As you may already know, date night is an important part of our week. We typically cook together, light candles, enjoy a nice glass of wine and put on some fun music in the background.
Speaking of music
We use Jango as our music source. It’s a pretty fun little tool. Have you ever used it?
We type in an artist and it creates a radio station with similar artists. Or you can choose from ones developed by Jango. So on this date night we decided on Rodrigo Y Gabriela (they’re amazing by the way) and danced in the kitchen. Actually Joshua decided on the music. He’s the designated DJ for our date nights. If you haven’t used it before I recommend checking it out.
Date Night Development
You know an interesting thing about our date nights is that it hasn’t always been like this. Date night in the kitchen would not have floated Joshua’s boat in the past. Years ago, Joshua didn’t really know how to cook or really enjoy it either. Not only has our journey through whole foods made us healthier, it has made us closer. Joshua learned to cook and found out he was actually quite good at it. With practice on chopping and prepping ingredients, he became quicker and now he really enjoys the whole process. I mean, don’t we all prefer doing things we’re good at?
The Sensuality of Cooking
So now a big part of our date night is spent in the kitchen. He chops, I fry the onions, he stirs, I taste, he seasons, we lick the spoon and together we create a meal we both love. There’s something really sensual about food. Tasting, textures, smells and then you add music and soft lighting and it’s impossible not to feel connected and romantic.
I hope you’ll give this tomato risotto a try on your next date night. It’s not a super fast recipe, but it is very yummy. It isn’t complicated either, so you can get distracted… for a few minutes at a time without worrying about what the next step is. Just keep adding a little liquid every 5 of minutes or so (just enough time to sneak in a dance) and voila, dinner.
We’ve also been enjoying the leftovers immensely.
On date night we served this with a piece of seared salmon and beurre brune, but we’ve also been enjoying it equally as a vegetarian meal since. The arugula brings a fresh, crisp and peppery taste that I wouldn’t skip, and the balsamic reduction is also a very important key to bring all the amazing flavors together.
This is not a authentic version since I decided to use sprouted brown rice for additional nutrition and ease of digestion, but you can use what you have. The liquid measurement will vary depending on what rice you decide to use. I don’t measure the liquid component anyway, since I just add what I need a little at a time.
Tomato Risotto with Cumin and Fennel
makes six 1 cup servings
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 cups sprouted brown rice (or Arborio)
- 4 tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 1/2 tsp- 1 tsp salt (optional read notes)
- 6-8 cups of water, vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small dry skillet set over medium high heat, toast the cumin and fennel until fragrant, about 1 minute. Grind the spices with a mortar and pestle and set aside.
In a separate pot, heat the water or stock. Bring it to a simmer and reduce the heat to keep it hot while you work on the risotto.
In a large pot, set over medium heat, add the olive oil and onions. Cook the onions until they become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, spices and rice. Cook for 1 minute and add the tomatoes and about 2-3 cups of liquid. Stir often to prevent sticking. Add more liquid as it gets absorbed by the rice. If the risotto mixture is boiling, reduce the temperature. It should be at a very soft simmer. Keep adding the liquid until the rice is cooked and tender, but it should not be mushy. Each rice grain should still have integrity. Depending on the rice you choose to use, will depend on the cooking time. This should take about 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and fold in the grated Parmesan. Serve with arugula and balsamic reduction.
If you’re using stock you may not need to add salt. I used water since I didn’t want to fuss with thawing vegetable stock so we added a full tsp of salt. Adjust yours to your taste.
Traditionally, you’d only add a ladle of hot stock or water at a time. I cheat a little bit by adding about double that. You can choose to do it whichever way you like.