Butternut Squash, Pine nut and Sage Risotto

Butternut Squash, Pine nut and Sage Risotto

This was adapted from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook. Autumn makes me want to start cooking with all the wonderful squash that starts appearing on the shelves. I roasted the squash which I thought brought out the flavor. It also called for Hazelnuts but I though pine nuts worked perfectly (and what I had in the pantry). This could be a vegetarian main dish with a salad but pairs perfectly with a grilled pork tenderloin or Chicken.


Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  • 5 tsp. chopped fresh sage or 1 Tbs dried sage
  • 4 Tbs toasted pine nuts (or hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Put butternut squash in a bowl, toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast squash for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender and getting caramelized.

In a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until it is soft and light brown, about 10 minutes.

In a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until it is soft and light brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and stir until a white spot appears in the center of the grains, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the broth, adjust the heat to simmer, if needed, so that the liquid bubbles and is absorbed slowly. Stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking, adding the liquid 3/4 cup at a time and stirring almost constantly, until the rice starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking, adding the liquid 1/2 cup at a time and stirring almost constantly, until the rice is just tender but slightly firm in the center and the mixture is creamy, about 10 minutes more.

Add the roasted squash, Parmesan cheese, 3 Tbs. of the nuts, the pepper and salt. Stir to mix well.

To serve, spoon the risotto into a serving bowl or onto plates. Garnish with the remaining 1 Tbs. fresh sage, if using, and the remaining 1 Tbs. nuts.

Apple Galette

Apple Galette

This is a perfect fall dessert. Comes together quickly. From http://www.theviewfromthegreatisland.com

Ingredients
For the pie crust

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup ice water


For the apple filling
2.5-3 medium-large apples, sliced and peeled
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pinch salt
1 Tbsp honey (plus extra for drizzling over the finished galette, if desired)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold or room temp, cut into small pieces


Instructions
For the pie crusts

To make the pie crust, add the flour, butter, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until the butter is broken up and no large pieces remain.
Slowly add the ice water through the top of the food processor and continue to pulse until the dough comes together in a single lump.
Remove the dough from the food processor. Roughly shape into a disk about an inch thick. Place in the fridge until ready to roll out for the galette.


For the galette

Preheat oven to 375F and line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
Toss the sliced apples with the brown sugar, spices, and salt. Set aside.
Sliced apples for apple galette
Place the pie dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll it out into a large circle about 14 inches in diameter. It should be fairly thin, but not too difficult to handle without tearing.


Rolling out galette dough
Gently move the rolled out dough to your prepared baking sheet. Put about half of the sliced apples into the center of the circle of dough, and spread them out evenly, leaving about 1 and a half inches of space all around for folding the dough over the apples. You can simply place all the apples into the center of the dough and spread them out evenly, or you can take the other half and arrange them in an overlapping circular pattern.
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Drizzle 1 Tbsp of honey over the apples and dot with the butter. Fold the excess pie crust over the filling.

Lightly brush the edge of the pie dough with milk or cream, and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired.
Place the galette in the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are cooked through.
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Drizzle or brush another tsp or 2 of honey over the finished galette while still warm for a glossy top. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie

There are a million different recipes for this I am sure and this is a tasty way to use up your tomatoes from the garden or the farm stand. I used yellow tomatoes but you could use any good, ripe tomato. The key is to really let the tomato slices drain on paper towels, 1-2 hours. You can use Mayo instead of ricotta, also. Thank you to Dawn Bryant Hughes for the recipe.

4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced, drained
3/4-1 Cup ricotta cheese
herbs (basil, parsley, chives), & minced garlic together
2-2.5 Cups cheese (anything you have – cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella, parmesan)
1 precooked pie crust (I made mine but you can use ready made).

• Pat dry tomatoes, spread out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Roast at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.
• Pre cook pie crust according to recipe or directions.
• Starting with tomatoes, layer tomatoes and cheese mixture 2-3 times and top with a little more cheese. Sprinkle with Basil.
• Bake 350° for 30 min.

Corn Risotto

Corn Risotto

This is a fabulous side dish. I served with chicken. It is addicting. Take advantage of all this wonderful fresh corn while you can!

