Weekend Dinner: Rose Rissotto

ingredients  As a busy mom, I look forward to being able to cook on weekends.  Weeknight cooking is the bare minimum as far as hands on time, and ingredients.  In fact, we usually eat leftovers from larger weekend meals.  Leftovers merely require reheating.  (yay!)  Weekends enable me to make dishes requiring more extensive ingredients as well as attention to detail.

Since my boys love shrimp, and I love risotto, last weekend I created a shrimp rose risotto.  There’s something so comforting about the  texture of risotto.   Creamy, cheesy and comforting.  It’s like putting on a cozy sweater.

Want to try it? Here’s the recipe.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup Rose Wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup of chopped greens
  • 1 cup grated dry cheese (Gruyere, romano, Parmesan or mixture)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3/4 pound baby shrimp
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, oregano, thyme) (optional)

Mix the liquids together and set aside. I like to keep mine in a large measuring cup  like this one so it’s easier to keep track of how much I’m using.

Warm your pan.  I use a Le Creuset shallow brassier.   Add the olive oil, saute the garlic & shallots for a few minutes.  Add the rice and swish it around in the oil and garlic mixture.  Turn down the heat.  Add a cup of the liquid mixture and stir. photo(14)

At this point heat a skillet and  melt a tablespoon of butter and teaspoon of paprika.  I like the flavor of smoky paprika, but a sweet would work well too.  Add the shrimp and quickly saute for about a minute or two, just to impart the paprika flavor to shrimp. Set aside.

Go back to the risotto.  Stir occasionally until mostly absorbed.  When mostly absorbed, add another cup of liquid.  Keep  stirring.  Do once more.  Add the mushrooms and chopped tomato. 

add last cup of mixture.  Add the chopped greens and fresh herbs.  Once liquid is mostly absorbed add the 3/4 cup cheese and shrimp.  turn off.  Let cool for a couple of minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Top with the rest of the cheese. 

I like to serve this with a light brussel sprout salad and thin crust mushroom & Gruyere pizza.  Check back for those recipes.   Of course don’t forget to enjoy with a balanced local Sonoma/Napa white wine like the chardonnay from Roche Family Winery which is still my fav. photo(13)

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Pumpkin Waffles

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If you’ve been following my blogs, you know that I love anything having to do with pumpkins.  Pumpkin lattes (see my recipe here), pumpkin scones, pumpkin patches and my own lil pumpkins. So when my husband gave me a waffle maker – which in my family we joke about gifts like these being the gifts that keep on giving time and time again — I had to work on incorporating my favorite food into a waffle.  There’s just something about the light flaky taste of a properly cooked waffle.  Add a hint of pumpkin and bamn – pure bliss!  Top it with spiced fruit or maple syrup and there’s no reason to leave the kitchen table other than to make another one.

Mouth watering yet?  Mine is as I write this.  If you want to dive into pumpkin waffles, here’s my recipe:

  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (can be canned or fresh)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or white sugar with a hint of molasses)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or combination of cinnamon, cloves, cardamon & ginger)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs or equivalent of egg replacer
  • 1 cup of water

preheat your waffle iron.  Then whisk together the eggs or egg replacer, brown sugar, oil until combined.

A quick word about egg replacer for fellow folks with kids with egg allergies.  I’ve tried different kinds and they seem to absorb moisture making batters more difficult to work with.  So far, I’ve had the most success with the replacer made by Bob’s Red Mill which is available at Whole Foods or delivered to your door via Amazon.

Add the pumpkin & vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Add the baking powder.  Combine.  Then whisk in the spices and flour.  If too thick then add a little more water.  If too thin, then add a little flour.

Coat your waffle iron with a non-stick spray or brush with melted butter.  Cook to your liking and enjoy! I personally like my waffles a bit crispy and crunchy with an airy center.  It’s the number 5 setting on the All Clad Waffle maker which truly has been the gift that keeps on giving.

Serve right away as after awhile they will lose their crispy factor.

Serve with  butter (my other favorite ingredient), syrup and some spiced pears or applesauce if you have it.  My neighbor just made some spiced applesauce that is so rich and flavorful.  If you haven’t made your own for awhile, try it out.  It is definitely worth the effort.

Also serve with thick cut bacon; the perfect salty treat to compliment.  In fact, I made these for my son’s 4th birthday.  And, we had a friend who gave us some fresh thick cut bacon – it was a to die for combo!  It’s just one of the many benefits of living out here in the sticks.

So try it out, and let me know how it goes!  Wishing you happy times baking up memories.

Enchiladas the Quick and Easy Way

photo(11)Living in the wine country has lots benefits, including being home to many wonderful taquerias.  For nights when going out to eat isn’t an option, it is easy to fake it at home. This recipe including baking time takes about 30 -40 minutes.  Rather than labor over making enchilada sauce and tortillas, which is always a fun activity especially with kiddos, I buy my enchilada sauce and tortillas at my favorite taqueria.   I buy enough sauce so I can use half and freeze the other for a a rainy day.

Then, add a few other premade items and you’re on your way.

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix together chopped chicken, 1.5 cups of cheese, the chopped greens, 1 cup of enchilada sauce and 1 cup of red pepper & tomato soup.  Take a baking dish, 13 x 9 works well.  Coat the bottom with a little bit of the soup.   Fill your tortillas with the mixture, about 1/2 cup worth.  Then roll and place in the baking dish.  Do the same with the rest of the tortillas.  Once all of them are in the dish, then top them with the rest of the sauce  (enchilada sauce + soup) and cheese.  Bake until warm (about 20 minutes).  Serve with hot sauce.  Enjoy!

Light Brunch: Greens, Gruyere & Girly Bubbles (including how to make the perfect fried egg)

Life in the wine country means enjoying lovely food.  There are days when unexpected visitors provide a fun excuse to to create a lovely lunch and savor company as well as local flavors.  A recent creation of mine is too easy and delicious not to share.  A green salad topped with eggs and Gruyere cheese.  The perfect compliment to a glass of chilled bubbly!
eggs

Ingredients

Heart of Romaine Lettuce

Eggs

Hard cheese (any of the white hard cheeses from Vella Cheese would work)

Lemon

Salt & Pepper

Fresh herbs

Preparation

The best part about this recipe is that it is absolutely as simple as can be.  The hardest part is literally shaving the cheese.  Start by cutting some fresh greens.  I like Romaine as it maintains a crunch when topped with something warm like eggs.  Add some shaved white cheese.

Top with two fried eggs.  I fry mine in bacon fat, as everything is better with bacon.  To get the perfect fried egg heat a pan on medium.  Add enough fat (bacon fat, butter or olive oil) to coat the bottom.  Then, once the fat is melted, add your eggs.  Turn down the heat to medium-low.  Check the eggs in 2 minutes.  If they are mostly cooked with a little bit of uncooked whites, then cover with a lid or foil.  Turn off the heat.  Let the eggs sit for a minute.  Check, if the whites look fully cooked then you’re done.  If not, cover for another thirty seconds.

Top with  salt, pepper and a dash or two of lemon.  Sprinkle fresh chopped herbs.  Basil & tarragon work wonders.   Pour a glass of bubbly and enjoy!