Farmer’s Market Friday: Snap Pea and Squash Risotto

risottoI so  look forward to Saturday mornings :the early morning alarm, the long run with the C.R.E.W. and the sense of accomplishment after completing the run, a breakfast outing with friends or even enjoying couple time with chai lattes and lastly, but most importantly, exploring the farmer’s market in our beautiful city with my husband. I find infinitely more joy out of shopping locally than going to the grocery store because I know at the market I can buy meat that has been treated humanely and pasture-raised and vegetables  grown without pesticides. Plus, the variety is astounding !

The market was teeming with peas last Saturday: Snap peas, green peas, crowder peas, butterbeans! The first batch of squash was peeking out of the some of the stands, so I had to grab some of that, too.  I decided upon a risotto for dinner.

Risotto is a luxurious rice dish.  The basic idea is to stir a warm liquid into warmed rice continuously in small batches until the broth is completely absorbed. The more you stir and the more patient you are in letting the rice absorb the liquid, the creamier the risotto will become.

Arborio rice is the true “risotto” rice . Risotto rices are plump, short grain, and all have a high proportion of amylopectin, a type of sticky starch that’s responsible for the trademark creamy texture of risotto. I have heard that you can make risotto with barley, so you could try that here too.

Top this with a grilled chicken breast or pan-sauteed tempeh or even fresh grilled shrimp or fish for a perfect summertime meal!

Snap Pea and Squash Risotto

Serves 10
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Side Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Creamy snap pea and squash risotto gets a healthy makeover.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped finely)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 cup chives (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons organic butter
  • 1/2 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs ((thyme, sage, rosemary, tarragon, basil, etc))
  • 1lb yellow squash
  • 8oz snap peas (blanched in boiling water for 1 minute)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Step 1
Warm the chicken broth in a pot. Meanwhile, saute the squash in a pan over medium-high heat for 7-9 minutes in 1T of butter until browned. Set aside.
Step 2
Blanch the snap peas in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
Step 3
In a saucepan on medium heat , warm 1T butter and saute the onion in the butter for 3 minute. Stir in the rice and stir continuously for 1 minute.
Step 4
Pour in the wine and stir at least 30 seconds continuously.
Step 5
Keeping the heat on medium, add 1 Cup of the warm chicken broth. Stir continuously until it is absorbed (you will know the broth is absorbed when you can draw a line with your spoon in the rice and see the bottom of the pan) (About 5 minutes).
Step 6
Add another 1/2 C broth and stir until continuously until completely absorbed. Continue this with 1/2 cups of broth until risotto is creamy(at least 20-25 minutes).
Step 7
Stir in vegetables, herbs, and lemon zest and cook 1 more minute.
Step 8
Stir in cheese, salt ,pepper, and lemon juice. Serve.

 

 

 

My Favorite Cool Weather Meal

I ran a marathon a few days ago, and last night  I honestly didn’t even want to stand up to walk to the bathroom, let alone cook. Can someone bring me a bedpan?

I enjoy the aches and groans of my muscles reminding me I ran freakin’ 26.2 miles. Truth be told Saturday November 3rd was an amazing day, the weather was perfect, and I had some gas left in the tank at the finish and great cheerleaders along the course. I had the pleasure of running with some wonderful ladies from C.R.E.W. for part of the race, and they kept me at a steady pace until I jetted off by myself for the last mile!

Marathons. Are. Awesome.

The training is the hard part.

But back to those the -last-thing-I want-to-do-is-cook nights like last night, coincidentally.

Lentil Dal is my absolute favorite recipe for those kind of nights because it is cheap, fast, delicious,  healthy, and vegetarian(though I am sure you could throw in some bacon).

Lentils are not especially exciting, I know.  Until a few years ago I cast a wary on on any menu item involving lentils mostly because I had never been exposed to them much. We were not Indian -food eaters in my family. Yet, last year something in me changed when I realized an ugly, dried up little legume can be transformed into soups and stews and patties and make you feel happy when you eat it with a thick slice of warm bread by the fireplace and a good book.

Dal can be made in so may different ways, but this one is incredibly light and fresh  and  not at all  heavy thanks to the lime juice and coconut milk.

Lentils are a protein-packed legume, fat-free, and each variety has a different taste and cooking time. My personal favorite lentil is the red one, which you can find at nicer grocery stores, and health-food stores. Red lentils cook lightning fast, and become soft and mushy when cooked, whereas the typical brown lentil you see at the grocery store has a longer cooking time and keeps it shape more when cooked. I think you could feasibly use any type for this recipe, but red would be the best.

Turmeric , which I add to my dal, is  a powerful healing spice. It  contains phytochemicals which have been shown to reduce the growth of cancer cells and lessen arthritis symptoms .

Lentils +turmeric+coconut milk+rice+chilly night+sore muscles+laziness=heaven.

This will  warm your body and soul. Enjoy.

Creamy Lentil Dal

Serves 12
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This creamy lentil dal with coconut milk and lime juice will warm your body and soul on a cold night .

Ingredients

  • 3 cups red lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • juice of 2 small limes or 1 large lime
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 6-8 cups jasmine rice (cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (freshly ground)
  • 1.5 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions

Step 1
First cook your jasmine rice according to package direcetions, and set aside.
Step 2
Meanwhile, cook your lentils in 3 cups of water and 3 cups stock.Bring to a boil, reduce, heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Step 3
In another pan, saute your onion in coconut oil 5-10 minutes until browned. Toss in garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
Step 4
Stir in all the spices to onion mixture until well combined. Stir in lentils and a bit of stock if needed. Then add in coconut milk.
Step 5
Warm on medium to low heat and stir until well combined. Take off the heat and stir in lime juice.
Add more stock to taster depending how thick or thin you would like it.
Step 6
Serve over jasmine rice with a slice of lime.