Chanterelle Risotto

We are closing in on one year. I have posted a recipe every single day since New Years Day, 2012. I have covered a lot of territory and I hope that I have shared some delicious meals with you. I have learned a lot about cooking, eating, writing and myself. It has been quite an experience.

Eating is such an important part of our life. Some might say the most important part. I urge you to keep a good attitude about cooking, eating and the three buzz words of this century: local, organic and sustainable. Eat whole foods, mainly fruits and vegetables and not too much. Drink well and also not too much. Above all, be happy, exercise and you will be healthy. The biggest obstacle between you and good health is between your ears.

We found some great and affordable chanterelles last night and took a break from all of the holiday fare.

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine
  • 1 Cup Chanterelles, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan, coarsely grated
  • 1 Teaspoon Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper

Tools

  • 2 Large Sauce Pans
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Grater
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Non-stick Pan
  • Ladle
  1. Warm the chicken broth and water in one of the pans. 
  2. In the bottom of the other sauce pan warm the olive oil.
  3. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent.
  4. Stir in the rice so it is well coated in the oil.
  5. Add the wine and let reduce by half. Stir while it reduces.
  6. Add the broth a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick.
  7. Repeat until the rice fluffs up.
  8. In a non stick pan cook the mushrooms with a little salt until they soften. About 10 minutes.
  9. When the rice is fluffy but still a little hard to the tooth add the mushrooms and rosemary.
  10. Continue to cook, adding more broth if needed.
  11. When the rice is al dente, stir in the cheese.

We served this with a couple of scallops and an arugula salad. It was a wonderful post Christmas dinner. One I will remember for a long time thanks to my lovely wife.

Shrimp and Grits

I’m back with a real recipe. Nuts are good but this is better. My wife is in New Orleans and has inspired this dish. As you may know, me and shrimp are not the best of friends. There are very few plates that I enjoy involving shrimp so they have been left behind most of this year. Here is one of the exceptions.

Ingredients

  • 24 Shrimp. cleaned and deveined
  • 1 Cup White Corn Grits
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 Andouille Sausage, diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • White Wine
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Small Bunch Italian Parsley, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Tools

  • Saute Pan
  • Large Pot
  • Whisk
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Grater
  • Slotted Spoon
  1. Pour 4 cups of water into the large pot over hi heat. Bring to boil.
  2. In the saute pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter.
  3. Saute the sausages until nearly cooked.
  4. When the water boils, slowly add the grits, whisking as you go.
  5. Turn the heat down to simmer and cover. Stir occasionally. Cook for 20 minutes until the water is cooked out.
  6. Once the sausages are cooked, add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
  7. The grits should be done by now. Turn off the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and the cheese.
  8. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Add the shrimp to the saute pan and cook just until white. About 2 minutes.
  10. Remove the shrimp and sausage with a slotted spoon.
  11. Turn the heat back on the saute pan and add a splash of wine,  the balsamic vinegar and the remaining butter and reduce to make a sauce.
  12. Salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve each plate with a few tablespoons of the grits topped with the shrimp and andouille and a drizzle of the sauce. Garnish with a sprinkle of Italian parsley.

A Great Turkey

Jamie Oliver prepared a turkey very similar to this on television several years ago and I immediately made it. It turned out to be one of the best turkeys I have ever had, next to the one that got dropped on the ground and had to be rinsed off. For some reason, THAT one was the best ever, but I don’t suggest repeating that technique.

Ingredients

  • 14-16 lb Organic Turkey
  • 1 Orange
  • Stuffing (of your choice)
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Cup Butter (room temperature)
  • 4-5 Sage Leaves
  • 2-3 Sprigs Rosemary
  • 1 Nutmeg Seed
  • 1 Cup Dried Cranberries (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper

