Thursday, October 22, 2009

Barley and Squash Risotto

I love cooking. I can't get enough of it and I always feel I should be cooking more. Although I need rest on my days off, I dream of a day where I wake up early and cook all day. Stock simmering on the stove, meat roasting in the oven, several side dishes and possibly dessert. I have yet to do a cooking marathon, simply because I just don't have that many mouths to feed. Dinner for Jen and I takes no more than an hour. I can maybe cook for three hours if I make several dishes to last us a couple of days. I have not yet taken on the curing or smoking meat so maybe it's something to consider.

I made pork chops today with a barley and squash risotto. Originally the recipe called for squash to be diced and cooked in at the same time as the barley. As I feared I would chop off a finger in my attempt to cut the squash I decided to just cut it in half and roast it. Roasting would enhance the flavour and also soften the squash. Once you roast the squash though you have to modify the recipe. You can no longer cook the squash and the barley together as the recipe originally instructs. The already-soft roasted squash would likely become baby food by the time the barley has cooked and absorbed the liquid. So I made the barley risotto and stirred in the roasted squash at the end. Since I was craving something other than the sweetness of squash and barley cooked in chicken stock, I seasoned the squash with salt and pepper and added some cumin and coriander seed to it before throwing it in the oven. The smells as it was roasting were amazing. I could have eaten that squash on its own, I tell you.

I give the dish an A+ as far as taste goes. Charlie and Jen agree. Presentation was not colourful enough. I would have liked to maybe garnish the risotto with some fresh coriander but had none. In fact I had no fresh herbs of any kind as my grocery shopping day this week is Saturday and the cold weather outside has done in whatever fresh herbs I had going out there. Maybe next time.

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