What do you do when your enthusiasm at the produce stand leaves your refrigerator packed to the brim? Inspired by the lovely grains served at Slow, I made a spelt "risotto" that was able to take on the remnants from my wild time at the produce store. Up above, there is one bunch of chard, a pound of asparagus, a cup of dried spelt, some dried persimmons, toasted almonds, leeks, and garlic. I also ended up using chickpeas and some stock made from a a turkey carcass taking up way too much space in the freezer.
Start by sauteing your leeks with a bit of olive oil and a pat of butter.
After a few minutes when the leeks have softened, add the garlic and stir a bit more. Then, add the dried spelt and stir frequently so the grains are all coated with oil and start to toast.
Now, in goes the bunch of chard.
The chard wilts quickly, leaving more room for the other ingredients.
Throw in some beans. I cooked up a batch of chickpeas in the pressure cooker, starting with one cup of dried beans. I'm playing fast and loose with the quantities, proving that it's really hard to go wrong. I tossed in the chopped asparagus after the beans. As I add in each ingredient, I also toss a bit of salt into the pan.
Now, add the cooking liquid. I started by adding 1/2 cup of white wine, deglazing the pan as I stirred. Then, I added a bit too much turkey broth, but it was fine because it just meant I had lots of broth for my spongy bread to drink up. Spelt is great in that it stays chewy even when cooked for a long time. I started to add broth a bit at a time, but ended up getting impatient and ditched my risotto style. Salt and pepper to taste.
Dinner is done! To make this a bit more decadent, you can melt in some soft cheese. Conveniently, I had some Red Hawk in the refrigerator, and OMG, I think I should always have some Red Hawk in the fridge because it has so much flavor! You can substitute brie, especially the mushroom brie, Parmesan, or even a sharp cheddar. I like the softer cheeses, though, because they melt into the broth and make a rich, creamy sauce.
Yesterday, I made more muffins out of leftover produce. This time, I made a mash from a leftover Japanese sweet potato, a mixture of rice and wheat flour, dark molasses, ground ginger, and ground cinnamon. I served these muffins with homemade pumpkin butter kindly gifted to me by a cousin - perfect for a nippy day. If I manage to use up the rest of the produce in tonight's dinner, I'll buy some cornmeal tomorrow so I can start making cornbread muffins.
I'm eying the remaining gai lan and cabbage in the refrigerator, but somehow I don't think they will make tasty muffins. I think they'll have to be chow mein ingredients instead.
Muffins are taking over my brain.