Wednesday, March 19, 2008

*stirrin' up some crazy.

You know, lately I'd really been worrying over the Woodside. I made that horrid curry, and then I loved and loathed with universally lackluster passion (it was Mediocre Monday, a study in my "i suppose"s and "who cares" ... s.).

Which is not to say I don't love that chicken, cuz I do. Anyone who's seen me make late-night oven fries can attest. That'd be 17 minutes on the ole coq, according to Manuel. Call J, he'll vouch.

I hope you've all been keeping up with my sporadic checking-in, because if not that sentence is going to seem really strange. And yes, that is a direct indictment, L, for whom it seems 50% DNA sharing is not enough incentive to keep up with my myopic ramblings. HM.

I've had this recipe for ages (according to Cooking Light, almost five years. Which, frankly, is far longer than I thought. Ah, 2003. I was a single woman without a dog then. Really, ponder ... ). I adore any mathematical equation that involves y = x(tomato + basil), where x =mozzarella. And y = goodness.

But first, back to my original point. Just when I was beginning to despair that anything interesting would happen to me (I was more in the market for "record deal" or "lottery winnings" than "broken clothes dryer" and "stressful work week"), I had an epiphany.

There is GOOD crazy to be found nearish the Woodside (for all you nerds who are watching—I see you, J-Bo and Mom!—according to blogger, "nearish" is a word). Here's a rough timeline of events:

6:10 pm: K departs the Woodside, almost sideswiping a biker in a chartreuse, ergo quite visible, jersey despite having a backup camera in the Prius.

6:17 pm: K arrives at Brunos.

6:17:05 pm: K exits the Prius and heads toward the potted plants.

6:17:39 pm: The skirt of K's dress flies, blown-out umbrella style, STRAIGHT over her head, exposing embarrassing panties borne of the lack of clothes dryer mentioned above, as well as thighs that haven't seen sun in a decade.

6:17:42 pm: K stands, paralyzed, in the grocery parking lot. She mistakenly believes, like a dumb chimp about to get a shot, that standing very, very still and clutching her knees will keep store personnel and sundry customers and possibly the entire dinnertime-rush patronage at Milo's from noticing.

6:18 pm: K realizes she has been spotted.

Sorry, Ollie.

6:27 pm: K determines that, with one hand around a bunch of leeks and one hand around the neck of a $6.99 bottle of Chardonnay, she has checked her shame at the door.

6:32 pm [scene: exotic-cheese case. players: K, and a floral-dress-clad grandma wearing white tennis shoes and a trench coat buttoned up to her neck. temperature: too warm for soft cheese and chilled wine.]:
Grandma in sneakers, barking: What IS that?
K, startled by inappropriate conversational distance: Oh! Leeks.
GiS, suddenly calmer: I've wondered what those were!
K, desperate for stranger contact to be over: Yeah ...
GiS, suspicious: What do you use them for?
K, curious as to why her "that's enough, lady" signals seem to be scrambled: Um, basically they're like a mild onion.
GiS, suddenly delighted and coquettish: Oh! Well I've wondered what they were for, but I never knew. A mild onion, you say?
K, growing desperate, as the confab has moved past pet supplies and into the 10-items-or-less lane: You see them a lot in soups.
GiS, giggling: Ha! I've seen that. I always thought it was a bean, to be honest. HAR!

I inadvertently picked up an elderly girlfriend at the grocery store.

BUT! Good things ensued when I was safely ensconced back at the Woodside with my man J. First, I gathered my ingredients:

Vegetable stock, balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, white wine, arborio rice, fresh mozzarella, salt, basil, and more tomatoes than the recipe called for. I would probably give my kingdom, or at least a chair (I just did a quick count, and from where I sit in the Woodside I can see no fewer than 13 chairs), for a tomato. I know they're not in season now, which is why these tiny ones work so beautifully. And look how I found my stove light! My photos are so happy for the backlight! And it only took me two years to find! To be fair, it was hiding. On ... the front of the stove hood.


There were also the girl-getting leeks, which I chopped and separated into a bowl of cold water, so that all their sundry grit could sink away.

The balsamic vinegar went on the stove to reduce from this

to this,

which, because I halved the recipe, only took a minute or so. And I did have to rotate that photo so the smiley brightened your Thursday. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Note to JB: I lurve this pot. It conducts heat perfectly, it cleans like a dream, and it's enamel, so it works equally well as a nonstick pan and an intruder deterrent. Unfortunately, it's the size of a coffee cup. But I love it anyway.

The leeks sauteed until tender, about three minutes.

Then the rice went on to toast, the wine went in—to the pot and the cook—and many dousings of broth ensued, which led to

The recipe says to set the balsamic syrup aside, but by the time the risotto was done, the syrup had hardened. So I reheated it and did the drizzle.

Dear Hillary, was it worth it. I stirred in the tomato, basil, salt, half-and-half (skim milk, if it's all you have in your refrigerator next to a doomed curry experiment wherein the fat solids and liquids seem to be separating just to taunt you). But that balsamic reduction made it a totally different flavor experience. And pretty, too!

Yes, I'm pretty. Just ask GiS.


at: 7:42 AM said...

I wasn't going to question you on "nearish." I'm just waiting for you to wedge "simulacrum" into casual conversation. GiS made me snort. I think SCA thinks I'm crazy and knows I'm not working, but that is a pot/kettle scenario for the books. And I'm not taking it personally.

K. says:
at: 10:30 AM said...

no way, mane. that's precisely the kind of word that's kept me from nabbing a man. or so M says.



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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.