52Weeks · Home Cooking · Italian · Simple and In Season · Vegan

To the Beat

Beet Risotto 

Beet Risotto

I have this habit of becoming borderline obsessed with something and then trying to incorporate it into everything.  Be it a type of food or a cooking technique or a serving style – I enjoy exploring all aspects with something before pushing it to the back burner.  With my recent beet discovery lots of food has been turning pink around here, as I try to figure out which ways of cooking beets are acceptable and which ways are just not for me.   One of my favorite ways to experiment with a new food is to use it in preparations that I’m familiar with: pasta, omelettes, pizzas, and grain dishes.  While I’m not quite brave enough to try beet pizza this week I decided to give beet risotto a whirl, figuring beets are the perfect local ingredient for two blog challenges I’m participating in.  The first one is for the weekly challenge sponsored by /52weeksofcooking while the other is the awesome monthly challenge Simple and in Season which is hosted by the incredible Ren.  Beets are just starting to come into season here in the DC area, and I’ve been snatching them up for my experiments.  By time I had my beet realization it was too late for this growing season but I’m planning to add some to next year’s garden – along with the carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant that are currently growing.


I have to admit one of my favorite parts of this dish might be watching the dish go from a basic cream to a vibrant magenta.  However my favorite damask apron is not appreciating this new addition to the kitchen so I might have to start looking for a more beet tolerant apron.  Anyone have any suggestions?!?!

Simple and in Seasom

Looking for baggage

Smokey Apple Risotto
I must confess, there is something that I love more than cooking…more than baking…more than picking delicious fruit/veggies at the farm.  I love Glee!  I’m not sure if this is a healthy kind of love, because I’m pretty sure this is a one sided relationship.  I count down until Tuesdays at 8PM EST where I can once again spend time with my love.  I have also started a new tradition of baking cookies during Glee, a way to pass time during those evil commercial that try to stand in our way.  Joe has accepted this intruder, and by accepted I mean he is training the pups to bark during Glee so that he doesn’t have to listen to it.  However we have an arrangement, after Glee leaves me (again) for another week (or two!) he gets to play with his birthday present: the XBOX.  This is the other reason for the cookies…eating them somehow helps me block out the wonderful sounds of HALO.  It’s all worth it tho, because Glee makes me smile and reminds of the happier moments of High School.  I wonder if it’s possible to do a Glee themed meal….hmmm…
In other news I have finally used the last of my amazing apples!  After many batches of Apple Chip Cookies and a few batches of my yummy Apple Cider bread I decided to go in the savory direction and do a modified version of a dish my friend Elise made last year.  Her original recipe called for bacon and was lacking in the cheese department…so it needed some fixing.  This is the final result and it was amazingly rich and delicious.
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 1 pound apples, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced KEEP THE SKIN ON!
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated smoked Gouda Cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions
    1. In a saucepan, warm the broth and cider over medium heat, bringing to a low simmer.

    2. Warm 1 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the apples, and cook until just soft, about 3 minutes. Remove apples, drain, and set aside.
    3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the garlic and onion. Cook 3 minutes. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in the sherry, stirring constantly until fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth cider mixture to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat, and stir in the apples and gouda. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    If you don’t have sherry feel free to use another type of dry wine.  When it comes to apples I prefer a mixture of sweet and tart, as well as a mixture of colors.  The main thing with the apples is cooking them to the point where the flesh is soft but the skin still has a slight crunch to it, almost al dente if you will. 
    For those of you that want to baconize this recipe, just switch out half of the apples and start cooking the bacon right before you add the apples.  For those of you that want the bacon taste without the bacon, some stores do sell a bacon smoked cheese…have I mentioned before how bacon is taking over the world???