spiced crab cakes with lime cream

We break several cultural rules by melding a variety of the planet’s tastiest spices into your usual crab cake.  The crab thus becomes happy.  Which will make you happy.  Which will make everybody happy.

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spiced crab cakes with lime cream

crab cakes

1 pound crab

1/4 cup roasted red pepper, small diced

1 celery rib, small diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 Tbsp harissa

1/2 lime, juiced

salt & pepper

1 Tbsp Old Bay

1 Tsp cumin

1 Tsp cardamom

1 egg

lime cream

1/2 cup sour cream

zest of 1 lime

1/2 lime, juiced

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp Old Bay

cooking

1 Tbsp olive oil

bread or buns

1 tomato, sliced

greens

Combine all the crab cake ingredients in a large bowl. Form eight patties, place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Combine all the lime cream ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator with the crab cakes.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for about four to five minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Or, grease a baking pan, and bake the crab cakes in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until light brown.

Serve on toasted bread or buns, with tomato, greens, and the lime cream.

dsc00627Let’s begin!

dsc00629Throw all the crab cake ingredients into the bowl and mix with a spoon.  Don’t stir too hard or too much.  You want the mixture to stay a little loose.  Too much moisture is not your friend here.  It using canned crab like I do, make sure you drain out the excess liquid.

We use the necessary awesome Old Bay, but also add harissa, cumin, and cardamom for an extra special taste.  Harissa is a Moroccan chili paste that you can make yourself very easily.  But more and more I see it in the grocery store which is a win for all humanity.  Crab cake enthusiasts or Moroccan traditionalists probably might not agree with this combination of spice.  But to me, breaking the rules is fun.

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Make eight balls with your hands.  Don’t pack them too tight, you want to leave some of the air inside the cake.  If the balls are too wet, you can add more bread crumbs.  If they won’t stay together you could add a second egg and remix it.  Put them into the fridge for at least an hour so they can set.  You can use plastic wrap to cover or (blasphemy) since it’s only an hour you can just leave the plate as is like I do.

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The lime cream ingredients are just put into a bowl and stirred using a fork until it’s all combined.  It’ll be loose at first, but after an hour in the fridge it’ll make a nice and easy spread.

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A little olive oil and a nonstick skillet is all you need for less than ten minutes of cooking.  Use a spoon and spatula when turning over the cakes to keep them together as they should be a little loose.

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A slightly healthier and easier way is to just bake them for a half hour.  You’ll get a lighter brown color, but it’s less work and the cake will stay together easier.  I use both methods, but usually prefer the skillet.  Try both, and see what works best for you.

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You can eat the cakes with the cream on their own.  But I usually toast some bread and add tomato and some greens.

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Enjoy life!

we reaffirm our commitment to “giving it a hard time just for the sake of it”

The goons of humanity who try and remote control other people’s lives are shockingly transparent. So when the Communist Party backed a movie they placed supreme faith in, gee, who would have figured they’d lose their minds when it turned out to be the terrible, mindless, bad action flick everybody expected?

Beyond my original thoughts on all this, I’ll simply put down the international failure of this movie to two concepts:

1) Zhang got himself trapped (as many a good filmmaker has) by the power of special effects. Since computers allow him to do anything he wants, he lets his mind go insane. Simple decent scenes become a mesh of digital action nonsense so disconnected from reality that the audience can’t connect with the movie. It’s like watching a bad video game or seizure inducing Japanese anime. You don’t feel anything. See the Star Wars prequels or the Transformers films for similar forays into the awfulness.

2) Despite (1), a whole bunch of movies succeed in this format and make a ton of money, see Fast & Furious. I think the Red goons wanted The Great Wall to make an insane amount of money. If it did, it would have been a critical first step of an organic Chinese blockbuster. The problem is nobody cared. Folks probably saw the terrible trailers for this movie and were like, “eh, whatever”.

The movie debuts in America tomorrow. So I guess we’re about to find out just how dumb the American theatergoer is. If this movie makes $300M in the States, I’m moving to the Moon. But the Chinese theatergoer already figured this out, and they weren’t happy.