Tools

  • Large Roasting Pan
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Fine Grater
  • Aluminum Foil
  1. If you are having a frozen turkey allow to defrost completely.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450.
  3. Wash and pat dry the turkey, removing any extras in the cavity (for the uninitiated, the slaughter house includes the extra parts in a bag in the cavity. They include the giblets, neck, etc)
  4. Salt and pepper the bird inside and out.
  5. Finely chop the sage and rosemary together.
  6. In the mixing bowl, combine the butter with the herbs.
  7. Grate a good amount of nutmeg and  the zest of one orange.
  8. If you like, add dried cranberries.
  9. Mix all together.
  10. Carefully slip your fingers under the skin of the turkey starting at the neck. On each side, gently and evenly slide the butter mixture under the skin and try to evenly distribute. Take your time and work it under as much of the skin as possible.
  11. Spread the rest of the butter mixture (if any) on the exterior.
  12. Stuff the bird with your choice of stuffing. If you are not using a stuffing, place a halved lemon, the orange that you zested and some additional herbs in the cavity.
  13. Place the turkey in a roasting pan. A disposable one will do.
  14. Cover with aluminum foil.
  15. Turn the oven down to 350 and place the turkey in the center.
  16. Roast for 16-18 minutes per pound.
  17. Remove the cover in the last hour or more, depending on how crispy you like the skin.
  18. The bird is done when the liquid from a cut in the part between the leg and the body runs clear. A thermometer inserted into a meaty bit should read 165.
  19. Remove the bird and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  20. Remove the stuffing.
  21. Let the bird sit for another 20 minutes then carve and serve.

Shephard’s Pie

Do you have a passport? Many in this country do not. I have addressed the issue of foreign travel in these posts in the past. I wouldn’t bring it up again except that I keep hearing from people about how poorly the country is doing in the rest of the world. These comments are clearly from people who don’t actually have passports.

I have had the good fortune to travel quite extensively throughout the world for a number of years. The reactions to our country are always nearly the same. The world loves our country but not always our leaders. Bush was certainly a low point, but fortunately for an individual it was never personal. There is no animosity among fellow travelers. Most people outside of this country travel. It seems to be a right that is exercised frequently. Governments are quite another thing. Currently, we are fortunate to have President Obama. The rest of the world views him as good for our country and that is good for us. That is as political as I will get here, but that has been my personal experience and I am sticking to it.

While traveling in England, something I have done more times than any one passport visa section can handle, I have enjoyed (from time to time) the traditional Shepard’s Pie. I have never actually had it in a field with sheep at my feet, but have had it like the rest of England, in a pub. Here is the version most closely resembling my recollection after (2 or 10) pints of Young’s.

Ingredients

Tools

  • Ovenproof Casserole
  • Sauté Pan
  • Sauce Pan
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Grater
  1. Pre Heat oven to 350.
  2. Make mashed potatoes. If you prefer, you can make whipped potatoes by taking the smashed potatoes and placing them in a stand mixer and blending.
  3. In a sauté pan, brown ground meat with the onion. You can use ground beef or lamb or a combination. Salt and pepper.
  4. In a sauce pan, warm the peas with a little butter.
  5. In an ovenproof casserole layer the meat, peas and potatoes.
  6. Grate the cheese generously over the potatoes.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

The Most Amazing Pork Tenderloin

This is the eve of the 2012 election. I have been completely devoured by the politics and think that, in the end of the day, most of it makes no difference. I hope that all of my friends are safe and sound and that they continue to find happiness and success regardless of a few points of income tax or interest one way or the other. I do hope that some of the social progress that we have made is not destroyed by narrow thinking politicians but I also believe that we have a checks and balances system that will prevail for what the majority of people want. Please vote tomorrow. Remember, this is what separates us from less fortunate souls on this planet. Regardless of your perceived station in life, you can make a difference. I think that the best part of living in the United States is the ability to complain. If you don’t vote you can’t complain.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lb Pork Tenderloin
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Apricots
  • 1/2 Cup Dates
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 3 Ounces Goat Cheese
  • 3-4 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Cup Beef Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Saki or White Wine
  • Salt and Pepper

Tools

  • Dutch Oven
  • String
  • Chef’s Knife
  1. Pre heat oven to 350.
  2. Butterfly the pork lengthwise in order to create the widest butterfly.
  3. Layer the apricots, dates, walnuts and goat cheese inside the pork.
  4. Fold the butterfly back over itself.
  5. Tie one end with the string and spiral the string to the other end and tie off.
  6. Salt and pepper.
  7. Place in the dutch oven or deep, oven proof dish (with lid).
  8. Cover with the tomatoes (you can use a can of diced tomatoes), celery, carrots and onion.
  9. Pour over beef broth and wine.
  10. Roast for 45 minutes.

