There are just times that I crave to cook. Actually, at times it stems more from the want to cook than it is to eat. I came to cooking later in life, and I am utterly fascinated by the entire process. I devour food magazines from cover to cover, watch cooking shows, love watching other people cook–if food is being made, I am in heaven. I think in part because both the act of cooking and the act of eating bring people joy. Last night I came home right from working the Market shop, changed clothes, opened a bottle of wine I have never tried, and went into the kitchen to cook. Bliss.
I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to make risotto, so I looked for a wine at the store that was new, to try in the risotto, and to have with the meal. Success. More on this for a future Wine Wednesday.
Part of cooking for me is having a well stocked pantry. We always try and keep a bag of this Arborio rice around so when I get the hankering to make risotto, it is full steam ahead. I knew TPS would not be home until after 8, so I could cook away, and we would have a later dinner.
When the onions hit the pot, the smell permeates the kitchen, and I know good stuff is about to happen. This was also a mission to clean out the fridge a bit. We had a package of cremini and white button mushrooms. A mixed medley of mushroom risotto it would be.
We also had 2 skinless chicken breasts that were dated to be cooked now, so I would roast them to have with the risotto. Here is a super easy way to make a bland chicken breast become quite tasty. Take 3 bowls, fill one with a beaten egg with a splash of water, the other with flour that you add a few pinches of both salt & pepper to, and the third with breadcrumbs that you add a fair amount of grated Parmesan cheese to. I am a fan of the chunky Panko breadcrumbs, but use whatever you have on hand. Dip the chicken breast into the flour first, then the egg mixture, then the breadcrumb mixture. Lay coated breasts onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until done. 15 minutes into the cooking process in the oven, sprinkle with a little extra virgin olive oil to help make golden brown.
Some people jog, knit, garden, read, insert activity–to relax. I cook. I hope all of you are squeezing in your favorite activity into your schedule. It really is such a treat, and is so good for the mind, the body, and the spirit.