Grilled Kabobs + Goat Cheese Risotto

On Tuesday I got to have dinner with a special friend.  He used to be own a fabulous restaurant here in Waco called the Green Room.  It was so cool.  Located across the street from the historic Waco Hippodrome Theater, The Green Room was a very classy joint.  People loved to gather there before and after shows, hit up the lounge for a specialty cocktail, or splurge on a special meal.  Davin Hightower was, and is, a gourmet food and wine enthusiast.  He has an extensive knowledge of wines from all over the world and knows how to pick one that fits your mood, your budget and your palette!  He found himself with a free Tuesday evening, so I snagged his company for dinner!  Slightly intimidating, yes, but so much fun.

I decided to grill up some kabobs, chicken and beef, sear off asparagus with some fresh thyme and  garlic and stir up some rich risotto with goat cheese.  Homemade chocolate ice cream served in white chocolate baskets was dessert.  Of course, Davin treated us to an after dinner wine from Dracula’s private vineyard.  (not kidding!)

 

I am going to tell you how I did the risotto.  I had never attempted risotto before.  I always love eating it, though.  So I figured why not give it a whirl?  In a saucepan, I gently heated 2 T of butter with 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic.  I let it go, stirring occasionally to prevent the garlic from burning, until the butter turned a rich, golden brown.  I added 1 Cup of dry white wine and the fresh juice of 1 lemon.  Once the alcohol had cooked out (about 8 minutes) it was ready to use as the base for my risotto.

 

In a medium saucepan, I heated some olive oil and added ½ cup finely minced onion and 1 ½ Cups of Aroborio rice and lightly cooked it.  (about 10 minutes) I added the hot garlic butter mixture and stirred until it was absorbed.  After that I continued adding, a ladleful at a time, chicken stock that I had heated in the microwave.  You have to add warm liquid slowly and stir until it is absorbed before adding more.  This takes about 20 minutes.  After the final addition, I stirred in 4 oz of goat cheese.  Ummmm heavenly richness.  The butter, garlic, white wine, and fresh lemon, just popped against the tangy goat cheese and created  a rich and delicious side dish.  It would have been really wonderful with zucchini, asparagus and other fresh veggies stirred in and used as a main course.  Think grown-up mac and cheese… 😉

 

The chicken was marinated in fresh lemon juice, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper.  I kept the beef simple with garlic butter, salt and pepper.  I tried to use several of the same flavors throughout the meal to bring it all together.

My secret to kabobs is to cook all of the same things together.  I never combine meats and veggies.  (they don’t cook at the same rate)  So, when doing kabobs, I skewer veggies on one and keep chicken together and beef together.  This way everything ends up cooked right.  Not overdone or raw on the inside.

I hope you guys have time for dinner with a fun friend soon!

Sorry about not posting on Wednesday! We had a cable outage in our area, so we weren’t able to access the Internet during that time. Thankfully, that problem got fixed and we’re back to business!

 

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