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Wild Mushroom Risotto

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I had planned to use the wild mushrooms I bought at the farmers’ market in either some sort of pasta dish or risotto. Brent voted for risotto, so 3 days later, there I was sweating over the risotto pot, stirring until my arm about fell off. Or not. Risotto is not difficult at all, and the stirring is always made to sound worse than it is. Once you get the technique, you don’t really need a recipe. I threw this together to have ready when Brent got home from work today.

Wild Mushroom & Leek Risotto

  • 2T olive oil
  • 2T butter
  • 2/3 c. arborio rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, sliced thinly
  • ~1/3 c. dry white wine
  • ~2.5 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 c. wild mushrooms, chopped
  • 1-2T fresh thyme
  1. Poor broth in small pot and keep on low heat (don’t boil it).
  2. Heat 1T butter in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add mushrooms and 1T thyme to saute pan and saute until browned and softened.
  4. Set aside mushrooms.
  5. In a medium sized pot, heat 2T olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Add garlic and leek to the pot and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add rice to pot and stir until translucent.
  8. Add wine to the pot and stir until liquid is absorbed. (I totally take breaks from stirring here and there, just don’t let the rice get stuck to the bottom of the pot).
  9. Add 1/4-1/2 c. warmed broth to the pot and stir until liquid is absorbed.
  10. Continue adding liquid in small increments and stirring until absorbed. After I’ve added about 1.5-2 c. I start taste testing to monitor the texture of the rice. You don’t want mush, but you don’t want crunch.
  11. Once the rice is the texture you want, break 1T butter into a few pieces and fold in butter and mushrooms into rice mixture. Place a lid of the pot and let stand off the heat for about 5 minutes.
  12. Garnish with more fresh thyme.

I know that totally looks like a lot of directions, but it’s no big deal, especially if you’re listening to Pandora and drinking a glass of the wine too. I made this to serve three, but Brent has a big appetite, so it was enough for just the two of us. I served it with a big arugula and roasted beet salad.

Don’t you think beets are the prettiest vegetable? I said that once to Brent and he talked seriously about having me committed, but it’s very true I think. They’re gorgeous.

Anyway, I took Larry for a long walk today, mostly because he needed it, but also because today was our first day here without sun (which apparently happens an average of 270 days a year), so I figured I should make sure I get used to it. Here is that same park cloaked in grey (or silver if you’re a look on the bright side kind of person).

I didn’t think the grey drizzle was too bad, (but talk to me in 6 months) and it won’t prevent me from doing any of my outdoor activities. I actually think the water looked gorgeous today. Larry did, however, manage to cover himself (and my legs!) in mud, which was less than stellar.

For now I’m off to talk Brent into going out for some gelato. 🙂


Herby

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My goal for yesterday was to use up some of the herb collection growing in my fridge from the CSA. First up, I made the rosemary and onion foccacia from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The only difference I did with mine was that I used my half whole wheat version, which uses 2 cups whole wheat flour and 4 cups AP flour. I also used the fresh rosemary rather than dried.

HPIM3528I probably cooked my onions a bit too much but this came out really well. I loved it. I ate some as an afternoon snack yesterday and then I sliced it in half horizontally this morning and made an egg sandwich with it. Yum!

I also found a perfect recipe for dinner to use up all that green stuff in the fridge: Fresh Herb Risotto! I love the recipes for health from NYT. I think it’s fun they focus on a different food every week. In this risotto I used the rest of last week’s arugula, oregano, rosemary, basil and chives. Told you I was overrun with herbs!

HPIM3531This was very tasty, and light for a risotto – no butter and only a small amount of cheese. On the side, I threw in some roasted green beans. Brent is such a guy. He was like, “Umm. This whole meal is carbs. I need protein for my muscles.” Lame.

Now for a face only a mother could love:

HPIM3525He’s such a ham! His older sister is much more calm, cool and collected:

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So I still have a ton of herbs left. I’m thinking of just throwing them all into a multi-herb pesto and freezing it, but let me know if you have a better idea! I’m very open to suggestions.

Some Old Favorites

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Last night we went bowling with our friends Ashley and Jonathan. I like bowling, but it definitely wouldn’t be Brent’s activity of choice, so we don’t go often. That probably explains why my body rebelled. We had a lot of fun, but I just couldn’t believe how sore I was when I woke up this morning!

