risotto with caramelized onions, chicken, and mushrooms

photo5I love risotto.  It takes a bit of time to do it right, but so worth it.  Here is a recipe I have been doing for years.  It has lived in my head because the impetus for it came from one I ate growing up that came out of our family kitchen and not a cookbook.  Intuitive memory cooking if you will. Hope you can follow.

Gently simmer 5 1/2 cups of chicken broth covered on low on the stove. ( I make my own stock incidentally. I find it easier)

Take a smallish sauté pan and cut up into thin rings one medium regular onion and one medium sweet onion and three cloves of garlic (minced).  Toss into a panphoto7 with 4 tablespoons of butter, a pinch or two of sea salt and swirl around and cook until nearly caramelized over medium-low heat.

Add 2 cups of sliced baby bella mushrooms – and yes cut your own, don’t buy pre-sliced. Add 2 medium ribs of celery minced. Add 2 medium grated carrots.  Allow it to cook down.  Remove pan from heat and just move to corner of stove.

I had leftovers from a chicken I roasted, so next I cut up the cooked chicken (skin-photo6free) into bite sized pieces.  I think about 2 cups, maybe a smidgen more.

O.k. now the fun part.  Pull out a large fry pan and put a few tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom.  Add the 1 1/2 cups of uncooked abrorio rice. Stir around on lowish heat until rice grains are translucent.  Add 1/2 cup of rosé wine (NOT white zinfindel – YUCK!), stir around until rice absorbs wine over medium-low heat.

photo2Now start ladling in your simmering chicken broth, one cup at a time.  Last night I only used 5 cups of broth, but sometimes I use 5 /12. The broth needs to be absorbed ONE cup at a time into the rice.  If you just dump all the broth in your risotto will be mushy, gluey and gross.photo4

When you hit the 3rd cup of broth almost ready for the 4th add in the sautéed onions and veggies.

photo1Half way through the 4th cup of broth being absorbed, toss in the chicken. Also toss in a few pinches of tarragon, basil, and oregano.

After you add the final broth and it is almost all absorbed, stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan or grated romano cheese. Stir in 1/3 cup rough chopped flat leaf Italian parsley five minutes before serving.

The whole add broth process takes about 30 to 40 minutes. I hope I have not left photo3anything out….again….have never written this down – always just done it.

Serve with additional grated cheese on the side and a nice green salad.

Enjoy!

hello pumpkin…bread

4Cold days are meant for baking, so today I whipped up a couple of loaves of my pumpkin bread – I had a container of Pacific Natural Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree left in the cupboard from Thanksgiving (it really IS the best pumpkin to cook with).

There is just something so homey about the smell of something wonderful baking in the oven, isn’t there? And by the way, one of my secret 3ingredients is Jayshree Spices’ Tea Masala spice blend.  It works well when making chai spiced tea, and you can bake with it too. I wanted something fun to accompany tonight’s dinner which is my hybrid cross between black bean and lentil soup and a spinach salad with a tangy apple cider-mustard vinaigrette salad dressing.  (And no, I have not written down my soup recipe it is a dash of this, a pinch of that, but I can tell you it is quasi pureed, made with tomatoes and my secret to its smokey fabulous flavor is good ham and minced orange peel.)

Anyway, I thought I thought I would share my recipe, which is a constant evolution. Pardon the haphazard way I list ingredients, but when something comes out of my head sometimes the whole codifying a recipe isn’t perfect…

Pumpkin Bread 1

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour two loaf pans and set aside.

1 15 or 16 oz container of pumpkin puree (I have seen both sizes – just pumpkin, no sugar or spice added)

3 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup milled bran (yes that again – love it in baked goods- makes chocolate chip cookies extra yummy too!)

1 cup Smart Balance oil

4 eggs

1 1/4 cups organic white sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2/3 cup of orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons buttermilk powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt (regular not sea salt)

3 tablespoons Jayshree Tea Masala Spice Blend

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon green cardamom

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice5

shredded coconut, quick oats, and turbinado sugar for dusting tops of batter in pans before it goes in the oven.

1. Mix pumpkin, eggs, oil, vanilla, orange juice, sugars, spices

2. Mix in all dry ingredients except milled bran.  Mix well.

3. Add bran.  Stir again

4. Pour batter into prepared pans and dust top with plain quick cooking oats, turbinado sugar, shredded coconut.

Bake at 350 for at least 60 minutes (my oven went 70 minutes on this recipe today).  If a wood or stainless steel small skewer comes out of center clean, pumpkin bread is baked.

