Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dinner, with two visitors

When my friend Jess came over for dinner tonight, she probably had no idea what she was getting herself into!

So to give a little background first -
I moved into a new apartment 2 weeks ago.  The first thing I did when I got the keys was go over to clean the kitchen before moving everything in.  I noticed while cleaning out some of the drawers that there were small dark things, but I assumed they were dirt and didn't think much of it.  I immediately put some of my dry goods in one of the drawers.  What with being at home, and then being busy in the lab, I didn't open two of those drawers until today.  The first thing I noticed was that those small dark things had multiplied.  And then I immediately realized that they were mouse droppings.  That was confirmed when I saw that the bags/boxes had been chewed into.  After freaking out for about 20 minutes (and lifting everything out of the drawer using tongs, since I thought the mouse was still there), I went straight to Lowes and bought 10 mouse traps.  After Jess and I finished our dinner, we setup 7 of the traps with some peanut butter.  It looked like the mouse (or mice) was just living in that one drawer, so we put a few of the traps in there.  Literally 40 minutes later (I'm not even kidding, we hadn't even gotten through an episode of Gilmore Girls), we heard something from the kitchen.  I was so oblivious that it took me a good half minute to figure out what the noise was!  We ran into the kitchen, and first I checked the traps on the floor and under the sink.  I saved that drawer for last.  And of course, that was exactly where the mouse was.
The trap must have killed it immediately, since it didn't budge when I gingerly opened the drawer.  Now I don't know what to do with the mouse!  For the time being, I'm just letting it be.  I'm also afraid that there could have been more than just the one mouse, so I'm leaving the traps out tonight just in case.

But on a better note, I had a very nice evening with Jess!  We made roasted veggies and lemon risotto (she is the risotto queen).  I also made a batch of the ABi5 bread.  The risotto was great!  It's one of the recipes that I've had saved for a while, but hadn't gotten around to making yet.  Jess is a huge Giada fan, and she has made this recipe many times before.  We didn't do anything really to change it, besides swap veg broth for the chicken broth (for my vegetarian needs) and skip the mascarpone.  She said that she's made it with and without and didn't notice any difference.  Which works for me, since I really didn't want to buy an expensive tub of mascarpone for just 2 tbsp.  If you're looking for a simple risotto recipe that will go well with some strong sides, this is your recipe.  You can use more or less lemon, based on how much you like it.

Recipe: Lemon Risotto (from Giada)
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth/stock
1 tbsp butter
1 large shallot, diced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 lemon zested and juiced
s&p to taste

In a medium saucepan bring the broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer.  Cover the broth and keep hot over low heat.
In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallot and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter.  Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.  Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes (it took us a lot longer than that!)  Remove from the heat.  Stir in 2 tbsp of Parmesan, the lemon zest and juice, and the s&p.  Serve with the extra Parmesan.

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