and my interview with Sun Cafe owner Ron Russell.
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5 spice kabocha risotto with oyster mushrooms
1 kabocha squash, quartered, seeds removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
8 fresh sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup sliced shallot
8 ounces oyster mushrooms
7 cups vegetable stock, heated
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F. Rub the squash pieces with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the Chinese 5 spice, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper. Place the squash, flesh side up, on a lined baking sheet and roast for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. With a large spoon scoop the flesh away from the skin, until you have 1 cup of kabocha flesh. You will have a lot left over, but I'm pretty sure the words, "God damn it, I hate having extra chinese 5-spice kabocha squash," have never been spoken. Chop up the rest for salads, pizzas, pastas, or you can probs use it to make pie. And don't forget that skin is edible, we just don't need it here. Add the 1 cup of flesh to a food processor with the almond milk, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium high. Add the mushrooms, and make sure they sizzle. Fry the mushrooms for 4 to 6 minutes, tossing occasionally, until tender and the edges are browned. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer them to a small bowl and set aside, and wipe out the skillet.
NOTE: Don't season the mushrooms when they hit the pan. This will extract the water from them too quickly, and they will end up steaming instead of browning.
Reduce the heat in the pan to medium, and using the same oil in which the sage leaves fried, add the shallots and a healthy pinch of salt. Sautee them 3 to 4 minutes until they become tender, and add the garlic, cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes, then stir in the rice, making sure to get all the grains coated with the oil. Toast the rice 3 to 4 minutes stirring continually, until the edges begin to get translucent, and the grains get an ever so slight golden hue.
Stir in enough broth to cover the rice, and lower to the heat to medium low. Stir occasionally until the broth is almost completely absorbed, making sure the pan never gets completely dry. Continue the process of adding broth, letting it get absorbed, and adding broth again. You may not use all the broth for this. After about 20 minutes the rice should be approaching al dente, give it a try. If it is, now is the time to add the kabocha puree. Stir in the puree, and cook 2 minutes until heated through. If you pass a spoon through the risotto (like Moses parting the red sea), and it fills back in (drowning all the Egyptians), you're good to go (sorry, Egyptians). It should be neither sticky, nor soupy. You can always add broth, or cook a tiny bit longer to get the right consistency.
Just as the risotto is finishing, transfer the cooked mushrooms into a small skillet and heat them on medium a couple minutes until just heated through.
Season the risotto to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls, topped with the mushrooms and garnished with the fried sage leaves. You can even chop up some of the remaining squash and add that to the mix.
sexy vegan radidio show notes
- I recently had dinner at Sun Cafe and was able to sample a great many things. Let me tell you, this place is without a doubt in the top three, "must visit" vegan restaurants when you're in Los Angeles...I put them at #1. The food is phenomenal. The things you must consume at sun cafe are the raw nachos, the mac n' cheese, and the sweet kale shake. Anything else would be excellent as well, but those are the ones you don't want to miss. Sorry if my photos are crappy, I hadn't made my DIY lampshade softbox yet. Can't wait to take it with me next time I'm out to eat!
- We all did a twitter chat while we were having dinner, and you can find more pics and Q and A's with all of your other favorite vegan celebs if you click the hashtag: #SunCafeOrganicLA