Once upon a time, there was a sweet, dainty scientist named Michelle who loved to frequent her local Farmer's Market every Saturday. She wanted her significant other, Loving Boyfriend, to go with her to the Saturday Market to pick out the freshest-looking seasonal fruits and vegetables with which to make their meals for the week ahead. Sweet, dainty Michelle thought to herself, "Oh what a lovely time we will have, planning our meals together, picking out food together, and talking to the local farmers." In fact, sweet, dainty Michelle couldn't think of any other thing that she would want to do more on a gorgeous Saturday morning than spend time with her man and looking at and touching beautiful food.
So one day, sweet, dainty Michelle asked her Loving Boyfriend if he would like to come with her to the Saturday Farmer's Market. Loving Boyfriend, however, preferred instead to sit on his butt in the house and play his Sony Playstation 2, which sweet, dainty Michelle bought for him for his birthday last year. Sweet, dainty Michelle didn't realize that when she purchased the Sony Playstation for Loving Boyfriend, it meant that the purchase of the little black machine would mean he would want to spend hours and hours playing with it, and pretending not to hear sweet, dainty Michelle's pleas to clean the house, or especially when she wanted to do something that he just preferred that she went and did by herself.
Sweet, dainty Michelle asked Loving Boyfriend to come with her a second time; a third time; a fourth time. And still, no decent response from her loved one. So she began to beg him. "Puulllleeeeeeese," she begged, "Come with me! It will be fun!" Still, he drew further and further into his Playstation videogame world. So she began to nag him. Still, no measurable response. She even tried putting on a small, skimpy outfit and sat down right on his lap, hoping to grab his attention. But alas, he simply looked around her and continued his playing. So, finally, with no other option available to her, she began to threaten him. "You'd better come, or else..." "Or else what?" He would ask, then return to his game. Sweet, dainty Michelle wasn't the quickest with witty comebacks so, disappointed and more than a little unlady-like, sweet, dainty Michelle began to pout and stormed away, leaving Loving Boyfriend to his game.
Alone in her kitchen, she began to devise a secret plan. She would go to the Farmer's Market and pick out the most wonderful ingredients for the most wonderful meal she could imagine. She would come home and begin cooking it, making amazing smells waft out from the kitchen and into the living room, where Loving Boyfriend was sure to smell it, despite his mind being elsewhere. She knew this would work, because it had worked for her friend Michele in Paris, with her significant other. Then she would put it on the most beautiful plate and set the most beautiful table, and wait for her Loving Boyfriend to come to her. There, undistracted, she could explain to him how much it would mean to her if he would just go with her. How could a plan this perfect not work?
So sweet, dainty Michelle set out to the Farmer's Market and while browsing about, she spied Loving Boyfriend's favorite mushroom, the most lovely morel, Morchella angusticeps (remember, she is a scientist, after all). "Perfect!" She thought, "He could not resist this, his favorite mushroom!" She immediately picked up several of them, as the season out here in the Pacific Northwest is short, and morels are not a common sight at the Market. While she was there, she also picked up some fresh parsely, peas, and a glorious block of fontina cheese. All the while, the wheels in her head kept on turning, devising a delicious meal with which to seduce Loving Boyfriend away from his little black box.
When she returned home, she looked about the house and found that Loving Boyfriend had not moved from his spot. Around him were piles of clothes that needed folding, dog hair tufts on the carpet next to him, and dirty dishes - the last bit of cleaning that sweet, dainty Michelle had decided to leave as a test to see if Loving Boyfriend would notice and give up his game to help out around the house to make his girlfriend happy. She sighed, then donned her cutest apron, and started cutting up fresh vegetables in the kitchen. She had decided to make a Risotto with Morel and Petite Pea Ragout. She knew that with the vegetables cooking in oil and the chicken stock she had made to get rid of an awful spot on a roasted chicken a few days ago, the smells coming out of the room would be irresistable.
She sauteed the vegetables in a little butter and oil, until the morels were crispy and the onions were soft, then added the arborio rice to help bring out the starch from the pretty, short grains. She added a dash of white wine, then poured a ladle full of the deliciously golden chicken stock into the pan and began stirring. She then poured a glass of the wine for herself, and admired how cute she looked in her apron. Surely, surely this would work. She continued adding ladles of the stock to the mixture, watching with pure glee at how creamy the dish was becoming as starch continued releasing from the rice. Time passed quickly and before she knew it, she was setting the table and putting the risotto on a plate. It was now the final hour of her quest, and she was certain she would be victorious.
She set the plates on the table, lit a candle, then called out to Loving Boyfriend. "Dinner! I made your favorite..." Loving Boyfriend came to the table..."Wow, this smells amazing. And morels, my favorite!" "It's working," she thought to herself, beaming on the inside. So they sat down and ate her wonderful meal, and enjoyed every last bite. But it was time...
"Loving Boyfriend, would you please come to the Farmer's Market with me?" Sweet, dainty Michelle asked gently, in the most syrupy girl voice she could muster.
"Nah, honey, you went by yourself today and just look at what you made from it! I could never make anything even remotely as good as this!" And with that, he was up and heading back to the living room to his little black box.
"Hey, that apron looks really cute on you," he yelled out from the other room. "Oh, and by the way, you left some clothes out here in the living room this morning!"
Sweet, dainty Michelle, suddenly feeling not so sweet anymore, started planning how she would rid herself of the little block box that had usurped her...
**Note: all facts in this story have been whole-heartedly embellished for your pleasure, my dear readers. Loving Boyfriend does not really ignore me for his Playstation. Besides, when he does have an inclination towards that front, I simply start rapidly cleaning house around him until he feels guilty enough to quite playing and come help me (guilt works wonders with Loving Boyfriend!). And I have managed to convince him to come with me to the Farmer's Market...once or twice. ;)
Risotto with Morel and Petite Pea Ragout, adapted from Gourmet
The orginal recipe can be found here. It's a bit different from a 'normal' risotto where all the vegetables are cooked in with the rice - in this recipe, the ragout is made separately and then spooned on top. The only differences were that I used homemade chicken stock, double the amount of peas because I did not have asparagus, and I used fontina cheese instead of parmesan. The fontina was a nice addition and made the risotto even more creamy. I would have liked the ragout to be a bit thicker, but it was still nice, and next time, I'd add the asparagus (unless you really, really like peas), but the dish itself was delicious.
written by Michelle at 10:18 AM