Wild Mushroom Risotto

Since we’re cutting out a lot of butter, cheese, and booze next week to get “healthier”, I thought I’d go ahead and make some stuff that’s really bad for us this week. Enter: Jamie Oliver’s risotto. Oh.My.God. I got the Jamie Oliver’s Italy cookbook last year for Xmas, and I just haven’t gotten around to making much out of it because all of the recipes are so damn rich. But oh my GOD this was so good. You basically make the White Risotto recipe and then roast some mushrooms and garlic and add in at the end. Here’s the basic recipe which is simply FABULOUS on its own:

Risotto Bianco

2 pints stock (chicken, fish, or vegetable, as appropriate)
2 tablespoons olive oil
a dollop of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 a head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cups risotto (Arborio) rice
2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons butter
4 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Stage 1: Heat the stock. Put the olive oil and butter into a separate pan, add the onion, garlic, and celery, and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without coloring. This is called a soffrito. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

Stage 2: The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring—it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

Stage 3: Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Stage 4: Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow it to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes amazingly creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while it retains its beautiful texture.

So if you’re going to add mushrooms, you take about 6 oz of chopped assorted mushrooms along with about a head of garlic and saute them when you hit the end of Stage 3.  Saute for about 2 minutes in an oven-proof  pan with some olive oil, butter, and thyme, and then pop them in a 400 degree oven for about 6-7 minutes.  Chop them up and add about half when you hit Stage 4, and then add the rest over the top of each individual serving.  And then die and go to heaven.

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Published in: on December 30, 2008 at 3:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting

These are really really bad for you, just warning you now.  My mom gave me this recipe and I’ve no idea where she got it.  It might have been one of my grandma’s?  I’ve no idea.  All I know is, it makes me happy.

CUPCAKES:

2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 oz water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

MAKE CUPCAKES:
–pre heat oven to 350
–grease 12 cupcake cups or line with paper liners
–cream softened butter and sugar together till fluffy
–add eggs and blend well
–in seperate small bowl combine cocoa and food coloring and stir. Once you have thick paste then add to mixture.
–sift salt and flour together into mixture
–add vanilla, buttermilk, and water to mixture
–in seperate small bowl combine vinegar and baking soda. Fold into cake mixture
–pour mixture into cupcake cups.
–bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a wood toothpick inserted into middle of cupcake comes out clean.
–let cool for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto rack and let finish cooling.

MAKE FROSTING:
–blend together cream cheese softened and butter softened.
–add powder sugar and vanilla extract
–blend till smooth

One thing I sometimes do differently is to make mini cupcakes.  You know those mini-muffin pans?  Yeah, I use those and make teeny tiny cupcakes that amount to one or two bites.  I find that they’re better for get-togethers because they’re so portable and less crumb-y than regular sized ones, and the frosting to cake ratio is better because I loves me some cream cheese frosting.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 1:06 pm  Comments (1)  
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Blueberry Pancakes

For the past 8 weeks or so I’ve been making blueberry pancakes from scratch every Sunday morning.  Yes yes, I’m sure Bisquick is fine.  Whatever.  I want to be the “my mom makes pancakes from scratch!” mom.  My goal was to find “the” recipe, and I think I’ve finally succeeded.  And it only took going through 8 recipes!

Naturally, I doctored it a bit to make it taste the way I wanted.  My notes are in italics.

Everyday Pancakes from the NYTimes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional (definitely add)
2 eggs
1½ to 2 cups milk (I use one cup of milk and one cup of buttermilk)
2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter (optional), plus unmelted butter for cooking, or use neutral oil.  (butter is never optional.  LOVE butter)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of blueberries

1. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Beat eggs into 1½ cups milk, then stir in 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter, if using it, and vanilla. Gently stir this mixture into dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten flour; don’t worry about a few lumps. Stir in blueberries. If batter seems thick, add a little more milk.

2. Place a teaspoon or 2 of butter or oil on griddle or skillet. When butter foam subsides or oil shimmers, ladle batter onto griddle or skillet, making pancakes of any size you like. Adjust heat as necessary; usually, first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. Flip pancakes after bubbles rise to surface and bottoms brown, after 2 to 4 minutes.

3. Cook until second side is lightly browned. Serve, or hold on an ovenproof plate in a 200-degree oven for up to 15 minutes.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

A close runner up are the pancakes from the Williams Sonoma recipe website.  The thing is, there’s sifting involved.  Not that that’s a problem, per se.  But the whole sifiting thing is what turned me off of a lot of pancake recipes.  It’s just time consuming and annoying.  Yes these pancakes are light and fluffy and tasty, but to me, they’re not worth the extra sifting effort.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 12:46 pm  Comments (2)  
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