Asparagus, Fennel, and Pea Risotto

This is actually from the meal we had for Easter. I decided since we would be staying in to make a more complicated dinner. It ended up being really tasty and everyone was a fan. I will share the chicken recipe soon. For now, enjoy this risotto with lots of vegetables and warm weather flavors. If you are anxious about the fennel, well, I was, too. I have never cooked with it before, or even bought it before. I was worried it would be a strong flavor that we wouldn’t like, but we all did! On its own I think I would not be a big fan, but in the dish it worked perfectly. As for how to prepare it, read ahead.

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I like that this dish is both a starchy course and full of our vegetables all in one. The Fudgelet did well picking up the little pieces to feed himself (he still prefers fingers mostly over utensils).

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Udon Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms and Beef

Here is a great comfort food dish for my husband K. It is soup, it is hot, it has mushrooms, and it is Asian! He was interested when I talked about my ideas for it. It was inspired by a recipe I pulled from the magazine Shape. I jazzed it up a bunch, including adding meat, although we decided that you don’t need meat for this. The mushrooms take care of that meaty flavor for you. I had never bought udon noodles before, and after realizing I had to look up online how long you are supposed to cook them (the package lacked English directions), I got to taste them. They are saltier than I expected, so keep that in mind when preparing your soup. On purpose, I added water instead of more broth to keep the salt level in check.

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We served the soup with some Asian veggies. You could stir spinach into this, or have the vegetable on the side like we did. This dish does not have any complicated ingredients. The only items we do not always have on hand are the udon noodles and cilantro. The beef was a splurge. You could just as easily make this more like a ramen by adding a poached egg. I also want to try replacing the cup of water with the “broth” you get from re-hydrating the mushrooms. It is supposed to have a lot of flavor, and I think would enhance this dish even more.

 

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Chinese Shiitake Mushroom Dish

I am sorry for not having a better name for this dish. This comes directly from my mother-in-law who discovered it to be one of my favorite dishes that she makes. When I started visiting K’s parents, I was presented with fairly straightforward Chinese food that they thought would be least threatening to my poor white-people senses. Hehe. Well, one day his mom introduced this mushroom dish and I really liked it, even though the little guys are super slippery and challenging for me with my poor chopstick skills. Now, she makes it almost every time we visit because she knows I like it so much. This most recent visit, I had her teach it to me. She sent us home with some awesome dried mushrooms and a special sugar I’d never heard of before to make it.

This is Rock Sugar Candy that his family uses only for this dish.

I had posted a picture on Twitter of one of the mushrooms while I was visiting, and now I can make them for myself! I didn’t nail the recipe the first time because I was confused about the amount of liquid compared to my pan size, but now I have it down…

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