Thursday, August 6, 2009

stress cooking

So my life has had some rather sucky events in the past… oh… year, but yesterday’s was TOTALLY PREVENTABLE and I’m pissed at myself. Basically… the hood of my car… not so much anymore. Ugh ugh ugh. The person I want to be is competent and doesn’t cause other people stress, but apparently that is just impossible for me. So yes, last night’s dinner post would’ve been of Chinese food eaten in an angry daze.

Coincidentally I also had Chinese after my car accident (this time not my fault!) in November (incidentally, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in the middle of nowhere, has a surprisingly not-bad Chinese place by the Ramada).

I understand that this is not the most normal reaction to stress, but I deal with it by making homemade vegetable stock, thus enabling me to make homemade risotto.

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A peek into the process- in the morning, before work, I put water and veggie trimmings (this batch included asparagus, mushroom, and artichoke stems, fennel cores, and carrot and onion tops) on to boil. I left them on a low simmer, and had my unemployed sister turn off the stove at noon and put the pot in the fridge (on top of an oven mitt, for meltage prevention). Then I reheated the broth for risotto (same technique as last time). Look at the GORGEOUS COLOR it attained:

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Even I was surprised. Veggie stock is usually kind of wan compared to chicken stock, but not this beaut.

Here’s my risotto prep station:

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Left to right, mushrooms, spinach, fresh parsley, parm, and garlic. On top would be my ice pack (I have a stiff neck cause I was wearing my seatbelt- but still, wear your seatbelt!)

Here’s the veggies, in process. They were just so pretty I had to document.

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And the final thing, in the bowl. Straight up, this recipe takes awhile. Make it if you’re feeling like stirring contemplatively.

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The results are well worth the effort, though. Sooo comforting, yet it’s made with vegetables and a whole grain (go barley!) I knew I was in need of comfort food, and since last night that meant eating “shrimp toast” (which is, by the way, DELICIOUS- it’s hard to go wrong when you deep fry shrimp, cream cheese, and sesame seeds- ew God I can’t believe I ate that) I wanted to make some HEALTHY comfort food.

Closeup:

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On the side, from a slightly different part of Europe, but delicious and takes me back to a place where I was happy:

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Khoriatiki salata. Without lettuce! No lettuce in Greek salad! However, I sat down to eat and realized I forgot the olives. Which we totally have. But at that point I didn’t care enough to get them.

Here it is dressed:

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Salt, pepper, fresh oregano (in Greece they used dried, but their dried oregano is CRAZY delicious and way better than here, so I went with my fresh and local- aka deck-grown), and oil and vinegar. An important note: the oil to vinegar ratio in Greek salad is 2:1. It’s healthy fat. Suck it up. That’s how you make it taste good.

My plate:

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Plus a bit more of each.

So yes, that’s that. I’m feeling low, and therefore pretty stoked that Julie and Julia, a movie I’ve been excited about since I heard it existed, comes out tomorrow.

3 comments:

Allie (Live Laugh Eat) said...

That risotto looks so amazing...you can cook up quite a storm when you channel your frustration :) Maybe you're the next Julie/Julia :)

Hope things turn up! There's a bright side to everything m'dear!

eatingmachine said...

i cook out of stress too! i figure, if you're going to stress eat (and let's be honest, sometimes, you can't help it), you can at least have something homemade with real food!

Special K said...

Yummy girl...and it is natural to cook and eat when stressed. It can be calming, and you feel productive (at least I do)...if you want to enter my Meal Me Giveaway, send me a copy of a recipe and photo you love to savour solo (specialktreatment @ gmail) and check out my site
http://thespecialktreatment.wordpress.com/