Vodka Kale Risotto

Vodka Kale Risotto & Acorn Squash

What do you get when two Russians and two Italians walk into a bar? Vodka Kale Risotto. We spun your traditional Risotto by adding vodka and a delicious stinky Italian cheese, Gorgonzola. They’re BFF’s and play well with Russian Kale. In your recent Winter CSA share, we threw in some wonderful kale, garlic and some acorn squash – all of which was used to make this nice little dinner recipe. Don’t forget to serve it with a nice martini, stirred not shaken with 2 olives. (Yes, I said stirred.)

“Happiness is…finding two olives in your martini when you’re hungry.” ~Johnny Carson

You may be telling yourself, “But I can’t make risotto! I’ve heard of chef Gordan Ramsay teleporting directly to people’s kitchens across the globe to swear profusely at them for $!*#ing up his beloved dish.” I cannot confirm nor deny that Gordan Ramsay will swear at you for messing up the risotto but making it is quite easy once you get your technique down. What the heck is risotto exactly? Creamy Italian rice. Simple right? It’s first cooked in a fat (butter and olive oil for this recipe) and cooked slowly, stirring constantly over a period of time in order to release the natural starch from the rice, called amylopectin. FOOD SCIENCE! Once the rice becomes al dente (we’ll get to that part later) we add the cheese to create the yummy deliciousness that is a signature feature of risotto. Still confused? Don’t worry, I’ve given a step-by-step process below on how to make the perfect risotto, every time. Hooray! Lets get started…

Recipe by: Mirinda @ Boistfort Valley Farm

 

RISOTTO INGREDIENTS
serves 6-8
2 cups Italian arborio rice
1 1/4 cups Italian Gorgonzola cheese (packed and cubed)
1 cup Russian Vodka
1 1/2 cups Russian Red Kale
8 cups of good quality Vegetable Broth (or chicken)
1 small Onion (finely minced)
2-3 cloves of chopped Garlic
8 Tbsp of Butter (good quality pasture raised)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
———
ACORN SQUASH INGREDIENTS
1 large or 2 medium acorn squash
2-3 Tbsp of chili infused Olive Oil
2 Tbsp of dried Oregano
1 Tbsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

The first rule of risotto making is to prepare your Mise en place. Which is the French term for “putting in place”, as in set up. Risotto requires constant attention otherwise you can potentially ruin it. So, get everything and I mean everything ready to go and give yourself a nice 20-30 minutes of one-on-one time with your trusty stove top. Scared yet? No? Okay, now we can start.

Vodka Kale Risotto

Lets get started.

  1.  Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2.  Prepare all of the following risotto ingredients. Cube and pack 1 1/2 cups of Gorgonzola cheese. Finely mince your onion and set aside. Smash and chop your garlic cloves and set aside. Chop up your kale and set aside.
  3. For your vegetable broth, place in a separate stock pot and heat to a medium temperature. This is a key step and remember to always keep your broth at the same temperature that you cook your rice. Let this get to temperature while we take care of some other stuff.
  4. Onto the Acorn Squash… Cut your squash in half, lengthwise and clean out the seeds and goop with a metal spoon. After your squash is cleaned, slice it into 1″ pieces and arrange on a baking sheet.

    It looks so pretty doesn't it?

    Does it look pretty? DOES IT?!

  5. Lightly drizzle your squash with the chili infused olive oil. Sprinkle the dried oregano and paprika on your squash and add a a little salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until fork tender. (This should take about as long as it will take to cook the risotto)
  6. Lets get back to the main dish. In a large saute pan (preferably something with a thick bottom so you don’t burn the rice) heat your butter and olive oil on medium/low heat. Using a really good quality butter will make a huge difference in how your risotto tastes (in my personal opinion) so stick with a good pasture butter like Kerrygold, Organic Valley or some nice homemade butter from your local farm.
  7. Add your rice and minced onions and cook (stirring frequently) until the rice is transparent and very lightly toasted. This should take around 3-4 minutes.

    Here's your butter, oil, onions and rice begging to be cooked.

    Here’s your butter, oil, onions and rice begging to be cooked.

  8. Now we add the vodka and chopped garlic. Gently stir the rice, vodka and garlic until the booze is well absorbed by the rice.

    Let the rice absorb all of the vodka before adding your broth.

    Let the rice absorb all of the vodka before adding your broth.

