Story last updated at 3/19/2014 - 1:49 pm
I’ve been traveling a lot these days. By a lot, I mean I’ve actually spent more time away from my home than in it. My poor kitty, Rawr, doesn’t seem to suffer too much other than not having morning cuddles each day. Yes, I am that crazy cat lady we all secretly mock. It’s okay, I own it. No one can make more fun of me than I do. It’s ridiculous.
Assuming Rawr is properly fed while I’m gone, the one who truly seems to suffer is Grant. As mentioned in previous columns, I am a food-enabler and have enabled Grant to perpetuate his desire to not learn how to cook. That there is no microwave on the boat we’re caretaking is also a hindrance to his cooking abilities. He once texted me to ask how to turn on the oven. Sad but true.
Grant doesn’t cook, but he does a lot of other things I don’t, so it’s an even trade. I can’t fix anything, nor can I reach anything higher than the second shelf in an average cupboard; it’s a symbiotic relationship.
Being away from home so much has meant that Captain Moore must fend for himself more often. A few of our compassionate friends take him under their wings and feed him pity meals. I don’t judge — as least he’s eating. He also enjoys dinner out with fellow captains and talking about boats. This is a win for me. I like his friends, but I’ve exhausted my knowledge on boats. I am spared these conversations while I’m away.
March is a particularly busy month for me, as I am traveling three times. I felt honor bound to cook the poor man a meal that involved meat. Apparently I fed him a few too many vegetarian and vegan dishes last month. Seeing the caribou tenderloin in the refrigerator was a not-so-subtle hint.
One of the best parts of my travels is experiencing new and delicious foods. On my list to make are polenta, sushi tacos and risotto. I am now an avid fan of risotto. It’s a side dish that can be paired with just about anything. It involves cooking, stirring and real preparation. It smells good and there are distinctive changes in the dish as it cooks, making it like unwrapping a tasty present.
I decided to pair his caribou tenderloin with a mushroom risotto and some sautéed asparagus. This is a simple midweek meal that has a bit of flare. Grant was so impressed with the risotto he ate all of it, always a nice compliment. The nice thing about risotto is that it is a great side dish, but if you add a few additional ingredients such as roasted vegetables, it can become a great main dish.
As I pack for another trip, I anticipate the delicious food I will enjoy and look forward to bringing home new ideas. I’ve always said I am a home cook, not a chef — if I can make it, you can, too.
This week I present a dish that pairs well with a roast or as a standalone dish: Mushroom Risotto.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter*
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ yellow onion, diced
1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
¾ cup red wine
4 cups beef broth*
¼ parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat in large skillet. Add Arborio rice and stir until well coated. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until golden in color. Add onions and mushrooms and mix well. Cook additional 2 – 3 minutes until rice is dark golden, almost brown. Slowly add wine and stir well. Let the rice absorb the wine and then slowly add in one cup of broth at a time. Each time allowing rice to absorb the broth almost completely. This will take about 20 minutes total. Do not raise the heat and over cook.
Once last cup of broth has been added, stir well and test to ensure it is cooked thoroughly. The rice should be soft to the bite and not hard at all. Remove from heat and add cheese and parsley just before serving.
*Replace butter with additional olive oil and use vegetable broth for a vegetarian recipe.