Time preparing risotto is time well spent. Chopping, stirring, enjoying the aroma from the bubbly pan, these are therapeutic actions, and the resulting risottos mouthwateringly good! Black truffle is VERY rich, soul-soothing, most aromatic, and extremely satisfying. I have paired it with a sear-roasted fillet mignon drizzled with a quick port pan sauce, and roasted asparagus. Buon apetito!
Risotto al Tartufo Black Truffle Risotto
A rich, flavorful and deeply umami-flavored risotto that is simply delicious. This is a perfect match for high-end cuts of beef to make the entire meal memorable.
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ ounce dried Porcini mushrooms
1-½ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots (finely minced)
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup Marsala wine
3-4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons black truffle oil (divided)
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
½ fresh black truffle (for serving)
Heat stock to simmer, add mushrooms. Cover, simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Strain out mushrooms, reserving stock. Coarsely chop mushrooms, set aside.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil. Add shallots with a pinch of salt, until shallots begin to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes. While stirring, add rice, pouring it in “like rain,” so that each grain is separate. Continue sautéing and stirring about 4 minutes more. Rice will become slightly more opaque.
Add wine and chopped porcini mushrooms; continue stirring. When you can see the dry pan at the bottom when you drag the spoon across, add about 1/4 cup of the hot chicken stock. It is important not to let the rice dry out at this point. Continue cooking, stirring and adding stock until all of the stock has been added. This will take about 20 minutes. Taste for doneness. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, half of the truffle oil and the parsley. Correct the seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately, drizzled with the remaining tablespoon of truffle oil and garnished with freshly grated or thinly sliced truffle.
Yes it’s true, a lot of folks lived on ramen to get through college — and you may not ever want to see it again! But, if you upscale it a bit, add some crunch, some healthy stuff, it can become a quick, delicious, easy comfort meal, fit for even a chef. We LOVE this at our house on cold evenings! This recipe is made with shrimp and ham, of course you could use leftover chicken, adding that in at the very end just to heat through. Or scallops (cook like the shrimp), or thinly sliced beef…. OR, you could make it entirely vegetarian and add a poached egg on top. See, you can make it your own, and use what is in your fridge. Other add-ins might include:
thinly slice jalapeno pepper
Ramen Noodle Bowl
A delicious and healthy upscale take on a college staple.
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic (minced or sliced very thin)
½ stalk celery (cut thin on the bias)
1 tablespoon red (yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into small dice)
1 small carrot (cut in julienne slices, or on the bias)
1 package ramen noodles (my favorite is Oriental flavor)
½ cup broccoli florets (or cauliflower)
1 slice cooked ham (cut into strips)
3-4 large shrimp (shelled & deveined)
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 green onion (sliced on the bias)
Black sesame seeds
Hot pepper sauce (to taste)
Soy sauce (to taste)
In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, celery and bell pepper; stir-fry for about 1 ½ minutes, until vegetables just begin to soften. Add the carrot. Break up the noodles in the ramen package and add to the pan, with enough water to just cover. Sprinkle in the seasoning packet. When noodles begin to break up, add the broccoli, the ham and the shrimp. Cook just until the broccoli is bright green and the shrimp are pink and ‘C’ shaped. Ladle into a large bowl.
Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil, green onions and black sesame seeds. Season to taste with hot pepper sauce and soy sauce. Serve hot!
It’s Valentine’s Day, time to cook your way into the heart of your soulmate, or feed your own soul for that matter! And, on this special day of love, chocolate is always at the top of the list. Here are a few of my favorites, to say I love you on a fork!
Well, having been tasked to create a fabulous recipe to pair with a truly great wine, here is my result — it’s party, a chocolate party — in your mouth! A sumptuous balance of sweet, tart, bitter, salty goodness, Pair it with a glass of Brian Carter Cellars Opulento, and you will shine!
Make it a day in advance. It also freezes VERY WELL!
