Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The State of the Blog

There is a reason why I am not a professional blogger.  It is because I cannot stick to any sort of consistency as you will see by referencing my last blog post, published in February in preparation for Valentines Day.  Um, yeah.  So I kind of got lazy.  Yes, we've cooked...but just simple stuff that you probably wouldn't deem blog worthy.  Grilled salmon, roasted veggies, some sort of couscous/quinoa/rice dish.  {indulge in something sweet here}  Eat and repeat.  And honestly that's the way we prefer to eat around here, so why fight it?  

So here I am, with no recipe to share with you, wondering about the future of my blog.  I love to write, I love being in the kitchen and thinking/reading/learning about food, but I don't have a recipe to fill up every post, nor do I have the desire to cook something new that often.  I don't love photography; it's not a skill that comes naturally to me.  But I do love sharing life through photos and words so will continue to try to take more pictures on a daily basis.  

I've often thought about starting a new blog.  Ideas come and go, but in the future, I see a lifestyle blog with a focus on cooking, but not having that as the main subject.  More of a this-is-what-we-did-this-weekend, this-is-something-I've-been-thinking-about-a-lot-lately, here's-a-photo-of-a-meal-we-loved.  But the last thing I want is for my blog to come across as self absorbed; so as I work on finding a way to share these things publicly, I'll continue to pop in here on KA with updates until I find the right format.

Thanks for reading.  It means a lot :-)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mushroom Truffle Oil Risotto

WOAH where have I been?!  Have you noticed a pattern with my blogging?  I'll be a hard core chef and blogger extraordinaire for like 3 weeks straight, and then I seem to fall off the face of the earth for about a month.  This happens for a few reasons.  1. I run out of creativity.  2. I run out of money - this hobby ain't cheap.  3. I get busy at work/social life.   So that's what's been going on over the past month.  I promise I'm still eating, and cooking, but nothing that is going to make you freak out, so I've sat in silence, waiting for the right opportunity to return to the blog world. I am!  And I have something so exciting for you, it's going to knock your socks off.  And if you don't have plans for Valentines Day, you should totally make this.  Yes, you'll have to refinance your house so you can pay for the truffle oil, but it's worth it, I promise.  

I followed this recipe by Tyler Florence to the T.  We had this about a month ago when our friends Jill and Lawson came over for dinner.  We had lamb chops (thanks Lawson) and a salad and were sufficiently stuffed afterwards.  Jill provided the truffle oil and left me with a little tupperware of some to use later which proves to me that she loves me.  Because if I had gotten truffle oil for Christmas I wouldn't have shared it with anyone!

Mushroom Truffle Oil Risotto
Serves 4 - 6 (4 main course, 6 side courses)

1 quart chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced and divided
2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 pound fresh portobello and crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 bay leaves (I omitted this step)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon truffle oil
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups aborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

Heat the chicken broth in a medium sauce pan and keep warm.  Cover.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add 1/2 the onion and 1 clove of garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the fresh mushrooms, herbs, and butter.  Cook for about 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with truffle oil and add the dried porcini mushrooms which were reconstituted in 1 cup of warm chicken broth. Season again with salt and pepper, and remove from heat and set aside.

Coat a saucepan with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Saute the remaining onion and garlic clove.  Add the rice and stir quickly, until it is opaque (about 1 minute).  Stir in the wine and cook until it is all evaporated.

Then, with a ladle, add 1 cup of warm chicken broth and stir until it is nearly all absorbed.  Repeat step until all of the chicken broth is incorporated in the risotto.  Transfer the mushrooms to the rice mixture and stir in Parmesan cheese.  Top with just a small drizzle of truffle oil and parsley before serving.

What are you doing for V-day?  We're staying in, and I'm making risotto.  Again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I've been cooking a lot these past few weeks but unfortunately haven't snapped too many photos.  There was some delicious white chicken chili, lots of grilled salmon with veggie sides, and of course, pan seared chicken.  One meal that I did manage to catch on camera is this stuffed mushroom recipe, and I'm really glad I did.  This is a nice and light vegetarian dish that could also serve as a side if you were serving something grilled.  Super easy, very flavorful, and pretty healthy (depending on how much cheese you use!) - these will definitely be made again in our house.  John and I made these a few weeks ago and both agreed we should have made more than just 2!  

The filling is very similar to, and was inspired by, the feta salsa that I've made so many times.  Sun dried tomatoes, dill, feta cheese, and kalamata olives, all mixed with a little bit of olive oil.  Feel free to play around with this mixture though, depending on what you have on hand.  No need to make a trip to the store for dill if you have basil or parsley in your fridge.  We topped it with a Mexican blend of shredded cheese, but I think monterrey jack or mozzarella would be really good too.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Serves 2

2 large portobello mushroom caps, cleaned with stems removed
olive oil
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice

Heat a grill pan (or the grill) over medium high heat and drizzle with olive oil.  Once hot, add the mushrooms and grill on each side for about 4 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the sun dried tomatoes, feta, dill, olives, and about 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Season with pepper if desired (no need for salt - the olives and feta are very salty!).  Remove the mushroom caps from the grill, turn upside down and stuff with this mixture.  Place on baking dish, top with shredded cheese, and cook under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden brown.  Serve immediately.