And a starch. Make any starch of your choice. And so it has begun. Where they start to lengthen the leash, push you out of the nest and watch you stumble and stutter and hopefully fly. No more recipe excuses. Recipes might be wrong... now you must start to exercise methodology, use your brain and [gulp] put your new knowledge to use.
Go ahead and figure out timing: present all items to the CHEF on a plate, perfectly cooked, held, warmed, prepared and finished to serve in a specific window of time. Choose a starch, select a vegetable and keep it warm, colorful and well, presentable.
It is time to dig a little deeper into my chef's soul. Grab instinct, snag from the factoids floating around in my brain, think through timing of each item, resist frenzy and sync up with 3 other team members.
We are in class, and have just been given a specific entree. But we are asked to present a whole plate (I mean, we did spend a whole day on starches and a whole day on preparing and cooking vegetables, so we should be ready, right?), including a starch and vegetable of your choice. Oh, and watch the color.
You don't want white potatoes for your starch and parsnips as your vegetable---especially if you are serving chicken. White, white, white. Instead, go with bright green broccoli or snap peas or opt for glazed carrots; use wild rice instead of potatoes or pilaf. But I must say: the starch seems to hold down the record for boring color. I mean think vegetable and your mind starts teaming with juicy red tomatoes and yellow summer squash, eggplant, carrots, peppers and any number of greens. But starch? It takes a bit more work to pull colorful remembrances out of rice, risotto, pasta or potato. Not impossible, mind you, just that the go-to starches lean toward colorless.
But if you were to dress up risotto, perhaps orange? This recipe injects jewel-like orange gems across its white palate. And there you have it: a colorful starch. All good timing, as I needed to practice risotto-making. I like to re-make items from class, to double check if I have questions or ideas or things come together for me even more than the first time (Hollandaise sauce took me quite a few rounds, before I started to pick up on 'best practices,' but that is a story for another day).
This recipe, though lightly adjusted, is originally from Sunset's April 2008 magazine:
Carrot Risotto 2 T vegetable oil 3 T unsalted butter 4 medium carrots, small dice (about 3 cups) pinch salt larger pinch sugar 5 cups low salt chicken broth 1/3 cup minced onion 1 1/2 cups arborio rice 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup Parmesan (plus more for garnish) 2 T finely chopped parsley 1 tsp roughly chopped fresh thyme pinch white pepper
Heat 1 T oil and 1 T butter over medium heat in medium/heavy bottom pot. Add carrots and stir to coat; add 1/2 cup water, pinch salt and sugar, cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid is gone and carrots begin to brown. Reserve half carrots and puree the other half in a blender, with 3/4 cup hot water. Bring stock to simmer in separate pan. Heat 1 T oil and 2 T butter in same carrot pot; add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add rice, stir to coat and cook 1 minute. Add wine until absorbed. Add carrot puree, cooking for a few minutes; add 1/2 cup broth. Stir, when liquid is absorbed add another 1/2 cup stock. Continue adding 1/2 cup at a time until each is absorbed, for about 20 minutes. You should have about a cup of remaining stock. Fold in reserved carrots, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1 T parsley, and thyme. Add a little broth at a time until desired consistency; add S and WP (white pepper) TT (to taste). Garnish with Parmesan and parsley, if desired.
Note: heats up brilliantly for tomorrow's lunch. Reheat gently on stove, adding yet a bit more stock to loosen up the risotto. We had it for lunch the next day with grilled sausage and peppers.