Our last blog post of 2014, the year we started Port and Fin.
Although the website itself won’t officially turn 1 until April, I feel like this landmark bears mentioning anyway. 2014 has been a big year for both Chelsea and I. Between us, we’ve moved homes, started new jobs, adopted (3 wonderful) dogs and learned first hand just how much goes in to running a food blog (well, running 50% of one anyway- how do you solo artists do it?!?!). In short, 2014 has been challenging, but rewarding.
Of course, the year is not over yet. Yesterday, as I was putting the finishing touches on my lovely lemon risotto, I discovered that my camera had no memory card. It was like watching a disaster in slow motion as my mind put together exactly where it was.
Friday, my last day of work before the holidays- spirits are high, office productivity low. I return from lunch and re-organize my bag in preparation for two whole weeks off. I had a big stack of take-home work and a couple bottles of wine that were gifted to me, so it was going to be a squeeze on the train home, even for my unusually massive purse. So what does one do? You take eeeeeverything out, and then re-pack it like an early-90’s Tetris-master.
Except, when I took my memory card and reader out that day… I failed to put it back in.
And in that moment, with my oozy risotto simmering away on the stovetop, I went quietly mad. (All things considered, not the earliest in the season anyone has ever gone holiday nuts.)
Within minutes, Colin had his shoes on and car keys out, ready to run to the nearest Best Buy or Future Shop for a back-up card. I didn’t ask him to, he just did.
Colin: “Do I get to eat that entire plate when I get back?”
Me: “Yes? I mean, after I take some pictures…”
Colin: “Keep adding the stock then, I’ll be back in 10.”
And that brings me to my warm and fuzzy theme for 2014’s last blog post- love.
Even as I write that I cringe a little, since I’m not what you would call… sweet. I don’t watch romantic comedies, I don’t write sweet nothings on people’s facebook walls, I don’t do flowers, chocolate or stuffed animals. Heck, I didn’t even write my own wedding vows, opting instead to read a short standard statement.
It’s not that I don’t have endlessly deep love for the wonderful people in my life, I do. To those in my inner sanctum, I am effusive. I am a bottomless bubbling spring of affection. I would do anything for them. Publicly, however, I am much more comfortable being cool and aloof.
So, let’s start with romantic love. What is romance to me? The latte I’m sipping in bed as I write this. Having a cool-head when I can’t manage one. Having the same twisted sense of humour as I do- that can make me laugh, even on the worst days. A bottle of wine and a pile of fresh ingredients waiting for me at the end of a long week. Adventure. Patience. Understanding.
I’m lucky, and I know it. And it’s not just in the romance department, either. I’ll spare you the gory details but I have included my thank you’s at the bottom of the page.
So, I got my photos taken, in a pinch.
I love pairing lemon risotto as a side with my no-fry Italian fried chicken so, serving it on its own as a main, I emulated the crunch of the chicken with a sprinkle of pangrattato- crispy fried breadcrumbs. To brighten up the whole dish, I mixed my pangrattato with a fresh gremolata and created something really special.
If you would like to make this dish without the gremolata pangrattato, I recommend stirring the parsley you would have used in the topping into the risotto itself. The freshness of the parsley lends itself very well to the lemon and ensures the dish doesn’t become one-dimensional.
|Lemon Risotto with Gremolata Pangrattato|| |
- Lemon Risotto:
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ⅓ cup dry white wine (optional)
- 4 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Gremolata Pangrattato:
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 lemon, zest only
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions and cook until soft but not browned, stirring frequently. Add risotto and cook until grains are semi-translucent and glossy (but, once again, not browned).
- Add wine, if using, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add a ladle of stock to the rice mixture and stir. The trick to a creamy risotto is to add already warm stock 1 ladle at a time so the rice cooks evenly. Continue to add ladle after ladle of stock, letting the previous spoonful mostly absorb before adding the next. Stir risotto frequently, to massage out the starch and really add creaminess. Cooked risotto should be creamy but have a little bite to it, like pasta cooked al dente.
- When the arborio rice is to cooked to your taste, remove from heat. Add parmesan and stir to incorporate. Add lemon juice and zest and stir. Taste for seasoning- depending on how much salt is in your stock (if any), you may need to add a sprinkle of salt.
- In a small frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add breadcrumbs and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until breadcrumbs are browned and glossy. Remove from heat.
- In a mixing bowl, combine parsley, garlic and lemon zest. Add browned breadcrumbs and stir gently.
- Serve risotto immediately with a healthy sprinkle of gremolata pangrattato.
Chels, my co-blogger and partner in crime. I don’t know what I would do without the constant running commentary we have in each other’s days. Without an outlet for my constant rants and sarcasm I would probably go full April Ludgate.
Susie Q, thank you for being my emotional ballast. You’re soft in all the feely places I am hard, and I love you for it. You are the only person I will allow romantic comedies and fruity cocktails to happen with.
Gilly Lou, my Northern Star, thank you for always being the voice of reason and hilarity in my life. There is no one I can be more frank with, and no one I trust more when I’m feeling lost. I should probably get my 2003 tattoo removed, too (!), but it reminds me of you so I’ll probably keep it. It’s a good luck talisman, as far as I’m concerned.
Jas, the Globetrotter, you are a constant source of inspiration and amusement. I can’t wait to adventure with you again, whether it be back in Vancouver or somewhere else in the world.
Megs, my constant. We’re opposite sides of the same coin and I’m pretty sure we’re just twins born unusually far apart.
Thank you to all my friends, family and co-workers for a great year. I’m slowly but surely getting better at this food photography thing- hopefully next year you won’t have to wait so long to dig in to your meals.