending in this personal favorite delicacy of mine to the Monthly Mingle - Ravishing Rice event, hosted by Edible Garden this time, and originated by the lovely Meeta.


Varsha Vipins said...

Ha..I cant wait to get to that Salish Lodge..That place sounds like all so jealous of you..;)
The risotto is so cheesy..Il have mine minus the lemon good..:)

Ann said...

Risotto looks so yumm, I love the texture of this rice, so unique.

Creative Classroom Core said...

Such fun!

That rissotto looks amazinG!

Sweta (My Indian Dietitian) said...

Have been thinking of making risotto for sometime now-this looks like a good start :)

Anonymous said...

I would love to visit Snoqualmie Falls! One of our favorite wines is from that region! The elk Bolognese and the venison sounds amazing! Love your creamy lemon risotto - heavenly!

Donna-FFW said...

This lemon risotto sounds perfect and looks delicious, but my mind is still stuck on the creme brulee with chocolate ganache at the bottom. Beautiful waterfall shot.

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

MMMMM...Muneeba! your lemon risotto looks so divine! excellent!!!

NKP said...

Looks like you guys had a fabulous time. The risotto looks so warm and comforting.
It's high time someone started a Nigella cooking group.. I vote you!

The Duo Dishes said...

That elk bolognese looks outstanding. The sweet butternut squash is the kicker. But your risotto also looks delish! Nice flavors in there.

Kerstin said...

Love your lemon risotto, it looks like the ultimate comfort food! What a cool idea to warm milk chocolate ganache under creme brulee - looks so good!

Rachel J said...

The lemon risotto sound so great! I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing :D

Foodiewife said...

A woman after my heart-- risotto and "So You Think You Can Dance". Love the show, love this recipe== and I will definitely have to make this version.

unconfidentialcook said...

I thought I hit the jackpot when I happened upon chocolate creme brulee...but this version with the ganache is the best thing I've ever seen! I would NOT have shared.

Kitchen M said...

It looks and sounds delicious! I think I might try it tonight! ;)

Jamie said...

That lodge looks like heaven on earth with the food to match. Wow what fabulous food (and the view is stunning, too).

I think lemon risotto is truly one of the great comfort foods and yours looks perfect! I may have to swerve a bit from my Anna del Conte recipe and try Nigella's; it looks too good! Welcome home! (ok, so I may be a bit late...)

Jamie said...

BTW - what I find funny and charming is the breakfast at the Lodge. Just like hubby and I, the man chooses the savory breakfast and she chooses sweet. I'd go for those waffles, too.

Muneeba said...

It's never too late Jamie! I may have physically returned from Seattle a while back, but it took a few days longer to get back in spirit! And yes, DH would never have ordered anything sweet for breakfast ... although it didn't stop him from taking a few bits out of mine anyway! Men.

Jennifer said...

I live on Oregon, so glad you enjoyed the Lodge, it is soo amazing. This Risotto looks even better, I have never had lemon and I cant wait to try it!

Yasmeen said...

Looks like you had a spectacular time.Love the luscious Lemony risotto:)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

This risotto looks so creamy and scrumptious! Delicious looking food!



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