Before all that fun last night, I spent some time making a mess in the kitchen yesterday. Nothing new came of it, but I did make some of our favorites. First up was some Artisan Bread – the light whole wheat bread. A very tasty, utilitarian sandwich bread. I do wish it was a higher percentage of whole wheat, but I can’t complain too much. It’s still tasty. 🙂

hpim3162Last night’s dinner was a repeat of Jamie Oliver’s fennel risotto. Also, very tasty. Risotto is pretty time-consuming, but definitely not difficult. I think it’s one of those dishes that people build up to more of hassle than it really is. Risotto — it’s not just for restaurants.

hpim3167That’s all for now. I made a HUGE mess in the kitchen today too, but I’ll update you on some of that tomorrow. Gotta spread out the excitement, you know.

I can’t believe the weekend is already coming to a close. It seems like this one went even quicker than usual!

Green Pea and Lemon Risotto

Tonight’s dinner was picked by Brent. He was skimming through Veganomicon and said “Here. Let’s make this. We have all the ingredients.” I was fine with it, although I pointed out that I was somewhat skeptical of a risotto without butter or cheese. Brent’s response, “Oh yeah it’s vegan. I didn’t think about that.”

hpim28901I have a confession. I cheated — I added about 2 tablespoons of Parmesan to the risotto. It just felt necessary. Also, I just used a jarred roasted red pepper rather than roasting my own as the recipe calls for and then diced it up and threw it in the pot. I really liked the risotto without all the butter and cheese though. This tasted very bright, and springy. Brent was equally impressed. To go with it, we had a salad with some of last night’s fabulous dressing. I love this stuff!

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Now I’m just finishing up some baking and soup making for our lunches this week and hoping to be in bed pretty soon for our super early Monday. Because I like to end Sunday night on a positive, cheerful note, here are some things I’m looking forward to this week: I have some fun dinners planned for later this week, including a yummy pizza on Friday night, and the OSCARS are on Sunday! I love watching them. I think we’ll be going to a party at one of Brent’s co-workers’ to watch. Speaking of that, I need to think of something to bring. Any ideas for finger foods?

A Lighter Spin on Risotto

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How’s everyones’ Tuesday going? I feel pretty good about mine. Feeling productive, and crossing things off my to-do list always makes me happy. 🙂 I make lists almost entirely for the satisfaction of crossing things off them. I’m aware list-making is a pretty nerdy hobby, so no need to tell me. Moving on, let me tell you about a very tasty dinner we had that got lost somewhere in the shuffle of this past Superbowl weekend.

A few weeks ago while I was planning some meals, I saw this guest post on Tina’s blog from Lauren. Ever since making one of Jamie Oliver’s risottos, I’ve fallen in love with risotto, so I thought this sounded like a great spin on the dish, and Brent was in favor of it as well. I made it this past weekend, and it was definitely really good, although very different from the risottos I’ve been making. No wine or butter! I guess that’s what happens when Cooking Light makes a risotto.

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Because we were having it as a main dish and not a side, I beefed it up by adding more veggies, including an onion. Next time, I would add some black beans too. There was a nice balance in this dish because you get all the creaminess of risotto, but it definitely feels less rich and heavy.

Bummer about that groundhog yesterday, huh? So cold!! Tomorrow is my last day of work this week, and then we’re headed on to Fort Knox, Kentucky, which has been devastated by a recent ice storm and is expecting more snow today and tomorrow. Hopefully all goes well while we’re there. Then this weekend, we might actually do something and get out of the house to see a movie. We like to live life in the fast lane. 😉

 If you need to add some excitement to your own life, check out Hangry Pants for a chance to win a jar of almond butter! 🙂

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Tonight’s dinner was something I’ve been looking forward to for a week! It did not disappoint. It was delicious and creamy, but slightly less rich tasting than my previous attempt at risotto. Making it slightly less rich meant I could handle eating more of it, which was great.

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ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO

  • 1.5 cups butternut squash, diced to about 1/2-3/4″
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ~2/3 cup arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, heated up and simmering on the stove-top
  • 1/4-1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Toss cubed squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to coat.
  3. Cook squash on a baking sheet for approx 18 minutes until tender.
  4. While squash is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat.
  5. Add onion and garlic to oil and butter and cook, slowly stirring, for about 10 minutes, until onion is soft, but not browned.
  6. Add rice to onion and saute while stirring for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add white wine to rice and raise heat to medium.
  8. Once wine is almost absorbed, add 1 ladle of broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and stir until full absorbed by rice.
  9. Continue adding ladles of broth until rice is full cooked.
  10. Once rice is properly cooked, very slightly al dente, add in squash, cheese and remaining tablespoon of butter and stir until incorporated.
  11. Put a lid on the pot and let rest 2 minutes.
  12. Ladle risotto into 2 bowls and sprinkle with a tiny bit of cheese, and some parsley.

