Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lemon Portabella Risotto

I came across the book ' Cooking for Mr Latte' by Amanda Hesser and I have not been able to put it down. In case you don't know who Amanda is, she has worked as a columnist at the New York Times as a food reporter and is a co founder to the food52 website, which I adore. Her engaging story chronicles the courtship of her then boyfriend now husband, Tad Friend.

I love a story that is told through recipes. I never realized how much I love this type of storytelling until recently when I picked up Amanda's book and yet again I am pulled right into the story.

This recipe for risotto was adapted from her book. Amanda writes a scene about making dinner with a friend and teaching her basic culinary skills. Amanda's culinary genius is rubbing off on the friend as evidenced by this recipe. The two gals thought up this recipe on the spot. I am glad they did. It is wonderfully good and fairly simple to make. If I didn't know better, I would have never known that risotto can be difficult to make. This recipe would never let you in on that secret. I have watched a video of Amanda making risotto, and learned a few tricks to making this recipe turn out delicious. First, saute the rice in butter and oil until the rice has turned translucent. Then begin adding the chicken stock slowly and stirring, stirring, stirring! In no time at all you will have a killer risotto. This goes well with fish, chicken and pork. Or just a bowl by itself.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice, or medium grain white rice
4 cups or 1 32oz box of good chicken stock
Zest of one lemon, preferably organic
3 oz of creme fraiche
1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of baby portabellas- chop bite size
Sea salt

In a 4 quart pot, melt the oil and butter. Add the rice and cook until rice has turned translucent, 2 to 4 minutes. Begin adding the stock to the rice slowly and stir. Pour in more broth when the previous liquid has been absorbed.When two cups of stock has been added, stir in half the lemon zest. Add the rest of stock slowly and stir. When liquid is about absorbed, add the rest of the lemon zest, creme fraiche, mushrooms and the cheese. Season with salt. The risotto should be creamy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What's for Dinner? Do you really know?

On December 7 Th, Dr Jeffrey Smith will be on Dr. Oz discussing the dangers of genetically modified foods. Information about the food we eat is critical to making the best choices for our health.

Dr. Jeffrey M. Smith, wrote the bestseller, 'Seeds of Deception'. Dr Smith presents shocking evidence why genetically modified crops may lead to health and environmental catastrophes, and what we can do about it.

Dr Smith states, "The explosive exposé Seeds of Deception reveals how industry manipulation and political collusion-not sound science-allow dangerous genetically engineered food into your daily diet. Company research is rigged, alarming evidence of health dangers is covered up, and intense political pressure applied.

Foodie blogroll has a contest every week of December to give away one copy of this compelling bestseller, ' Seeds of Deception". Or, order your own copy of the Seeds Of Deception book:
Visit http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/SeedsofDeception

When choosing my own beef for dinner, I look for Laura's Lean Beef. No antibiotics, hormones, or other nasty ingredients added. I have bought other ground beef, and when it isn't Laura's I can tell. Dare to compare yourself. The following recipe is adapted from the website food52.

Kefta Meatballs with Grilled Grapes and Yogurt Sauce:

1 pound lean ground beef
1 large egg
1/2 small onion, grated
1/8 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 bunch small red grapes

Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
1/8 cup mint, chopped
2 tablespoons organic lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, combine first nine ingredients. Mix and roll into balls. Set aside. In a large heavy skillet, grill grapes over moderately high heat until browned on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan, set aside.
Next, brown meatballs in the pan until done. Drain on paper towel. Assemble one grape and one meatball on a tooth pick. Serve with yogurt sauce.

Yogurt Sauce:

Combine all ingredients and set aside until meatballs and grapes are ready. Spoon on the side with meatballs and grapes, or serve in a small side bowl for dipping.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's National Cookie Day

I am so glad it is 'National Cookie Day'. But not for the obvious reason. I have been meaning to make 'Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip' cookies for months. I printed a copy of this recipe from 101 cookbooks. I put it aside to make with my children. Then I filed it away because I came across it so often, but had yet to make the time.

Then I came across the recipe again when reading the blog Orangette. Molly had posted a recipe for whole wheat chocolate chip cookies as well. Sometimes things happen in life. Sometimes things keep repeating themselves in life, and that is usually when I take notice.

I had everything to make the cookies accept the whole wheat flour, which my husband picked up for me. Today was the day. No more procrastinating, and now I have a 5 pound bag of whole wheat flour!

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups chocolate chips- like Ghirardelli

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine sugars, butter, vanilla and egg until well blended. Next, stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Dough will be stiff. Add chocolate chips.

On ungreased cookie sheet, drop spoonful of cookie dough two inches apart.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cookies will look light brown in color and the centers will be soft.
Place on a rack to cool.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gluten Free

I have been learning so much lately. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition. It never ceases to amaze me how much more there is to know. One thing I do not know much about is baking gluten free.

Foodie Blogroll is presenting a contest , courtesy of Sharon A. Kane (a Foodie Blogroll member who blogs at Glutenfreesourdough.blogspot.com). She will be giving away 4 copies of her book "The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking" book.

This is exciting! My goal is to present some delicious gluten free recipes at the start of the year. Even if you are not gluten sensitive, it is fun to try something new. Stay tuned, and I 'll keep you posted....

Update: I was notified I will be receiving a copy of the book, "The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking". Santa came early to my house!