My Inspiration….I guess

It is only fair that I give tribute to Anthony Bourdain. I did steal his phrase “adventures in the culinary underbelly” from his autobiography Kitchen Confidential. I picked up his book for two reasons, (1) the chef instructor teaching ServSafe (who didn’t really teach anything on the material itself) recommended we read both Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and Rahman’s Soul of a Chef since they were polar opposites on life in the kitchen; and (2) I found Kitchen Confidential at the used bookstore for $2.98.

It was probably a mistake to pick that as the first book I read, and therefore my first insight into the culinary world. I had no desire after that to read Rahman’s touchy feely memoir. I wanted to be a badass just like Bourdain. Something about him spoke to me. Now I guess I’m one of the few people out there that does not watch cable television and is relatively proud to live under a rock, so my view of him was formed from reading his book. I had never watched his television show and only vaguely remembered him as that asshole guest judge on Top Chef (one of the few guilty pleasure cable tv shows I find a way to watch).

For my culinary skills class we had to write a paper on the chef that inspires us to cook. Since I had no one else in mind, I picked him. The more learned about Bourdain, the more I fell in love. While I love to cook, the whole plating/artistry aspect of the culinary world (still) is mind-boggling to me.

All those squeeze-bottle Jackson Pollock designs on plates, the carved veggies, and the frizzled this-and-thats, they detracted from the natural beauty of fine ingredients–a time-consuming and costly indulgence that Stanfield only the chef’s ego.

” – Bourdain

Yes! That was how I felt! I didn’t get it and there was someone else that felt the same way! All I wanted to learn was how to cook (and serve) good food.

And I guess I should also give note to the popular (?) Julie/Julia movie/book/blog. Still haven’t seen the movie but I have picked up the book and fingered through it. What culinary student doesn’t have major respect for Julia Childs? And I’m kinda stealing Julie Powell’s whole blogging thing.

So that’s it. That is officially where I am coming from. Still not sure where this blog is going. But for now here’s a little recipe I cooked up tonight:

Lisa’s Risotto
(I’ll explain who Lisa is sometime later…)

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Arborio rice
  • 2 cups Chicken stock
  • 2 ounces white wine (optional)
  • 4 ounces chopped roasted red peppers
  • 4 ounces chopped crimini mushrooms
  • 4 ounces minced shallots
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 2 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Saute shallots, mushrooms, and peppers in butter until tender.
  2. Add arborio rice, stir for about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup of broth. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Gradually stir in remaining broth, a little at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup.
  5. Finish with mascarpone cheese.

Yields approximately 3 cups cooked rice.

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