Risotto for One, Please!

It has happened, we are officially Empty-Nesters.
RatherTallOne has moved out and is now cooking for himself and his girlfriend.
Early reports from her are that he is quite the chef, making me rather proud.

We found out a few months ago that he has a wheat, barley and hops allergy. In solidarity I gave up all wheat (but not beer every now and then).
Cleaning the pantry and fridge of all things EVIL wheat was the way to go sadly.
I found out that a staple we eat a lot, Risotto from Trader Joes, had wheat in it to thicken the rice.
What is a mom to do? It has never occurred to me to make it from scratch because I thought it was hard to do.

Who hasn’t seen an episode of Hells Kitchen where Gordon Ramsey screams out that the Risotto is BLAND!

If professionals can’t do it who was I to try?
I’ve been hesitant to make foods I wasn’t trained in or comfortable with. Cooking rice, piece of cake. Risotto is scary.

So one day we were wanting Risotto with our salmon and I bit the bullet.
It was amazing!
I made it 3 times since and it comes out creamy, garlicky and really good.

The next 6 days Himself is in the Netherlands so solo food it is.
I was going to eat just chicken and roasted peppers when all of a sudden I wanted Risotto as well.
Math done, here is a recipe for Risotto for One.

1 TBS butter
1 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS chopped onion or shallot
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Arborio Rice aka Italian-Style Rice
About 1.5 cup of chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste (don’t make it bland!)
Any mushrooms and vegetables chopped up
Parmesan cheese to taste, I add at least 1/4 cup

Saute onion and garlic in butter and olive oil on lower heat for 3 minutes
Add rice and stir for 2 minutes
Stir in broth until rice is covered
I had leftover asparagus and mushrooms I added in.
I’ve added peas and mushrooms, it’s all tasty.

IMG_0685

Continue cooking a stirring until broth is absorbed.
Add more broth but make sure it’s absorbed before you add more.
Try the rice if it’s cooked towards the end of cooking before you add more broth. It’s not a timed process, more a “taste as you go”.
You are aiming for sticky, gooey rice as the cheese will bind it.

Once it’s fully cooked add the Parmesan and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

IMG_0688

 

 

 

Advertisements

It’s starting to feel like Fall finally!

I love soup and Split Pea is comfort food for me.

It’s a slow simmer in the crock pot so once you done the prep it’s a straight shot all by itself for hours.
This recipe is how my mom used to make it, there are variations where leeks and carrots are used but it comes out too heavy for me.

Oma’s Split Pea Soup

This recipe is for 4 people with enough left over for another meal. Reduce the peas and water by half if making it for 2 people or if you want no left overs.

2 bags green split peas (or 2 pounds)
1 medium sized celery root
1 pound beef shank
1 package salted pork
1 smoked sausage

Rinse peas, place in crock pot ( I have a 6 quart one)
Clean celery root by peeling it,cut celery root and salted pork in chunks
Add celery root, salted pork and beef shank to the crock pot
Cover with water, stirring a few times to get the peas wet.
Cook on low until peas fall apart, 6 hours depending on your crock pot.Stir occasionally to prevent the peas from sticking to the bottom or sides.
Remove bone and salted pork.
Using a stick blender or food processor blend the soup until smooth.
Cut up smoked sausage and add to soup.
You can cut up the salt pork in small pieces and add it to the soup. Be aware you need to let it sit for a little bit before you add salt in order not to oversalt it.
The soup will thicken if refrigerated, when reheating add some chicken stock to it and heat it slowly.

Enjoy!

Last week at Cost Plus World Market as I was lusting over another piece of equipment…

 

I’ve been wanting to buy a Tangine for ages, it’s used for a lot of Moroccan dishes. Read more here.
I’ve hemmed and hawed numerous times but never could get myself to commit.

Happened again last week at my other favorite kitchen/gadget/ all the things store Cost Plus World Market.
I petted the tangine on display, had a moment of doubt and then did not buy the pot.
However on the side it had a tag with a recipe for Honey and Cardamon Chicken with olives and Chickpeas.
So I took a picture, petted the pot once more and went on the hunt for ingredients.

lambtagine (not *the* pot but pretty!)

For 4 people, or leftovers for 2, you need:

8 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon cumin seed
Seeds from 8 Cardamon pods
2 tablespoons Honey
1.5  inch chunk of ginger,grated
2 garlic cloves, chopped
pinch dried chili flakes (optional)
6 tablespoons olive oil.
1 large red onion, chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
14.5 ounce can chickpeas
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (How to peel a tomato)
Handful green olives, without pimentos
a few fresh coriander leaves, chopped.

