Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Anti-Social Behavior

First you have to stop a moment and consider your short term schedule.

Tea with the queen? No, that’s not tomorrow (didn’t we just suffer through that last week?).

Lunch with Barack? No, no, he’s still in New Hampshire signing books and pretending not to run for president. I think we're doing lunch next week.

Bono dropping by later for a jam session? Nope, he’s on tour in Japan with his buds.

Nicole was just picked up (again) for DUI, so we won’t be hitting the clubs tonight. And Lindsay is drying out in rehab, so morning breath won’t be an issue there either.

Then a quick look around the house.

Dog chewing on dirty socks. He’ll notice, but might actually enjoy the odor.

Kids arguing over TV / bathroom / phone / music / etc. An odor-enforced buffer zone seems like a perfect solution. Too bad the odor is not thick enough to create a sound barrier as well.

Cool breeze blowing, windows open, the odor should dilute sufficiently in the open air such that the neighbors are not permanently affected. The lawsuits should be nominal.

OK – roasted garlic is now on the menu!

Actually, roasting garlic mellows the flavor out a bit from just plain raw garlic. Roasting transforms the crunchy little garlic toes (toes, right, or cloves? hmm) into a soft tan mush. And transforms the flavors from a sharp bite to a deep, rich, enveloping earthiness. The roasted mush is then squeezed out from the papery skin. And subsequently mashed into anything that needs a sublime, earthy, powerful kick in its culinary butt.

Along with the garlic, I roasted some leeks. Till they were soft, wrinkly, somewhat caramelized as well.

I know this seems like it might kill the delicate flavor of the leeks, but somehow it transforms them as well, and the leek essence shines through.

And these two things then became the basis of a very flavorful risotto. Certainly nothing necessarily new, but this is my version.

Added to my basic risotto concept, we got a creamy, earthy dish with a very deep, satisfying flavor. A lot of flavor for really not that much work. A little fresh ground pepper on top helps bring out the flavors, and a splash of your best extra virgin olive oil only adds to the creamy texture of the final presentation.

It’s true that my breath can probably still peel paint a day later, but roasted garlic is a real treat and worth an antisocial day every now and then!!

Print Recipe

Roasted Garlic and Leek Risotto
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 6 as main course

6-8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 large leeks, root end and green end trimmed, white part cut in half lengthwise, washed well and dried
olive oil
8 cups chicken broth
700 grams arbiato rice
¼ cup dry white wine, or 2-3 tbsp rice vinegar
1-2 cups grated parmesan (I like more, some like less)
1 cup chopped parsley
Fresh ground black pepper
A splash of extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Place garlic and leeks on parchment paper on a backing pan. Drizzle with olive oil, and turn a few times to ensure even coating. Place leeks cut side down. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, until garlic cloves are soft, but not burned, and leeks are browned and softened. Remove from oven. Remove outer layers of leeks, if they are too rough to cut. Let cool till they can be handled. Chop leeks fine. Cut tops off garlic cloves, and squeeze roasted garlic out into a small bowl. Mash with a fork. Reserve.

Heat the chicken broth to a boil in a pan, and reduce heat, keeping broth at a bare simmer.

In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Increase heat to high and add rice. Cook rice, stirring, until it just turns translucent, about 3-4 minutes (don’t let it burn!). Reduce heat to medium high. Add wine or rice vinegar, stirring. Add 2 ladlefuls of broth, stirring, and roasted garlic. As broth is absorbed, continue adding broth one ladleful at a time, stirring. Reduce heat as necessary to keep risotto just at a bare boil. When most of the broth has been added, stir in the grated parmesan. Continue to add broth, a little at a time, until the rice has reached an al dente stage. The risotto should be creamy and moist, if it gets too dry, stir in additional liquid. Just before serving, stir in parsley. Serve with a light grind of fresh black pepper, and a splash of the ol’ extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!

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12:15 PM  
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Anonymous sarah said...


can i come over with a spoon?

9:30 PM  
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