Category Archives: Appetizers

The Continuing Adventures…

Well! I’ve made my first attempt at making a Sicilian rice ball, and it was certainly an adventure. I’ve gotta say, for a first go ’round, I’m pretty impressed with myself.

As I said yesterday, once you’ve made your risotto and fillings and allowed them to cool, you’ll want to cut out portions of the risotto from your cookie sheet, make them into little bowl shapes, stuff your filling in there, and then wrap the risotto around the filling to form a sphere. It’s actually more difficult than it sounds, trying to completely enclose the filling in the risotto, but after a few attempts, I (sort of) got into the rhythm.

Once you’ve formed those spheres, you’ll want to roll them in your batter and then finally roll them around in breadcrumbs. And voila! You’re ready to cook your balls! (Sorry, it was just too easy. Writing about making Sicilian rice balls is a constant struggle in trying not to make too many testicle jokes. So let’s just get that out in the open and out of the way.)

Now, traditionally, these rice balls are fried. I thought I’d go out on a limb and try baking them instead. A little untraditional, a little more healthy, and probably admittedly a little less delicious. Here’s how it all went down.

Balls in Oven

Here they are going into the oven. I sprayed them with some cooking spray to give them a little more shine on the back end, but it didn’t really seem to do much. Anyway, I put them in at 425 for about 35 minutes, which may have been a bit long, but only a little.

Finished Balls

And here’s how they came out! My first experience doing the whole “rolling in batter and then breadcrumbs” thing was obviously a little bit of a misfire, as you can clearly see that I missed some spots. And I’d like them to look a little prettier in general. But! Check this out:

Turkey Cranberry Pecan Ball

That looks more like it, right?! This particular one was stuffed with my turkey/cranberry/goat cheese/pecan concoction, and if I do say so myself, it’s pretty damn delicious. Not perfect, but actually much closer than I thought to what I think could be a sellable product.

So here are my takeaways:
-I definitely want to try frying these suckers. Baking them actually proved to be much more successful than I thought it would be, but still. Fried stuff is delicious and I’m curious how much better they’ll be. Just keep your fingers crossed that I don’t get 3rd degree oil burns!!
-Two things that I think will put these over the top:
–The risotto needs to be fancier. I made a pretty basic cheese risotto, but I think if I tailor the risotto for each individual filling, it’ll really make these pop.
–I’m definitely intrigued by playing around with some spices in the breadcrumbs. I used plain breadcrumbs because I wanted to keep it simple, but I have a feeling some cumin mixed in there might make deliciousness abound.

Recipes are still to come, I promise! I just want to make everything perfect before I send these out into the world. So, more soon! Thanks for reading, dear readers.

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Adventures in appetizers

Lately, I’ve been dedicating myself to trying new things and coming up with great business ideas that can actually make my mooching ass some money. Or at least I’m making a valiant attempt at doing so.

In that spirit, I bring you my newest adventure – Sicilian rice balls! If you live in the New York area and haven’t experienced the delight that is an Arancini Bros. rice ball, well, you’re definitely doing something wrong. They’re freakin’ outstanding.

Inspired by those fine folks at Arancini, and by the amazing opportunity to take advantage of drunk/stoned/hungry students here in lovely Savannah, GA, I might just very well start my own rice ball business, so why not document the process?

Now, full disclosure…I haven’t actually made the rice balls yet. So I’m going to list all of the recipes in tomorrow’s blog, once I’ve made sure my first foray into this isn’t a complete disaster. But I’ll give you brief walkthrough of the steps involved.

So here goes. First off, you need to make some risotto. I’d never actually tackled the task of making risotto myself, but it turns out it’s actually pretty damn simple. Just grab some stock (I used veggie stock), some butter, some arborio rice, and some parmesan & romano cheese, and you’re set!

Here’s the risotto I managed to make and not completely mess up:

Risotto

Pretty sexy, right?! It’s laid out in a cookie sheet because you need to cool it for a while and flatten it out before actually making the rice balls.

Next, make a filling of your choice. Now, here’s where it gets fun. Currently, this is what is on my menu:

*Chorizo, onion, red pepper & blue cheese
*Turkey, onion, pecan, dried cranberry & goat cheese
*Brussels sprout, leek and carrot slaw

In fact, I’m roasting the carrots and brussels as I write this:

Brussels and CarrotsDelicious.

Anyway, after making your filling and letting it cool, you’ll need to stuff your risotto with the filling, then roll it in a batter and finally some breadcrumbs.

Again, many more details later. But I wanted to document the beginnings, mainly because I don’t have much else to write about. And I’m pretty excited about the possibilities.

As long as I don’t burn my hand off with hot oil, I’ll be back tomorrow to finish this off – wish me luck!

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