Place the 8 chicken thighs in to a shallow dish.
Toast 1 tablespoon cumin seeds in a small pan over a gentle heat until they begin to pop. Transfer them to a pestle and mortar and add the seeds from 8 cardamom pods and grind them to a coarse powder.

My note: if you do not have cumin seeds don’t worry. Using plain cumin will work. Just add a tablespoon of ground cumin to the dish. However!  
 it’s worth the purchase
Cumin seeds and Cardamom pods will keep for two years in an airtight container away from sunlight.
If you do not own a mortar and pestle ( I do!!) you can put the seeds in a ziplock bag and with a rolling pin or heavy pan 
pulverize them by hitting the bag. 

Put both spices  in a small bowl.
Stir in 2 tablespoons honey,ginger, garlic cloves, finely chopped chilli (or chilli flakes) and 4 tablespoons Olive Oil. Mix thoroughly.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and pour over the marinade.
Mix by hands to make sure the marinade is covering all of the chicken.
Leave to marinate for 30 minutes to a couple of hours.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan,and gently fry the chicken until the chicken is golden brown all over. Transfer the browned chicken to the tagine and pour over any remaining marinade

My note:If you do not have a tangine, like me, this can be cooked in a Dutch oven or a good covered glass dish.

Scatter over 1 large red onion, add the chicken stock. Drain the chick peas, and add to the tangine (or other vessel)
Add the tomatoes and green olives.
Put the lid on the tagine and cook in the oven 375 for one hour.

Stir in a generous handful of chopped fresh coriander and serve immediately with cous cous or plain boiled rice.

I didn’t add the chickpeas because it’s not something we care for.
I also flaked and had no fresh koriander bought.

The critics (my Men and a friend with a new family) loved it and it’s deemed a repeat recipe.

I forgot a picture, but trust me it was good!

 

Slight chance of rain!

3 meat Chili!

2 small cans of beans of your choice (I used red kidney beans) or 1 big can
6 slices bacon
3 sausages, I use mild Italian kind
1.5 pounds ground beef
2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes, 28 ounces total
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbs cumin
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs paprika (I used the smoked kind)
1 small can of tomato paste
Optional: 1 small can of spicy Mexican tomato sauce, I used El Pato

I use a Dutch oven.

Brown bacon and set aside
Brown sausage and beef in the bacon grease, drain and set aside
Add tomatoes and let simmer, add tomato paste and let the sauce come to a boil.
Add beef/sausage and bacon
Add half of the seasonings to the mixture, add the beans
Let simmer for around 20 minutes and taste! before adding more spices.
Finish off uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes.

I found Chiplote powder and it gave it a really nice kick without making it too spicy.

Pumpkins and Squash, oh my!

We joined a Community Sustained Agriculture Farm (CSA) delivery service last year.
Most of the time I remember to go on to their website the weekend before the delivery date but this Sunday I completely flaked and forgot to change my order.
So then you get what is seasonal, a total surprise most of the time.
In my box this week were 2 pumpkins, a squash the size of a small dog, a jumbo leek, celery, kiwi’s and 7 pears.

IMG_0975

Clearly this called for a big knife. The pumpkins were  the size of a soccer ball!

I love to make soup, so I decided to use the squash and pumpkins.
I tweaked a recipe my daughter sent me.

I’ll write out the recipe for less, this yielded enough soup for 2 big containers, 3 small and a square large container.

 

Curried Pumpkin Squash soup.

1 medium size pumpkin
1 squash
Medium onion
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Olive oil, for frying onion and drizzling over pumpkin/squash
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 to 1 teaspoon mild or medium spicy curry powder
1 teaspoon Tumeric powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbs Heavy cream
1 tbs butter (optional)

 

Line cookie sheet with wax paper.
Preheat oven to 350f
Cut pumpkin in wedges, discard the seeds
Slice squash in half and then cut that half in another half
Place all on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper  on
Bake on 350 until you can pierce veggies with a fork, turning them over halfway (it took me 50 minutes)

In a pan sauté the onions until caramelized, reduce heat and add wine and sage.
Lets simmer until almost reduced, add Tumeric.

Let the veggies cool off and then peel with a paring knife.
If you have a stick blender:
Add scooped veggies to the pan with the onions and add about 2 cups of broth.
Blend until smooth,adding more broth if needed.
If you do not have a stick blender use a regular blender and slowly add broth until your soup has the consistency of a slightly thick smooth liquid.
Taste and add heavy cream,curry powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the butter and garnish with a little splash of heavy cream.

Enjoy!

Summer Time and the food is good enough to share!

Wanted to share 3 recipes I made recently that were a total HIT at a recent party.
My daughter E. found 2 of the recipes and another came by on my Facebook page.

