Last week I shared a Food Fail story of my attempts to develop a recipe, Roasted Poblano Risotto with Fried Egg. Despite research, planning and painstaking prep, the dish fell short of flavors floating in my mind. It was still tasty and Food Pornerific…
That’s the trick though isn’t it, to developing a great recipe? Not stopping, not giving up at the first try. Pushing forward through an iterative process, testing your families patience with yet again, another version of the same dish.
As a home cook with a limited budget, the recipes I work to develop have to serve as dinner… over an over again. Thankfully, Bello has never, ever complained. Seriously not once. Not even when I’m working through a recipe and he’s eating my sixth attempt in two weeks. Oh how I love this man!
With this dish though, I knew I was overcomplicating my attempts and before I dug in for another round, I reached out to a community of people I felt I could trust. Food Lovers.
The outpouring of supportive comments, open sharing of ideas, techniques and ingredients to try, fed my soul. You blew me away fellow Foodies, Food Bloggers and Friends.
Here are a few of the tasty tips I received.
Amber Theriault my Big Sis, who I love dearly and is my most reliable recipe tester:
“How about adding squash or sweet potato? Roasted and pureed, added to the Risotto it would certainly enhance the colors!”
Dori Fern: A persistently positive, incredibly sweet and smart woman who attended ICE Culinary School suggested:
“To the rice, I’d start with a bottle of beer (instead of traditional wine) and cook that down before adding the stock. Cook til al dente, fold in other ingredients, then finish with some butter/olive oil then queso fresco/goat cheese/feta. Good luck!”
Fellow Facebook Friends from the Global Food Porn Group (Don’t judge us, it’s just a little food!)
“I’d use lemon and a dash of French l’onion sel on top.”
“Cotijo cheese might be a better match than parmesan. Take a disc, slice a thick round and fry or sear until caramelized. Add chopped cilantro into the top side of the cheese as it fries.”
“What was the fail? I think it would be tasty?”
“Acid. Squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt.”
“I’d say top it with a little Cholula and it would bring it all together”
This last one really got me:
“You could make a crisp with cotija as well. Just like parm. Add a little tequila to your stock when making risotto. Or if you really want to make it interesting, mescal. It has a deep smokey flavor that would compliment the roasted flavor of the poblanos. Cumin (earthy/floral) and coriander (bright) for spice. You could actually infuse your stock with these flavors and maybe even saffron. A squeeze of charred lime at the end and dusted with an ancho lime finishing salt. You could also brighten it up with your garnish. You mentioned pickled onion. Which is lovely. (I use a charred onion and grapefruit brine on mine) or a little julienned jicama salad with lime vinaigrette will add texture and acidity. :)))) I love Mexican. I was a head chef at a Mexican restaurant. It’s so much fun to play with the colors, flavors, and textures!!”
Her ideas were tremendous and she was willing to find a recipe for the charred onion and grapefruit brine from a magazine and send me photos.
THAT Is how united people are by food. In my wildest dreams, I nail this recipe and then whip it up for a party on the shores of Italy, where I could fly in all the Food Lovers who shared their ideas with me. Now that is a Food Dream come true!
Perhaps it was my willingness to show a work in progress, sharing my weakness in the kitchen, my culinary blindspots. Perhaps it was my determination to refuse to admit defeat and commit myself to working through a concept. Or Perhaps, it is the generosity of the human spirit, we want to see each other succeed and if it’s in our power to do so, we will help them.
Whatever the case, I am grateful for the open, supportive and ever hungry world of Foodies. Another iteration on the recipe is in the works this week, hopefully for Bello’s sake, the suggestions I received help me get closer to my dream.