I’ve been thinkin’ (as I sit here sipping the world’s best ice coffee that is so good even I don’t need to put in my usual complement of sweeteners), that … more
I’ve been thinkin’ (as I sit here sipping the world’s best ice coffee that is so good even I don’t need to put in my usual complement of sweeteners), that my kid has crazy morning hair.
I’ve also been thinkin’ (and here’s where my husband usually says “uh-oh,” like I’m Lucy Ricardo or something, when everyone knows that couldn’t ever be true since I have brown hair and she had red hair and also she’s like, 100 years old) that we need a better name for “leftovers” (air quotes).
As if we didn’t already have our hands full, what with trying to come up with a new mascot for gluten-free.
Still, I think it’s a worthwhile exercise. A noble pursuit, even. “Leftovers” sounds so yesterday’s-newspaper. So what-should-we-do-with-this-crap (sorry. stuff).
I’ll have you know that I made tons of risotto, with the intention of making risotto cakes. For you, my love. For you.
Stick to the food, Nicole.
***’scuse me. I’ll be right back.**
Okay, I’m back.
I just had the most unfortunate incident that a scaredy-cat person like me (who is admittedly prone to dramatic overreaction, except in this case where it was totally warranted) can ever have in this here God’s green earth thankyouverymuch. It’s so unfortunate that it’s unspeakable, even to me (who is not often at a loss for words, in case you hadn’t noticed). Suffice to say that I will never ever ever never take fish oil tablets again. Ever. Don’t try to talk me back into it. I’m a dead end. It’s a non-issue. What kind of a lunatic thinks that super-duper-double-coated means that something otherwise sick-making won’t retain its sick-making properties?
Not me. Not any more.
I don’t want to talk about it.
Okay, I kind of do want to talk about it. But my sweet boy just came down stairs and told me good morning 8 different ways and now I have to hug him against his will (he’s not much of a cuddler). And then there’s the food. We’re talking about food. Not fish oil and hugs.
We should never speak of fish oil again. It should remain hereafter unspoken (it’s okay – I used to be a lawyer, so I can use words like heretofore and hereafter; I’m licensed to do so).
I’m okay now, and I hope you are, too. I hope that my sickness didn’t turn into sick-making for you.
I’m sorry. I really, and truly, am.
Let’s change the subject. Let’s look at a picture of my kids, Brady Bunch style. My big one, who was for two weeks at sleepaway camp, is back. And all is right with the world of my two other children. Their sun has returned to its orbit, and they have returned to theirs.
The mean, fluffy white dog seems, at most, nonplussed.
I simply cannot believe how beautiful she is. All 3 of our children are significantly better-looking than either of us is. No Punnett square could have predicted that.
Life … can be unpredictable.
And truly wonderful.
Like, just take these risotto cakes.
No, seriously. Go on. Take one. There’s plenty.
A few words to the wise. Risotto cakes should not be mistaken for hamburger patties. If you try to make them big, they will (a) look gross; and (b) fall apart on you. If you make them small, they are simply lovely. About a centimeter of crunchy crust on the outside is your gateway to the creamy center that is rich and creamy, but still bright and savory. You, too, can achieve risotto cake nirvana. All you need is a few simple tips.
Here’s the risotto cake 4-1-1.
The risotto, and all the other ingredients, must be cold. You must allow time to chill in the refrigerator not once, but twice. First, after you first make the mixture, and then, after you form the patties.
You must coat the cakes in some sort of crumbs. In their most beautiful iteration, which you see at the tippy top of this page, I used freshly ground bread crumbs. Crushed Chex cereal also makes a delicious crunchy crust. It’s just not quite as beautiful. But it is (1) easier and (2) cheaper.
You must shallow fry them, and you must have the patience of a saint. If you allow them to form a golden crust on one side, which is what they really want to do, you will win the blue ribbon. I baked a few, just for fun, and they were pretty but my kids (now risotto cake snobs) turned up their noses at those baked guys (and I swelled with pride).
From my kitchen to yours, I give you …
- 2 cups (“leftover”) cooked risotto (I used a vegetable risotto), chilled
- 6 tablespoons shredded flavorful cheese (I used gruyere, and I’m glad I did)
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 6 ounces sour cream (or Greek yogurt) (or softened cream cheese)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 extra-large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (I’m a woman obsessed)
- 2 tablespoons (or more, to taste) finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup (or more) fresh breadcrumbs (or crushed Chex cereal)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a large bowl, place the risotto, cheeses, sour cream, lemon juice, egg whites, salt, paprika and parsley, and mix to combine well.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 10 minutes, or up to overnight.
- Once the mixture if chilled, divide it into disks about 1½ inches in diameter and about ¾ inch to 1 inch thick, and press the disks together as best you can. Roll each disk in fresh breadcrumbs or crushed cereal to coat generously, and then place it on a baking sheet (close together is fine – we’re not baking anything on this sheet). Place the risotto cakes in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
- Once the cakes are properly chilled, heat about 1 centimeter of oil in a large (stainless steel if you have it – otherwise nonstick is fine) skillet until it shimmer, and place each risotto cake in the hot oil. Allow the cakes to cook, without messing with them at all, on one side until a crust of about 1 centimeter in thickness forms (about 5 minutes). Carefully, with a very thin spatula (a fish turner works great here, unless you’re using a nonstick pan), turn each cake over and cook until a proper crust forms on the other side of the cakes.
- Remove from the oil, drain on paper towels, and serve immediately.