in the kitchen with: sweet paul

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I’m sorry to admit that I never got past the photo of Paul Lowe (alias sweetpaul) with Tanner, so I don’t know what to say about his recipe. Just kidding! We are always happy to shake it up here and explore other recipes that aren’t pasta dishes (even though we love pasta!). Paul is a favorite here at design*sponge, especially for the crafty ladies. We thought you’d enjoy seeing how he is in the kitchen, given his food and prop stylist skills. So click here to view the recipe for Paul’s Spinach and Scallion Risotto or just click “read more” below.

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New this week is wine pairing by the ladies at Harlem Vintage and Nectar Wine Bar, Jai Jai Greenfield (owner) and Beth Baye (manager, Nectar) in Harlem. Especially when it comes to culinary experiences, I like to try new things. On a recent trip to New York, I visited this enoteca and was greatly impressed by the owner’s enthusiasm for wine and ease with which she explained how to navigate the shop (organized by the grape, not the region, so you get a cross cutting of all geographic regions within one section). I thought pairing this Harlem-based wine shop with Brooklyn – based design*sponge was a great match! Have a great weekend! -Kristina

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About Paul: He moved to NYC 3 years ago to be with the love of his life. He had been working as a food and prop stylist, crafter and cookbook writer in Scandinavia for 16 years, and was very ready for a change. So he sold everything he had and just moved and never looked back. He has been very lucky to find lots of great work, working with some great magazines and some even greater photographers. Paul feels he has found my his niche in the U.S. as a food and prop stylist and a crafter. He currently lives on the upper west side in New York with partner Otis and dog Tanner.

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Spinach and Scallion Risotto

{Paired wine: Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut Rosé}

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 red onion, finely chopped

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cup Arborio rice

juice from 1/4 lemon

4 1/2 cups good quality canned chicken stock, heated

1 large bunch fresh spinach

2 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup grated parmesan

salt

pepper

4 slices parma ham

Heat oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Sauté onions and scallions until tender, add rice, cook, stirring until well coated. Add lemon juice, cook 1 minute. Add 1 cup of stock, cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring until most of the liquid has been absorbed. This takes about 20 minutes. The rice should be al dente, creamy but with a little more hard center. While the risotto cooks, wash the spinach and wither it in a little water. Cool and press out the water. Chop coarsely. Crisp the parma ham in the oven.

Remove from heat, stir in butter, spinach and parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with the parma ham that has been fried crispy in the oven.

Enjoy!

Why Paul chose this recipe: Risotto is for me the ultimate comfort food. I love rice and the mixture of the hot creamy rice, the fresh spinach and the cheese of all cheeses, parmesan. I mean, what’s not to love?

I like my risotto very creamy, and I must say I never order risotto at a restaurant. The disappointment of a bad risotto is to much to bear. This is a very easy recipe, and the result is really good. I never use white wine in my risotto. Just a little lemon juice to get a little acid going.

Which wine? Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut Rosé

For this dish, we’d choose a wine that not only highlights the green notes of the dish but also cleanses the palate of the rich elements in it. Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut Rosé, a Champagne-like wine from the Lombardy region of Italy, fits the bill. It has bright, tart strawberry notes that complement the spinach and scallions, while its creamy bubbles and mild acidity cleanse the palate of the butter, salt and fat from the other ingredients and ready you for the next creamy bite. This sparkling wine is made from the Pinot Nero grape (more commonly known as pinot noir). –Jai Jai and Beth

TF

Cool! I’ve never not used wine in risotto – can’t wait to try!

Joy

Looks fantastic but if Paul feels he has found *my* niche, I’d like him to give it back. :)

Bibi

Oh! Yummy !
I know Paul from way back and not only is he a great artist, most importantly, he is the most amazing person. I love you Paul!

Bibi

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