Say Something…Anything

Greetings! So after being a blog “stalker” for the past few years I’ve decided to add my own voice to this crazy internet world in the hope that maybe I’ll get a few stalkers of my own. So pull up a seat, preferably one close to your kitchen and enjoy.

I feel like I should say a little about who I am, by first stating the obvious: I LOVE to cook. Italian, Indian, Creole, French, Thai…whatever! I have yet to find a type of dish or a cooking style that I don’t enjoy. However there is a catch: I’m also a vegetarian. Which means I have spent more then a fair amount of time converting meat-based recipes into vegetarian friendly deliciousness. I also try to pay attention to what I’m eating. I’ve had health issues in the past and some other “fun” issues run in my family most of which are related to diet. So not only will you find some new (and hopefully tasty) exciting vegetarian dishes, you will also find dishes that are friendly to the waist band as well.
I have been cooking since I was tall enough to reach the stovetop and have been a vegetarian for the better part of 10 years. I originally went vegetarian as part of a teenage rebelious stage, my parents decided to do the Atkins diet so in my attempt to be different I decided to go vegetarian. I had a lapse after college where I started eating meat once a month but found that not only do I prefer tofu to steak, my body tends to also prefer a nice Eggplant Curry more than Chicken Marsala. So now I’m back to veggies, with the occasional piece of fish tossed in. Lucky for me my partner in crime is also vegetarian so it works out very well!
As I mentioned earlier I have been cooking for many moons, but the one issue I found is that most meals required too much pre-planning and weren’t very practical for someone that doesn’t get home, or at least into the kitchen, until well after 6PM on most days. Once I get home I want to have dinner as fast as possible, and something with more than an hour of prep is just not practical. So I started doing my own recipes, converting things to make them slow cooker friendly or finding short cuts in order to get my food on the table as fast as possible while still keeping the same taste. Which brings me right into my first recipe: Risotto with Mushrooms in a Spring Pea Sauce. I found the original recipe on Food Network and was floored not only by the amount of butter used (almost 1 stick for 4 servings!) but also the fact that the original recipe had a cook time close to 2hrs. This new recipe uses a fraction of the butter and can also be done in well under an hour.
Three quarters cup frozen peas
Two tablespoons butter (I used Smart Balance)
One vidalia onion, finely diced
Three cups vegetable broth
1/4 pound white mushrooms, cleaned and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Two tablespoons olive oil
One cup, risotto rice
1/2 cup white wine
Pepper and Cheese to taste
1. Cook frozen peas as directed, once finished rinse in cold water and set aside 2 1/2 cups.
2. Place one quarter of the onion in a saute pan, lightly sprayed with Olive Oil, and saute until transparent. Add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and remaining 1/2 cup of peas. Bring to a light simmer and then puree. Place puree in the fridge until last step.
3. Using the same pan, saute the mushrooms for 5 minutes and then set aside.
4. While mushrooms are cooking, put the remaining vegetable broth into a small stock pot and simmer.
5. Add the remaining onion to a large stock pan along with the garlic, 2tbsp of olive oil and 2tbsp of butter (butter substitute) and cook until onions are transparent over medium heat.
6. Add the rice to the large stock pan and cook until the rice is firmly coated in the oil, about 3minutes. Add the white wine and bring the heat up to med-high (gentle boil).
7. Once the wine has been absorbed starting adding the vegetable broth 1 cup at a time, waiting until all the broth has been absorbed before adding the next cup. STIR CONSTANTLY! Risotto likes to stick, especially in the final stages (I found this out the hard way doing an Asparagus Rissoto and my pot has not forgiven me for what resulted).
8. Once all the broth has been added turn the heat down to low and add the mushrooms and peas (both whole and the sauce). Season to taste with pepper and fresh parmesan cheese and then serve.
This serves 3-4 people as a main course, unless one of those people eats like my better half in which case this serves 2-3 people.

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