Risotto cheat

I discovered one can make ‘fake risotto’ with leftover rice or other leftover grains. I used quinoa. Since it is already cooked, one doesn’t need to cook it in broth for a long time the way one would with proper risotto. Instead, one makes a mini-broth, then adds the already cooked grains at the end.

The sauce I made was: 2 tablespoons of butter (or a bit more, I don’t measure), 1/2 a cup of water with a small piece of bouillon cube stirred into it (broth substitute), and a minced shallot. I sauteed the shallot in the butter, then added the broth. When it was nice and boily I added two tablespoons of lemon juice. I then scooped out the pieces of shallot, just so as not to have the texture of the in the dish. Then I added a huge heaping tablespoon of chopped artichoke from a jar (finely chopped, supposed to be for spreading on toast, but you could also use those pickled artichokes that are for salads), and 1/2 a cup (or a bit more) of grated parmesan cheese. When it was nice and smoothly blended, and the cheese all melted evenly into the sauce, I dumped in four cups of cooked quinoa, turned off the heat, and stirred for a bit to mix well. It was amazingly delicious and took only a few minutes.

I think the same or a similar sauce could be used with peas, green beans, lima beans, or even as a kind of warm salad dressing on endive or arugula? Anyway, I’m thrilled to have discovered something besides stir-fry to do with leftover rice!

I used this Lemon-Artichoke Risotto recipe as an inspiration for the mixture of ingredients: https://www.yummly.com/recipe/Lemon-artichoke-risotto-349153?prm-v1

Who cut the cheese?

An ash-covered Tropeiro cheese from Minas Gerais, after suffering an unhappy week in shipping.

A cheese arrived by mail yesterday. It had spent a week in transit due to virus-related transportation delays. It was gray and moldy and wrinkled, and the strong cheesy smell of it easily escaped the thick layers of plastic wrap and cardboard which secured it, growing stronger as I cut them away.

Following cheesecare instructions I gently scraped away the white patches of mold with a bread knife. Then, not following cheesecare instructions, but personal experience, I put it on a plate in the fridge with a ventilated cover over it. Last time we had one of these cheeses we kept it in the cheese cage, but the temperatures here are quite warm and it sweated oil from the cut side. The texture was less than appealing with it being warm and oily like that. So this one will stay chilled.

I remembered a childhood expression while cutting this cheese. “Who cut the cheese??” was giggled on the schoolbus if someone farted, or when we passed a farm and a waft of manure-scented air came in. But I remember clearly that until high school I only ate Kraft American Cheese, the kind that came in a brick in a cardboard box. It had no smell. I don’t remember ever encountering a cheese with a cheesy smell in childhood. So the reference in the reaction to stinkiness was rote, learned from some generation who had known farmhouse cheese, perhaps?

When our high school French teacher decided to have a French Culture Day in class, she brought in brie cheese, a baguette, and perhaps some other things I have forgotten. She played a famous song on a tape recorder and sang along with it, embarrassing us. She was actually French and I think we all found her a bit intriguing and startling, though she was well-liked. Anyway, I remember everyone in class trying the cheese and most being rather horrified by the strange bitter taste, fungus-covered exterior, and rank smell. After high school I think I moved up to eating cheddar, but not much else. It took me decades more to attempt gorgonzola and other strong or moldy cheeses.