So, yesterday I fulfilled a desire I’ve had ever since I moved to the Bay Area, I got to go to Chez Panisse.
If you don’t know, Chez Panisse is a restaurant and cafe in Berkeley, CA by acclaimed Chef Alice Waters, who is the pioneer of what is known today as “California cuisine.” California cuisine is usually low in fat and high in flavor with an emphasis on letting the local, seasonal and sustainable fruits and vegetables shine through, as well as utilizing high quality meats and seafood from California’s own coast .
I went with some of the homies and this is how it all went down:
This risotto is a celebration of the best of spring’s bounty, hence the name: Spring Garden Risotto.
I was inspired by a spring garden and the contrast between all the vibrant colors of the blooming flowers and the rich greens beneath them.
This risotto has my two favorite spring ingredients: ramps and morels.
Ramps are a wild leek that have a mild oniony/garlicky flavor and an aroma that is intoxicating.
Morels are my second favorite mushroom after porcini and you can find them fresh during the spring (although I use dried morels in this recipe).
This recipe is perfect for entertaining because you can make a big batch in one pot and it is a very impressive show-stopper. You can also cook it partially in advance cool it on a baking sheet and finish it to order so you’re not slaving over it when guests are over.
I’m sure most of you know what hummus is. It’s a Middle Eastern chickpea/garbanzo bean paste that has been all the rage for a minute now. Gochujang, on the other hand, is not so well known. It is a Korean red pepper paste.
It’s basically the new Sriracha.
Except better, because it has such a depth of flavor while still maintaining its heat.
I predict Gochujang will be on the tip of everyone’s tongue soon, and by then you can feed your inner hipster and say, “Oh, Gochujang? Yeah, I knew about it before it was popular. Have you had Gochujang hummus before? No? Oh man, you’re missing out.” Say this as you sip your extra-hoppy IPA and adjust your non-prescription eyeglasses.