Tuesday, December 20, 2011

risotto & gingerbread

Last week, Sophie came over, and I made the really disjointed dinner/dessert combo of red coconut curry noodles and apple cobbler. When I invited her over for dinner this week, I didn't intend to follow that same illogical pattern, but it happened anyways. This is what happens, I think, when you know you're going out of town soon, and don't want to go to the grocery. Whatever's in the house gets cooked up, and it's pretty bare bones. 

Luckily Sophie is pretty understanding when it comes to my completely eccentric kitchen behavior, and didn't really blink when she arrived and found out we'd be eating spinach risotto followed by gingerbread cookies and ice cream.

sugar, spices, butter, evaporated milk, and molasses.

my dough probably could've used a little more flour

things came out a little...stretchy

the risotto recipe i used suggested you "pat" the spinach dry. disaster.

it still turned out ok-looking though

disregarding the totally loopy shape of my gingerbread man, they were tasty!

I got home from work and decided to whip up the small batch of the gingerbread cookies. Sophie had sent me the recipe a while back, billing it as the best she'd ever had. I meant to make them for the holiday party Neha and I co-hostessed this past weekend, but it didn't quite come together at that point, so I had the ingredients sitting in my kitchen. And I didn't have bread, salad, or appetizer fixings to serve to Sophie with the risotto, so I felt like I had to provide something other than just rice.

The batter came together fine, if a bit sticky. Getting the shapes from my counter to the cookie sheet, though, was a comical experience, as you can see from the pictures above. Those were my best shapes, too, resulting from a couple of "oh screw it" moments in which i balled the dough back up and started over again. When I saw the sad little misshapen men on the cookie sheet, I couldn't help but laugh at their disproportionate little limbs/heads. 

While they cooled and Sophie made her way to my apartment, I geared up for risotto. I had all my ingredients measured and chopped, and had patted the spinach as dry as humanly possible. Side note: have you ever tried to pat spinach dry? "Pat" is not an aggressive enough word to articulate how much effort it takes to remove water from cooked spinach. I think I used a roll of paper towels, and I wouldn't call the end result "dry," either.

After the spinach drying debacle, I got ready to actually start cooking the rice/broth. And my stupid stove wouldn't light. After successfully lighting to bake the cookies and steam the spinach. Seriously, people, they just fixed the burners LAST time I cooked for Sophie (a week ago exactly, mind you). 

After several very frustrated attempts at igniting the burners, I called the front desk, which promised to send up a technician. Of course I couldn't just be patient and wait for the dude, so I kept trying, and eventually got the right two burners to light. And promptly accidentally turned one off. Which led to several more minutes of angry yelling at my stove. I have no idea what happened, but miraculously it decided to ignite, and dinner was only slightly delayed. Again, Sophie should be thanked for her patience with my crazy self and even crazier kitchen.  

We agreed that both the risotto and the cookies were a success. Nothing in the knock your socks off territory, but a really solid Monday night dinner. Then again that could be the bottle of wine talking... (but really, I say both recipes are worth trying!) 

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