April 12, 2012

Risotto & Wild Garlic


I think, since I am having a food blog here, I have to be very honest with you and make a confession. I only started to cook about five years ago! Oh, yes! Before that I was way too busy building my carrier in the business sector. I rather ate in restaurants than cooked at home but then something happened and my life turned 180°. I lost my job one day to another and because that was not enough stress, in a month I found myself in Switzerland along with my Swiss -at that time still- boyfriend. At first I was lost. What should a gal do in a foreign country, where everyone seems to be rude at the first sight and hardly understands the language. Well for sure first I drove around the country getting to know my new home, but when I got home had to find something to entertain myself. So I started to cook, better to say, to experiment in the kitchen.


Oh boy, only you should have seen me at that time. I was very enthusiastic, maybe even too much but most of my creations went right into the trash in the beginning. Everytime my husband sat down at the table had a kind of fear in his eyes asking "what is this now again?". But then with time I gained a bit of a routine and things changed. Now I would not go back to my old life, just cannot see myself as a carrier woman working from 8 till dark in the office. Faith has its own way turning someones life, and I would not give my kitchen and camera for anything anymore.

So in the very beginning of my cooking "carrier" risotto was one of the first meals I could manage to make without a hitch. There is nothing complicated about it, just have to have the patience standing next to the stove for 30 minutes, and paying attention that the rice stays al dente. So out of a few ingredients you have a delish meal to serve. I believe it took me another year or so to figure it out that there are more than just rice risottos. Pearl barley or farro are both excellent choice to substitute rice and as far as the toppings go almost anything could come into question.



Pearl Barley Risotto with Wild Garlic and Nuts
Ingredients:
250g pearl barley
100ml dry white wine
1 large onion
700ml vegetable stock
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
a handful of parmesan
a handful of wild garlic
a handful of nuts
salt
pepper

You have to start the recipe a day ahead!
1. Place the pearl barley in a bowl and fill with water. Let it soak overnight.
2. Process wild garlic, nuts and 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a food processor and set aside.
3. The next day drain pearl barley and set aside. Heat up 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a pan. Add minced onion and sautee for a few minutes then stir in pearl barley. Cook for a few minutes then add wine. Stir continuously until liquid has evaporated. Add half a cup of stock and stir well until liquid is absorbed. Continue  adding stock, half a cup at a time, until all liquid is soaked in. Barley should be good in about 25 minutes.
4. Stir in half a tablespoon butter and a handful of parmesan. Add about 2 tablespoon wild garlic mash and season according to taste. Serve it hot.
5. Place the remaining pesto into airtight containers, and add more olive oil. Use it within a week.



13 comments:

  1. Well, I started cooking cooking almost 5 years ago but only the most common daily meal that Mom taught me. I quit my job a couple of years back and came to US with my husband and that's when I started experimenting too and the blog was born :)
    I have been thinking of making risotto for a while now, but always get confused about what kind of rice to buy! This looks really yummy :)

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    1. That is it exactly. Cooking is so homey, you can turn to it and get a bit of comfort when you are lost.
      If you want to make real risotto, than take either carnaroli or arborio rice, these are the best.

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  2. I love the homey appeal of your site. I would want to try a lot of Risotto dishes. This I will try soonest. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. Thanks a lot, so glad you like it :) Risotto is delicious you will not regret it

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  3. Vera,
    Love love love your space! Wonder why it took me this long to find it out, given that I've always adored your photography on flickr..
    Better late than never, I guess!
    I could sit browsing through your pictures all day...

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    1. Thanks a lot Radhika, glad you like my little space over here :)

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  4. You made a right career turn by parking in the kitchen and behind the camera :-). Your pictures are wonderful, and I suspect you are a good cook, too. What I like about your pictures - besides styling - is that you really pay attention to the light. And it seems to follow your orders :-)

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    1. Thanks Lakshmi. If I'm a good cook I don't know, but my husband doesn't complain that much anymore :)
      And about the Light... well we have some real misunderstanding sometimes, I really have to talk her through my ideas... but there are times she just doesn't want to play along. :)

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  5. Obnoxious, isn't she, the light :-). She is playing nicely with you, though. I wouldn't mind learning a lession or two how to tame her from you :-).

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    1. I would say so :) hahaha you're welcome to tame:)

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  6. hi vera, just came to know about you from radhika's blog. simply stunning photographs. agree with laxmi... the light really loves to play with you :-)

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    1. Thank you so much Dassana, so glad you like the photos :)

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