In Czech we have this saying: Blacksmith’s (farrier’s) horse goes barefoot. Or plumber’s faucet at home is leaking. You’ve got the message. I cook for a living. I love it, and I cook variety of different recipes to please my unique clientele’s palate. Every day it’s something different I cook. But when it comes to prepare quick dinner at home, that’s usually the last thing on my list (unless I have time or we expect a company).
Why? Well, when I am not cooking, I have a business to run. Emails to respond, menus to create, paperwork that must be done. I didn’t have time to grocery shop just for us, and I am looking for easy (but tasty) solutions. This past week I had to cancel everything because my husband was seriously hurt and needed my help. How blessed I felt that I have the freedom of being entrepreneur to do so. We were in emergency room, then going to neurologist another day, having MRI done, then back to the original doctor …. You got the drill. The last thing on my mind was to be concerned about the food.
But we still needed to eat. Ok, I have a favorite places where I can get a nice sandwich for a lunch, or favorite Chinese restaurant I call for delivery. I had a large pot of soup cooked for us so it’s not like we were starving. But today, I opened a fridge when it was time to prepare something quick for dinner, and there was little bit of few leftover things, not enough for two – and a box of leftover rice from the Chinese takeout.
I quickly took virtual inventory about what else I have in the fridge that I can whip some meal with. For emergencies like this, I have a box of Applegate Naturals Southwestern-Style Grilled Chicken Breast Strips purchased at Whole Foods. I always have some vegetables and of course, tons of seasoning to choose from.
Great! I could make fajitas with those chicken strips! I love it and it would be easy to make. But the box of unused rice called for something like fried rice. Or….. I can make Rizoto. No, that’s not misspelled Italian Risotto. I am talking about a dish we used to make in my home country, everything- but- sink kind of quick and tasty dish made from leftovers. Something like Czech version of paella, jambalaya, or fried rice.
You see, I recently started to cook for a new customer, whose parents came from Slovakia (part of former Czechoslovakia). She asked me if I knew how to prepare Ludash. It was supposed to be a traditional dish that her mom used to make when my client was little. Her parents came to USA sometimes in 1930ties, so I have never heard of it. When I asked her what was in it, she described something that sounded close to description of my familiar Rizoto.
I have some artists-friends on Facebook from Slovakia so I posted the question on their wall if anybody ever heard of Ludash? I love social media! Shortly after my post, few kind souls sent me a different links to some recipes and I was actually right, it was basically how I would prepare Czech Rizoto. So I made it for her. She loved it!!! Said her mom made it without the vegetables, but she liked it better the way I made it. And it was much tastier than she remembers. I was really happy it worked out for her, with all that help I got from total strangers on Facebook.
So, starring at the box of rice, and with this story freshly in my memory, I made Rizoto (or Ludash) . I used vegetables I had in fridge (optional). It took exactly 15 minutes from when I started to when we sat down to eat. Yes, I used semi-cooking method, but it could be easily done within that time frame with freshly sautéed chicken breasts. You want to try it? Here is the recipe!