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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Test Kitchen: Blueberry Salsa & Risotto Rice Cakes

What do you do with blueberries? Cobbler, pie, compote, blah blah blah. I didn't feel like drowning beautiful, ripe blueberries in sugar. Teh Googlewebs came up with Blueberry Salsa over at Natalie's Killer Cuisine. And since I started my own herb garden this week, I finally had basil within reach. Win!

But salsa alone wasn't enough to make a dinner. Throw in a pan-fried steak, some Risotto Rice Cakes, a friend to test it all and voila! Dinner for two. (Little did I know that blueberries are my friend's favorite fruit. Some friend I am. Needless to say, she scored this a success!)

Spoiler: the rice cakes and salsa were delicious for breakfast the next morning. Story after the jump.

I made my usual modifications (shallots for onions), and left the cilantro out completely: I didn't have any, I didn't want to substitute parsley, and I wanted to just keep it simple. I also used a pickled jalapeno instead of a fresh, charred one. Two reasons for this: charring peppers is a huge (and sometimes messy) pain in the ass, and I had a jar of jalapenos begging to be used. Cut away the spicy bits, chopped it up, and done.


Blueberry Salsa
yield: 2-ish servings (I stretched it to 4 small ones. The steaks were thin, only 3 ounces each, so it didn't take much to top them off.)

1 jalapeno (pickled)
1 cup blueberries
1 small shallot, chopped
A few leaves of fresh basil, chopped
Juice of one small lime
Dash of salt (optional)

1. Chop up pepper.

2. Puree half of the blueberries. A few hits of the pulse button is enough. You'll liquify the ones on the bottom, and barely mash up the ones on top.

3. Add the jalapeno to the blueberry puree and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix. Spoon over meat.

For the Risotto Rice Cakes, I halved Ina Garten's recipe and still ended up making 8 good size rice cakes. Substitutions in this were goat cheese for the Fontina (actually it was wasabi goat cheese, available at Cube on La Brea--so tangy and so  yummy!), and crushed tortilla chips for the panko bread crumbs. Again, I just wanted to use what I had on hand. And panko bread crumbs were not in the pantry.

The pic below is from my morning-after breakfast. The leftover salsa and chip-less rice cake made for a filling breakfast. Note: halfway through making the original rice cakes, I ran out of crumbs. So I just fried the rice cakes without it. They fell apart a little more, but still tasted damn good.

I also left out most of the salt (and pepper--I just don't like ground pepper). The cheese had enough for the whole recipe.


Risotto Rice Cakes
1/2 cup uncooked arborio rice
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 egg
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
3 oz goat cheese
3/4 cup crushed tortilla chips (stick a handful of chips in a ziplock bag and smash with a meat tenderizer until they're teeny crumbs)
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add ½ tablespoon salt and the Arborio rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well. (Emphasis on the draining. Too much liquid in the mixture fouls things up.)
  
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, cheese. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.
  
3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  
4. Spread the crumbs in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  
5. Form balls of the rice mixture using an ice cream scoop or your hands.
  
6. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. Place 4-6 patties in the crumbs, turning once to coat.
  
7. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for a couple minutes on each side until they're crisp and nicely browned.
  
8. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes.
  
9. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried.
 
10. Serve hot.

Sooo good. For both breakfast AND dinner.

1 comment:

SecondBestDad said...

"piece of resistance" - classic lmao!

:-)