Sunday, March 20, 2011

eat; beetroot risotto cakes served with a blood orange salad

A few weeks ago, we invited some girl friends around to have a girly night of watching Mad Men Season 3. What to cook for dinner?!?! I had some beets and blood oranges so decided to cook up this amazing dish! It isn't vegan but I do think it will work without the egg and you can replace the goats cheese with a vegan yoghurt.

Beetroot (beets for all ye Americans!) might have to be one of my favourite vegies but I'm not really a fan of risotto. I came across this recipe and the thing that captivated my imagination was turning the risotto into little cakes of magenta heaven! And heaven it is! 

I've tweeked the recipe a little and served it with an amazing salad using the leaves of the beetroots adding blood oranges for more amazing colour (you can use normal oranges if you don't have access to blood oranges).

What you need;
2 cups arborio rice
6-8 cups vegie stock
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
splash of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped continental parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 small beetroots
4 sprigs rosemary, plus extra
Goats cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Blood Orange Salad
leaves from the beetroots
3 blood oranges
1/4 red onion
splash of balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Start by roasting the beetroots in a water bath. To do this, wash and then chop the tail and stalks off the beets and add 1/2 cup of water to your baking dish. Add the beetroot to the pan and the rosemary twigs.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about half an hour at 180C (375F). Check at the 30 minute mark using a knife to pierce the beetroot. If it goes in easily, they are ready. Cook a little longer if need be. Once done, discard the rosemary and let the beetroots cool enough so you can peel them. Peeling is easy as the skin rubs off. Once peeled, add to a food processor and whiz away until pureed. You can freeze it at this stage for later use if you like.

To make the risotto, heat the olive oil in a pot and then add the arborio rice. Lightly toast the rice on a medium to high heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. 

Add 1 cup at a time of the stock, stirring constantly, allowing the liquid to be totally absorbed before adding the next cup. Continue this process until the rice is cooked (check by biting into a rice grain and seeing if the center is cooked)

Once cooked, add the beetroot puree, a good splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and continue until the risotto is on the drier side.

Set the risotto aside and let cool. Once cool, add the chopped parsley and beaten eggs. Mix well.

You're now ready to make the risotto cakes.

Use your hands to create the balls at any size you like. Not too big though. I used about a heaped tablespoon for each. Roll them around in the palm of your hands into a ball and then gently press down. I was making them as I went rather than have a line up waiting. It's all up to you.

Shallow fry with olive oil on a med heat, cooking on each side for about 2 minutes, or lightly golden in colour. 

To arrange, I stacked the cakes one on top of each other. Before placing the second cake, crumb some goats cheese on top of the first one, then gently stack the second. Again, crumb some goats cheese on top and sprinkle with finely chopped rosemary. I added a little sprig for decoration.

Blood Orange Salad.
Juice one blood orange and pour into a glass. Add olive oil so that the amount of oil is even to the amount of orange juice. Add a small splash of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Mix and set aside.

Shred the beetroot leaves going across the leaves into about 1cm strips. Peel the remaining two oranges with a sharp knife, making sure you cut away the white parts. Cut the oranges in half and begin to slice into thin pieces. Shave the onion as thin as possible. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and arrange on a plate. With a teaspoon, drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Voila! A yummy and 5 star looking dinner!!!! 

Buon Appetito!

pink; untitled (male gaze, working title)

This is Nathan Lam Vuongs photograph which is part of a series of works he had on exhibit in one of the galleries I visited at CAL Arts two weeks ago. I would like to start by giving my apologies to the artist and to you guys, as this is such an awful reproduction of the actual photograph! I had my shitty camera with me and believe me, it really is shitty! You can check out a better reproduction of Vuongs work here at Flickr and the complete series this photograph is a part of.

Vuong is an interesting man to look at. He wears brightly coloured socks which match brightly coloured '80's inspired jumpers that look like they are made lovingly by someones grandma. He is the son of Vietnamese refugees and is coming to the end of his MFA program at CAL Arts here in Los Angeles. His website called 'nails by asians', totally reflects his humorous attitude towards his cultural heritage. Vuong works in photography, karaoke-works, performances, watercolors, and installations  dealing with his own issues within the Asian American culture and the nuances of longing, loneliness, and confusion in dating.