  9. At this point, we begin adding the broth. TWO ladles at a time. Add two ladles of broth  the dried oregano, 1/2 tsp of pepper and STIR your risotto constantly until the broth has been absorbed. If you’re arm gets tired, you can always take a quick.  Once that happens, you can add two more ladles of broth and repeat. Risotto is made by adding broth slowly over a period of time. Adding too much liquid at one time can make your risotto turn out runny. Be patient young padawan.
  10. Open up your oven and check on your squash. Is it done? Good. Now remove it and set aside. Dinner is almost ready!

    Halfway there. Your risotto should start taking on it's creamy character.

    Halfway there. Your risotto should start taking on it’s creamy character.

  11. Now here’s the tricky part. Just because we have 8 cups of broth in that separate pan does not mean you’ll always use up the entire pot of broth. It’s always good to have a little too much broth leftover than not enough broth when you’re learning this dish. Good judgement comes into play at this stage. As you’re stirring (you didn’t forget the part about stirring constantly right?) give your risotto a little taste. Does it need salt? Add a little. How close is it to being al dente? What the heck does al dente mean? This is where we use the smear test. Here’s a great link you can use as a guide.
  12. Using the smear test link above – when your rice starts to look like the piece on the lower left, add your chopped kale. Now you can start adding your broth ONE ladle full at a time. Don’t forget to stir!
  13. Check your rice again. Does it look like the lower middle piece in the photo of the link I provided you? Yes? GOOD! Now you’re al dente. Remove from the heat and add your Gorgonzola cheese. Stirring well until all of the cheese has melted and is incorporated into the dish. The final product should look creamy and firm but not runny.
  14. Serve your risotto with the yummy squash you just pulled out of the oven and dust with a little paprika. Congratulations, you just made risotto! Enjoy!
Winter CSA

Winter 2015 – January, Week 1

What’s in the Box:

Teggia Dry Beans*, Red Russian Kale*, Parsnips*, Carrots*
Fingerling Potato Mix*, Garlic*, Acorn Squash*, Butternut Squash*
Red D’Anjou Pears, Fuji Apples,
Black Sheep Creamery’s: Mopsie’s Best
*From our farm

Dear Friends,

I hope you all enjoyed some time with friends and family over the past two weeks. After harvest the afternoon of December 23rd, we all cleaned up our gear, whether it was a harvest knife, a field truck, or a desk, and took a nice long break. We just got back in this morning.

We returned to heavy rains. The field crew is out putting the final touches on the harvest for our deliveries this week. Bj and I are in the office sort of rearranging piles and playing a little catch up. Rachel and Maia are in the pack shed laying the foundation for this week’s deliveries.

The South Fork of the Chehalis is high and muddy, but staying within its banks. The river that bisects the farm and meanders through this Valley is largely influenced by springs and run off from the Eastern foothills of the Willipa Hills that stretch from here to the coast. If there is no snow in the hills we are relatively safe from flooding. This is not true of those rivers influenced by the Cascades. Whenever there are rains like these I spend a certain amount of time watching the river forecasts generated by NOAA: http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/rfc/

It’s not exactly funny cat videos on youtube, but it does give a fairly accurate projection of stream flow and gauge height of rivers and I am truly grateful for the tool. There are several local rivers that are up and over their banks, and many that have not yet peaked, but will do so tomorrow as the water drains from the upper watershed to the lower lying areas like Grand Mound and Porter. It takes almost twelve hours for the peak to reach the Centralia area from Adna near the farm, and another eight before it settle into the lower Chehalis by Ground Mound and Rochester. I can drive to Centralia in about twenty minutes. Fascinating yes?

Having been through a flood, and I could write volumes about that experience, I find myself a bit distracted and anxious whenever we get this much rain. My thoughts and prayers are with anyone that is being or might be affected by these recent rains. I am hopeful that our deliveries are not delayed, but this is not our first rodeo, and we do not anticipate any issues.

So without further ado, welcome to the first of ten January through May deliveries. You will notice the inclusion of some beautiful Eastern Washington fruit, as well as a local sheep’s cheese: Mopsie’s Best. Named after Brad and Meg’s first ewe, this is a hard cheese made with raw milk using an English recipe, and aged 6months. This cheese would pair beautifully with the pears and apples in this week’s delivery, as well as being a nice addition grated over baked or roasted squash and carrots.

