Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wasting time in the kitchen

I'm becoming very practiced at failure in the kitchen. I take a lot of risks in there, and you're bound to flub things when you're cooking with passion.

Well yesterday was no exception. I tried, for the very first time, making risotto. Cooking shows make it look so easy and fast, even. I just had to do it and watch the magic unfold before my eyes.

Magic, huh... well there was at least some physics and chemistry afoot, probably no magic, though.

I think my first mistake was trying to make it healthy by using brown arborio rice. I didn't think about the fact that brown rice takes twice as long to cook as white and as a result, my stirring arm is quite rubbery today. Also, I underestimated the amount of stock it would take to cook said rice. I started with a quart, as the basic risotto recipe instructed, but ended up needing about 2-1/2 quarts of liquid to soften the hull of the inpenetrable brown arborio grain. The final oversight was one of flavor. I decided to write my own recipe for this risotto, based on Indian biriyani. This meant using rich spices like coriander and cumin and as the rice toasted, so did the spices, developing into a super-rich concoction which I only compounded by adding butter and cheese at the end.

All told, it took an hour and 45 minutes to cook down the rice, all the while stirring and carefully adding stock. I did feel a scientific connection to the dish, however, as I watched the little stubborn grains of rice give up their starchy goodness into the surrounding gravy. The development was quite spectacular, even if it was painfully slow. The end result was rich and tasty, having absorbed all the stock and flavor and released enough starch to glue my cabinets back together.

I ate a little of it, but it proved too rich for me to finish. The moral of the story? Sometimes taking a risk in the kitchen means missing all of your tv shows while standing over a hot stove being blasted by aromatics for too long, only to leave you too baked to eat what you've made. Buy risotto in restaurants, don't make it.


  1. Lol, you just need some white rice and a view of a tv from your kitchen! Drinking michelob ultras the whole time you are cooking would help also...as would a love of mushrooms (wishful thinking) :)

  2. Yeah, I know... bacon. But, it was good without. I mean, if I can do it, anyone can. I manage to burn toast.