Risotto

Risotto

This weeks recipe will be risotto. There are different ways of making risotto.

It’s honestly up to you, or the food critic sitting in that high chair across the table from you. (High chair for high opinions regarding food is more like it.)

There is nothing worse than a well thought out and cooked meal getting tossed to the floor the moment it gets set in front of your little one. Point to you, if your reflexes are quick enough to catch it and try again to get them to eat it.
This dish luckily is a favourite in our house.

Things you will need:
risotto rice
1L stock, chicken, fish or vegetable (warm)
1/2 finely diced onion
2/3 garlic cloves
olive oil
sea salt
fresh pepper
parmesan -not the crappy saw dust kind from kraft,
get the block and grate a small pile of it, you will thank me later.
*optional but I like to use it,
cream -just for a big ol’ squeeze at the finish.

So I’m assuming that most people reading this have some sort of idea on how to cook , and by now, having a kid who is almost two, you should be cooking more and getting a handle on things in your kitchen.

I’m also going to assume you can follow a recipe and just go by the guide lines.
So for risotto, it’s not like rice, you don’t just dump the rice in with the water, this one will take time and you need to be around and keeping on eye on what you are doing . This is where fridge magnets keep the little one entertained while you make the magic happen.

Start off with the olive oil, heat it up in the pot, but not too hot because you don’t want to burn your onions or shallots, these should be in a fine dice, as you don’t want your child knowing what they are, if they can’t see them, they won’t pick them out. Sneaky right?

Get those onions nice and clear and add your garlic in. Don’t burn that shit either, if you do, start again. Alice likes garlic so I throw a good amount in there. Yum.

So it’s looking good in the pot now, getting clear, at this time i add a bit of stock in and turn up the heat and dump the rice in, lightly fry it and keep stirring and it will look translucent. Pour a ladle of your stock in there and reduce to a simmer, let the rice absorb and keep adding stock until your rice gets soft and creamy looking.

Don’t forget to season as you go, and check to see if it’s tasting right. Around 15 mins the rice will soften up, if you are running out of stock and your rice isn’t fully cooked, add some hot water.
Yes, this is a bit tedious, and you are stuck in the kitchen keeping an eye on this, so you may as well enjoy your time and do some twirling with the wee one and rock out to some tunes, in-between your ladling and stirring. Or at this time, your little culinary criticizer is busy making their own dish from all the pots and pans that are now on the floor and out of your cupboard. Your only hope is that your food will be tastier than what they are concocting.

Alice wanted super simple, peas, carrots and corn are in there, so I threw them in towards the end. Then I added the grated pram and a touch of cream to finish. Let it rest for a few and then it was ready.

When making risotto, lets just say you have a wack of yummy options to put in there. Experiment, open up a cook book, The Silver Spoon blew my mind with risotto dishes, among other amazing recipes, or just look online.

Our side dish was another request of Alice’s she loves Kale and chickpeas, but for today’s recipe I did it with white bean.

What you need:

Kale
chickpeas or white beans,
olive oil
1 lemon cut in half
salt and pepper

For the kale, I like using black kale. Wash it, chop it. (I take the stems out because Alice will spit them out because they are too tough for her to chew. Basically, if it takes too long to chew she will give up and spit it out, so make these bite size, when you chop it up.)

Heat up your pan,
dump a good about of olive oil in there and let it get nice and hot.
put your kale in and it will spit at you, so if your little one likes to be at your ankles,
tell them you need some space, the last thing you need is hot oil spattering on your little one.
stir it around and reduce heat, other wise it will be too crispy and burn.
put in your beans or chickpeas,
season with salt and pepper
cook until beans are close to tender and squeeze lemon in to finish and taste seasoning again.
Taste good and lemony? Then you are all set.

Alice gave this a four finger review. That’s when I know I have made a good meal, when she discards the spoon and whole-heartedly shoves a fist full of food in her mouth and smacks her lips the rest of the meal.

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Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

This was my first attempt at making this soup for Alice, after looking at several recipes online, Martha Stewart, Jamie’s Kitchen, and looking through my fridge at what I had, I came up with a recipe of Kale, white bean, canned diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, leeks, and Orzo noodles. Cooking isn’t that hard, just follow the recipe and it’s ok to go out side the lines of it as long as you have your basic formula. Soups have a main theme, onion or leeks, celery, carrots, ( garlic), olive oil. I usually use a low sodium chicken stock . You can use a veggie stock if you aren’t into meat. Basically, what i’m saying is use stock! It makes food tastier. Then of course, there is your salt and pepper. I season a bit lighter salt wise for Alice, then just add a bit more for myself separately. But I’m not about serving bland food to my kiddo, she needs some thrills in her taste buds life too! I threw some oregano in the soup. I would have liked to have some torn up fresh basil leaves in there, but I didn’t have any for this batch on hand. I also had a rind of Parmesan in my fridge that I tossed in there for some more flavour. Yum!

The mere mention of basil in the soup got Alice and myself into a five minute argument at the supper table, if it was in there or not. She won, even though it was really the kale, she had mistaken for basil, I gave in. There are worse battles to lose to an almost 2 year old in my books! After all, she was eating it, so in the end, I guess we both won.

When I put the bowl down, she inspected it, pulling different veggies out and asking about them as well as the Orzo noodles. Orzo noodles are great because they are so small and easier to go down the hatch than a larger noodle that can appear intimidating to a little mouth with a few teeth, and a bit easier to grasp with slippery fingers to grab onto and hold than a bigger noodle I find.

After inspecting the dish, it was time to eat. I was a bit nervous, Alice is like the Gordon Ramsey of food tasting at times. Her main catch phrase is, ” NO LIKE IT!” followed by throwing her plate on the floor, but I was in the clear for this round.So we will be making this again, the mission was a success.