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Helen Bennett Harvey promises that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. Vegging Out is a recipe for a new way of life. Or at least a new way of eating. Pull up a chair. Contact me at: hbennettharvey@nhregister.com

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Defeat


I had planned on sharing several new recipes with you this evening, but unfortunately, all the cooking I did this weekend was a (sigh) failure. On Saturday, I baked oatmeal, chocolate chip, pecan cookies which came out rock hard. They have a good after taste that makes me believe they would have been good if I had cooked them less, but they had seemed undercooked whenever I checked previously so I just kept them in the oven. This was disappointing since cookies come out well for me 9 times out of 10.

Later that day, I tried to make a chocolate granola recipe. This time, I did it right but the recipe just wasn't what I had been expecting. I had pictured a trail mix type deal with granola chunks mixed in with bits of chocolate, but instead got granola totally covered in chocolate. It's not bad, though, and I think it will be tasty mixed in with some vanilla yogurt. But still not what I was expecting.

Tonight was the worst defeat. I sit here eating a bowl of asparagus, carrots sauteed in herbs, smoked mozzarella cheese and horribly undercooked risotto. I've never made risotto before and had heard it was difficult but was feeling confident with a few good cooking experiences under my belt. I can't say what I did wrong. I just kept cooking it and cooking it and adding water far beyond what the recipe called for--but it was still mushy on the outside and hard on the inside (of each grain of rice that is). I admitted to my boyfriend that it was bad and told him to make himself something else to eat, but I'm eating it out of principle (what principle you ask? Beats me).

So thank you for letting me share my defeats with you as well as my victories. And if you have any recipes that are impossible to screw up, please share them.

6 Comments:

Blogger Sarah Caron said...

To make good risotto, be sure you have a) enough flavor, b) enough liquid, and c) enough time. I recommend 6 cups of vegetable stock, warmed but not boiling, to go into 2 cups of rice. Add a ladle or two at a time and let it fully absorb before adding more. It works. You can find some more tips on this post from my blog: http://cucinabella.blogspot.com/2007/08/recipe-lobster-risotto.html. Obviously, the lobster aspect isn't probably something you will go for as a vegetarian, but the tips are universal. Best of luck! And do try it again.

December 03, 2007 9:38 PM 
Blogger Sarah Caron said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 03, 2007 9:39 PM 
Blogger Sarah Caron said...

Alright, last try. Here's my risotto tips post: Click here for tips. -- Sorry about that!

December 03, 2007 9:44 PM 
Anonymous HBH said...

how's the baby?

December 03, 2007 10:55 PM 
Blogger Max Greene said...

Here's a recipe I recently made up. It includes a vegan substitute for broth that's not as sweet as vegetable stock. I also added a lot of cheese for protein. Let me know what you think if you try it.

Beer-Cheese Risotto
Broth:
3 c. water
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
approx. 1/2 tsp. black pepper
approx. 1/2 tsp. mushroom powder
1 tbsp. soy sauce

Mix all of the above ingredients for a vegetarian broth approximating the flavor of beef broth.

Risotto:
olive oil
1 c. arborio rice
12 oz. beer (I used Rogue Santa's Private Reserve [link])
3 c. broth (see above)
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Coat the bottom of a medium saucepan with olive oil and heat to medium-high.
Add arborio rice and cook until browned.
Add beer approximately 3 oz. at a time, just covering the rice. Stir, allowing the rice to soak up all the beer before adding the next portion.
Add broth in amounts sufficient to just cover the rice. Stir, allowing the rice to soak up the broth before adding the next portion.
When all the beer and broth have been added, the rice should already have a somewhat creamy texture. Now remove from heat and stir in the cheese.

For us, I think it made 4 servings. I also simmered some broccoli in a small amount of the broth, which worked quite well.

December 10, 2007 12:16 PM 
Blogger Lauren Garrison said...

Thanks very much for the recipe, Max (and to Sarah for the tips)but I think I'm going to stay away from risottos for at least a few weeks. I'll let you know when I try again!

December 10, 2007 5:33 PM 

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