We learned how to make risotto the “real” way this week in culinary school. Risotto sort of gets a bad rap for being pretty labor intensive, but really it only adds about an extra 10 minutes or so of standing there monitoring it and adding liquid 1/2 cup at a time. Some add 1 cup, but I add less and also cook on a lower temperature. The reason is that it enables the starches in the rice to come out slowly, creating a creamy texture, and not simply mush, which is pretty much what you’ll get if you add all the liquid at once or too quickly. I use Arborio rice. It is an Italian short-grain rice. This is a perfect rice for risotto due to its high amylopectin starch content. Rices with a high starch content taste “starchy.” However, they blend really well with other flavors which covers it. That is why wine, and broth work beautifully with risotto, and not water. If you can’t find arborio you can substitute another short or medium grain rice with a high starch content. I’ve heard that white sushi rice works well, but I haven’t tried it.
7 cups broth (added 1/2 cup at a time)
2 cups Arborio rice
1-2 lbs. variety of mushrooms (I used Portobello, white and shitake)
1 onion, chopped
1 TBL garlic or to taste
3 TBLS. oil
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
2 TBL. minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté mushrooms until soft, set aside
Add rice and stir, then cook for a few minutes. You are trying to toast the rice. Basically, doing this keeps the starches from coming out too quickly and ruining the texture of your risotto.
Now, add your wine and wait a minute or two until it’s absorbed. Yes, stir it.
Keep adding and stirring your liquid 1/2 cup at a time, waiting for each to be absorbed before adding the next. By the time you’ve added all the broth your rice is done. This takes about 20 minutes. No need to set a timer really. My stove is electric <groan> and I kept it set on 5 once I added the rice, after sautéing.
Once your rice is done, add mushrooms, parsley and cheese. Save a little parsley and cheese to garnish your yummy risotto.
My kids were begging for third helpings, but I told them I needed to pack some for my daughter’s lunch tomorrow. My son was NOT pleased… LOL.
I’m not very good at writing recipes, ingredients in order and instructions, but I am learning, so bear with me, please 🙂
Tonight’s dinner goes back to my Southern girl roots. Being brought up in Texas near the Gulf of Mexico we always had lots of shrimp. I started out with a 2 lb. bag of jumbo, frozen, raw, deveined and easy-peel shrimp. They were even on sale so I stocked up a few more bags in the garage freezer.
I skipped the part about using egg and panko because I didn’t have any. I added a package of Italian seasoning mix to the flour in addition to the cajun seasoning. You can use Old Bay if you don’t have anything else. So, pretty much just the flour mixture and then fried.
I didn’t use the homemade remoulade sauce listed with the recipe. I sort of took bits and pieces from various recipes and reviewers and came up with this:
1/2 cup Marie’s Thousand Island dressing
hot sauce to taste
2 tsp soy sauce
squirt from lime juice container.
It came pretty darn close to tasting like the real from-scratch recipes.
First I combined 4 TBL of butter with 1 tsp of minced garlic and melted in microwave.
Next I buttered a roll and toasted it.
Meanwhile, I coated the shrimp and fried them up.
Next, I put shredded lettuce and tomato slices on the toasted roll and then put on the cooked shrimp.
I had the most unusual craving tonight. I was craving a fried egg on a salad. Strange, I know. I don’t ever remember seeing one before, but it just flew into my head as I was getting ready to prepare dinner. I had already marinated some locally-grown heirloom tomatoes and red onions in oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dab brown mustard, salt, pepper and a dash of sugar. I decided to toss some lettuce in with it, threw in some bleu cheese crumbles and added some of my candied pecans I had leftover from another recipe earlier in the week. Then, it was simply a matter of frying an egg and placing it on top. It was runny; it had to be. That’s what I was craving. Good grief, someone help me… LOL. The verdict is that it is FABULOUSLY delicious. My teen daughter gives it two-thumbs up. Yay.
Jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined and marinated for about an hour in about 1/2 cup olive oil, juice from 2 nice sized limes, 4-5 TBL honey, minced garlic (I put in two cloves), salt and pepper to taste. I roasted them on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 425F convection oven for about 6 minutes. I put some pepper flakes on my daughter’s portion when I took them out since she likes things a bit spicy.
I love picking up whole chickens when they are on sale. I count myself especially lucky if it is a roaster size. You know, the big 6-8 pounders. I am a huge griller and will grill anything from chicken to romaine lettuce to avocados to cookies. Yes, they all are amazing, surprisingly. First butterfly your chicken by cutting out the backbone with some sharp kitchen shears. If you are unsure how to do this you can find lots of videos on YouTube that will walk you through the step. I press my chicken down to flatten it, but still leave the breast bones in so it doesn’t lay completely flat. This is preference, but you can remove it to make it flatter. Leaving the skin on, but separating the skin from the meat with my fingers on the breasts and thighs, I rubbed a marinade on consisting of Ranch dressing, olive oil, Rosemary, minced garlic, salt, pepper and some fresh lemon. I’ve seen other recipes out there that also use vinegar and various other spices so just put on what you like and make it your own. I don’t really measure, but I usually do close to equal parts dressing and oil. The spices are based on your tastes. I made sure the marinade was everywhere. And, I do mean everywhere… in between skin and meat, on top of skin, you get the picture. I left in fridge overnight to absorb all that yummy goodness. Next, heat your grill up to about 450 and then place your chicken skin-side UP. Immediately, turn off burners under chicken for indirect heat. If you are using charcoal just put it on the side without charcoal. I tweak the burners that are left on so as to maintain a temp of about 300-350 degrees. For a chicken this size I cooked for approximately 1 hr. 50 min – 2 hrs. I’ve done smaller 3-4 lb chickens for 45 minutes. I’ve also used every kind of rub, sauce, etc. Whether you dry-rub or marinate in a liquid I really like leaving it overnight in the fridge. I don’t turn my chicken at all. The skin gets nice and brown just fine on it’s own. I used to start out skin side down for 10 minutes then switch, but it’s not necessary. A lot of other grillers recommend putting skin side down and pressing with a spatula to get all the skin to brown… NO!!!! NEVER squeeze the liquid out of any meat you are grilling. Ever. It is so much juicier leaving all that yummy tasting juice inside the meat and not in the bottom of your grill.
Today I picked up a massive amount of Swiss Chard from our local CSA farm. I took a look at a bunch of recipes and sort of chose what to do and add so I can’t really credit any one recipe, sorry. After washing and spinning dry (very important step) I separated the stems from the leaves. Next, I chopped the stems in small 1/4 or so pieces and sautéed in some olive oil, garlic, and some diced onions I picked up at the farm, too. After about 3 minutes I added some white wine… sauvignon wine. I don’t know how much, 1/2 cup or so; I just poured… LOL. Finally, I rough chopped up the leaves and tossed them in to wilt a few minutes. After that was finished I squeezed about 1 or 2 TBL fresh lemon juice and about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese. If I had shredded I would have used that, but I was going on what I had. Yummy, yummy, yummy 🙂
Don’t be snobby, try kohlrabi… LOL. Kohlrabi, red potatoes and garlic scapes baked with a bit of parmesan. Each week I come home with so many yummy veggies from a local farm where we purchased a CSA share. If you don’t know what that is it is basically where you pay, up front, a set amount of money, depending on what size you determine is right for your family, and then you get to pick up fresh veggies from usually June until about the beginning of November. This week we got a vegetable I had never heard of before… the kohlrabi, which is a member of the cabbage family. I also was able to try garlic scapes, which are the tops of the garlic bulbs. I’m 47 and there are vegetables I’ve never tried, let alone even heard of. After peeling the kohlrabi (1 the size of an onion) and the red potatoes (6) and cutting up the scapes (about 1/2 cup), I threw them into a pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes. After draining I mashed them using a handheld masher and mixed in sea salt, pepper and onion powder. Put into an oven safe dish and top with some shredded parmesan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, and garnish with parsley when done. It is an awesome way to have mashed potatoes. Enjoy 🙂