Risotto Cakes, Featuring Green Garlic

What is green garlic?I want to be completely honest. This is a very fussy recipe. You won’t find yourself spontaneously making this some Wednesday night after work. However, it is a great dish to make for guests. All of the preparation can be easily done the day before you want to serve it. In fact, it’s actually better the day after you make it! These risotto cakes would make a fancy vegetarian main dish or work well as a refreshing side.

Green garlic is different from a garlic scape (though scapes would probably work very well for this recipe, too.) Green garlic is what you get when you prematurely pull up a garlic plant. It’s delicious and pungent and you’re lucky if you can pick up some at the farmers’ market.

For risotto-
olive oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of white pepper
3 cups chicken broth or stock (or substitute veggie)
1/2 c. white wine (Try the ferryboat white.)

To finish-
small bunch of green garlic (about 6 stalks), chopped coarsely
1/3 c. Parmesan, grated
olive oil

  1. Get out two pans: one to warm your stock in, the other in which to create your risotto. Begin to warm your stock on low. Find your ladle.
  2. Heat 1 tbls. of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add garlic and arborio rice and continue to cook for about two minutes. (The traditional way to know if your arborio rice has been sauteed enough is to look for a translucent edge and a white dot on the grain of rice.)
  3. Splash in your wine and stir. Scrape up the brown bits with your spoon.When the wine is absorbed, ladle in one cup of stock, and reduce heat to low.
  4. Keep simmering and adding stock, one cup at a time. Your total simmer time comes to about 25 minutes. Taste your rice for seasoning and to see if it is done. (If it is not tender, add a little more liquid, continue to simmer on low, and stiStir in the green garlic and cheese off heat.r.)
  5. Off heat, stir in your Parmesan and green garlic. Spray a baking dish or cookie sheet with olive oil and spread the rice mixture out to cool. Continue reading
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Carrot Soup

This soup is so easy. It has very little prep time and very little clean up. It’s wholesome and warm and optimistically orange to brighten your rainy day.Nash's carrots

1 pound carrots
2 small potatoes (I prefer red for this recipe, but anything is good.)
1 large onion
5 garlic cloves
2-4 tbls. olive oil
salt and pepper

1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
1 quart water (or stock)
1/2 cup cream

  1. Preheat your oven to 425F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. (This makes clean up even easier. You won’t have to spend any time trying to scrub off roasted vegetables adhered to a baking sheet.)
  2. Peel and cut the carrots into chunks. Wash potatoes. Leave skins on and cut potatoes into similarly sized chunks. Peel onion and, you guessed it, cut it into chunks. Peel garlic cloves. Toss all of these delectable veggies on the cookie sheet with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place in the oven to roast for 1 hour. Go do something else.
  4. Come back to the kitchen and pour the veggies into a soup pot. Add the water or stock. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Fish out the bay leaf and thyme stems. Using an immersion blender or your trusty standing blender, puree the vegetables until smooth. At this point, the soup can sit on low until you are ready to eat it.
  6. Finish with 1/2 cup cream, if you like.

We picked up another 5 pound bag of carrots last weekend at the Ballard Farmer’s Market. I heard the girl at the Nash’s stand say to the customer in front of me, “These are the last of this year’s carrots.” Snap! I grabbed up my bag.  I was feeling disappointed about this, until I realized that the absence of carrots meant that spring vegetables were right around the corner. Thanks, carrots, for getting us through the winter! On to greener things!

A Simple Trick for Delicious Zucchini

At this time of year, you might just be tempted to scream, “Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini! Too much zucchini!!” Here’s a very simple trick that I learned from experiments in pizza-making. To make zucchini disappear quickly, try:

Garlic Oil
2-3 cloves garlic
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Slice the garlic. Add to a small skillet with oil and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low until the garlic just begins to brown. (If you allow it to brown, it will have an entirely different flavor, and you don’t want this.) Pull the oil off the burner and cool briefly.

Wash the zucchini. Chop off the ends. (If it’s prickly, peel partially with a potato peeler.) With a sharp knife, slice lengthwise into thin planks. Brush on both sides with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, on both sides, until tender.

That’s it! It’s so simple but makes for irresistable zucchini. Try this oil on any other vegetable that you want to grill.