Spring cleaning seems to get all of the attention but I have an equally strong desire to clean house just as winter is falling as well. Last weekend, fueled by leeks, I went on a deep cleaning rampage. Rummaging through my cabinets and freezer only served to remind me of how sad a state my kitchen is in. Supplies (although now very well organized) are running low, and any impromptu guests who might stop by would be distinctly out of luck in the food and drink department. During the holidays this just seems pathetic.
Exhibit 1, my usually stuffed but now terribly vacant freezer:
Before replenishing my stocks I feel a burning desire to purge myself of the old foodstuffs. I want a blank slate for the new arrivals, so I'm on a mission to devise ways to use up the motley crew of edibles I've collected over the past few months.
Odd edible #1: fava bean cream. I was getting a massive amount of fava beans in my CSA box in the spring and early summer and as much as I love them mashed with olive oil and mint and spread on toast, even the best of dishes can become a tad old after the twentieth tasting in a month. So I turned to Eugenia Bone's excellent book Well Preserved for advice. And she advised fava bean cream. Pureed favas with stock, pine nuts, garlic, salt...and frozen for future use. And of course I forgot to use it. Until now.
I went back to Ms. Bone and she suggested fava bean cream risotto. I do as I'm told.
I liberated the fava cream from the freezer and set it on the counter to defrost.
And I dug into the freezer for a container of shrimp stock I had made ages ago from some shrimp shells and the remnants of a fennel bulb. Again, totally forgot about it. I mean, what does one use shrimp stock for anyway? Risotto, that's what. Into a pot to warm it went.
I gently sauteed an onion in olive oil, threw in some arborio rice (which I'm also trying to use up as I'm told that carnaroli rice is the risotto rice to use...I wonder if I'll be able to tell the difference?), tossed in the last bit of a bottle of sake in place of white wine (one random container of consumables down!), and let it bubble away.
Then I did the whole add a little stock, stir, let it evaporate, repeat thing a few times until I had a lovely creamy mass. Handfuls of parmesan were added (the parmesan is now gone as well!), salt and pepper and a bit of chopped parsley and then, after a copious drizzle of delicious olive oil dinner was served. On the couch. With a glass of wine. In front of 30 Rock.