But hey, even though the movie sucks, it’s not the movie’s fault. But rather you, the viewer, who is wrong. Per The Economist, Xinhua (the Party mouthpiece) called the film “innovative” and accused online detractors of “giving it a hard time just for the sake of it”.

I’ll wear that appellation with pride. As I hope every Chinese citizen who rightly criticized this movie online will. We can’t let the goons control human lives. To the point that the bad, is made to be good. Just because they say so.

The question again, is can you make good art, a good movie when the Party is pulling the creative levers? I don’t think so. Zhang used to make great movies, when he was a rebel and against the Party. Now he’s a team player and the art is over.

I hope he learns from this, dumps the handlers, and goes back to making great films.

The Great Wall

Human actor plays medieval part in movie about aliens who got to Earth on an asteroid and attack once every 60 years. Eh, wait, what? Well, what could go wrong?

the bizarreness of modern work communication

You need something from somebody who sits 18 feet from you. How do you go about interacting with them? Normally you’d just go talk to them face-to-face, right? After all, a family member who is 18 feet from you inside your home is just a normal random conversation. Not so, apparently, within the dreaded confines of cubicle hell.

A guy three cubicles over has called me on the phone this week. Twice. I can hear him talking to me in one ear through the phone. In the other ear I hear him talking in the same room. It makes no sense. But other people do this too. They call each other in our bank of cubicles. I can hear them both phone talk like they’re standing next to each other.

This stuff has also occurred recently:

– The boss e-mails an employee who works 30 feet from him saying “come see me”

– The boss shouts from his office at somebody who works 50 feet from him asking if they’re in the office

– The other boss talks to somebody over a cubicle wall, and then says they’ll just instant message the work task instead of telling them

– People say they will respond to an e-mail, but then call somebody instead

– People will call you and make decent shit happen, but then ask you to send an e-mail to work out all the details again

– Folks will e-mail somebody who works 10 feet away asking a simple question

I think all this text messaging, Snapchat, mind meld, e-mail, Internets, etc, etc has destroyed normal human communication. Any one of the above scenarios is best handled by two people talking face-to-face. Instead, this easy straightforward method of interaction is devolved into a whole plethora of ineffective means. This ineffective nature increases stress and otherwise further harms an already unhappy place to work.

Just talk to people face-to-face. It’s better for all of us.

Or, just go off the rails. Whatever.

– E-mail your boss when you arrive at work saying “I’m now at my desk”

– Call the person who works in the cubicle next to you to say “Good morning”, then immediately hang up

– Instead of handing your boss a printed 53 page report with a face-to-face explanation, scan each page individually, then e-mail your boss the document as 53 attachments

– Instant message somebody 17 feet away and ask them their lunch plans, then regardless of their actual response, tell them to send you an e-mail calendar invite for lunch

– Put up a sign with skull and crossbones icons all over it that says, “today I can only be reached via e-mail”, and when people try and engage you in face-to-face conversation you just tap the sign without saying a word

– Bring a small bird into the office and inform coworkers you’ll communicate via carrier bird only, but never ever actually do this, you just have the bird in the office for months without ever using it

– Shout over the cubicle walls, “what day is today?”, “what’s the deadline for that bullshit product we owe to the boss?”, “where are my keys?”, “is the concept of anti-matter an oxymoron?”

– E-mail your boss, “I’m coming to see you”, before leaving your cubicle to go speak with her

– Write “I went to lunch” in your own blood on a single white sheet of paper, leave it on your desk, then dump a 28 ounce can of tomato sauce all over your cubicle floor and walls, then go hit the pub for about three hours before nonchalantly returning to work

the true valentine loves not the vampire

This whole Valentine’s Day story is quite baffling because there’s a whole bunch of weird history behind it. It turns out the Giant Octopus of the Vatican doesn’t even really know who Saint Valentine was. This is an organization that professes it has a hotline to God via the Pope guy who happens to be in the chair at the time. Or something like that. So if they say they don’t have any solid info on Valentine’s connection to Valentine’s Day or love? Then you’d better believe they don’t have anything at all in the archives where they also keep the plans for the fusion device. But it’s okay, because we at TAP already know the true answer.

