Skip to main content

Emergency Risotto (Vegan, Whole Food)

Tonight I made a wonderful discovery - there are episodes of the Barefoot Contessa for free on Hulu!  I couldn't be happier.  I dove into the first episode, "Cooking with Wine," and developed an uncontrollable craving for the mushroom risotto she was making.

Of course it's the middle of term paper season so I have nothing respectable in my kitchen, so I had to do some improvising.  I also didn't have 45 minutes to add homemade chicken broth to arborio rice on ladlefull at a time.  I found all of these things in my kitchen, and the result was actually delicious.

Normal recipes call for arborio rice, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, white wine, chicken broth, heavy cream, and garlic.  I only had garlic.  These are my improvisations:

1 bag of precooked brown rice (from Trader Joe's)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
any quantity of frozen asparagus
1 vegan "chicken" bouillon cube
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons tapioca flour (I am sure cornstarch would work just as well)
1 cup frozen corn
olive oil
salt
black pepper
a pinch of thyme

I sauteed the onion with the garlic, olice oil, thyme, salt and pepper, then broke the frozen asparagus spears into thirds and added them to the onions, along with the frozen corn.  After about 5 minutes on medium heat, I added the cup of water and the vegan bouillon cube, mixed it all together, then added the bag of precooked brown rice.  After bringing this all to a boil, I reduced to a simmer and added the tapioca flour, and stirred until the moisture was all absorbed and I had something resembling the consistency of risotto.

At this point my expectations were quite low (I did just substitute heavy cream and cheese for water), but the result was delicious!  The tapioca flour binds it all together with a rich and thick texture and makes a glossy "sauce" that is a lot like the real thing. The flavors from the asparagus, corn, and garlic all worked well (the vegetables were roasted before they were frozen, and I think that added some great flavor).

I paired this with a tiny glass of cream sherry, my go-to when I don't want to open a bottle of wine just for myself.  Mmm.

Some canned or frozen peas would have been great in this, as well as carrots, potatoes, beets - really anything you happen to have on hand.  Next time perhaps I'll add the can of chick peas that has been in my pantry since September.

While I'd choose the heavy cream and cheese version any day, this was probably the most pleasantly surprising pantry-scavenging dinner I've had yet.  And it actually ended up being an extremely healthy whole food vegan dinner - win-win!

Comments

  1. This sounds so good. I run out of ideas quickly in vegan cooking. You seem to have endless, creative possibilities. Can't wait to try this.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Cocktail Party

I had drinks with a friend after a long seminar tonight, and for the first time in a while, I didn't stagger to my car exhausted and then sit in traffic for 90 minutes (that's right, it takes me 90 minutes to go 11 miles #LosAngeles) and then collapse for an hour and then go back to work for another 3 hours before crawling into bed (I am taking too many classes this quarter).  Instead, I had two glasses of wine and a little dinner, and I got to talk to a great person who is willing to share a lot of knowledge with me as well as some genuine pleasantness.  It reminded me of the olden days when my social life and my academic life were centered around the same place and task, and it lightened the load quite a bit.

That moment of levity at the end of the day.  Ah.  We need it.  No reading.  No striving.  No obligations.  The wine or cocktail is key.  You're always pausing when you have a drink.  You're being a little bad.  You're working against your evening productiv…

I Don't Know

I've noticed a phenomenon in many areas of my verbal life wherein the phrase "I don't know" opens, closes, or rests in the middle of a phrase.  The more I listen for it, the more I am struck by its ubiquity, yet these phrases have nothing to do with the parameters of the speaker's knowledge.

In a seminar:  "I don't know, but I think he's saying..."

Among friends discussing the news: "Um, I don't know, but I feel like this could have been avoided..."

Two girls shopping:  "Is this cute?  Right?  I don't know."

Some guys on a walk: "I mean, I don't know, but was that the best choice..."

High school students in class: "I don't know, but don't you kind of feel like..."

Are we really so tentative?  Is our own knowledge so slippery that we cannot be certain of our opinions?  Do we doubt our own knowledge, we who may spend about 15-20 years of our lives in full-time, formal education or many ho…

Life Craft

Finals weeks are misery for me.  Sometimes I catch a wave of inspiration and weep into my keyboard, but those moments are rare.  I am not having one yet this time around.  I took too many classes this quarter and thus couldn't start my papers until it was too late to wait around for Muses.  And when I say I took too many classes that is not a request for applause at my ambition.  It was a mistake.  A mistake that reflects how desperate I am to be finished with my coursework so I can move on to Dante and do some real thinking that is not geared toward a 3AM slapdash 25 page paper.  And hopefully then this program will become enjoyable for me and not a daily reminder of the huge mistake I made deciding to go here.

As I have been trying to piece together a Boccaccio paper over the past three days, I've spent way more time on the internet than I normally do.  Especially Vogue, a publication I used to read regularly and haven't honestly read in several years.  I watched a bunch…