Cozy Risotto & Spring Crumble

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Our life is currently bursting with new and exciting things. We’re both working on things we love and are extraordinarily passionate about. It’s really wonderful, but also a bit all-consuming. More than a few nights a week, we find ourselves side-by-side, faces glued to our laptops, working away until it’s time to surrender to sleep.

It had been far too long since we shrugged off our to-do lists and spent an evening together, so Friday we did just that. I’m always inspired by Ashley’s series Dating my Husband on her site (and soon to be book!) Not Without Salt. I love how she often whips up something wonderful out of what she already has lying around. Taking her lead, we sat on the patio for a few minutes, relishing some salumi, cheese and wine, and tossing around ideas for dinner.

I started in the garden, picking strawberries, cutting rhubarb and grabbing some basil for a gluten-free crumble. I popped the nutty crumble in the oven and Taylor fired up the ice cream maker to make our favorite vanilla. We had decided on risotto, a date night favorite of ours, and poured ourselves a bit more Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling. I stood over the stove stirring all the possible creaminess out of the arborio, and Taylor grilled a fillet of wild Alaskan salmon I’d picked up earlier in the week. We set our plates on the back patio, lit a small candle and retired to the backyard to dig into our steaming plates.

Cooking with my husband is one of my favorite ways to spend quality time together. He’s always eager to learn (and taste) new things and the conversation flows free and easy. We instantly fall into a more relaxed mood as we stir and simmer, weave back and forth around the kitchen, stopping only to dip a spoon in whatever’s on the stove. It’s a sweet little dance that I’ve grown to treasure.

The fish was fresh and full of flavor, going perfectly with the risotto which I had showered with lemon zest and herbs from the garden- mint, parsley and chive blossoms. But the best part of the meal by far, was digging into that Strawberry Rhubarb Basil Crumble and burying it in a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. Warm and nutty from the pecans and brown sugar; sweet and tart from the fruit.

As I loaded up the dishes, Taylor grabbed some wood and lit the first fire of the season in our small backyard firepit. We snuggled up in a few blankets, planted in our lawn chairs and stared at the stars, chatting quietly about this and that. Full bellies, happy hearts and re-motivated to dive back into our busy lives.

Herbed Risotto and Simple Salmon
Ingredients
  • [b]Risotto:[/b]
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1-1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 Tbsp mint, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 chive blossoms, shredded
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • s&p
  • olive oil
  • [b]Salmon:[/b]
  • olive oil
  • s&p
Instructions
[b]Risotto:[/b]
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large saucepot or small stockpot. Add onion and sweat.
  2. Add arborio and cook until slightly toasted, but not brown (about 2 mins).
  3. Deglaze with wine and let it cook out.
  4. Add stock, 1 cup at a time, until absorbed. Repeat, stirring regularly.
  5. Once al dente, add cheese and peas.
  6. Once peas are cooked and cheese is melted, remove from heat and add herbs, season and drizzle with olive oil.
[b]Salmon:[/b]
  1. Rub both sides of fillet with olive oil and season with s&p, generously.
  2. Place on grill and cook until medium-rare, or until flesh springs back when touched.
Strawberry Rhubarb Basil Crumble
Author: Adapted from [url href=”http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/10/pear-crisp-with-vanilla-ice-cream/”]Pioneer Woman’s Pear Crisp[/url].
Ingredients
  • [b]Filling:[/b]
  • 4-5 medium stalks of rhubarb
  • 1 pint strawberries (Hoods are the best!)
  • 2 Tbsp basil, chiffonade
  • ⅔ cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ¼ teaspoons sea salt
  • [b]Topping:[/b]
  • 1-½ cup [url href=”http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-all-purpose-baking-flour.html”]Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour[/url]
  • ⅓ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ cups pecans, chopped
  • 1 stick butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Top strawberries, slice basil and rhubarb. Place into a bowl and stir together with 2/3 cup sugar, vanilla bean and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Stir together. Drizzle melted butter gradually, stirring with a fork as you go until all combined.
  4. Pour fruit and basil into a baking dish; top with crumb topping.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until slightly browned and bubbly.