Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shroomie Scallop Risotto

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's been a few months since I've had the nerve to post anything. I have been busy waiting on my bar results again and I was accepted for an intern position as a legislative aide at the Texas State House of Representatives. As it is now May, I unfortunately have not made it to a passing grade on the Texas bar exam. The good news is that I am closer than I was before and that I cannot and will not give up. The world doesn't shine on those who had an easy road to the top. Sure some of them had never had to take a bar exam or fight to be a member in their respective career, but I was always taught and raised to reap what you sow. Unfortunately for me, my learning disability has prevented the reaping and sowing from being a celebration...yet.  I am going to take this exam as many times as they let me until I pass, god dammit!

Foul language aside. I haven't cooked a realistic meal that I have been super proud of in at least a month. This is strange for me, about as strange as it has been for my body. Working during the legislative session has been a dream come true for a lot of reasons - but a few of the highlights are that I might be part of making a LAW, and that I haven't had to buy lunch in 2.5 months. The government has its pros and cons. But I really like what I have been able to do as an intern these last few months. I've learned a lot and made some nice friends, and I get to see how a bill becomes a law. It's really a gift.

Now, today I mailed off my re-application to take the July 2013 bar exam. I also mailed out a few birthday cards and some birthday presents for my friends. I also did some impromptu banking and had to be told quite gently, that I was no longer a wealth management customer of Bank of America, which is hilarious because I've never been financially rich. My parents have worked their asses off for decades and after leaving Bank of America, I stayed and was still considered, most likely, the poorest wealth management client they ever serviced. Meanwhile, my parents left the bank at least 5-6 years ago, glad to see how BOA stays on the up and up. Hello, I'm poor financially, but you bet your ass I want to be treated as a princess at the bank. It's a tough gig to give up. hahaha. Now, I was told today, I will be treated like everyone else. All I went in for was to get my bar application notarized and get the hell out of there. Chatty Kathy's down here in Texas, yes ma'am.

 I have been feeling a little down and out. I worked very hard for this last exam and still didn't pass. I've had my learning disability and ADD my entire life, and it's not that I don't know the information, it is a problem I have that I get in front of a multiple choice exam and can't figure left from right, black from white, or day or night. My family has been extremely supportive, we have looked for solutions everywhere, and I feel like I have tried so many different tactics that I just don't know what to think anymore. It's been a tough haul and I have done nothing but try to overcompensate with my writing ability - which has worked consistently until this bar exam.

So, today, after I put my bar application in the mail box, I decided I deserved some delicious sea scallops and some mushroom risotto. So I went to my local Whole Foods and made it happen.

Shroomie Scallop Risottto
1 large portobello chopped into cubes (stemmed out)
1 package of shitake mushrooms  (stems removed/stemmed out)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried bay leaves 
3 cloves garlic smashed and diced 
1 whole yellow onion (not the sweet one) 
Olive oil 
2 cups dry white wine ( I like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc) 
6 cups chicken stock - warmed in a different pot
mixture of cheeses (asiago, parmagiano reggiano, pecornio) 
4-8 large scallops (2-4 for 1-2 people, each normal person will want 2 least). 
1 cup arriborio/risotto rice (you can check the package if you need to serve more people)

I have learned that getting scallops from the store takes a little extra prep work when you get home. Don't freak out, it's quite minimal. Now if your fish counter person gets your scallops out of a bin that has a liquid in it - that is totally fine, but when you are home, you want to wash these off and then place them on a paper towel and lightly dust them with kosher salt (or regular, I like my Jewish salt). The paper towel will absorb the excess liquid that the scallop was sitting in while it was waiting for you like when you pick teams for dodgeball in third grade. Never underestimate the runt. These can sit while you are getting your risotto ready ta go.

So first, you want to cut up your onion - dice it and place it in a flat pan with olive oil (like 2-3 seconds worth of gentle pouring - you can ALWAYS add more). Also throw in those smashed and diced cloves of garlic. Let this saute for approximately 5 minutes or until the onions begin to appear translucent.

Next, add a cup of risotto and let the oil and the onions and garlic coat the hell out of the rice, for about 30 seconds - 1 minute. Then you add your first cup of white wine. Let that reduce for about ohhhhh 1-2 minutes. When it starts looking a little low, throw in the mushrooms and a cup of broth. Repeat this until you had added 8 cups of liquid. I personally prefer two of those cups to be wine. I think it gives it a little something extra.  Don't stir too much, I've learned that it takes away from the integrity of the grain and it's best to let it sit and stir only when you're adding liquid.

Then, you will want to start getting ready to cook the scallops. In a different pan, get some oil going (not too hot, just right) and add two scallops at a time. Cook them for two minutes a side and for the love of god, don't move them! Just let them cook, that is how they get that beautiful crust on them. They only need about 2 minutes a side in a well-heated pan. Don't challenge me on this, you will be sorry if you overcook your scallops because they will be rubbery and you will look like a fool. Just being honest, this is me looking out for you people. ;)


While that is heating up, add a pat of butter to the risotto and stir. Let it sit while the scallops are cooking. Then when those are done, remove them from the pan and onto a plate with a paper towel on it and let it sit. Then add the cheese to the risotto. The amount of cheese is really on you. I love cheese, so predict what I did ;).

Lastly, you will plate for yourself and whomever is joining you. I prefer to give about a cup of risotto per person because it is filling and then top it off with a pair of beautiful scallops. ENJOY.


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