Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Brunch: Strawberry Risotto, Rack of Lamb, Coconut Cake and Salty Caramel Icecream

This maybe the longest blog title I have had in a long time. There are just too many good dishes I want to feature in the title, and I couldn't fit them all. Thanks to Arlin and Meredith for their amazing Easter brunch. I have more and more reasons to look forward to Spring and Summer now. With all the grill-out, cool drinks, and fresh fruit, I am really excited for my second Summer in Minnesota. :)

Fresh fruit calls for creative recipes. To be honest here, I'm no amazing creative original cook. I am extremely interested in trying new recipes, and I could say I'm a good "follower" of recipes. My friend found this recipe a while back, and highly recommended it. At first, when he first mentioned Strawberry Risotto, I could guess you all are wondering about the same thing as I did, "What? Strawberry Risotto?". It sounded bizarre, but just give it a try. It's definitely a pleasant surprise.

Strawberry Risotto: Onion, Parmesan cheese, and puree strawberries mixed into this rice of love. Perfect summer recipe for your appetizer or first course or side dish. A little tart, hint of strawberry flavor, savory to taste and a whole lot of love and preparation.

Asparagus with Lemon Mustard Dressing:
Freshly steamed asparagus, drizzled with zesty dressing made with fresh squeezed lemon, light mustard, garlic and parsley. The already tender and juicy asparagus all of a sudden became more crisp and refreshing. Lemon zesty mustard dressing is the trick.

What can look more summer than this? Green and yellow have become my new favorite colors!

Meredith's Rack of Lamb. Now, please don't sing the song. I don't need to know I just ate Mary's little lamb. Lame! They taste so good! Medium with enough pink and all moisture sealed. With or without salt and pepper sprinkled to taste. I really had to resist from picking up the ribs and chewing all the meat left. But I did manage to take in all the charred lamb fat on the meat. So flavorful.

So much good food: Strawberry Risotto, Roasted Potato with Rosemary, Asparagus, Taiwanese Chow Fun, and Lamb. Oh Spring!

The only thing that could top off this amazing brunch entrees is dessert. And I kid you not, this homemade ice cream can really change your life. Yes, it's that good. Granted that my life can be very easily influenced and changed, but this ice cream? It really spun my little world around and made me dizzy.

Caramel Ice Cream with Salty Caramel Brittles: rich, I mean, extremely rich and creamy caramel ice cream base embedded with crunch little caramel brittles. The salty caramel brittles add just the perfect balance to the rich ice cream base. Just a little more sugar, it could be too sweet and too overwhelmingly-caramel. But this just has to have the perfect combination of sugar, sea salt, buttermilk and caramel. Can I just sing "You spin my world right around right around...."

And to top it off, Coconut Easter Cake: yellow cake base, layered with lemon jam, and top with our forever favorite cream cheese frosting and coconut flakes. And her yellow cardigan. The perfect Spring is calling.

I was so greedy. I told everyone that I would for sure get a second. I wanted another slice of the cake and another scope of the ice cream. I would for sure finish my plate and lick all the frosting, and might even drink the melted ice cream. But I'm sorry, as much as I love love love the desserts, I couldn't. I was too full... Was that the revenge of Mary's little lamb? Because I ate two ribs of it, and now I just couldn't pack more cake and ice cream in? Sigh, Karma.

Strawberry Risotto

2 tbsp butter
1 small onion cut into tiny cubes
1 cup risotto rice (unwashed)
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups of hot broth
6 medium size strawberries, to make around 1 cup of puree
100 g Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter cut into cubes to mix

Wash and stem your strawberries. Save the pretty ones for decoration. Puree them to make around 1 cup of puree. Bring the broth to a simmering boil and keep it right next to your risotto skillet. You would need to constantly add the simmering broth to the risotto. No cold water, no broth cubes, but piping hot broth. If you have to, you can also mix 2 cups of boiling water with 2 cups of broth etc to dilute it. The broth just has to be hot hot hot.
Fry the butter and onion in a medium size saucepan over medium high heat. Fry the onion just enough to soften and let  all the water evaporates, don't let it turn brown or burn. Pour in the dry risotto rice into the onions and butter. Mix well for 1-2 minutes so that each grain is covered with butter. Pour in the white wine and let it boil and reduce. Mix well so that no rice sticks to the bottom.
Put two ladle-fuls, or approximately 1 cup if you don't have a ladle, of the hot broth into the rice. Keep mixing so that the rice won't stick and burn. Mix till the rice and broth mixture turns dry. There should be no liquid left visible in the mixture. Add another two ladle-fuls of broth into the rice.
Keep adding the remaining of the broth until the rice is cooked but still crunchy. The risotto rice will continue to soften and cook after your turn off the heat. That's why you don't want to over-cook it too much on the stove.
Turn off the heat and add in the strawberry puree. Mix well and let it cool for a couple minute. Add in to cubed butter for that extra buttery taste. Finally, add in to Parmesan cheese and mix well.

Decorate and serve with strawberries on top. Now, just wait for the eyes to roll, and the silent murmur, and then comes the "hmmm... it's pretty good!" or the "Wow, not what I expected!" or simply "Yummy!"

Happy Easter!


Lance said...

Looks all so good.

kisskissangela said...

Project Big Green Egg no. 3: rack of lamb!!

Lance said...

Count me in...

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