Serve with wild rice and a simple salad. You will call me and want to kiss me on the lips for this recipe but it happens to be my wife’s, so you will be in luck.

 

 

Wienerschnitzel

I  have  had many schnitzels in my life. I come from a town with a small but imposing German population and I have spent more than my fair share of time working in Germany. Of the many times that I have tried the fried and breaded meat, I have enjoyed it exactly once. The good news is that it can be done well. I think the trick is the heat and the thinness of the pounded meat. The one that I had that was good was not the least bit greasy and the schnapps was also particularly good – probably half of the battle.

Ingredients

  • 4 Veal Cutlets (or pork if you have an issue with veal)
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Lemon
  • Handful of Italian Parsley
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Tools

  • Something Heavy (Meat Pounder)
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Hand Juicer (Optional)
  • 3 Shallow Bowls
  • Large Skillet
  1. Place the cutlets, one by one, in a large plastic bag and pound then thin.
  2. Whisk the eggs and water in one of the bowls.
  3. Put the flour in another bowl and salt and pepper it.
  4. Put the bread crumbs (panko is nice) in another bowl and also add salt and pepper.
  5. Heat about 12″deep of oil in the pan over medium high heat.
  6. Dredge the veal in the flour, then the egg wash, then the bread crumbs.
  7. Prep all of the cutlets the same way.
  8. Fry them, leaving enough room in the pan so they are not crowded. This usually takes 4-5 minutes, depending on the thickness. You want them to be brown and stay together.
  9. Flip and repeat until all are cooked. Keep the oil hot.
  10. Remove to paper towel covered plate to absorb the excess oil.
  11. Squeeze lemon over and garnish with rough chopped parsley.

Pumpkin Risotto

Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, is an idiot. So is Rep. Tim Huelskamp from Kansas. They are both playing the worst kind of partisan politics by introducing and supporting a bill called the No Hungry Kids Act, H.R.6418. This is a very clever title for a very seriously misguided, but I am happy to report, sure to fail bill. The bill attempts to repeal the new rules set forth by the USDA, based on five years of research and two Institute of Medicine studies, that set calorie limits on school lunches.

Why is it partisan politics? It turns out that Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture and big supporter of the new rules, has a wife named Christie that is running against King in Iowa’s fourth district. Introducing bills, especially against kids, for your own political gain is despicable. I hope all of my Iowa friends vote against this useless politician.

Back to our celebration of fall. Here is another pumpkin dish. I hope that sugar pumpkins are starting to show up at your market. If not, they will soon.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 White Onion, diced
  • 1 Cup White Wine
  • 1 Cup Roasted Sugar Punplin
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Sage, finely chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Tools

  • Cookie Sheet
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Paring Knife
  • Grater
  • Med. Sauce Pan
  • Large Sauce Pan
  • Ladle
  • Wooden Spoon
  1. Pre heat the oven to 400.
  2. Peel and cube the pumpkin. You can substitute butternut squash.
  3. Place on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Roast for 45 minutes, until the pumpkin is fork soft.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Pour the broth into the medium sauce pan along with about 1/2 cup of water and place over medium heat. I usually place the broth on the back burner, right behind the risotto.
  7. In the larger pan over medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil.
  8. Add the onion then the garlic. Sauté until translucent.
  9. Stir in rice slowly, making sure to coat all with oil.
  10. Add the white wine and let reduce by half.
  11. Add a ladle of broth and stir for a few minutes.
  12. Continue to add broth, a little at a time and stir. The idea of stirring is to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom.
  13. Continue the process of adding broth and stirring until the rice is puffy and nearly soft. This should take about 30 minutes.
  14. Add the the pumpkin and stir in. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often.
  15. Turn the heat off and stir in the cheese and sage.
  16. Salt and pepper to taste.