Dispatches from the kitchen

June 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm 3 comments

Starting Friday afternoon and going through Saturday morning, I had a lot of fun in the kitchen making good on my June resolution for leisure to play in the kitchen.

I started on Friday with a dinner recipe I had made once before, but wanted to try again: Green bean risotto with pesto. It doesn’t appear the recipe is online, but it’s from this slow cooker cookbook. And, in fact, this time I left out the green beans, so we really had broccoli and pea risotto with pesto, but who’s counting? It’s a pretty easy recipe, but only requires 2 and a half hours in the slow cooker, so it’s a tough one to make during the work week. But it turns out so creamy and delicious that it’s one I definitely wanted to make again on my day off. Really comfort-food like even though it’s got a bit of class, too. (I mean risotto is by definition classy, right?)

What you need:

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped (M doesn’t love a lot of onion, so I used about half of one for our risotto and it worked fine)

1 1/4 cups risotto rice

1 1/2 quarts vegetable stock (recipe calls for vegetable stock, but all we had was chicken stock, so that’s what I used)

2 tsp pesto

1 cup extra fine frozen green beans (or broccoli, or I’m sure whatever frozen veggie you’ve got)

1 cup frozen peas

salt and peper

Parmesan cheese and basil leaves for garnish (optional)

  • Heat butter and oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes or until softened and starting to brown – stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in garlic and rice, cook for just a minute. Add 5 1/3 cups of the stock, season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, transfer to slow cooker. Cover with a lid and cook on Low for 2 hours.
  • Stir in the pesto and the remaining stock if the rice needs the extra liquid (mine did). Place frozen veggies on top of the rice and cook for 20-30 more minutes, until veggies are hot.
  • Serve! Add cheese and basil if you like.

Technically, the recipe serves four, but we ended up with five servings out of it.

So, so, so good. Can’t wait to have it for lunch today 🙂

But that’s not the end of my kitchen adventure for the weekend, oh no. While the risotto was in the 2-hr phase of cooking, I started to make homemade cinnamon rolls. Yes. Oh Yes.

I found a no-knead cinnamon roll recipe that I thought would be perfect – the right balance of homemade, but doable for a novice baker. I was absolutely right. I made the dough, as I said, as the risotto was cooking the night before. That was relatively easy – throw the ingredients in a bowl, mix them together, add water, place in fridge. Although – I did add too much water. The directions say:

 Add one cup of room temperature water. Stir until it is fully absorbed. Add more water, a little at a time, until there is no dry flour left in the bowl and one cohesive ball of dough has formed.

(Emphasis mine.) Did you catch that? “more water, a little at a time”? Well, I did not do that, and paid for it. My dough was really wet. Saturday morning, when I took it out to shape it into the rectangle and, you know, make rolls, the dough stuck all over my fingers and my work surface. It still turned out fine, but I couldn’t really roll it up after putting the filling on the rectangle-shaped dough. I more like scooted it together I would say.

So, we ended up with cinnamon bread, rather than cinnamon rolls. But M has been devouring them, so I’d say all the flavor is still there 🙂 And, really, the recipe is easy to follow and definitely a manageable level of homemade, especially for a bread recipe. Even the time it had to rise and bake in the morning (1 hour and 30 minutes) was not so bad to wait.

So overall, my double adventure in the kitchen was successful. And, I had fun. Genuine fun. For both the risotto and the rolls, I didn’t worry about the mess I was making or stress out because of any mistakes I made (i.e. the water). It was all good. And delicious!


Entry filed under: Leisure, Recipes. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Libraries are just about the best thing ever. Full summer days

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sybaritica  |  June 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    The pesto is a nice idea… I think as a very quick side dish you could easily boil some rice, stir in a little pesto and be done!

    • 2. Stephanie  |  June 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Agreed! The pesto adds a nice underlying flavor to the dish. A definite win!

  • 3. Full summer days « Undefined Ambition  |  June 25, 2012 at 11:17 am

    […] his bike out for its first spin of the year (he was waiting on a bike rack) and me to work on those homemade cinnamon rolls I mentioned. After both adventures were completed and we cleaned up, we were out of the house by […]


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