This was really good! I was a big fan of it. I think Brent liked it too, so I’m sure I’ll be making it again sometime.  Risotto is so not difficult. The first time I made it, I was focused really intently, but this time I was much more at ease. I stir pretty frequently, but I cooked this entire meal in a half hour while talking on gmail chat to my best friend, so clearly once you get the hang of it, it’s no big deal.

I want to thank you for your suggestions for the party food! Brent really likes the idea of doing a few different types of pizzas, but I thought Spanakopita sounded good, so I may do pizzas, but have one be a spinach pie inspired pizza. This weekend is going to be BUSY! My brother is getting home for a 2 week Christmas exodus from basic training on Friday and we’re having a get together with all my cousins Friday night, then Saturday is cookie baking day, and Saturday night I have a party with my college friends, and finally on Sunday my mom is having people over to her house as an early Christmas/welcome home for Matt kind of thing. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m sure I’ll be exhausted when it’s over.

Since Brent is still pretty useless, we’re just laying on the couch watching a documentary called Wordplay, about crossword puzzle constructors and solvers and an annual tournament. It’s pretty interesting actually, and these constructors are pretty mind-blowing. See you for more cookie dough-making tomorrow!

Friday Night Treat

Like I’ve said earlier, I usually try to make Friday night dinners a little different from the rest of the week. It’s nice because it gives me something to look forward to, and keeps us from ordering pizza or going out to dinner and spending lots of unnecessary money on things I can make at home. Case in point: risotto! A while ago, Brent and I went to one of the supposedly “nicer” restaurants downtown, and I had risotto as part of my meal. I think the chef was risotto obsessed, there was nearly one with every dish. Well…. mine was awful. No real nice way to say it. The texture was there, and it seemed technically prepared well, but the flavor combination was just so unappealing. The chef did prepare a new one for me at no cost, but the experience was definitely not worth the money.

So, a week or so ago when we were browsing cookbooks at the library, we found Jamie Oliver’s Italy. It looked interesting so we took it home and Brent picked a few recipes to try from it. One of the recipes he picked was Fennel Risotto with Ricotta and Dried Chilis. So, so good!!!

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I had never made risotto before and I must admit that initially when we got home from work, my mind wandered to ordering a pizza. The risotto seemed kind of like hassle, maybe not difficult, but time consuming, and it certainly didn’t seem to allow for me wanting to sit on the couch and drink wine while dinner was cooking. However, I just decided to go with it, mostly so we wouldn’t waste the fennel in the refrigerator. I’d say the whole thing took about 45 minutes, and it was worth every minute! I think I will definitely be making some more risottos in the future. I’ve been thinking of possible flavor combos.

A few modifications were made in the interest of convenience and frugality. We used crumbled goat cheese in place of the crumbled ricotta because we already had some in the fridge. Also, I couldn’t find dried chilies at the store earlier this week, so I just gave up looking for them and we used some crushed red pepper flakes, ground to slightly smaller pieces in the spice grinder. Also, I used some homemade vegetable broth. Oh man, this was delicious!! What’s even more amazing is that this meal cost like $6 to make at home, and tastes a lot better than things that have cost five times that much.

FRIDAY NIGHT COCKTAIL

We made one of our favorites from the summer tonight for after dinner. Peach Mojitos!

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We used thawed frozen peaches, since I assumed any peaches that could be purchased in Indiana right now wouldn’t taste so hot. It worked out really well and these taste as great as they did during the summer. Brent loves mojitos; they’re his favorite drink. I actually don’t like the original mojito, but I usually like them with fruit in them. Very refreshing, and now we’re lounging, watching Kung Fu Panda from the Red Box.

Thanksgiving is only a few days away!! I’m really looking forward to the holidays and hanging out with the family for a few days! I have finally gotten my family to realize how much better the homemade whole berry cranberry sauce is compared to that gelatinous canned stuff. I will be making that, and an appetizer my grandma really likes. Can’t wait!