Back in the kitchen

Truth time: my health has been not stellar lately. I don’t know if it’s stress or bad diet management or just the ups and downs of IBS, but I haven’t really felt like taking on the world lately. My recent trip to Rehoboth Beach was actually a sabbatical with a good friend who suffers from chronic migraines and needed a little time off work to de-stress. It was nice to vacation with a friend who is also managing health problems and really understands what it is to be super tuned in to your body and its limitations.

Despite a mellow weekend at the beach, by the end of this past week, I was super done. I had an amazing Memorial Day weekend planned but by Friday afternoon, I was experiencing all sorts of IBS symptoms. Boo. Except for the bbq we’d planned at my house on Saturday, I mostly took naps, caught up on Scandal, read World War Z…and cooked.

ImageI made:

– hummus

– black bean, cilantro and sun-dried tomato dip 

– quinoa salad with avocado and cilantro dressing

– oatmeal raisin cookies

– zucchini and sun-dried tomato risotto

– tofu and broccoli stir-fry with garlic and ginger (for lunches the next couple days)

I inherited a half bag of arborio rice when my friend moved away from DC, and I’ve been meaning to do something with it for a while. I adore risotto, but I haven’t had it since I gave up dairy for the second time. Restaurants usually make it with chicken broth and parmesan cheese, neither of which you need for delicious risotto. Here’s what you do need.

Image1 Tb olive oil

1 c. arborio rice

1/2 c. white wine

4 c. hot vegetable broth (I use bullion because it’s a lot easier for me to keep on hand)

1/2 a zucchini, chopped

4-5 sundried tomatoes, sliced into strips

1/4 c. nutritional yeast

This recipe is based on the Basic Risotto recipe I found on the bag of Lundberg Arborio Rice and veganized. You can use whatever vegetables you want/have on hand – the recipe also called for an onion, which I did not have on hand but probably would have been good to have. If you want to use onion, chop it up and cook it in the olive oil before you add the rice. If not…

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the rice, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.

2. Add the wine and stir constantly until it’s absorbed.

Image3. Add your broth 1 cup at a time, stirring well each time you add a cup and simmer until it’s pretty much completely absorbed before you add the next cup.

4. After your third cup is absorbed, stir in your vegetables and then add the final cup of broth.

5. As you cook this slowly, the rice should get pretty creamy. You can add more liquid if it’s not creamy enough for you. Once all the liquid is absorbed, turn off the heat and stir in the nutritional yeast. Serve immediately.

ImageThis is stupidly easy and endlessly customizable. It’s a little high maintenance, so if you’re planning it use it as a side dish, it would go really well with something you can make ahead or possibly bake unattended. I think the onion would be a nice touch, and if I was to do this again, I’d throw in some fresh rosemary when I added the vegetables. Otherwise, damn, that is some creamy, delicious, entirely vegan, gluten-free and IBS-friendly amazingness. And…scene.

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