I am not going to go into all of them here, but I do want to confess one today: I have a cookbook fetish. I love to read cook books, cover to cover, lengthy or short. I devour them like novels and have been known to go on a cookbook jag for pleasure reading....sometimes for stints that last up to a couple years. (I do get in some cultured reading in as Daniel and I read classics out loud to one another when the weather turns cold and we can spend evenings in front of the fireplace.)
I have tried to titrate my habit by purchasing used cookbooks. This keeps the spending in check, but does not spare the book shelves.
All of this aside, my aim here is not to introduce readers to the depths of my psyche, but to share the spoils of a cookbook addiction. I do pull out a great knowledge-nugget now and again and I want to share one with you. It is called "No-Cream Cream" and I discovered it in a cookbook called From the Earth to the Table by John Ash. (A $2.99 steal from the Goodwill. It even won The Julia Child Cookbook Award for the best cookbook of the year in 1995.) This recipe is a great find. It functions as a replacement for heavy cream in just about every savory dish you could imagine. I use it when heavy cream is called for in soups, sauces, quiches...anything but dessert. And you can make a big bunch of it and freeze it in one to two cup glass jar measures. It keeps forever. Here it is:
No-Cream Cream (makes approximately 2.5 cups)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. chopped yellow onion
1/3 c. aborio or some other short grain rice
2 cups chicken stock (I have a secret to share about chicken stock for another issue.)
1 c. dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, heat the oil, add the onions and saute over moderate heat until soft but not brown. Add the rice and saute two minutes longer, stirring regularly. Add 2/3 c. stock and the wine. Cover and simmer until the moisture is mostly absorbed, about 25 minutes. The rice should be VERY soft. Cool slightly and transfer to a good blender or processor, and puree. With the motor running, add more stock (up to 1.5 cups) until you reach the desired consistency. Season to taste with S&P.
It is important to know that the end product does not taste like cream. I was disappointed about that at first. It tastes like a savory thickener...a hint of wine, deep stocky flavor. I think everyone will love it.