Sunday, October 08, 2006

Risotto & dinner success; deals; grapes

Last night's dinner was a smashing success. Our apartment was too dark for effective picture taking, but the butternut squash risotto alongside garlicky spinach with grain sausage plated quite prettily. The risotto was very good, but next time I'll change a few things - add a little squash, simmer the squash innards with the broth as the recipe instructs for flavor, and use 1/2 to 1/3 the lemon juice I used this time. The slightly too bright flavor imparted by the lemon juice isn't bad, or bitter, as I feard it might be, just a little too much.

And, speaking of spinach, I weighed the $2 bag of "tender young spinach leaves" I bought at the greenmarket, and found that it's about 17 oz - so I used 1/3 of it for last night's repast. But what a deal! Usually, a 6 oz. back of baby spinach leaves is around $2.50 at Trader Joe's, and $4 at most stores. And this spinach was really terrific, and even pre-washed (though I did rinse and spin it again). Not to mention, it's locally grown, so won't have come from one of the Salinas Valley farms that supplied the e.coli-contaminated bagged spinach. (Don't get me wrong; I love the Salinas Valley. But those are some big farms - anyone who's driven the 101 a few hundred times knows it.)

We brought some of the grapes to the movies last night, and this morning I remembered the name of the variety - Canadice - which have an odd woodiness or spiciness to them, but which are quite good nonetheless. Their insides are softer than ordinary table grapes, so they "peel themselves" when you bite down on them. Luckily their peel has a nice tart flavor. I need to investigate the grape season, to see how long we'll have this fresh fruit option. I don't want to think about what's going to happen when there's nothing left...

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