We heard tell at the Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant located in San Diego International Airport Terminal 1 from a man wearing a Tony Romo jersey and drinking red zinfandel. He swears on his soul that he was vacationing in Bucharest in 1985 at the height of Ceaușescu’s brutal power. He spied a dark cloaked man giving chocolates and flowers to random women at the hotel bar. Thinking this man a dangerous threat and rather drunk, he armed himself with a rolled up Leninist newspaper and followed the cloaked man into the grim night. He made it twelve feet from the hotel door before being accidently knocked unconscious by a nine year old girl on a bicycle. He awoke weeks later deep in the Transylvanian Hills.

There, he proceeded to conduct a hasty forced interview with a vampire. The vampire stated that in fact Valentine’s Day originated as an excuse for vampires to drink more blood then during the other 364 days of the year. The seduction, the lust, the red color, the focus upon bleeding somebody dry, was all an excuse for vampires to consume their extra fill. The man, petrified, demanded meekly to know if he too would die that day. The vampire chuckled, and said no. For the original Valentine’s Day traditions were long gone. Instead, vampires had transformed into vicious corporate shills. They made such a killing on cocoa and flower farms that they were able to bankroll the invention of synthetic blood to sate their appetite. In particular, this one vampire confessed to working for Goldman Sachs Business Development Branch and had a supposed “killer” idea on this thing he kept calling “see, dee, oohs.”

Anyways, who or what, precisely, is the dreaded Giant Octopus establishment? To those who voted for Hilary it’s Trump’s business buddies in NYC, the 1887 KKK, etc, etc. To those who voted for Trump it’s the people in the media, DC, etc, etc. If you voted for neither of them the establishment is one of sixteen different Giant Octopi that occupy your darkest dreams. Like vampires. Or employees of Citibank. Or celebrity award shows.

Did you know the Grammy’s and the BAFTA’s were both on last Sunday? They’ve got so many award shows they have to cram two major ones into one night on different continents. How many awards can celebrities give to themselves? Don’t they know that celebrity awards are the pinnacle of the Giant Octopus’ many magical apples!? Don’t eat it, dear God, don’t eat it! The apple causes the downfall of us all! It laced with haughtiness.

Hey speaking of apples, and love, and whatever else, what does it say about humanity that the original Valentine’s Day love story ends with the downfall of all humanity for an eternity?

Anyways, but if you’re me, the Giant Octopus establishment is everything that tries to remove coherent thought from your brain for any particular purpose that benefits anybody not you. Whether it be an attempt to get your vote, your support, your time, your eyes, or more often than not, your straight cash.

America will spend $20B on Valentine’s Day this year. Or twice what the NFL makes in an entire league year. Or three times the national cancer budget. Why? There are 365 days in a year. Yet this is apparently the day that if you don’t get your mate candy, flowers, or whatever, it means you’re apparently cheating on them, or are possessed by the devil. Which is a mean thing to say, because even the devil is all about this day. It’s why he always dresses in red velvet. Go watch the Japanese anime cartoon.

Anyways, there’s certainly no connection between the Valentine’s guy and love. And yet there are references as far back as Chaucer and Shakespeare associating Valentine’s Day and love. So somehow this thing happened. Somehow humanity has a centuries long tradition of picking this one day over the other 364 for the purposes of affection.

I don’t get it, but I’ll accept it as reality. And that, as always, there just might be something wrong with me in that I wish this day didn’t exist. But even if you accept this as cultural reality, what I cannot wrap my mind around is the Giant Octopus having it’s claws in the 2/3 of Americans that probably shell out substantial gold for this event.

Folks who won’t eat genetically modified crops and recycle their used pencils are all of a sudden all too comfortable paying a 600% markup to Mars Brand Incorporated, or some faceless hedge fund LLC that owns a series of flower mills in Columbia and Kenya paying 3 cents an hour minimum wage. Nobody has a gun to anybody’s head making them buy candy this one single day. Why not buy candy on April 17th? Or cut some fresh wild flowers from a field on June 3rd?

