Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Chef and Cooks Make Dinner

After I assisted with a cooking class about risotto at a local cooking school, the chef sent each of us home with a dozen freshly formed risotto balls. "You cover them in flour, dip them in egg and then bread crumbs, and then you fry them," he said.

Two days later I pulled the plastic-wrapped balls from my refrigerator and dumped almost a full bottle of oil in my deepest soup pot. I filled a shallow dish with flour, beat an egg in a wide-mouthed bowl, and 'zapped' some bread in the food processor to create rough-chopped bread crumbs. Then I grabbed a 28-ounce can of organic crushed tomatoes with basil (and only 5% of the RDA for salt versus at least 20% for most commercial tomato sauce) and my husband poured it in the cleaned processor. After that he added:

3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon oregano
2 (more) teaspoons of basil

He 'pulsed' the mixture briefly to create a slightly thick sauce, and I began frying. Now I can't remember the last time I deep-fried anything and I'd forgotten (a) that you have to work quickly to coat the food (b) you have to make sure you don't heat the oil at too high a temperature (c) and you've got to watch each piece constantly to make sure it fries evenly and with a crust that doesn't turn beyond golden brown.

By 8:15 we were diving into bowls full of this luscious stuff with no thought of salad or vegies or any other kind of side dish. Hunger won out and it tasted divine.

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