Booya!
Mike

 

Teggia Beans

Teggia Beans drying in September.

Teggia beans on the vine.

Teggia beans on the vine.

summer18

Summer 2014 – Week 18

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Carrots, Celeriac, Garlic, Acorn Squash,
Fingerling Potatoes & 1 Carving Pumpkin
Small shares:
Carrots, Beans, Edamame, Celeriac,  Garlic,
Acorn Squash, Fingerling Potatoes & 1 Carving Pumpkin
Family shares:
Carrots, Beans, Chard, Celeriac, Garlic,
Green Peppers, Acorn Squash,
Fingerling Potatoes & 1 Carving Pumpkin

 

October 14, 2014

Please Remember to take 1 Carving Pumpkin

Dear Friends,

I am amazed that we are already halfway through October and how quickly the summer CSA season is winding down.  As the weather cools, the body starts to crave the heartier foods that sustain us through the colder times.  This week’s box offers just that kind of warming, nourishing goodness – Acorn squash, carrots and Fingerling potatoes.  And in keeping with the season, instead of flowers this week, we are including a carving pumpkin.

You will find celeriac in your boxes as well.  Celeriac is a member of the celery family, but it has been bred over the centuries to produce a large root that will hold through the winter.  It has the flavor of  celery, though milder, and the consistency of a potato.  It is delicious cooked like a potato, or included in stews and curries.  It is also surprisingly good raw, sliced as crudités with hummus or another dip.  But many of us love it best when roasted in the oven, either alone or with other root vegetables.

Also of note this time of year: the salmon are spawning this week on the Chehalis River.  Boistfort Valley Farm sits on the South Fork of the Chehalis.  I walked down to the riverbank a few minutes ago, to see if I could see them. They are not here yet–they will be later this week.  Here at Boistfort Valley Farm we are certified Salmon-safe.  This is a certification for farms whose land lies along a waterway in which salmon make their yearly run.  To be ‘Salmon-safe Certified’ means that we adhere to a very stringent set of guidelines which protect the habitat of the river, and therefore, the salmon.  As an organic and environmentally-friendly farm, knowing that the salmon are making their yearly run brings a sense of satisfaction.

Once again, I would like to remind you of our upcoming Winter season.  Please follow the link and consider signing up.  This includes our Holiday Boxes in November and December, plus 10 deliveries from January through May:

http://boistfortvalleyfarm.csaware.com/2014-2015-winter-share-nov-may-C5635

Thanks again!

-Emily

Winter 2014 – January, week 1

What’s in the Box:

Bulk chioggia and red beets*,
Bulk carrots*, Bulk purple carrots*,
Garlic*, Rutabaga*, Acorn Squash*,
Leeks*, Parsnips*, Yellow onions,
Austrian Crescent potatoes,
Bosc pears, Braeburn apples,
& Black Sheep Creamery cheese
*From our farm

 

Please take 1 cheese.

Dear Members,

I have to admit, when I opened the notes to begin writing I was delighted to find that there was so little room left once the recipes were included. Some days I just have more to say than others. I do hope you all enjoyed the holidays and that your transition back to the grind or the life or just getting the kids back to school and into the routine again has gone smoothly. The house still smells mildly of frankincense and myrrh, and I am happy to report that my annual jigsaw puzzle (this year a 1500 piece Springbok) is on schedule for completion. I set out a puzzle every year on the dining room table and endeavor to complete it before starting the seed order on the same table. The puzzle comes out after the plates are cleared from Christmas dinner, and must be finished in enough time to complete the seed order by January 15th. I am going to be pushing it but I’m confident. I love the annual jigsaw; a concrete and hopeful metaphor. I start by turning all the pieces over, then attempt to identify all the edges, then construct the outline, then separate by color and texture, then begin to fit the puzzle together, one piece at a time, sometimes quickly sometimes slowly, until the image begins to take shape, eventually matching the perfect picture as it appears on the box top. More things in life should be like this.

Enjoy this deliveries add-on; Black Sheep Creamery’s Tin Willow Tomme. Tomme is a type of cheese produced mainly in the French Alps, and is traditionally a bit lower in fat than other more ‘full’ cheeses. Brad at Black Sheep identifies it as a bit milder by comparison, and an excellent cheese to pair with fruit and a red wine for an appetizer. Check out Black Sheep Creamery on the web at www.blacksheepcreamery.com .

Mike