It has been another . . . less than optimum . . . day.
I woke up too early–thus the week after the clocks change–and lay there worrying* till I inadvertently fell asleep again** whereupon I overslept.
The phone rang, and it was Asmodeus,*** who wanted to drop off my new all-in-one printer/scanner/fax, which is going to Revolutionise My Life or at least give me back a little shelf space†, and I was barely out of bed and not at my best and most brutal, and I acquiesced to this. By the time the hellhounds and I were out caroming over the countryside I realized this was a mistake, because right at the moment the last thing I want is another new gizmo to get used to, but Asmodeus was supposed to ring me before he started, so that’s okay, I’d ring him when I got back, and tell him to wait and send Gizmo X on Monday when Computer Men are coming back anyway. Then the hellhounds caught a grouse†† and Darkness ducked out of his harness.††† And when we got home again, my little street was blocked by an SUV sitting in the middle of it with all its doors open while its contents stood around chatting to my over-the-road neighbours who would be very nice people except for their taste in friends, who run to SUVs and cluelessness, and who in this instance looked very startled at the impertinent fact of my existence.
And by the time I fought my way to my front door . . . there was Asmodeus waiting for me, standing on the top step with a Large Cardboard Box. It’ll only take five minutes! he said.
The first thing that happened after he left is that I couldn’t find the ‘off’ switch.
Then I turned on a computer–any computer–and started making lists of the things that don’t work. Some new, some old, some familiar, some strange. . . .
I need comfort food.
And, as it happens, I received this by email from b_twin_1 a few days ago:
I gave you chocolate before but I forgot that in your time it was the 26th.
And given the issues you are having accessing the forum…. (::sigh::)
So here’s a special risotto that includes your favourite drink:
Champagne Risotto: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/6811/champagne+risotto
She and I share bafflement that the original poster seems to think this modest recipe would stretch to feed 20. . . . Twenty what? Flower fairies? Chihuahuas? People who don’t like risotto? Menopausal women? She also said: personally I don’t add cheese to risotto . . . . which in my cheese-denied state I seized upon and said that I made non-cheese risotto myself but I’d always assumed it was Fake Risotto and, rats, if I were going to post it I’d have to figure out the quantities, because I tend to Add Stock Till It Looks Like Risotto and meanwhile could I post her Creative Use of Champagne Risotto? Whereupon, bless her, she sent me this:
Sure you can use it for a post.
If it makes you feel better I never put cheese in risotto while I am making it because Mum has such issues with dairy. Sometimes I will put cheddar on it as I am serving it for myself but lately I haven’t been bothering.
Ever had that thought when you are in a restaurant that yours is better.
Yes. Frequently. It’s one of my excuses for not going out to dinner. The best thing about going out to dinner is getting dressed up. Now, this is a skirt, and these are shoes-that-aren’t-All-Stars. Those of you with office jobs will not appreciate how exciting this is.
I do have a Lazy Cow’s method (should it be Lazy Ewe in my case??)
What, not even a house cow?
for risotto. ;) It involves a wodge of butter and whatever is in the pantry/fridge.
(Following the Lazy Cow Cooking Principles)
B-Twin-1′s Risotto without the Cheese.
All done in under half an hour….
Start with -
1 wodge of butter (oh okay, you want a measurement … about 1-2 tbs)
1 spanish onion
2 cups Arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock, hot
Herbs – I usually use parsley, oregano, garlic (and whatever I feel like grabbing from the drawer or garden)
(whatever is in the fridge)
Vegetarian option = Pumpkin or Mushroom
Non-vege option = Bacon or Chicken (pre-browned or cooked) or cooked gourmet sausages (our butcher does some great gluten free pork or lamb & rosemary ones)
Broccoli / Peas / Corn
Take a heavy based saucepan/pan (I use a cast iron Chasseur) and toss in the finely chopped onion (and fresh garlic and bacon if that is what you are using) with the butter.
After the onion starts to soften I add the herbs. Then I put in the rice and swish that around a bit to heat up and get coated with butter.
I then add the chicken stock. All in one hit. But it is HOT (ie. just off the boil). Stir that all around and put the lid on the Chasseur.
When the liquid starts to simmer I toss in all the veggies and anything else. Then I put the lid on. And turn the heat down very low.
I stir it maybe once or twice in the next 10 minutes or so. It varies a little each time as to when it is “done” but it is usually about 15 minutes. I look for it to have absorbed the liquid but still be “slippery” looking and not gluggy. Gluggy means too much liquid or too long.
Easy huh? ;)
Yaay easy. Easy is good. I love pine nuts, so I will put slightly toasted‡ pine nuts in at the last minute in a herby risotto and–further on the lazy domestic stock front–a couple of tablespoons of hummous stirred in with your couple of tablespoons of pine nuts will totally make this a main dish, although if I’m planning on hummous I’ll probably leave the onion out. (I use an enameled cast iron pot: easier to clean if I get it wrong, and it sticks.)
I went and had a further prowl at www.taste.com.au/recipes after this:
caught my eye, in the sidebar to the Champagne Risotto. Which put me in mind of tea food, and what I could serve Mozart, Beethoven and Verdi when I have them round‡‡ So I had a look for scones:
And I’m a trifle old-fashioned, having learnt scones from Constance Spry and Nell Beaton–fizzy lemonade, feh–so I pass over a lot, but these look good, and very like something I make (if I can put oatmeal flakes in something, I probably will):
There’s also a recipe for Savoury Scones which specifies ‘tasty’ cheese. As opposed to the other kind I guess? ‘Another scone, vicar? Would you like the kind with the tasty cheese or the really nasty purulent cheese? I find that the nasty is very good for your moral probity, and if you concentrate you can get one down in two bites.’
* * *
* About everything, of course. Peter, hellhounds, me, PEGASUS, the American presidential election, the global economy, whether IE will ever stop crashing, and whether Yog-Sothoth will ever make it through the barrier between that universe and this one.
** Thanks to being computer-bereft yesterday while Computer Men performed arcane and sorcerous acts, I’m nearly finished with Peter’s new ms, and I’m at the place when the hero has cause to return to the dark scary hidden booby-trapped maze that runs through the walls of the palace, and . . . aaaaaaaugh. Bad dreams. Bad.
*** I’ve been resisting naming Head Computer Man Asmodeus, but he keeps going on about how long we’ve been together, AKA how many damned computers and associated gadgetry he’s sold me over the years because I’m too dumb and gullible to live, and I ask you, what kind of a colleague would a Hellgoddess have but a demon?
† Shelf. Space. Shelf! Space! SHEEEELF SPAAAAAAACE–!
†† Oh gods.
††† OH GODS.
‡ Slightly toasted makes all the difference. Do it. You spread ‘em out in a single layer in a heavy saucepan or skillet–I use my little iron scrambled-eggs skillet–put it on medium heat, shake occasionally, and watch it like a normal dog watches a bowl of dog food. It’ll go from nothing to too brown in the twinkling of a wandering eye. But if you turn it on low it takes forever.
‡‡ I feel that having them one at a time would be a better idea, but I’m not sure if the Time Travelling Admin will allow this.
Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.