It’s time to recap two cookbook challenges I had last week. One was a complete disaster (#4) and one was totally boss (#5). I’m now two cookbooks done and only have 9 more to get through and 17 more recipes to finish!
Let’s talk about the kitchen disaster first. I tried making Isa Chandra’s Samosa smashed potato cakes from her Vegan Brunch cookbook and it failed miserably.
I followed the recipe exactly and even used a blog online that also referenced the recipe and it still failed. The only difference was I didn’t use 4 pounds potatoes because we didn’t need 30 of these potato cakes for just us two. But that shouldn’t have made a difference. Whenever I make any kind of savory cake, I almost always use cooked quinoa, Panko or even an egg as the binder. Since this recipe was vegan, I couldn’t use the egg, but it suggested using flour. Which I used. It still turned into a gloppy, horrible mess, but it tasted great.
Again, this looked promising! They just wouldn’t hold so when I would flip them (waiting almost 6-7 minutes per side; double the time suggested in the cookbook!), they turned into a mess. So I decided to try it again but without any oil in the pan.
Since it was like samosa filling, it was totally boss. I’m just disappointed the end result couldn’t be classified as food. So we ended up getting takeout since it was already like 8 by that point. Lame. Screw the cookbook. Use Panko or quinoa next time. Lesson learned.
But moving onto Friday, we had our successful recipe! I found the risotto and pea recipe from Giada’s Everyday Italian cookbook and decided to make it. Except, learning my lesson from the disaster the night before, I just made my own version of it. I used my mushroom risotto for two recipe but added peas. Simple enough and oh so delicious.
I’ve sort of perfected my risotto making process and now it’s foolproof. I do like the addition of peas, too. I didn’t think I would, but it was actually really good. And it reheated well the next day, too! You can’t go wrong with risotto though. It’s probably one of my favorite foods and since I don’t get to eat it all the time, when I do, it’s the most glorious experience. Truly.
- 1 1 oz. package dried porcini mushrooms (Earthy Delights brand or similar) – soaked in hot water to reconstitute
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 8 oz. Cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed and sliced
- 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed and sliced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine (Pinot Grigio or similar)
- ½ cup frozen green peas
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- Start by adding the dried porcini mushrooms to some hot water to reconstitute them. Set aside for 20-25 minutes.
- Next add 4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth to a medium saucepan and bring to slight simmer over medium heat.
- In a large, deep skillet heat the 1 teaspoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.
- Add the shallot and cook for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Next add the sliced cremini and shiitake mushrooms and cook 8-10 minutes or until tender and most of the water has evaporated.
- Remove mushrooms from pan to bowl and set aside.
- Heat the other teaspoon of oil and tablespoon of butter in same pan.
- Add the arborio rice and stir until slightly toasted.
- Add the white wine and cook for 1-1½ minutes or until alcohol evaporates.
- Then add the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring the rice, and let it thicken. When you notice the liquid is almost absorbed, add another ½ up of broth. Continue this until the broth is used up.
- Add the cooked mushrooms to the pan.
- With a slotted spoon, take the porcinis out of the water and add them to the pan.
- If you need to use more liquid, you can use the mushroom water.
- The risotto is done when it is thickened and the rice is cooked and no longer hard – about 25-28 minutes.
- Add the frozen peas and cook for 1 minutes to heat through.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese last.
- Serve immediately
- Optional garnishes: freshly chopped parsley or shavings Parmesan cheese