Vanilla Salted Chocolate Cherry Decadence
2 tablespoons Brian Carter Cellars Opulento
1/2 cup dried cherries
16 ounces dark chocolate (finely chopped)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla salt (1/2 teaspoon if using unsalted butter)
Opulento Whipped Cream:
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar (I like to use brown sugar here)
reserved Opulento (from soaking cherries)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat two 8-inch false bottom tart pans** with cooking spray; set on large sheet pan, set aside. In a small bowl, pour Opulento over cherries, let stand to soak until ready to use.
Melt butter over low heat. When butter has melted add chocolate. Stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes to melt chocolate, then stir again to smooth out.
Meanwhile whisk eggs in a large bowl with sugar and vanilla salt. Whisk until the mixture triples in volume, about 8 minutes. Fold in slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Strain cherries, reserving the Opulento; fold cherries into chocolate mixture. Spread in prepared pans.
Bake for 20 minutes. The center will be a little soft. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Center will sink as it cools. Holds up well in refrigerator.
To serve: Slice into thin wedges, plate on dessert plates and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Opulento Whipped Cream:
In mixing bowl, combine cream and Opulento; beat to soft peaks. Spoon or pipe onto of cake; garnish with a sprinkle of vanilla salt.
Each tart serves 6-8.
** or one ¼ sheet pan, lined with parchment paper. Makes 121 servings 1-inch squares.
We’re rolling up on Super Bowl Sunday, sooooooo, what are you going to nibble on during the game? Will you be hosting friends, going to a friend’s home to watch the game, or joining in a huge Super Bowl party? Or, maybe on the couch at home, just you and the dog? No doubt, there will be nibbles, hearty and flavorful, worthy of the sport. No matter who is playing, or if you are even interested in anything other than the commercials, you will be a winner!
The holidays are past, and the gray days of January are upon us, alas! I am in need of comfort food, and a meal of soup, accompanied by a simple green salad and a glass of wine fills the bill, and soothes my soul. The dreary day makes me look forward to a great meal. My loaded baked potato soup is hearty, hot, and oh so welcome tonight! Make it your own, by garnishing with your favorite baked potato toppings!
Finished Soup with Bacon, Moma Lil’s Chilis and Green Onions
chopped parsley grated cheese, crisp bacon, green onions, chives, Mama Lil’s chilies
Heat oven to 425°F. Place potatoes on rack and bake until they are soft when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, until you can handle them.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Set aside one of the potato halves. Carefully scoop the remaining potatoes into a bowl. Thinly slice the skins into julienne strips and place on a sheet pan. Toss the strips with olive oil, salt and pepper. Distribute the strips on the sheet pan; return I to the oven to bake until crisp. Remove from oven and set aside for garnish.
Cut the reserved potato half into ½-inch dice. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Distribute the strips on the sheet pan; return I to the oven to bake until crisp. Remove from oven and set aside for garnish.
Melt butter in large saucepan, add onion and about ½ teaspoon salt, cook until soft. Add flour, whisk until smooth; cook 3-5 minutes. Add small amounts of water or stock to mixture, using about 3 cups of the water or stock. Add the milk and the reserved potatoes you scooped from the shells.
Ladle the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pan; bring mixture to a boil. Stir in cream, sour cream, and season to taste. Adding remaining water or stock if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
Ladle into serving bowls, top with roasted potato chunks, the crisp potato skins and your choice of additional garnishes. Serve HOT!
OK, I LOVE cheese! and one of my favorite things to serve up for friends and family is a beautiful cheese tray or cheese board. Around the holidays, a few bottles of different wines with a great plate of cheeses is an easy, elegant way to entertain. My favorite “cheese wine” is Champagne, which, thanks to its high acidity and palate-cleansing bubbles, is tremendously versatile. As for the cheese plate itself, here are a few tips.
It’s about quality, not quantity. Your cheese plate should have 3 to 5 excellent cheeses, not 15 mediocre ones.
Choose a variety of cheese styles, from creamy soft to hard, or different milk types — goat, sheep, and cow’s milk. Soft cheeses include brie, camembert, fresh mozzarella, fresh goat. Medium density cheeses include cheddar, Swiss, bleu, manchego, gouda (aged is fantastic!), feta…. Hard cheeses are parmesan, Romano.