Don’t give in into the Giant Octopi! Don’t give into the vampire! Do something different for your special person. Don’t let the vampire be your valentine instead. I don’t know what that different thing would be, you know your mate, you just find a way to make it happen. But I’m guessing, a good starting point is to try and do something that doesn’t involve spending any cash. That’d be a good start.

we unbox the planet

Yet again humanity has generated a trend that its apparently taken me forever to hear of.  Hey friends, don’t judge, it’s hard to be in touch with things when your life is dominated by dogs, beer, and calculation of the metric weight of liquid calcium when used for espionage purposes.

There is a growing trend where you subscribe to a monthly service, and they ship you a box of random secret goodies.  You open said box and enjoy all this random stuff you didn’t choose in advance.  Here’s an example of one where the theme is nerd stuff:

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But I saw one ad on the subway this morning where the theme is foods of the planet:

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I first heard of this trend during RedLetterMedia’s recent satire broadcast of the nerd box category:

Oh boy!  Where do I begin?

Don’t get me wrong, I sure do love food, and certain categories of nerd stuff, but what precisely is the point of all this?  If you love food, or Spiderman, then go buy food and Spiderman stuff online.  It’s never been easier to get that one unique item within the online marketplace.

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Here you go!  Have you ever coveted those friends and family who had an ancient Incan kero drinking cup when you didn’t?  Great news!  You too can be that awesome.  They’re for sale on Amazon.

Whatever you want in life today, you can get.  No matter how rare or bizarre.  Provided you have the coin.  This is both an awesome and incredibly frightening proposition.

And I know the nerd box and food box company aren’t in this for the goodness of their hearts.  They need to make coin of their own.  So it’s natural of me to assume that it’d be cheaper to buy each individual item separately rather than pay a monthly subscription service.

So what’s this all about?  Of course, naturally, it’s the joy of unboxing something in a category you like.  It’s like getting a present, or a journey into the unknown.  You are paying a fee to add some enjoyment and excitement to your life.

I assume there’s a legion of YouTube videos of folks unboxing this stuff and posting it online.  I dare not watch these videos for fear I’d lose my faith in humanity for the next twelve hours.  But in general, this isn’t something I’m against.

If folks get a kick out of this, if it adds some happiness to their lives?  Okay, that works.  The planet is currently a cynical, desperate, angry wasteland.  Folks all go ahead and add that spice of joy to their day.  Please do so.

Hey, maybe I can make some spare cash too.  I could sell these things, right?  All I need is some hedge fund or venture capital backers.  They’re all about bankrolling lunatic bloggers I’m sure.

 

– The Australia Box

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Think the main export of Australia is didgeridoos or boomerangs?  Think again.  It’s creepy vegemite.  The sandwich spread for rugby hooligans, your Australian grandmother, and those condemned to death.  I don’t know what this is, but it tastes awful.  If you haven’t yet tried it, don’t.  It’s in your box because it has to be, but that’s about it.

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Dumb American fools who guzzle Natty Ice or Bud Light have no idea what they’re missing when the national-get-wasted-cheap-beer is actually a very good decent beer.  Plus, it’s named after a Queen.  I still can’t reasonably find this beer in the States.  That’s a greater crime to America than Turnbull having the gall to expect America to keep it’s word on previously agreed international agreements.

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The Aussie / Jim Henson co-production that was so simultaneously insane and awesome that it caused Henson to disregard his own health to the point that a 13th Century cold killed him.  If you love this show, you get it.  If you hate this show, it’s all good, it just means you’re a normal person.

 

– The Republican Political Acolyte Box

 

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We got the generic version because brand name was too expensive; and unnecessary.

 

– The Democrat Political Acolyte Box

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It Berns!

 

– The Super Bowl Box

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Only the finest in popped-collar capability is worthy of shirt for that Patriot fan who is so very desperate to cheer on their Tommy.  Gizelle would let Tommy wear it.  So you should too.

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There’s something quite wrong with your city when more people have heard of these women than Matt Ryan.  But whatever, it’s reality television, so you’ll watch it and enjoy it.  Or else.

