Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mushroom Risotto

Honestly, this little cooking phase I have going on might last longer than my typical phases.  And I'm okay with that. 
And just as a disclaimer, I'm not becoming a food blogger by any means.  It just seems to be the current highlight and topic of discussion at our house.  Otherwise all I'd be talking about day in and day out is my many emails I sent, how many documents completed and filed....that sort of thing.  Don't get me wrong, it's a great job and I am so grateful for it.  But probably not the most exciting stuff to fill this ol' family blog full of.
Anyway, back to the food.  I first tried Risotto a couple of months back when some friends of ours had us over for dinner.  She made a butternut squash risotto full of goat cheese and bacon and it was incredible!  It was love at first bite. ;)  But seriously, it was like heaven.  So naturally, I decided to try my hand at it.  I made a recipe similar to hers and though the end result was tasty, the process was a disaster.  It tooke me some 3+ hours to make that dang Risotto.  Not sure why it took that long but I decided that I wasn't cut out for Risotto.
Well, in planning my menu last week I stumbled upon a yummy Mushroom Risotto and decided I'd give it a try again.  And this time it was so easy! Took me about 45 minutes start to finish and it turned out super yummy!  I guess it's all in the way the liquid is added and making sure the rice has absorbed each portion before adding more.  Anyway, another recipe that I am dying to make again!

Mushroom Risotto
from Martha Stewart
>> 3 quarts water
>> 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
>> 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
** I had a hard time finding the dried porcini mushrooms so I substituted vegetable broth and let the peppercorns simmer in it for about 30 minutes and that seemed to work.**
>> 1 stick unsalted butter
>> 8 ounces mixed fresh mushrooms **I am going to double or maybe even triple this next time. I love me some mushrooms.**
>> 1 medium onion, finely chopped
>> Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
>> 2 cups Arborio Rice
>> 1 cup dry white wine
>> 1 cup grate Parmesan cheese
>> Garnish: shaved Parmesan cheese
1.  Bring water, dried porcini mushrooms, and peppercorns to a boil in a medium pot.  Reduce heat, and simmer gently for 1 hour.  Strain stock (you should have 7 to 8 cups); discard solids.  Return to pot; cover to keep warm.  **Substitute with 8 cups vegetable broth and simmer with peppercorns for 30 minutes**
2.  Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook mixed mushrooms until tender and slightly browned all over, about 3 minutes; transfer to a plate.
3.  Melt 3 tablespoons butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Cook onion until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt.  Stir in rice, and cook until coated, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add wine, and cook until almost completely absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes.
4.  Ladle 1 cup reserved stock over riced, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until almost completely absorbed.  Continue adding stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly and waiting for each addition to be almost completely absorbed before adding the next, until grains are al dente (firm but not crunchy) about 30 minutes.  You'll probably only use 6 to 7 cups stock.  Add remaining stock to loosen risotto, if desired.
5.  Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the grated Parmesan.  Top risotto with sauteed mushrooms (reheat if necessary), and garnish with shaved Parmesan. 
ENJOY! xoxo

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Potato Corn Chowder

As you can see, I'm going through somewhat of a cooking phase.  Not sure how it started but I do know Preston is happy about this current obsession.  And I'm happy because I feel like I'm being a better wife by making a homemade dinner a couple nights a week.  Too bad for both of us that these phases don't last forever. 

This soup was packed full of flavor.  I will definitely make it again but next time I think I would only do half as much cayenne pepper as it calls for. It was a bit on the spicy side.  I also think it would be pretty tasty with a little sausage mixed in.  But it was perfect for the cooler Fall weather we have been having! 

**And I just re-read the recipe and I totally made it wrong.  I wondered why my soup was such a dark red when the picture that I saw of this same recipe showed more of a white, creamy color.  Well.....I added all of the Creole seasoning mixture, instead of the 1 1/2 tsp that the recipe calls for.  So it shouldn't have been as spicy as it was and when I make it next I'm sure it will have just a hint of flavor rather than pack such a hefty punch.  Our stomachs are hurting over here, to say the least. This is a classic Sydney move in the kitchen.  Preston got a kick (and a stomach ache) out of that one! Maybe this phase should end sooner rather than later after all..... Without further adieu, the Potato Corn Chowder. Expect yours to look different than the picture below. ;)

Potato Corn Chowder
from Damn Delicious

>> 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
>> 1 large leek, thinly sliced
>> 1 large red bell pepper, diced
>> 2 cups milk
>> 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
>> 3 cups vegetable broth
>> 2 cups roasted corn kernels
>> 2 pounds red potatoes, cubed
>> 1 1/2 teaspoons Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning
>> 3/4 teaspoon thyme
>> 3/4 teaspoon salt
>> Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
>> Parmesan cheese, for topping

For Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning:
>> 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
>> 2 tablespoons garlic powder
>> 2 tablespoons salt
>> 1 tablespoon onion powder
>> 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
>> 1 tablespoon oregano
>> 1 tablespoon thyme
>> 1 tablespoon black pepper

1. To make Emeril's Essence, combine paprika, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme and pepper; set aside.

