Spicy Shrimp Sushi Bowl

Oscar is 10 years old! The last day in February- not the leap year- Oscar became an official elderly citizen. In human years, he now qualifies for the AARP and Medicare. He’s graying, balding, slowing, and becoming increasingly grumpy and stubborn. He’s really mastering aging in just the most appropriate and enjoyable fashion. This year, he celebrated by going on a walk that was too long and relishing in a anxiety-free day in which I never left the apartment without him. I wonder if he misses the birthday cakes of his younger years… Maybe; maybe not.

I won’t dilute this dog-centric celebration with other news of my weekend, even though I am actually very much loving living in Durham and excited to experience and share more of it. For now, I’ll settle with birthday news and a recipe.

Have you seen sushi bowls on the Internet? I’m not entirely sure to what degree the Internet influenced my interest in creating this recipe, but for one reason or another, I couldn’t wait to try making it. I know making actual sushi is outside of my culinary capacity at this time (namely because I lack the appropriate tools), but a sushi bowl is straight-forward and still inclusive of my favorite sushi flavors. I went with spicy shrimp as it’s one of my favorite rolls, and it’s distinctly lacking the risky manipulation of raw fish. I simply layered in the complimentary vegetables, found some sushi rice (again) in my neighborhood bulk bins, and went for it. And it was so easy! And so delicious! I recently (yesterday) purchased a microwave, but I like that this would be easily served hot or cold (if you, like me, struggle with leftovers). It actually may be better cold, and I’ll probably try tomorrow. The varieties here are endless, and I’m kicking myself for not buying some nori to add, so definitely give this version or another a try.

Spicy Shrimp Sushi Bowl

Serves 4

Adapted from wholefoods.com

1 cup short-grain sushi rice

2 1/4 cups water

2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 lb raw, peeled and deveined shrimp

1 tbsp. safflower (or other neutral, high-heat) oil

1 tbsp. sriracha

1 tbsp. Greek yogurt

1 cucumber, sliced thinly

1 large avocado, diced

1/4 cup soy sauce

In a medium pot, heat the water to boiling. Lower to a simmer, add the rice, cover, and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until the rice is soft and cooked through. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the vinegar until heated but not exploding in your microwave (like 20 seconds). Add the sugar and salt and stir to dissolve. Add the cooked rice and set aside.

In a large cast-iron skillet, add the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sauté for 3-4 minutes on each side, until opaque and cooked through. In a medium bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt and sriracha. Add the shrimp and toss together.

In a serving bowl, layer the sushi rice, sliced cucumber, diced avocado, and spicy shrimp. Top with a drizzle of soy sauce. Dig around for some extra chopsticks (or a fork if you’ve recently moved and aren’t stocked with take-out commodities) and enjoy!

Hello, and Risotto Primavera

I seem to have entirely neglected, if not per perception left entirely, this website. And, truly, the perception was my own, as I had decided, in moderate intention, to stop posting and let my recipes slowly fade into the infinity of the Cloud. But as everyone in my life knows, I finally moved from Chicago to North Carolina. Durham, more specifically. And in leaving, I was interested again in keeping this up, bolstered as well by the encouragement of several friends. So the blog will be resurrected from its really-dusty-kitchen, dishes-haven’t-been-done-in-weeks level disregard. And it seems I’ll need to change my subtitle.

I was told from some people that possibly this should no longer be titled “Dinner for Brian,” as the motivation for the title originally- that I was posting recipes in Chicago for my brother to try at home- is now less substantiated. If I want, I can go see Brian on any weeknight, make him dinner (or go out together), and receive immediate feedback. The internet no longer is a necessary medium. But, if I’m being honest, I mostly like the idea of cooking for a tangible (if now much more available) person. Yes, I usually eat alone. And yes, these recipes are often to serve my palate more than my lovely ginger brother’s. But I do take credit for expanding significantly his culinary horizons, and it’s still with his review in mind that I write. (Not to diminish the influences of my other brothers, who are easily as important and definitely more interesting than I am).

The real reason I’m posting tonight, as opposed to a lazy Sunday (my usual date), is because romanesco broccoli was on sale at Whole Foods today, and it looks so super cool, and I wanted to use it. And then, in doing so, I was thinking that everyone I know needs to cook with romanesco broccoli- mostly for the fun shape- and I must provide a recipe. Also, this is really, very delicious, and it is also incredibly easy to put together. I had never made risotto with actual arborio rice before, always favoring risotto from barley (also, where would I find arborio rice?). But in an attempt to have really quite pretty jars full of grains to hide in my cabinets (in the ideal of someday having this beautiful kitchen with open and exposed shelving), I bought a bunch of grains from my neighborhood co-op, and at that time I found arborio rice sneaking among the quinoa. I determined it must be tried.

Well, this has been a lengthy composition… Here’s the recipe.

Risotto Primavera

Serves 2

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup arborio rice

1/2 tbsp. butter

1/2 white onion, diced finely

2 carrots, sliced thinly

1 head romanesco broccoli, chopped into small florets

1/3 cup frozen peas

1/3 cup frozen corn

1/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan

Salt & pepper

Basil, sliced, to serve

Heat the stock in a small quart pan until just boiling. Lower to low heat and keep warm.

In a larger pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the arborio rice and mix. Add the broccoli. Season lightly. Add 2-3 ladle-fulls of stock to the pan (it will simmer and deglaze slightly). Stir and stir until the rice has absorbed most of the stock. (It’s not ridiculous, you can take breaks from stirring; just don’t leave it for a long period of time). Add another ladle or two of stock. Stir. Repeat this process until the rice is soft and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. You may not use all of your stock. Once the rice is cooked and most of the stock is absorbed, add the peas, corn, and Parmesan. Stir to combine well. Taste and season again.

Serve and top with fresh basil. Admire the pretty broccoli. And eat!