Ingredients
4-6 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (4 cups), divided, cobs reserved
5 1/2 cups hot chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
shallot, minced
2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
I 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

l. Stand l reserved corn cob on end on cutting board and firmly scrape downward with back of butter knife to remove any pulp remaining on cob.
Repeat with remaining reserved cobs. Transfer pulp to blender. Add 3 cups corn kernels.
2. Process corn and pulp on low speed until thick puree forms, about 30 seconds. With blender running, add 1/2 cup hot broth. Increase speed to
high and continue to process until smooth, about 3 minutes longer. Pour puree into fine-mesh strainer set over large liquid measuring cup or bowl.
Using back of ladle or rubber spatula, push puree through strainer, extracting as much liquid as possible (you should have about 2 cups corn liquid). Discard solids.
3. Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallot, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned,
about l minute. Add rice and thyme sprigs and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Stir in 4 1/2 cups hot broth. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until liquid is slightly thickened and rice is just al dente, 16 to
19 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.
5. Add corn liquid and continue to cook, stirring gently and constantly, until risotto is creamy and thickened but not sticky, about 3 minutes longer (risotto will continue to thicken as it sits).
6. Stir in Parmesan and remaining l cup corn kernels. Cover pot and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Stir in creme fraiche, chives, and lemon juice. Discard thyme sprigs and season witl1 salt and pepper to taste. Adjust consistency with remaining 1/2 cup hot broth as needed. Serve immediately.

Spanish Paella

Spanish Paella

I adapted this from “Tastes better From Scratch” Blog. I have a huge paella pan and this worked perfectly on the gas grill. This recipe can have so many variations but I stuck with seafood and chicken but you can make this vegetarian, add chorizo, lobster, rabbit or pork. It is actually a very easy recipe. and takes about an hour. I used a paella rice (“bomba” rice, calaspara rice, arroz redonda) but you can use short grain or sushi rice if you cannot find.

Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive Oil (Spanish EVOO if you have it)
  • 1 Onion , diced
  • 1 red bell pepper , diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 3 roma tomatoes , very finely diced
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 4 boneless , skinless chicken thighs , cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup flat leaf Parsley chopped, divided
  • 2 cups Spanish Rice
  • 5 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • ½ lb Jumbo Shrimp or prawns , about 12 – peeled, tail on
  • 1/2 lb Mussels (about 10-12), cleaned properly (beards off)
  • 8 oz calamari rings
  • Lemons , for garnish

Instructions

  • Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add chopped tomato, bay leaf, paprika, saffron salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add white wine and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.
  • Add chicken pieces, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and rice to the pot. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Pour the broth slowly all around the pan and jiggle the pan to get the rice into an even layer. (Do not stir the mixture going forward!).
  • Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Give the pan a gentle shake back and forth once or twice during cooking.
  • Cook for about 15-18 minutes (uncovered), then nestle the shrimp, mussels and calamari into the mixture, sprinkle peas on top and continue to cook (without stirring) for about 5 more minutes. Watch for most of the liquid to be absorbed and the rice at the top nearly tender. (If for some reason your rice is still not cooked, add ¼ cup more water or broth and continue cooking).
  • Remove pan from heat and cover pan with a lid or tinfoil. Place a kitchen towel over the lid and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices. Serve
Roasted Broccoli Florets with Toasted Breadcrumb Gremolata

Roasted Broccoli Florets with Toasted Breadcrumb Gremolata

My husband loves the idea of vegetables. He loves to eat them when they are disguised.
I was not sure he would eat these but he cleaned the plate. The roasting brings out a sweet nuttiness and these make a wonderful side dish to anything! This was adapted from the New California Cookbook. Full disclosure: I actually used a brioche hot dog bun for the breadcrumbs and it was fabulous.

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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (optional)
  • 1  broccoli crown, stems removed, tops cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot; sauté until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs; toast until golden, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to small bowl. Mix in lemon peel. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss broccoli with remaining 3 tablespoons oil in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread out onto large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until stems are crisp-tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle gremolata over and serve.

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Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

If you are looking for an easy cooking project for the kids, or just want to eat some brownies, these are super easy. You can make this using 1 bowl. My husband ate about 4 after they came out of the oven… Inspired by a recipe from Cafe delights.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and HOT
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil, (olive oil or coconut oil are fine)
  • 1 1/8 cup superfine sugar, (caster sugar or white granulated sugar)*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp Peanut butter (optional)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS

    • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking oil spray. Line with parchment paper (or baking paper); set aside.
    • Combine hot melted butter, oil and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well for about a minute. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until lighter in color (another minute).
    • Sift in flour, cocoa powder and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined (do NOT over beat as doing so well affect the texture of your brownies).
    • Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top out evenly. (OPTIONAL: Top with chocolate chunks or chocolate chips.)
    • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the centre of the brownies in the pan no longer jiggles and is just set to the touch (the brownies will keep baking in the hot pan out of the oven). If testing with a toothpick, the toothpick should come out dirty for fudge-textured brownies.
  • Remove and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing into 16 brownies.
Challah Bread

Challah Bread

I love bread in all shapes and forms. I have always wanted to make this bread but was a little intimidated by the braiding.. BUT finding my self at home, as with everyone else, I thought I would give it a try. My braid needs work but I was really happy with the results. So much easier than I expected and this bread is SO good. Similar to brioche in texture. Makes great toast and french toast or bread pudding!!! Thank you to my friend Gloria who gave me Ina Garten’s book “Cooking for Jeffrey.

