So, the midterm election blew, as feared and expected. I kind of fumbled around today leaving grumpy status updates on my Facebook and harboring a lot of general pissiness. And, no, I don’t really want to talk about it so let’s talk about food, shall we?
Tonight’s menu an Arugula Salad with Pears, Roasted Grapes and a Roasted Shallot Dressing and a Winter Squash Risotto. Chosen with a purpose.
Squash because I finally determined it was the right time to harvest them. Pretty Honey Boat Delicata. Risotto because, shockingly, I have never made risotto. Never. Weird right?
I knew it entailed the tedious task of peeling and chopping winter squash. A task I dislike immensely but, given my mood, using my super sharp knife to peel and chop a lot of things sounded therapeutic. Risotto, I knew, required a good chunk of time spent stirring. Which ordinarily would bore me or, at the very least, annoy me. But tonight I needed some mind numbing stirring to get my mind off my mind. It didn’t totally work, but the intention was there.
Arugula because it is growing fantastically in our garden and the slugs have left it alone. Pears are in season and yummy. And grapes because the Babylady is obsessed. Actually, she is currently obsessed with pears, grapes and onions so this was a WIN!
A great fall meal. Even in worsening times.
Arugula Salad with Pears, Roasted Grapes and Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette (adapted from epicurious)
- 1.5 pounds seedless red grapes
- 4 teaspoons, plus ½ cup olive oil
- 4 shallots (~ 4 ounces), peeled
- ¼ cup sherry wine
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 12 ounces arugula, tough stems removed
- 3 ripe pears, quartered and thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle grapes with 3 teaspoons olive oil and spread them on sheet in single layer. Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil on shallots in aluminum foil and fold into packet. Place shallot packet on same baking sheet if there is room, if not use another.
- Bake until shallots are soft (about 1.5 hours) and grapes are shriveled and a bit caramelized (about 2.5 hours.) Cool.
- Combine shallots, wine and honey in blender and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add oil in a steady stream and continue to blend.
- Toss arugula with dressing to coat. Don’t drown it- just put a bit on and toss with your clean hands. Add more if needed.
- Top with pears and grapes.
Makes 12 servings. A fact I didn’t realize until I had already oiled up my grapes and shallots. There were 3 of us. Not too worry! Dressing keeps for a while and the extra grapes will be good with some goat cheese on bread the next few days.
Winter Squash Risotto (adapted from the food network)
- 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 cups chopped peeled delicata (or other winter squash), ½ inch pieces
- 2 cups mushrooms (any kind you want/have), chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads (optional. I didn’t)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth (I used a dry riesling, because it was there)
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Heat broth in a 2.5 quart saucepan (or similar size.) You’ll get it to a simmer over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat so the broth is steaming, but not simmering.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for about 1 minute, stirring a few times. Stir in squash and mushrooms and cook and stir until the mushrooms give off their liquid, about 5 minutes.
- Add thyme, salt, pepper and saffron (if using); cook for 30 seconds.
- Add rice; stir until translucent, about 1 minute. Add wine (or vermouth). Stir, until absorbed by the rice, about 1 minute.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth; reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed. Keep adding the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed, until the rice is tender and creamy, 30 to 40 minutes total.
- Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.
Makes four 1.5 cup servings (thought mine looked like more).
And, in the end Love & Kindness will prevail. And I’ll keep growing and resisting. Peace out. =)