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For clubbing your television where the plastic does not incur long term damage to the device thus enabling you to continue watching what will hopefully be a great game, but, still necessary after each time you remember how much you hate Joe ‘The Haughty’ Buck and Mike ‘Get the Fuck off the Broadcast’ Pereira.

 

And much, much more!  We’re on it.  Simply provide us your credit card number, a list of your fears, and your desired box category of fun.  We’ll make it happen, each month.  To add to your joy.  Simply provide payment directly to:

 

The Arcturus Project – Unbox the Planet! Program

C/O Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

1794 Aguiyi Ironsi Street

Abuja 900001, Nigeria

apparently, even bread and potatoes can kill you now

Oh no, it’s happening again. Everything’s trying to kill me. The rain’s trying to drive my car off the road into a watery grave. I caught my dogs trying to practice their knife fighting skills last night. The elves that inhabit my dreams are telling me to burn things. And, oh no, my bread is poisoning me, and, wait, what? What?

Oh yes, my friends. They’re at it again. Science has determined that bread, or potatoes, or other starches are a carcinogen that can kill you. Truly.

Humans have been consuming bread and potatoes for like 10,000 years. If these things cause cancer, then the very air you breathe must do so as well. But this supposed breathtaking science news was given front billing on the BBC. So everybody’s going to read this and wonder what’s going on. As a brief aside, I’ve noticed that the BBC believes the world is composed entirely of vicious death traps. If I claimed that cutting your grass led to lymphoma, I’d get published in the BBC overnight.

Well, we at TAP are here to help. We’ll leaf through this insanity because we’re insane, and bored, and don’t want junk science giving our tasty food choices an undeserved bad name.

The idea is that acrylamide, a naturally occurring chemical, is a supposed carcinogen. When you fry or heat starches such as bread or potatoes above certain temperatures, acrylamide naturally appears in that food. It also naturally appears in other stuff such as coffee.

So the scientists have decided the solution to reduce your risk of cancer is to heat starches in manner that reduces the risk that acrylamide will appear. In other words, don’t always fry potatoes, boil them. Toast your bread, but not too much. Uh, okay.

First off, six sentences into the BBC report, this juicy line appears:

“However, Cancer Research UK said the link was not proven in humans.”

Oh, you, you mean nobody’s actually proved it’s a carcinogen. Oh.

Plus, may I remind you that acrylamide is naturally occurring. Humans didn’t invent it, it’s just there. So when the servants toasted the Pharaoh’s bread in 7,634 BC, he ingested acrylamide. If only they’d known to lightly toast the bread, but oh that goofy Pharaoh, he beheaded the last servant who tried that. Also, at some point thereafter, that Pharaoh died. So is it reasonable to conclude that Pharaoh died of acrylamide poisoning? Hey, why not?!

But wait, the scientists say! Acrylamide is actually a poison. If you ingest too much of it at once it’s toxic, you die. Governments regulate industries that leach out natural acrylamide and use it in industrial processes. So since it’s a poison, it makes sense that it’s a carcinogen, right?

Well, no, I’m afraid. I don’t quite agree. For you see, any substance, on the entire planet, can kill you if you ingest it with excess. Even water, yes freaking water, is toxic if you drink too much of it at once. So making the scientific assumption that just because a massive amount of acrylamide will kill you, thus indicates that even a little acrylamide will ultimately kill you, is worthy of third grade chemistry.

If you want to know why people don’t trust science, and why folks believe vaccines don’t work, or that climate change isn’t happening, I give you example A as to why folks distrust science.

Even if acrylamide is actually a carcinogen, I’m pretty sure it’s like a 0.000085% increase. If you have to devolve the cancer warnings to the point that folks have to divest bread and potatoes, you might as well post a warning asking folks never to leave their front doors each day. Hey it’s dangerous out there folks! Life kills!

Man, all this typing sure does make me hungry. Think I’ll go get a grilled cheese sandwich, with extra toasted bread. [gives cancer the finger] Thanks science, you’re swell. You’ve inspired me to add some enjoyment to my life before I some day become a bleached skeleton. Cheers!

red risotto with chard

This degenerate blog is just a little over three years old and slowly approaching 400 posts laced by the ramblings of an insane man.  But we’ve never done a recipe before despite the role food plays as one of the delightful pillars of my life.  Don’t know why it took this long, probably cowardice, but now it’s done.  There are others.  They’ll eventually make it up here too.  Good times.

