It’s cold in Vlad’s House.
It’s cold all over Europe, but a lot of folks have heat in their house; some even have something called ‘central’ heating.
I think that means that all of the rooms in the house are warm…. All of the time….
I no longer remember.
It snowed on Tuesday….
Might I just take a moment to express how very, very much we wish we were living in our house…
The house with the insulated walls and floors and this pretty new stove.
But, alas, not yet….
So how cold is it in Vlad’s House?
This morning, whilst laying in bed, we could see our breath.
And that of both big dogs.
I broke an earring and grabbed a pair of magnifying glasses to fix it. I went into the bathroom (the only room with continuous heat – it has a towel-warmer on the wall). The glasses immediately fogged over. They’d been in the bedroom.
It’s so cold that the freezer in the little under-the-counter fridge stopped working. We put the ice cube tray outside the door. Not that we need ice cubes…. We just wanted to see how quickly they froze. No TV or internet, remember?
And you know how the label says not to refrigerate olive oil because it gets all cloudy and thick?
It does sitting on the counter, too.
That reminds me…..
I know most of you are familiar with the photo contests, showering the ‘best’ food photo of the month with accolades and ‘atta-boys’.
I’m thinking of starting a ‘Worst Photo of the Month’ contest.
Have you ever tried to photograph hot food in a cold kitchen?
Can’t be done.
The steam streams off the food, fogging both the photo and the camera lens.
If one tries to blow the steam away, which only works for a nanosecond, one ends up with a cold dinner.
If one tries to reheat the cold dinner caused by the attempt to get a decent photo, one ends up with a cranky mari who has been patiently waiting, fork in hand.
And we all know not to irritate a cranky, fork-wielding mari, now don’t we?
Steamy Cabbage and Sausage Risotto
As I have mentioned in the past, buying a cabbage requires a certain commitment and a bit of creativity when one is cooking for two.
As I may also have mentioned, I’ll put anything into a risotto.
As cold as it was, the choices were risotto or soup…. No contest!
Sausage and Cabbage Risotto
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto – Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
1/2 cup dry, white wine
2 – 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 tbs butter
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese – freshly grated (about 2oz, 60gr)
Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat. Finely chop onion. In medium saucepan heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until transparent then add rice and sauté stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until rice has white center. Add white wine and stir. Start condimenti. When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/3 cup of stock, stir. When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/3 cup and continue adding 1/3 cup at a time and stirring. Before the last 1/2 cup taste a few kernels of rice. They should be just ‘al dente’ – slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked. If more stock is needed add it 1/4 cup at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed.
At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff – there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold its shape on a plate.
Add the Parmesan and the condimenti, stir well, pour into a bowl or risotto platter and serve immediately. It will continue to absorb liquid and the leftovers (if any) will be quite stiff.
8oz (250gr) sausage
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 medium carrot
1/3 cup chicken stock
Chop the onion and the carrot. Shred the cabbage with a sharp knife. In a large, nonstick skillet, sauté sausages until cooked through. Remove and cover to keep warm. Add olive oil and onion to skillet and sauté 5 minutes, until onion start to get tender. Add cabbage and carrot and sauté until cabbage is limp. Add chicken stock, cover and cook until carrots are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Cut sausages into 1″ (2.5cm) lengths. Uncover cabbage, add sausages and continue to cook, to allow sausages to heat through and chicken stock to cook off.
Hmmm, I think I’ll change that to the ‘Steamiest Photo of the Month’ contest. It has potential, don’t you think?