Spring is in full swing now with all the showers and still slightly chilly mornings. It’s around this time of year that farmer’s markets are opening back up from the winter and vegetables are also popping up (for more reasonable prices) at the stores. When I think of warmer weather, I think of citrus. There is something about lemons, lime, and oranges that are extremely refreshing the warmer months. I bought some Sauvignon Blanc from Winc called “Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy” and decided I wanted to make a post totally dedicated to the all mighty lemon. The wine itself definitely lives up to its name. It’s very mouth-puckering and tart which would make it it perfect chilled on a summer day or even as a sangria mixed with some tropical fruit (note for future self). One of my favorite things about this wine is that it has a screw cap top. I think that wine snobs only really care about wine having corks. I have had some great tasting wine with screw on tops. In fact one of my favorite wineries, Scheid from central Cali, uses them. These wines are useful when picnicing or taking to a party because you don’t have to fool with bringing a corkscrew along. Just open and enjoy.
This is the perfect time to work on some risotto making skills and try out Ina’s Spring Vegetable Risotto. Now that I’ve learned a few tricks from reading up on risotto making, it really has become a much simpler task that I don’t mess up anymore. Also, it’s great because you can literally throw whatever you want into it as far as meat, vegetables, flavorings, making it a great basic recipe to use up leftovers. My favorite part of this recipe is the lemon added to it. It really brings out the flavors of the vegetables and makes it appropriately spring-timey tasting.
I made a few minor changes to this recipe while I was making it. One major change was that I used some leftover creme fraiche that I had in the fridge instead of the mascarpone cheese. You can sub out the cheese for cream cheese or even plain yogurt (to give it tang). This addition is important as it really makes the risotto creamy and silky. I also added in some basil because again, it was leftover and I wanted to use it. I think it makes a great addition to the dish and adds some extra freshness.
In keeping with the lemon theme, I made Ina’s Lemon Mousse. Instead of making it in a large souffle dish, I put it in small cups for individual serving. This is something that would taste even better on a hot day in the summer as the mousse is very tangy and refreshing.
Don’t let the name intimidate you. Mousse is basically a highly flavored base similar to a pudding or curd that is then lightened with egg whites and whipped cream. In this case, it is very lemony lemon curd that makes up the base (which can be made ahead). I made mine the day before then finished it off the next day. If the idea of egg whites freaks you out, then leave them out and add extra whipped cream. Lastly, pop these suckers in the freezer for a few minutes before serving to allow the glasses to frost over and to firm it up a little bit. It’s fantastic! If you want, put the mousse into plastic cups and freeze for a few hours. The cream keeps the mixture from solidifying and it’s like lemon ice cream. SO GOOD!