The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.
The tasks for this edition of the Daring Cooks were to make risotto and homemade chicken stock. Flavor combinations were up to the cook.
I chose to make a savory risotto for my first go-round, using asparagus and serving it with salmon. I blanched the cut asparagus in the chicken broth, then cooled it down while preparing the rice.
Instead of white wine, I used red because the bottle was already open. I just couldn't justify opening a whole bottle of white for such a small amount. The red worked out fine, and didn't even add much color to the rice.
The risotto turned out perfectly and was a lovely complement to the salmon.
For risotto #2, I wanted to improvise and create a sweet dish using apples and cranberries. I discussed this with my daughter/taste-tester over brunch yesterday.
To me, the conversation went like this:
I'm thinking of making a sweet risotto using cinnamon, apples, and dried cranberries and cooked with apple juice. What do you think?
To her, the conversation apparently went like this:
wa Wah, wa Wah, apples, wa Wah wa Wah peaches, wa Wah wa Wah wa Wah wa Wah.
Really? Peaches? Did I mention peaches?
Shades of the Far Side. Kids never listen, no matter what the age.
Anyway, for breakfast this morning, I experimented with this risotto.
First, I peeled and diced one apple, then sauteed it briefly in butter, adding a small amount of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of cinnamon. While the apples were cooking, I heated the apple juice, placing some dried cranberries in the juice to plump and fishing them out when done.
Next, I sauteed about a half cup of Arborio rice in the apple pan for about one minute, then began adding the apple juice. It took a good half hour for the rice to cook. (Next time, I would dilute the apple juice a bit, but overall the end result was fine.)
After the rice had absorbed the juice, I added the zest of a small orange, then folded in the cooked apples and cranberries.
The sweet risotto turned out great, and made a nice change from the usual breakfast.
For more interesting risotto dishes, head over to the Daring Kitchen. The complete recipe for the savory risotto and its variations can be found at either Eleanor's or Jess's blogs.