Ten days without coffee felt like a bear’s winter hibernation. It’s the season and I seemingly never miss a clean opportunity to get sick. Slightly out of commission.
Cup of joe number one since the crash. At 3pm. Splendid! I’m upright, and thinking about what I’ve done this week. What I’ll do from this cup, onto the next one, probably tomorrow a.m. And so! It’s been a week of discovering the famed New York dollar slice. That you can indeed just order a side of plain white rice at the local Chinese haunt without a batting eye. And, a resurgence of a famed banana shake from my archives. Which I will fondly share the recipe. It’s one I learned from a Scandinavian baker, both goddess of bread and salads. She was lovely.
I did happen to make one nice dish during the down time. A simple one which I had all the ingredients to already, but one. Being the season it wasn’t hard to find. Treviso risotto. A woody amber kick coming from a glass of dry vermouth, and a roundness by parmesan and butter. I read today an article about Japanese ikebana. An art much to do with opposing characters, harmonized. Could treviso risotto be a good meal example for that? Bitter yet creamy. Hm. It’s a thought! A bit of a silly one at that. It got me thinking about making life more like ikebana. The Scandinavian baker, both goddess of bread and salads.
Green banana shake
1 banana, best if frozen (adds creaminess!) at least for a few hours before blending
2-3 juicy dates
palmful of cashews, raw
1 small spoonful of vanilla paste
2 big handfuls of kale, removed from their stems
6-8 cubes of ice
Splash of nut milk
Blend all together until smooth. Serve in tall glass.
A recipe from the great chef Russell Norman. His book Polpo is a favorite of mine. One I slip out when I’m looking for a singular example of a fine ingredient, he probably has it. His book is a dedication to his restaurant in London, but also a definition of his experiences at aperitivo hour in Venice, Italy. 1 liters of stock, be it beef, chicken or vegetable
50g butter, room temperature
Small sprig of rosemary
1/2 onion, finely chopped
150g risotto rice, carnaroli is best
Half a glass of dry vermouth
250g Treviso radicchio, cut into 1 inch pieces
30g grated parmesan
To begin, bring a pot of the stock up to a gentle simmer on the back burner. On the front burner melt two-thirds of the butter in another pot. Add the rosemary and swig around a bit for a minute only to flavor, and then remove the sprig and discard.
Add the chopped onion, sweating slowly until glossy and translucent, about 10-15 minutes.
Now add the rice, being sure to coat in the butter. Allow to toast lightly, you’ll be able to smell it if you stick you nose over the pan. Add a pinch of salt, and stir for just a few minutes until the toasty smell is slightly present.
Now is the time! Add the vermouth and lift any sucs sticking to the pan. Sizzling away until absorbed and steamed off. Add the first ladleful of stock, just enough to soak each grain, the mixture should be still gently simmering. Add the treviso now, reserve a small palmful for the final mix.
Slowly now, add the stock, one ladleful after the last has been absorbed. About 15 minutes. The risotto is done when a grain is chewy and soft on the outside, but the inside hull has a tiny al dente bite to it. Remove from heat, fold in the last knob of butter, parmesan and the palmful of treviso leaves set aside. Cover and leave for a few minutes before serving.
And if in the end. You can’t be bothered to make risotto. Halve your treviso lengthwise, rub with olive oil, slipping into the inner leaves. Set on a hot cast iron pan, or grill, and cook undisturbed for about four minutes on both sides. Serve, sprinkled with flaky salt and a few drips from the old balsamic bottle. Paired nicely with a bouncing ball of soft mozzarella dressed in more sweet olive oil and flaky salt.
And now all I’m craving is to watch Alice in Wonderland or The Secret Garden. Until next time! Hopefully sooner than the last!