Friday, December 4, 2009

Cleaning House

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.

Bliss defined.

10 comments:

Angie Muresan said...

Oh yum! If there are any leftovers, ship them over.

The Townhouselady said...

Gawd that sounds good. I would have never thought to combine those flavors.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Risotto...OMG..that looks so good....I haven't had it in so long....maybe tonight?

love the shots of the freezer...

my FAVORITE thing is looking in peoples fridge's.....

more later.....

Kary
xx

Kay said...

mmmm...you just made me hungry...and i agree, the winter cleaning has always been overlooked...I just spent my entire doing the same thing the other day...everything sparkling now (blinds, floors, fridge, bathroom, closet)... ready to rest in the warm glow of candle light cozy on the couch reading...mmmmm....winter delights :)

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Dayum! That sounds delish!

You are good, girl!

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

We've been on an on again, off again cleaning tear too. I think it's knowing you'll soon be housebound a lot more by the weather and want things cozy, not oppressive. The risotto looks/sounds lovely, Laura. But for whatever reason, I can't seem to muster the patience risotto requires. Which is weird, because I have plenty of patience for other food-related things that require time and attention.

red ticking said...

it is the little simple things in life right?
and yes, a mirror image from my blog... still fabulous... we just finished the project...

Mlle Paradis said...

Hi Laura - Thanks for stopping by chez moi! Yes, those rocks....there must be SOMEWHERE in nyc they sell such things. I see them often in LA and London. I bet you could even find them on ebay. re: shrimp shells. I make bouillabaisse with my stock w/ J. Childs' recipe. It's actually kinda easy! Which would then beg the question why don't I make it more often and stop clogging up my freezer with those shells?!

Mlle Paradis said...

oh! i double-checked your comment! you said stove not stone! oops. see what happens when you're supposed to be cleaning house and you're surreptitiously web-surfing instead! a warning! no even anzu didn't know where to get one but first one who finds out is obliged to let the rest of us know!

Lori said...

It just so happens I am on the same kick with my freezer. Purge! I feel so accomplished when I take something out and use it.

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