Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Butternut squash and Brussels sprout panzanella + Roasted Beets, Goat cheese, and Pistachios

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The next morning after having chai we walked to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market. This place is like foodie heaven. It's amazing how comforting cooking is and how food in general provides a great way to explore a new city through local ingredients and influences. When I was deciding between job offers, my dad teased me that one of my criteria must be the foodie-ness of the city!

We ate my absolutely favorite chilaquiles on a bench over looking the Bay Bridge. It is quite possible that these chilaquiles may have influenced my decision to move to SF when I visited in June.


After we ate, we browsed the stands at the farmers market and decided on the menu for dinner: butternut squash, brussels sprouts panzanella, roasted beets with fresh chevre from Cowgirl Creamery and pistachios, and pomegranate and persimmon arugula salad- seriously this salad has become such a popular request! Not only are the colors gorgeous but it is one of those salads that I just can't stop eating. It is a good thing that people keep asking me to make it for them!


Our morning was spent wandering the stalls of the farmer's market, an absolutely perfect way to spend a Saturday morning in SF. Have you ever seen Buddha's hand citron? It sort of looks like a cross between a lemon and a squid.


We cooked up a feast for dinner and invited over another friend from college who also recently moved to SF. We reminisced about college, while sharing cooking tips for busy work schedules. It was interesting to hear two incredibly smart, successful and driven women talk about their experiences balancing ridiculously impressive careers, Indian cultural values, and married life as they start to think about building a family. I took a different path than both of them by going to graduate school essentially right after college so I am only now starting my career. I admire and respect both of them and can only hope to be able to be half as amazing as them at figuring it all out.

It's amazing what a weekend with a good friend can do for you. Thank you MS, I mean MR, for a lovely visit, miss you already. 


Monday, December 27, 2010

Wild Mushroom Risotto

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My dear, dear friend visited from LA recently. I hadn't seen her since her wedding last December so I was super excited to have her all to myself for the weekend! Eager to show her my new life in SF I asked what she wanted to do for the weekend and her response was simply, "Let's cook together!"

During one of her visits to Chicago last year, we randomly attended a cooking class at my beloved foodie haven, Fox & Obel, where we learned how to make risotto. It was only appropriate to make risotto together this time around, and a wild mushroom risotto sounded delightful to both of us. We did some urban foraging for mushrooms at Whole Foods for hen of the woods, shiitake, and crimini mushrooms. As we cooked, we sipped wine and snacked on a delightful spread of cheeses, olives, and amazing sourdough that she thoughtfully brought.

I have been wanting to use vermouth in risotto for a while and was excited to try a new recipe using it. We sauteed the mushrooms in butter until tender, cooked the arborio rice with sauted leeks, white wine, and vermouth, slowly stirred in about 5 cups of vegetable broth until absorbed, and finished off by incorporating freshly grated parmesan. It was probably the creamiest, ooziest risotto I have ever had and we even cut the butter in half from the original recipe!


The flavor and high quality of the mushrooms really stood out in this dish; I didn't want to mask the flavor with herbs. If you use less woodsy mushrooms, I would recommend cooking the mushrooms with a bit of thyme to round of the flavor.


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