Tuesday, September 24, 2013

still summer

I know that technically we entered fall a few days ago but in these parts, it's still summer. While I love fall and am actually looking forward to the start of classes on Thursday, there's part of me that wants to cling to the last few days of freedom. I've gotten used to drinking my morning coffee and bed while reading novels and now I'm feeling a tinge of self-indulgent sadness that soon this will be a ritual of the past.

Anyway, tonight Daniel is making a rare trip down to Stanford (I usually drive up to his place in Marin) and I'm using my free time to cook him dinner. While I was driving around running errands earlier today, I was toying with various options in my head. I spent the weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and after a few days of such light fare as fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, hushpuppies, macaroni & cheese, ribs, pulled pork AND chopped pork, and shrimp & grits, I was hoping to make something slightly lighter.

Cut to the ingredients above.* I settled on meyer lemon risotto, to accompany scallops and roasted asparagus (not pictured. Raw scallops are not terribly photogenic). While risotto isn't exactly diet food, the lemon adds a brightness that balances some of the richness.

Now I'm going to go pour myself a 5 o'clock aperitif and finish off the last of this marvelous book. Back soon, I hope.

Meyer Lemon Risotto
Makes 4 main-course servings
6 cups chicken broth
3 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots
2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp fresh meyer lemon juice
4 tsp grated lemon peel

Bring broth to simmer in a large pot over medium heat- reduce head and cover to keep warm. Melt half of the butter with the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add shallots and saute for 5 minutes. Add rice and stir for 1 minute. Add wine and stir for another 30 seconds then add 1 1/2 cups of the broth, stirring until absorbed completely. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently. This should take about 30-35 minutes. Add cheese and remainder of butter, then parsley, lemon juice and peel. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with an extra sprinkling of parsley.

*Apologies for the regrettably blurry photo. My dorm kitchen is low on natural light. Life is so hard.

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