Friday, September 21, 2018

Week 38: Mushroom Risotto

The Recipe
(Serves 1)
1dl risotto / Arborio rice
3/4dl dry white wine
~5dl chicken or vegetable stock
1 small onion
1-2 cloves garlic
~100g mushrooms
3-4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil or parsley for garnish

NB: you cannot make risotto with any odd rice, as they won't get the right creamy texture. You can substitute pudding rice in a pinch, but it's worth getting the real thing

Chop mushrooms, onion and garlic. Bring the stock to a boil in a separate pot. Add extra spices if you want, but remember that everything will be boiled down and SUPER concentrated, so a little goes a loooong way.

Melt a bit of butter in a pan and roast the mushrooms until done. Add pepper to taste. No salt though! The stock will make it plenty salty enough. Once done, remove mushrooms from the pan.

Add saute the onion until fragrant. Turn the heat up to high and add garlic and rice. Toast them for 2-3 minutes while constantly stirring, to get the outside starch off and allow the rice to soak up the liquid better.

Pour in the wine while stirring. This will be absorbed quickly and once it's almost all gone, start pouring in the stock a little at a time. I did about 1dl at a time at first, going down to ½dl as I went on. Turn down the heat to where the rice is just simmering, to keep the outside from being done too quickly compared to the inside. Keep stirring between each addition of stock until it is absorbed. I used all 5dl for the 1dl rice, and it's possible I could even have added more! This will take awhile and you cannot leave it alone! So this is really a "for the love of cooking" dish. After about 20 minutes, start tasting the rice - wait for that magical al dente moment. If you run out of stock before the rice is done just add boiled water instead - you'll have added plenty of stock for taste by this time.

Once the rice is done add the cooked mushrooms, extra butter, parmesan cheese and basil/parsley. Stir until the butter and cheese has melted. Serve piping hot.

The Verdict
Oh, Yum!!! I absolutely love risotto (when done well, anyway), but this was my first attempt ever at making it myself. However, I'd been having a craving lately, so I let myself be inspired by MadLori's tumblr and gave it a shot. It wasn't perfect, but pretty darn close (you know it's good when you eat all alone and still exclaim "YUM" every 3-4 bites! 😄 ). I made this two days in a row to fiddle with the recipe and adjust the measurements.

I'll definitely be making this again! I also want to experiment with adding other things to it instead of the mushrooms.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Week 37: Texas Dry Rub

The Recipe
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin

Mix everything together and rub on meat of your choice before cooking it. This amount fit ~900g chicken perfectly (4 breasts, each cut in halves). Can also be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.

The Verdict
Rather spicy, so if making this for people who don't deal well with heat, cut down on the chili to 1 tsp or less (or even leave it out completely). All the spices mesh together really well, so it would work just as well without/with less chili. Personally, I loved it though. Just the right amount of kick for my tastes. Now I want to try it with other types of meat as well! I served the chicken with the spicy penne from last week and the two dishes went really well together :)

Week 36: Spicy Penne with Bell Pepper

The Recipe
Three large bell peppers in different colours if possible (just for looks)
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
400g penne
0.75dl olive oil (~5 tbsp)
2 tbsp sweet chilisauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
fresh basil
parmesan cheese

Cut the bell peppers into quarters, removing stem and seeds. Grill skin-side up for 10-20 minutes or until the skin starts to blacken and bubble up. Remove from grill/oven and leave until cool enough to handle. Remove as much of the skin as possible (there'll always be some left - that's alright) and cut into thin slices.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

Mix together oil, chili sauce and vinegar and add salt/pepper according to taste.

Add everything to the pasta. Add fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese for serving.

Can be served either as a main or as a side dish.

The Verdict
'Spicy' is a bit of a misnomer. Though the red wine vinegar smelled really overpowering as I was tossing the salad, but at the end of the day you could hardly taste it - same went for the chili sauce, so I might add more of the latter next time. Otherwise I really liked it - it was a nice touch to grill the bell pepper first, rather than just leave them raw. A bit more work to be sure, but worth it. Definitely something I'll make again. I'll probably use a bit less pasta though. Even here I used less penne than the recipe called for (originally 500g) and the ratios still seemed weird - far too much pasta for the veggies. Easily remedied though.