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Recipe:

 

red risotto with chard

4 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 pound sausage, sliced

1 red onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp sugar

1 cup arborio rice

1 cup red wine

2 tbsp tomato paste

salt & pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 15 oz can diced tomato

1 bunch chard

1/2 cup parmesan, grated

in a pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil and then let simmer

in a separate medium pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add the sausage and cook until brown, remove the sausage and set aside

reduce the heat to medium, add the red onion and garlic, and cook until the onion begins to wilt, add the sugar and continue to cook the onion until it’s very brown

add the rice and stir so that all the grains are coated, cook for one minute

add the red wine and stir, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pot, add the tomato paste, salt & pepper to your taste, and all the spices

when most of the liquid has absorbed, add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and stir frequently until the rice is just starting to stick to the pot again, repeat 1/2 cup at a time with the remaining stock

while the rice is cooking, roughly chop the chard leaves and dice the stems

when all the stock has been used, add the chard leaves, chard stems, and diced tomato, cook for about five minutes until the dish has a creamy texture

return the sausage, remove from the heat, add the parmesan, stir, and serve immediately

 

Lunatic Breakdown:

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Let’s begin!

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The recipe works best with any kind of Italian sausage.  Pick your favorite and run with it.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a plate after it’s browned.  You can skim off some of the remaining fat before you add the onion if you want, you know, if you’re crazy.

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We’re using the onion, garlic, and sugar to get a nice brown and rich mixture.  You can turn the heat down and really let this process play out if you want for as long as a half hour.  Until the onion has a brown sheen that blinds you with it’s deliciousness.  But that’s not required, you can get it done in ten minutes, just keep cooking the onion until you get the browning you like.  If it starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, run with it, we’ll get that stuff off later.

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When you add the rice it always strikes me how little all that looks.  But then that rice will grow into tasty fun.  Make sure you coat every grain with oil, let it cook there for just one short minute.

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Get the red wine in there and start scraping the awesome stuck bits off the bottom of the pot.  Stir once every few minutes to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot anymore.  Use whatever red wine you like.  Whatever you do, don’t drink the rest of the box or bottle with your friends and family.

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My little cooking buddy.  She likes to wrap herself around my feet while I’m at it.  She enjoys being close, and it’s prime real estate for mistakes that result in food falling on the floor.

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Ladle 1/2 cup of the stock in at a time, keep stirring so nothing sticks, and just slowly let the rice do it’s thing.  Risotto is actually really easy to make, it’s just that you can’t leave it alone for more than a few minutes.  You can’t stir it and walk away for twenty minutes to chase the dogs or kiddies, do your taxes, contemplate the concept of dark matter, or binge watch the latest drama where everybody dies.

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I love chard because of it’s bitter notes and the color.  If you don’t like the bitter, you can just dump in a bag of spinach from the store, it’s all good.  Just get something green in there.  I dice up the chard stems and then add them too.  This gives the risotto a little crunch, and also is of the mindset to never throw out any part of the ingredient you can use somehow.  But, if you don’t want to go down this road, it’s perfectly okay to just use the chard leaves and cut off / around the stems.

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Toss in all those leaves, stems, and the tomato can contents.  Stir quickly and thoroughly until it’s all combined.  Be careful, at this stage the rice can really stick fast if you don’t get that chard’s liquid sweated out, so keep on stirring as required.

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Cook for about five to ten minutes or until the rice is starting to stick no matter how much you stir.  Get the tasty sausage back in and remove it from the heat.  Add the parmesan and stir it all up.  I used bagged parmesan here.  The best is probably to grate it off the block if you can but the bag works just fine.

Serve the risotto immediately while it’s nice and hot and before it starts to seize up.  For leftovers, you might need to add a little water back into the risotto before you reheat or microwave it.

You can eat this as a main dish, or as a side dish alongside other Italian type cuisine.

Enjoy life.