The work above has a working title; thus Untitled (Male Gaze) followed by 'working title'. There were four photographs in total, all exhibited with the same 'streamer' background and all taken from the waist up. The differences between the way these men were presented to us was in the choice of coloured background and the choice of coloured streamers; soft pink, blue, green and yellow reflected a colour range normally associated with a babies room. These streamers reacted subtly to the movements of the viewers bodies as they walked by each one, creating a physical relationship between the viewer and the viewed.

Before you begin to read any further, I invite you to take a moment and scroll down to watch the video documentation I took of this work hanging in the gallery space. As you have seen in the video below, there is a creepiness to these works. This series of works by Vuong follows a tradition that began in painting (famously known with the Mona Lisa) where the sitter's eyes seem to follow you as you walk past the work. This optical illusion in paintings and photographs is created by having the sitter look straight into the camera lens or directly at the painter. Our brain then tricks us into thinking the eyes are following us, when the reality is they cannot. As I did my research on this post, I came across Fong, an art collaboration group lead by Golan Levin. Fong created Opto-Isolator, which is a mechanical eye that follows you as you walk on by, even blinking as you blink. A very different experience to that of Vuong's work, but I did find it to be a nice contrast.

The men in this series of works by Vuong are his silent crushes, who he asked to pose for these photographs without telling them what the relationship between them was. Once printed on paper, these photographs go through a seemingly violent, yet planned and detailed transformation. Vuong pulls out a scalpel and with careful incisions, cuts the eyes out of his crushes. By performing this 'surgery', these men are forced to look at him but there seems to be a feeling of revenge on these men  for Vuongs unrequainted silent crush. They would be more passive in their gaze had he not cut their eyes out. It reminds us of our own desperate attempts in the past to receive the gaze of our own silent crushes.

Walking past four of these photographs made me feel very uncomfortable. It was as if I was forcing these men to look at me. To be gazed upon or to not be gazed? That is the question Vuong asks through this series of works, creating an uncomfortable revisit back to our own adolescent years when our desire to be gazed upon may have seemed to be a much more intense and desperate experience than it has become as an adult (or so we hope!).

love; ten things I love this week
1. Crossaints with coffee!!! Dolphina and I went out for THE most amazing crossaints the other morning. Straight outta the oven! When is someone going to make a vegan crossaint? Oh actually, that might be my path to millions!!!! LOVE!!!

2. Liquid Smoke. I'm not sure if it is in Australia, but let me tell you, this little bottle of smoking goodness will add the most amazing flavour to your dips, marinades and anything else. LOVE!!!

3. This video on happiness. I do hope my 18yo nephews watch this as they are starting their first year at University and it touches them. LOVE!!!
4. OMG!!!! My friend Glo sent me a link to a great idea! Click HERE! 

5. These photos of Basset Hounds! A friend of mine posted this link on F.B and they are funny! LOVE!!!!

6. These shoes! I bought them this week and they are the hottest pink (the photo does no justice!) you've ever seen! Best part is they are recycled!!!! LOVE!

7. This music box component. My housemate Natalie was cleaning her room the other day and came in to mine saying she had something for me. Oh what a lully thing it is indeed! It plays 'It's A Small World', which means soooo much to me right now. It was the first ride I went on, on my first trip to Disneyland and as I am leaving my wonderful Lala Land next week, it was the perfect thing to remind me Lala Land is never going to be that far away from me. LOVE!
8. Rain arriving on L.A's doorstep and sticking around that little bit too long, like an unwanted visitor! I must admit it is a wonderful thing when rain does visit L.A. It is the perfect excuse to stop, put on the under worked heater and bake all day! Vegan cupcakes came out of my oven in abundance today!

9. Just got an email from Gallery 1988 here in L.A who are having a show about rabbits! 100 artists were asked to participate by interpreting Watership Down, a fantasy/political novel about a small group of rabbits. Looks amazing! Will have to check it out during the week! You can see the pics here.

10. Creating a Facebook page for eatpinklove! I loved creating a logo for it and am enjoying writing my short fantasy lines for it everyday. Check it out here and become a fan!