Remove cheese from the refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour before serving so it can come to room temperature.
Drizzle a little honey on pungent cheeses for a dash of sweetness. Truffle honey adds another depth of decadence!
Include: small bowls of marinated mushrooms, olives, cornichons, caviar, dried cranberries and apricots, candied nuts, quince paste, rainbow carrots, tiny tomatoes, cucumbers, assorted breads and crackers.
Garnish with bunches of fresh herbs and pomegranate halves, figs, strawberries, apples, grapes….
Want more ideas for cheese? How about a make-ahead cheese ball? And, it can also be a great gift! Double wrap, tie the end with a bow, and dazzle your host or hostess with a home-made goody!
Yes, I do love my cheese! During the busy holidays, when guests tend to drop in, I like to have a little something that I can put out at a moment’s notice, and so I make up a cheese ball to keep in my fridge, just for this! You can make one large ball, two or three smaller ones, mold the mixture into a cheese log, or press the cheese into a ramekin and serve it directly from there. The log is a really great choice, as you can cut off a section, serve it, and leave the rest intact for another day! If there is any of your cheese ball or log remaining after you serve guests, just press it into a ramekin, and top it with a garnish…Viola! repurposed snack!
The two items pictured here are a cheese ball with made with Parmesan, salt pepper and Frank’s Red Hot sauce, then coated in fresh chopped rosemary and pink peppercorns, and a cheese log made with Stilton, black pepper, coated in walnuts. I like to serve the Stilton with apples — it’s a really nice pair!
To create a cheese log, which can be cut into smaller portions for serving at different times, combine your ingredients, then scoop the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper. Fold the paper over the mixture, and using the back of a large knife or an icing spatula, mold the cheese into a log by pressing the blade into the bottom of the mixture and pulling on the bottom sheet of paper. when your log is formed, roll it into he rest of the paper and chill, then roll in your choice of coating. See photos below the recipe for examples of preparation and forming the cheese into a ball or a log.
Cheese Ball Master Recipe
½ cup grated or crumbled cheese
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
Optional flavoring agents:
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh chopped herbs
chopped dried fruit (1 to 3 tablespoons)
freshly grated zest (½ to 1 teaspoon)
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (to taste)
Worcestershire sauce (½ to 2 teaspoons)
salt and pepper (to taste)
chopped nuts or herbs (for outside)
crackers or crostini (for serving)
In a food processor or mixer, combine cheeses. Fold in flavoring agents of choice, the season with salt and pepper. Scoop the mixture into the center of a plastic wrap square. Pull up the corners and twist the wrap to mold the mixture into a ball. Chill at least one hour.
Before serving, roll cheese ball in chopped nuts or finely snipped herbs.
Store wrapped refrigerated, in plastic wrap, up to 3 weeks
Turkey leftovers! I need my refrigerator space back. In the past, I have made turkey enchiladas, hot turkey sandwiches, turkey soup. You know the drill. Well, I have to admit, I tire of this fairly quickly. I want something different, but easy.
A quick inventory of my fridge turned up — turkey, imagine that! Also, some leftover gravy and dressing, and some mashed potatoes. So, I rummaged from the crisper an onion, a carrot and a couple of stalks of celery. I have some frozen peas. Hah! let’s get started.
First, I sautéed the thinly sliced carrot and celery with the chopped onion, in a little butter, with a dash of salt. When the veggies were softened but not browned, I added the gravy. Hmm, a bit thick, so I thinned it with a bit of canned chicken stock. A little white wine would work well here too. Stirred in the chopped turkey, the peas and checked the seasoning. My work here is almost done. Spooned the mixture into large ramekins and topped some with scoops of dressing and some with scoops of mashed potatoes. Into a preheated 350°F oven, and I now have turkey shepherd’s pie! Should I call this turkey flocker’s pie, since technically we don’t herd turkeys?