i love you, spontaneous sunday lunches

risotto, roasted vegetables, stuffed peppers

ok, i already have spring fever! on top of enjoying unseasonably warm temps this past weekend, my family enjoyed a spread that definitely reminded me of an early spring meal. my parents were coming by and i planned to make some sort of casserole with rice and roast vegetables, and my mom wasn't supposed to bring anything. but when i started preparing to cook i realized i had way more vegetables on hand so i decided to roast them on their own and make a risotto instead of a casserole. and my mom just can't help herself and brings "just something small" she tried every time she comes over no matter what she said earlier.

fresh veggies go in......roasted veggies come out

brussel sprouts, carrots, beets and leeks are not spring vegetables, it's true, but something about how fresh and light the colours were before and even after roasting (to the left and right respectively above) felt…well, fresh and light! they tasted light too. i tossed most of the vegetables in just oil, salt and pepper and added some chopped sage to just the beets and carrots. 

mushroom risotto

and although risottos are warm, hearty fare, they always remind me of spring because i always see pretty pictures and recipes for spring asparagus or fresh pea risotto. i didn't have a recipe for the one i made this weekend and i didn't think to make notes on it as i went because this was a last-minute idea. but it turned out nicely-my dad really liked it! i sauteed the white part of a leek with some garlic and mushrooms, and added the leftover beet greens and stems i had on hand after roasting the beets. i used vegetable broth but i didn't have any wine on hand. at the end i added a pat of butter and parmesan cheese.

mom's mushroom-stuffed peppersdigging in to stuffed peppers

but i think the highlight of the meal was these stuffed pepper rings that my mother brought over. they were coated with panko bread crumbs on both sides so each bite was crispy and the filling was so savory. she saw a recipe on tv for this but it called for a meat filling. she minced mushrooms instead and sauteed them with onions and spinach, and then she added parmesan and almond slivers which i think the recipe called for. another twist she introduced was the addition of minced sun-dried tomatoes. these were packed with flavour–i had the leftovers the next day and they were even better. 

for dessert: a little pound cake, courtesy of my aunt who couldn't make it (who sends food even when they can't stop by? my family.) and mapleton's organic ginger ice cream which is so good that i'm worried that i've discovered it. and some hot jasmine tea. a really pleasant and mostly unplanned sunday lunch. 

steaming kettle