2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add leeks and bell pepper and cook stirring occasionally until tender.  Gradually whisk in milk and flour, and cook, whisking constantly until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.  Stir in vegetable broth, corn kernels, potatoes, Emeril's Essence (1 1/2 tsp), thyme, and salt.

3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes.  

Serve immediately, garnish with chives and parmesan cheese.

ENJOY! And make sure not to add too much creole seasoning....xoxo :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sweet Potato & Chipotle Soup

I was a little skeptical on how this would turn out because it resembled baby food a little too much but it was fabulous and easy, that's always a bonus.  :)  It tasted like Fall.  Definitely something I will be adding to our family recipe book and making over and over again.

Sweet Potato & Chipotle Soup
from Martha Stewart

>> 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
>> 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
>> Salt & pepper, to taste
>> 2 teaspoons ground cumin
>> 2 garlic cloves, minced
>> 4 medium sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut
>> 1 chipotle chile in adobo (do 1/2 if you want less heat)
>> 7 cups chicken broth
>> Sour Cream, for serving
>> Bread or Tortilla wedges, for garnish

1.  In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until edges begin to brown, about 7 minutes.  Add cumin and garlic and cook, while stirring, about 1 minute until fragrant.  Stir in sweet potatoes, chile, and broth.  Bring to a boil. Cook until sweet potatoes can be mashed easily with a spoon, about 20 minutes.

2.  Allow soup to cool slightly.  Transfer in batches to a blender and puree until smooth.  Return pureed soup to pot over low heat and season with additional salt and pepper.  Top soup with sour cream and serve with bread or tortilla wedges. 

ENJOY! Let me know if you try it! xoxo

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Red Rock Relay

It seems to be becoming more of a habit for me to sign up for a race and avoid training for it....I'm slowly but surely learning my lesson.  I think.
Last month I was able to run the Red Rock Relay with some of my co-workers.  Little did I know that I would be running with some pretty incredible runners, like 7 minute mile pace type runners.  Let's just say that when they finish running a mile, it would be another 3-4 minutes before I were to finish that same mile.  Ya with me?  I'm a little slower of a pace to say the least.  And I'm actually fine with that but with this race I was feeling a little bit like the caboose of the team.  The slow poke.  The only person that had to take a break and walk mid-leg (and during said walk, have my teammates drive by and see me walking....).  Yeah, my procrastination bit me in the butt this time.  I've made some new goals in the fitness department, one of which is increasing my stamina, endurance, and speed.
But I digress.  The race was a blast.  I'm a huge advocate of races like this.  I feel like they give you more of an idea of what your body is capable of doing and for me, encourage me to push myself harder.  Ideally that should happen before the race during training time but for me always happens when the race is over. :)  Oh well.  It was a blast to run through such beautiful scenery and get to know the people I work with a little better.

Preston came down for the race to take pictures and be my cheerleader.  And he even added some little members to his team - our nieces, Kiley & Amy. :) 

Clearly enjoying myself.....haha

While I was basically killing myself, Preston was with his brother and sister in law and their cute girls enjoying the scenery. 

28 hours later and we were finished.  Pretty sure those are fake smiles.  I was completely exhausted and unable to move for a day or two (or three).  

On the way home, Preston texted this ^^ picture to me with the caption "Is it dead or alive?".  I was completely out.  This is a more accurate representation of how I really felt.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Homemade Bread

Successes in the kitchen are few and far between for me so I feel the need to share a good recipe when I find one. :)  This one has quickly become a family favorite for us.
Homemade Bread

>> 5 3/4 to 6 1/4 cups all purpose flour
>> 1 package (equivalent to 2 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
>> 2 1/4 cups milk or buttermilk
>> 2 tablespoons sugar
>> 1 tablespoon butter, margarine, or shortening
>> 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour and the yeast and set aside.  In a saucepan, heat and stir milk, sugar, butter, and salt until warm (120-130 degrees).  Add milk mixture to flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on high for 3 minutes.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible.

2.  Knead dough for about 7 minutes, adding in as much of the remaining flour as possible.  Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl, covered, and let rise for 1 hour. 

3.  Punch dough down and divide in two.  Cover, let rest 10 minutes.

4.  Shape each half of dough into a loaf and place in prepared greased loaf pans.  Cover and let rise another 30 minutes. 

5.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes.  For the last 10 minutes of baking, I cover the bread with tin foil to keep it from getting too dark.  Remove immediately from pans and cool on a wire rack.  Slap some butter on a warm slice and you'll be in heaven!  ENJOY!


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