Smoked Mozzarella Dip

She is not lying when she says it’s amazing, creamy and tasty.
We served it with French bread.
Word to the wise…do not skip the non-stick spray in the pan, it’s a hot mess!

The other dish that was gone in no time was Lime Shrimp salad

Seriously using all the good stuff like avocados and shrimp makes a difference and it’s good for you!

And then there was the Mango Raspberry Rose Sangria my daughter found and was such a success we had to remake it 3 times!

INGREDIENTS per batch.

1 mango, peeled, pitted, flesh thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup raspberries
5 tablespoons raspberry liqueur
1 bottle (750 ml) rose wine
4 cups (32 ounces) chilled lemon-lime sparkling water
Ice

DIRECTIONS

In a pitcher or large bowl, combine mango, raspberries, raspberry liqueur, and rose wine. Stir to combine and refrigerate 1 hour.
Add ice cubes and sparkling water and enjoy!

Aye Spicy!

Last week my friend Kev. posted a picture of Jalapeno Poppers he brought to a party and I was slightly jealous. I wanted some and he wasn’t sharing any.
Time to make my own then.

The recipe is decidedly simple as all out but it packs a nice punch of flavor.
Added bonus, I ended up with 8 medium poppers at a grand total of 240 calories.
Excellent little snack if you keep to eating only 2 or 3.

poppers

You will need for 2 servings:

4 jalapenos
4 tbs of cream cheese ( I used Boursin)
1 package of Prosciutto or 8 slices of thin bacon (ask the butcher to slice for you)

Cut jalapenos in half, scoop out seeds.
Fill evenly with cream cheese
Wrap with bacon and put on a cookie sheet.

WASH YOUR HANDS REAL WELL!(trust me)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and allow poppers to cook a little for 10 minutes.
Set broiler on low and place poppers on the middle rack.
Broil for about 10 minutes making sure bacon doesn’t burn.
For an additional 3-5 minutes broil on high.
Let cool a little and enjoy!

You can easily double this recipe by doubling the ingredients.
I think you’ll want to because mine were gone as soon as TallOne found out I made them.

Chicken Alfredo

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out.
I work a long day on Monday and always fix something easy for the boys.
TallOne wanted pasta with Alfredo Sauce.
I was SURE we had canned sauce in the pantry only to find out when I got home we had none.
With no back-up plan for dinner that night I needed to figure out how to make Alfredo from scratch.
Turns out it’s pretty easy and very very good!
Most of the staples are in my fridge so after a little research I whipped up dinner pretty fast.
Theirs was served over spinach noodles, I had mine with arugula.

Easy Alfredo
2 chicken breast, cut in strips and pan sauteed seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
(keep warm while you make the sauce)

Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cheese and whisk quickly, heating through.
Stir in parsley and add to chicken.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image

 

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

I’m cooking up a feast, Turkey, cranberries, stuffing and “peertjes” pears in red wine sauce.

Repost from last year my recipe for “peertjes”

Ask any Dutch person about “peertjes” and they might very well drool.

Growing up this was the one dish my mom could cook to perfection, maybe because she was the queen of all things simmered/cooked forever.

I’ve always made it for Christmas, and for the last 21 years for Thanksgiving as well, because it is a bit of a fancy side dish. One that doesn’t really fit well with an every day meal for us.

 

Peertjes or Pears in Red Wine sauce.
(this will serve up to 6 people)

6, hard Anjou pears
Bottle of cheap red wine
1/2 cup sugar
2 cloves (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Peel pears and cut in 4 parts
Bring pears, wine and all other ingredients to a boil
Lower heat and let simmer until pears are soft.

You can bind the wine sauce with a little bit of corn starch if you want to eat it warm.
I always let the pears cool off and we eat it cold.

 If you do bind it with corn starch, take a little bit of the sauce and stir a table spoon of corn starch until smooth.

Transfer to pan with pears and gently mix corn starch mixture in with pears/wine sauce.

 

Enjoy!

The blog will be back on Monday!

Image

Chicken Waldorf Salad

When I was in Culinary school I learned how to make this salad.
I can’t believe it took until today to make it again.
It has the sweetness of the grapes and the crunchiness of the apple making this a nice fresh salad for lunch.
I added chicken and swapped out one tbs of mayo for a tbs of yogurt.
(and until I find out what caused my allergy reaction there are no walnuts)

4-8 ounces of chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped, slightly toasted walnuts
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced
1 sweet apple, cored and chopped
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and the lemon juice.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt,
1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper.
Mix in the chicken, apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts.

Enjoy!

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 656 other followers

%d bloggers like this: