Crispy Shrimp Risotto Fake Out

I’m a big believer in the ol’ saying, “If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” I often spring it on my children when something hasn’t gone the way they were hoping, and they roll their eyes at me.

One lemon that life keeps giving me over and over again is burnt rice. About one out of every three times I make sushi rice, I space out and forget to turn it off and it burns.

Crispy shrimp risotto fake out

Crispy shrimp risotto fake out

If it isn’t too burned, I’m able to salvage most of the rice and it has a nice woodsy nutty smoked taste that works well with sushi. Also if it’s not too burned, the “burnt” part comes off with a wrist twist of the spatula in crusty golden brown strips. If you put it in a 200 degree oven for 40 or so minutes, it dries out and becomes the hard stuff the Chinese fry to drop into sizzling rice. More

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The Dump

I used to complain to my wife about the fact that her sister — a caterer — would often drop by and “gift” us large quantities of food leftover from one of her jobs. There would be big Glad bags of pasta salads, large chunks of picked over cheese and half cakes.

I called it “the Dump,” and came to resent coming home to discover a fridge full of leftovers from someone-I-didn’t-know’s wedding that I was now responsible for either eating or assuming the guilt of throwing away.

Heirloom tomato & corn risotto with parmesan scallops, straciatella

Heirloom tomato & corn risotto with parmesan scallops, stracciatella

We don’t see her sister often these days, and it’s probably been nearly a decade since we last received a drop off. But our friends, Kristine and Simon, just moved to Lake Tahoe, and were back in Topanga to pack up. We invited them to dinner, and Kristine showed up with a canvas bag full of stuff. More

New Year’s Eve 2013

Another year done come and gone.

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I hope everyone had a safe and pleasant New Year’s Eve celebration. We enjoyed a quiet dinner with a few friends. Okay, it was a raucous wine-soaked dinner.

Here are some of the highlights. Now taking reservations for 2014. More

More Tips for a Happier Kitchen, Pt. I

During my adventures in the kitchen, I discover various tips and shortcuts — usually by accident — that make my cooking easier or more effective. I could probably do a whole blog just on handy cooking tips, except that’s not really my thing and I’m sure someone else is already doing a good job of it.

Applewood smoked bacon from the clearance aisle

For now, here are some recent epiphanies that I hope will benefit your cooking, too!

Flavor & the Passing of Time
I was preparing an Italian roasted green pepper salad the other day when I was reminded of a simple truth in cooking. That often, when ingredients are allowed to sit idly integrating together, the flavors meld and the sum is greater than the individual components. More

The Thanksgiving Rebellion

If you had told me, as a child, that Thanksgiving would one day be a favorite holiday, I might’ve laughed. For the younger me, the fourth Thursday in November was a day of dread.

Me and mom, around the time of the Thanksgiving Rebellion

The memories are hazy. As I’ve remained close to my extended family on my mother’s side, I can only assume they were my father’s relatives. I can still remember rolling up to a curb somewhere in the Southern California suburbs, and not wanting to get out of the car. More

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