Give the girl a chill pill.

Wednesday night dinners are fun for me. That, along with Saturday, constitutes my and Brian's date nights for the week and I generally try to make it special. Last night I made dinner.

It was a fail. Big-time fail.

Don't get me wrong. On the table, everything looked delicious. But when you know how something should taste, and you realize you missed the opportunity to nail it, you're just not going to enjoy dinner the way one should. This was my plight.

Romesco Cauliflower with Dijon Sauce? Undercooked.
Brown Basmati Rice? Undercooked.
Spanish Tempranillo wine? Needed to air more. The first sip tasted like lighter fluid with notes of burning nasal passages.

The underlying theme of the menu was impatience. Patience isn't a virtue I was given. The people on the sidewalk should be walking faster, the waiter should have greeted us sooner, the cake should have risen three minutes ago (as I open and reopen the oven door to check on it). I'm annoying myself as I write this.

More often than not, my impatience is more a relflection of ME than anything else. At least now, in my late 20s, I've learned this. The cake isn't bothering me, no. What's bothering me is that I don't trust myself to have followed the recipe closely enough to successfully bake the cake. I'm not (that) unhappy at my current job; I'm impatient that I haven't landed my dream job yet. I'm not upset that I can't find the right word; I'm doubtful that I have anything to say at all. Please tell me I'm not the only one suffering from this over-texted, over-Facebooked, great expectations era? My mind can be everywhere at once, concentrating on nothing.

My impatience with my day yesterday spilled over at the stove and even if the rice wasn't cooked, it was finished. Oh yes, to the table you go. And after a truly unsatisfying dinner (sorry, Bri!), I'm reminded to stay in the moment more, to worry less and to stay patient even in the most doubtful of circumstances.

Let's make risotto--a delicious dish that requires diligence and full attention. The reward is spectacular.

Photo courtesy of Gourmet, September 2009
 This recipe for risotto with radishes mixes bright flavors of springtime produce with warming comfort food. And again, the constant stirring and tending to the rice makes for a therapeutic cooking session.
Gourmet takes top prize once again!

Romano Risotto with Radishes
Serves 6 (main course)

For risotto:
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (48 fl ounces)
2 cups hot water
3/4 stick unsalted butter, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound Arborio rice (2 1/2 cups)
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

For radishes:
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound trimmed radishes, julienned
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

Make risotto:
Bring broth and water to a simmer in a 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons butter in a 4-to 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onion, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Stir 1 cup simmering broth into rice and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, about 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, 18 to 22 minutes. Thin with some of remaining broth if necessary (you will have some left over). Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoon butter.

Prepare radishes:
Whisk together vinegar, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss radishes with dressing and chives. Serve risotto topped with radishes.


  1. Did you cry? Sometimes I cry when I ruin dinner lol :)

  2. Hey Jackie! Sorry, Blogger was all screwy yesterday and wouldn't let me comment back. I didn't cry (although I have before), I did something worse: I played dumb!

  3. I've had days like this... I've learned, over time and many crappy meals, to just tell Steve my head isn't in a place where I can cook. We've had enough disappointing dinners that he knows its better he make pasta and open jarred sauce than suffer the consequences! We are lucky to live in a place where we can order on the spot just in case! Sending you good thoughts on landing the dream job. xxoo