Spring and savory

Last week was a busy one. No time for shopping, planning, or menu-creation. Everything was on the fly.

The wife went to Whole Foods to pick up our locally grown order and shot me a text. “Two pounds of shrimp. Anything else?”

I was busy, and simply responded “I can work with shrimp.”

“Sides?” she sent back.

I was distracted and in a big hurry. So, I quickly typed out, “Cilantro, fresh ginger, cabbage, pineapple, peaches.”

I had no plan, but I did have a few other things on hand, including nearly a gallon of frozen homemade stock. Here are the two exceedingly simple sides I ended up with. They’re nothing special. In fact, they’re almost not worth mentioning, but for the fact the wife gave me sexy eyes when I served them.

Pornographic Risotto

1.5 cups of arborio rice
1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon diced fresh ginger
1/4 cup white wine
4 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 large chopped peach
1/4 cup chopped fresh pineapple
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper

1. Melt butter on medium to medium high heat. When melted, sauté ginger and 1/2 of peaches until soft. Add rice and brown slightly.
2. When rice is brown and butter has been absorbed, add wine and stir until absorbed.
3. Warm stock and then add 3/4-1 cup at a time until nearly absorbed.
4. When stock has been almost entirely absorbed into rice and rice is soft, add remainder of peaches, pineapple, cilantro, and Parmesan cheese.
5. Salt and pepper to taste

Nasty, naughty cabbage

1/3 head red cabbage, julienned
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, diced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds
1/2 large peach, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Heat oils together in skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and ginger. Cook for two minutes, then add garlic.
2. When garlic is beginning to brown, add cabbage. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until it’s soft but still has a bit of a crisp to it.
3. Add remainder of ingredients and cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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8 Responses

  1. change100 says:

    OMG nomnomnom. If you had to substitute another fruit for peaches, what would you go with?

  2. otis says:

    Change–Sub mango for the peach, just cook a little longer.

  3. Grange95 says:

    Your recurring “something I threw together” food posts make me hungry while reinforcing that I’m playing culinary 2/4 LHE in my kitchen. We’re both fortunate my sig other rolls his eyes at “poker blogs”, otherwise I might have get a little Joe Pesci on you.

  4. BG says:

    The only thing I’d swap out in that risotto is the cheese. Ricotta laced just a touch with honey, whipped together with a good solid pinch of whole milk mozz to make it melty. Otherwise, good goddamn.

  5. otis says:

    BG–Great idea with the ricotta and honey. That will come in the next batch.

    Grange–Is that Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas” or Joe Pesci in “Home Alone?” I’d prefer the latter, I think.

  6. trodoss says:

    The Cabbage sounds great but would kill me (allergic to peanuts). Maybe a little EVOO sub there, or something 😉

    Watercress would be another good one to try with that kind of preparation.

  7. otis says:

    trodoss–peanut oil was just to give it a more nutty flavor. If you sub EVOO, put in equal parts EVOO and sesame oil. Watercress a good idea, too.

  8. The Wife says:

    Your wife gave you sexy eyes because you cooked . . . if my husband cooked anything of substance on a regular basis, you have no idea the kind of eyes I’d give him!

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