Cool in pans on baking rack about 20 minutes.  Carefully remove loaves from pan and cool completely.  This bread does need to sit at least an hour after coming out of over before slicing. (just my opinion)

Enjoy!

 

 

yes, it’s chili night

Here I am supposed to be writing an article and what am I doing?  Cooking and writing about cooking.

Well it is chili night, so I thought I would share.  Not bragging, but mine is good.

Chop up a large onion and 3 cloves of garlic.  Cook down a bit in canola or Smart Balance oil is a large pan or a dutch oven. Salt a little bit to taste.  Maybe 3 tablespoons of oil.  Chop up 1 large or two small red sweet peppers and 1 jalapeno (both peppers should be seeded and the jalapeno should be diced.)

Add a dash or two of dried oregano, chili powder (I use Jayshree Seasonings’ chili powder blend – their spices and blends are worth ordering), smoked paprika, regular paprika.

When onion starts to get that translucent look to it, toss in 1 1/2 of high quality ground beef (as in Black Angus, low-fat content – it makes a difference).

When the beef is starting to brown, taste what you have cooked so far and adjust the salt and add a couple more dashes of chili powder.

Add two 15 oz cans of beans (kidney, white, black, whatever – I use whatever I have EXCEPT not chick peas)

Add a can of tomatoes chopped or tomato puree (depending on the packaging approximately 26 oz or so)

Add a 6 oz can of tomato paste.

Stir it altogether, and once again adjust chili powder and salt as necessary (I like spicy chili).

Chop up some fresh basil, oregano, and cilantro. Stir it in.

Adjust flame to simmer and let chili burble away for about an hour, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to pan.

Serve as you wish.  I like having crumbled queso fresco, additional chopped cilantro, and sour cream handy.

Freeze the leftovers.

Enjoy!

kendall’s gazpacho…the secret is out

Once upon a time there was a rather cool woman who liked to travel.   While in Spain in the 1960’s she twisted the arm of the waiter at the Hoteles Melia in Cadiz, Spain to give her their top secret Gazpacho recipe.

This recipe has been treated like a state secret stolen by the CIA for decades.  But now, you lucky things, the recipe is out.

I made it just like I was instructed.  It is aging in the fridge for a future meal this weekend.  Let me tell you, it is the best Gazpacho I have ever had….and I can make good Gazpacho on my own.

Here mortals, take note:                                   

Gazpacho/Hoteles Melia – Cardiz, Spain

Serves 4 people

1 cucumber

3 cloves garlic

4 tomatoes (I used red and yellow tomatoes from Blueberry Hill Farms at the EGFM)

3 green bell peppers (yeah, o.k. well the green bell peppers I saw today at the grocery store looked like they walked from Mexico and I don’t mean that to be flattering so I used red and orange bell peppers…I forgot to see if there were any at the farmers’ market )

4 oz. bread soaked in wine vinegar (I figure they didn’t mean Wonder Bread in 1960’s Spain so I bought a 4 oz Portugese roll and tore it to shreds and got it drunk on wine vinegar)

1/2 wine glass of olive oil  My everyday wines are about 8 oz so I did about half a glass.

salt and pepper to taste

The instructions continue thusly: “Slaughter the vegtables in the food processor.  Mix everything together and refrigerate.  Serve cold.”

I accepted my stealth Gazpacho recipe assignment and completed it.

Best damn Gazpacho I have ever had.

If you tell anyone you have this recipe you will be in big trouble…I undoubtedly am for blogging it….if you use the recipe, please do not change it’s name….

This Gazpacho is apparently from what I have been able to research is a variation of classic Andalusian Gazpacho.

 

crazy fabulous italian easter bread

A nice man smiled at me at the Wayne Farmers Market this past Saturday from behind his bakery counter.

“Are you Italian?” he asked.

“Yes” I responded with a laugh.

“Then you have to buy and try my Easter Bread.” he says

And there is was looking so pretty, and it reminded me of the breads I would see waiting for us on the kitchen table belonging to my Aunt Millie and Aunt Josie on Ritner Street as a little girl.

So I bought one.  And yes, all of a sudden I was about six years old again.

This should be your Easter Bread too.  And while you are there, buy their cinnamon and sticky buns. Truthfully their buns are better than the wares being displayed for sale by the Up Country Dutchies at the market.

Buy it at D’Innoncenzo’s Bakery inside the Wayne Farmers Market.  If you need to order baked goods they are at the market Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 6 am to 4 pm.  The number at the market is 610-917-1104.

Tell them you read about them on chestercountyramblings.  I was not compensated for this post, incidentally.  It was all in the baked goods. Try them.