Rebecca's Cooking Journal

salt and pepper

Posts Tagged ‘easy’


“Arancini” means “little orange balls.” I ate them once at a restaurant, and just as I thought when I first had risotto, I thought: “Wow! This is fancy! If I every cook arancini, I’ll know I’m becoming a cook.”

Arancini is so simple to make, that thought makes me laugh!

Some people don’t like leftover risotto: it becomes sticky and gummy, and loses the “fresh” consistency after a day in the fridge. I don’t mind it, but I love arancini better.

It’s so simple: make a ball of cold risotto, stick a little bit of melting cheese in the middle of it, roll it in bread crumbs, fry it in oil. Yum!

Yesterday night I only have cheddar cheese — I forgot to buy the swiss or mozzarella that is best in arancini. I wasn’t crazy about the cheddar flavor, but it still worked okay. I used a mozzarella-pesto sauce (the same one I had on my meatballs a few weeks ago, i.e., crushed tomatoes mixed with pesto) and it also tasted very good on arancini!

Giada‘s recipe is slightly more complicated than mine: she rolls the balls in egg before bread crumbs. I also used plain Parmesan risotto and her recipe calls for mushroom risotto with peas. I think any kind of leftover risotto might work.

Get the recipe from Giada >>>

Parmesan Risotto

My first date* with my eventual husband, he cooked me dinner. When I came in, there was something simmering on the stove.

“Have you ever cooked risotto?” he asked.

I hadn’t. I hadn’t even heard of it, and it seemed to be a very fancy dinner.

In fact, risotto is quite simple, and it has become a regular fall back meal for me. There are infinite variations, so I can add vegetables to it and have a one-dish meal.

I never cook it with white wine, but when I make it plain I do add some lemon juice. Delish has a simple recipe that is much like mine. I never heat the broth separately, though, and I also use shallots instead of onion. I also cook more than twice what that recipe calls for so they are leftovers (you’ll see why in the next post!). The secret is stirring it until the starches come out and the rice is tender.

Get the recipe from Delish >>>

*My husband still doesn’t consider this our first date.

Flashback: Making Rice (For the First Time) and Avoiding Disaster

During my first semester in college, I decided to cook a pot of rice for dinner. I knew making rice required boiling rice on the stove with some water and waiting a while. But I’d never actually made it before.

Surely my clever 18-year-old self could figure it out! Isn’t rice the definitive easy recipe? I threw some rice into a pot with a two cups of water and turned on the heat.

The result: A burned sticky mess on the bottom of the pot. My mom bought me a food pass at the dorm cafeteria because she worried I’d never eat. (She was probably right.)

Lesson learned: If you’ve never made something before, look at a recipe or some instructions, even if you think you know how to make it. And watch the pot!

Yesterday, I had another chance to try cooking something else new: hard boiled eggs. I wanted to avoid the inedible disasters previously called hard boiled eggs.

Confession: I am 27 years old, and I had never successfully hard boiled eggs.

After a quick reference to Google, I found some great information at OChef.

I followed Julia Child: cool water, eggs covered, bring to a boil, then take it off the heat and let it sit for 17 minutes; when timer rings, set in ice bath. (I didn’t prick the egg first, but it was still ok.) The eggs were perfectly cooked! No nasty green around the yolks.

Where were all the hard boiled eggs while I was starving in college? This was very simple food to make and it made my Chinese chicken noodle salad very tasty.

I cooked another egg for my son’s meal today and he loved it, begging for more.

How do you make hard boiled eggs?

Note: This may give you a feeling for the level of cooking you may expect from this site. I hope to share my cooking mistakes and discoveries so we can learn together!

What’s one of your memorable cooking disasters?