Monday, September 27, 2010

on (f)unemployment and the microwave

Hello old friend,

Well, time marches on. I finished up my year of do-gooder 9 to 5 law work. I ran a half marathon (in May) and signed up for another one (Philly, in November, which I did last year too). I re-upped my lease and celebrated my birthday.

Life is good, but life is also a bit disorderly at the moment while I'm in the midst of a nearly-2-month period between jobs. I get up every day and lounge, watch tv, nap, occasionally make it to the gym, meet friends for happy hours -- all the things you might expect from such a lady of leisure, naturally! I've been eating out a lot but I've been cooking lots too. I got Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian for my birthday and I've been reading it and cooking from it compulsively for the past 3 weeks.

But oh! That isn't even what this post is about. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have something to say about Bittman's tomato paella recipe, which I have been dying to try for ages and even bought a special skillet for. But today I made a different new-to-me rice recipe, curried butternut squash risotto in the microwave (!!) from this month's Vegetarian Times magazine.

So, my parents bought me a microwave for my birthday last year. They were, I think, appalled or confused that I had been living without one for most of the previous 5 years. (Similarly, over the past few years, they have bought me a gigantic toaster oven and an HD television, which apparently were missing from my life.) I was resistant. But just like the toaster and the TV, I eventually took the microwave out of the box and plugged it in. I use it reasonably often lately for egg puffs a la the Fitnessista, and also as an oven timer since the sound it makes is marginally less obnoxious than the timer attached to my oven.

This month's VT had a set of recipes that utilized prepared soups to boost flavor or save effort. I glanced at this one and thought butternut squash soup sounded brilliant as an ingredient in a risotto. (Having once attempted this risotto from Simply Recipes and ended up with chunks of raw squash in my fully cooked risotto, I suppose I know what I'm talking about.) I didn't even realize it was a microwave recipe until after I'd bought the squash soup. But I was intrigued. Maybe this giant egg-zapping machine can be used for other purposes. Tonight, I tried it, and followed the recipe very precisely since I don't know anything about microwaving.

It was delightful! Creamy, currylicious, sweet, warming and filling. And vegan to boot, so no angry stomach or icky throat afterwards. I'll add a link to the recipe if it goes online, but googling "microwave risotto" made clear to me that everyone on the internet is making risotto in the microwave. So, friends, if you're still out there, go out and try it!

Oh btw -- I spent half the afternoon making vegetable stock from scratch, in order to then make this quickie microwave risotto. Funemployment leads to some weird choices.

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