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Ingredients

1 cup warm (115 degrees F to 120 degrees F) water

2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature

5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature

Vegetable oil

1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

 

Directions

  1. Warm the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook by rinsing it with hot water. Pour the warm water into the bowl (be sure it’s at least 110 degrees F when it?s in the bowl) and mix in the yeast, sugar and saffron. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until it starts to froth, which tells you that the yeast is active. Add the eggs and egg yolk and mix on low speed. With the mixer on low, gradually add 4 1/2 cups of the flour, scraping down the bowl as you go. With the mixer on low, add the salt and butter, then slowly add between 1 and 1 1/2 more cups of the flour, mixing on low for about 5 minutes and continuing to add a dusting of flour to the bowl but only enough so the dough doesn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl. The dough will be soft and a little sticky.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it by hand for a full 2 minutes. Roll the dough into a ball with the smooth side up. Brush a large bowl with vegetable oil and place the dough in the bowl, smooth-side down. Roll the dough around to cover it with oil, then turn it smooth-side up, making sure the entire dough is covered with oil to prevent a crust from forming. Cover the bowl with a clean dry kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  3. Punch the dough down lightly and turn it out onto an unfloured cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Turn the first ball of dough smooth-side up and roll it into a cylinder. Roll the dough into a rope 17 inches long and lay it seam-side down on the parchment paper. Repeat for the other 3 balls of dough, laying them side by side on the parchment paper.
  4. To braid the dough, pile one end of the ropes on top of each other and pinch them together and under. With the pinched end away from you, take the far right rope and move it left over 2 ropes. Then take the far left rope and move it right over 2 ropes. Continue taking alternate ropes and laying them over 2 ropes until you?ve braided the entire bread. Pinch the ends together and fold them under. Cover the bread with a clean dry kitchen towel and allow it to sit in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes, until doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Brush the bread thoroughly with the egg wash and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the outside is browned and it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. Place the challah on a baking rack and cool completely.

Cook’s Note

To make ahead, bake the challah, cool completely, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 4 months.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

I have been trying to recreate the hot cross buns that my mom misses from living in Connecticut. These came close. Since we are social distancing I will not make them this year… I don’t need to be around this many of them by myself! Wonderful fresh out of the oven with tea. 

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 packages yeast
  • 4 – 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp water

Icing

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tbs of milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Directions

In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast and 1 cup of flour. In large saucepan over low heat, slowly heat milk and butter until very warm (120-130 degree). Butter does not need to melt. With mixer at low heat, gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes more; beat 2 minutes more, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

Beat in eggs and 1 cup of flour; continue beating 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl.

With spoon, stir in additional flour, about 2 cups, to make a soft dough.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball.

Turn over in greased bowl to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until dough is doubled, about an hour.

Punch dough down. Grease a 13 x 19 baking pan. Knead raisins into dough. Divide dough into 12 pieces, shape into balls; place evenly into pan. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place, away from drafts, until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 F

In small bowl, combine egg yolk with water. Brush buns with egg yolk mixture. Bake buns 30 minutes or until brown.

While buns are cooking, prepare icing. In a small bowl combine ingredients, beat until smooth.

Remove buns from oven and let cool slightly on rack. Make icing cross on buns. Serve warm

 

 

 

 

Mediterranean Orzo Chicken

Since I have been limiting my trips to the grocery these days due to the pandemic I have put together some easy meals. This is for anyone who might want a quick and healthy dinner. We warmed this up the next night.

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Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs, grilled (or packaged cooked)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into quarters
  • olive oil for frying and for tomatoes
  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 package grape tomatoes, cut in half and roasted
  • Grilled artichoke hearts in oil, canned or frozen
    (I used Trader Joe’s but marinated in the jar is good also)
    drained and reserve the oil
  • Half a package or orzo, cooked
  • Olive oil from artichokes (or add regular olive oil to taste)
  • herbs, fresh or dried (oregano, thyme, basil)
  • parmesan cheese

Preparation

  1. Grill chicken (or use packaged) and slice, set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil, place halved grape tomatoes on sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 350 for 20 minutes.
  3. Heat olive oil in frying pan and add zucchini, sauté until tender.
  4. Add roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and artichokes and stir until combined
  5. Add cooked orzo, chicken, herbs and drizzle with reserved olive oil from the artichokes.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and combine.

Note: just about any vegetables will do, squash, red pepper, eggplant, onions… You don’t have to roast the tomatoes but I like the sweetness it adds.