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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

RISOTTO AI CARCIOFI

2 pints vegetable stock

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 wine

5 tablespoons butter

4 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

6 small artichokes

zest and juice of 1 lemon

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

a small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked

Stage 1: Peel the artichokes back to their pale, light leaves, then halve them and remove the hairy chokes with a teaspoon. Immerse the artichokes in water with half the lemon juice with a heavy lid or heat -resistant dish placed on top of them to keep them immersed and stop them from discoloring.

Stage 2: 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 3: Drop your prepared artichoke halves into the simmering stock.

Stage 4: The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring — it will smell amazing. Once the wine was cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly and the outside. Keep adding ladle full 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.

Stage 6: Remove the artichokes from the stock pan and add to the risotto. Remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan, artichokes, toss with lemon zest and mint. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Salt if needed.

*Cook’s note: This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s book Jamie’s Italy. This is one of my favorite cookbooks. I’ve been using it forever and everything I make from this book is excellent! This is a very simple recipe but it always takes me longer than 15 minutes to make. From start to finish, I would allow an hour. I made it last night and it took me a while but I’m a slow cook because I always like to enjoy conversation and a glass of wine while cooking.

Serves 6

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Happy Thursday! With tomatoes in season, one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is by making this simple yet extremely flavorful sandwich. This is my all-time favorite sandwich.

INGREDIENTS:

Baguette

Tomatoes

Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella

Fresh Pesto

Basil or Arugula

Salt

A baguette is perfect for this sandwich, but if it’s not easily available then any thick country bread would work.

Spread the pesto on both sides of baguette. Add the sliced tomatoes, salt the tomatoes. Stack the sliced buffalo mozzarella on top and add a little salt to the mozzarella. If you don’t have pesto then you can use a good olive oil.

One thing that I didn’t have on hand but would have been fantastic with this sandwich is fresh basil or arugula. Served with a fresh green salad and a small glass of chilled white wine and it’s the perfect lunch.

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 Usually, when times get stressful, I like to invite friends and family over and enjoy food and conversation. However, in light of recent events, this is now sadly, not possible. It’s difficult to know how to navigate through these uncertain times. How do we comfort our family, as well as ourselves? How do we try and make our lives as “normal” and enjoyable as possible? Besides work and daily chores, I’m finding comfort in gardening and spending a nice amount of time cooking. Yesterday, I decided to try out a recipe I’ve had forever but never attempted. In the end it turned out to be super easy and delicious — the perfect afternoon distraction.

The apples cooking in butter

Adding the batter to the apples

BIG APPLE PANCAKE

Active time: 15 min    Start to finish: 30 min

1/2 stick unsalted butter

*1 large sweet apple such as Gala or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide wedges

1/2 cup of whole milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

Confectioners sugar for dusting

Special equipment: a well-seasoned 10 to 11-inch heavy cast-iron skillet or other ovenproof skillet

Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450F

Melt butter in skillet over moderate heat, then transfer 2 tablespoons to a blender. Add apple wedges to skillet and cook, turning over once, until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

While apple is cooking, add milk, flour, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt to butter in blender and blend until smooth.

Pour batter over apple and transfer skillet to oven. Bake until pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.

*Note: I used fuji apples because that’s what I had and it was perfect. So use whatever apple you can get your hands on, and if they aren’t super sweet then you can add a little more sugar if you’d like.

Recipe via Gourmet Magazine

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HOMEMADE PESTO

Happy Sunday! Today, I’m making homemade pesto because as the holidays get busier, it’s something I can grab from the fridge and easily put together. Add to your favorite pasta and you have a wonderful homemade meal in minutes. The recipe, so super simple, is below.

I also love using pesto with Caprese salad. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top for more moisture. Also, excellent on sandwiches.

THE RECIPE 

3 cups (packed) basil leaves

4 gloves garlic

1/4c pine nuts

1/4c walnuts

1c parmesan cheese

1/2c olive oil + a little more

salt

I just throw it all in a food processor and pulse until it reaches the consistency I like. This recipe serves four.

Enjoy!

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When my girlfriends and I were in Laguna Beach a couple of weeks ago, we thought the idea of spending an entire day cooking a big meal, sipping wine and listening to good music sounded like an excellent way to spend a Saturday. So this past weekend we decided to try it out by inviting family & friends to help prepare an Italian feast.

The Menu:

Cheese & meat platter

Ravioli with sausage filling

Sausage Carbonara 

Caprese salad

Mix green salad

Grilled zucchini

Tuscan steak

Limoncello Cake

Even though my house wasn’t perfect, and I should have spent half the day doing laundry, I’m glad I decided not pay attention to any of that and just enjoy an afternoon with family, friends and really good food. Cheers to taking more time out of our daily duties to enjoy long meals with family & friends!

Happy Thursday!

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The other night I decided to have a go at making “Rotolo” — a rolled up pasta dish. This pasta is stuffed with butternut squash, spinach and ricotta. With the Texas heat reaching over 100 degrees everyday, I am trying to think of different ways to get through the hottest part of the day. One solution has been getting together with friends and cooking long meals (with a chilled glass of wine). So, my friend, Karla ( a food stylist here in San Antonio), and I took a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy cookbook and gave Rotolo a shot.

Karla was in charge of the dough, which I am still a bit intimated by

The spinach waiting for its turn in the saute pan

The  roasted butternut squash with coriander and fennel seeds

The rolled out dough ready to be stuffed

Iris rolling out her dough

rolling…

…rolling

rolled

into the boiling water

weights so it doesn’t float to the top

unrolling the pasta

Sliced and ready for the table with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and fried sage leaves. A great vegetarian dish, however, we did decide to serve it with steak and a beet salad. Very fun and super tasty!

Click here for Jamie Oliver’s website

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