( Apr. 6th, 2009 02:25 pm)
1 lb assorted fresh mushrooms, chopped (awesome variation: sub 1.5 lbs tomatoes, peeled & seeded)
1/2 large onion or 1 med, diced small (sub shallots if you can get 'em)
1 qt broth
1 cup wine (if using tomatoes, sub water)
2 tbsp earth balance
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 cups arborio rice
2 tbsp olive oil (if using tomatoes, sub more EB)
Salt and pepper to taste (if using tomatoes, add 10 leaves basil, shredded)

Notes before beginning: making this takes around an hour; if you use tomatoes, an hour and a half, unless you're superfast at peeling and deseeding. however, it is completely worth it. for mushrooms buy portobello, porcini, etc; pick stuff that looks exciting. button and crimini will not give you the flavor you want. make sure the rice you use is arborio, because non-arborio "risotto" looks and tastes like garbage. DO NOT wash the arborio before using it. i know some people tell you to do this, and i can't think why, because that takes off some of the starch that makes it so creamy and wonderful! also, i cook risotto at high heat (8 of 10) because i want to spend as little time actually cooking as possible; it needs stirring the whole time, and risotto is heavy. it doesn't need to be stirred at top speed or anything, just fast enough that it doesn't stick and burn.

- Simmer wine (or water) and broth in a small saucepan.
- In a larger one, sauté onions in EB until golden.
- Add mushrooms (or tomatoes) and sauté a bit more. They should reduce in size and get browner.
- Add rice and stir until well mixed.
- The broth mixture should be well-heated at this point; add a ladleful to the rice, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed. You will know this has happened when you can scrape the bottom of the pot and it stays clean for a few seconds.
- Once it has been absorbed add another ladle of broth and again stir until absorbed; repeat until all the broth is gone. When all the broth is gone, the rice should be very tender and have expanded quite a bit, and should look like it's in a creamy sauce. The mushrooms should be much smaller and darker than they were to start with.
- Add olive oil (or EB), salt, and pepper (and basil if using). Cook, stirring, for a few more minutes. Serve immediately, or remove from burner and cover until ready to serve.

my instructions are way too detailed, but actually it's quite easy to make, though it does take a bit of time. but it's rewarding, because everyone will love it.
( Apr. 6th, 2009 02:23 pm)
Never Fail Dumplings
Yield: 8 Dumplings

3 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup Flour
1 med Egg
6 tbsp Cold water
1 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Salt

Beat the egg well then add the 6T of cold water. Measure the Water carefully. Add the oil and salt and whisk together. Mix the baking-powder and flour together. Blend the two mixes into a smooth batter quickly. Drop into boiling stew and cover continuing to boil for 15- 20 minutes. Try to resist the urge to peek too often - the dumplings will rise and produce a light tender crust - a cold draught will cause them to fall.

They can also be served as a dessert by cooking in boiling water and served with pancake syrup or jam drizzled over them.

Make Ahead: Mix up the dry ingredients into batches and store them in zip lock bags ready to add liquid and the egg when ready to use them.
( Apr. 6th, 2009 02:05 pm)

These are delicious, easy to make, and everything you need to make them is probably in your kitchen already.

-1 stick butter, softened
-4 oz cream cheese, softened
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup flour
-1 Tbsp vanilla
*OPTIONAL: About 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use sliced almonds, but I'm sure other things would be good in this too)

Yes, that's all there is to them-- no eggs or baking soda or anything.


1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Beat cream cheese and butter together until uniform in color.
3. Add sugar about 1/4 cup at a time, beating until fluffy.
4. Add flour, mixing well.
5. Stir in nuts, if desired.
6. Drop tablespoon-sized dough blobs on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. They're done when they're JUST BARELY brown around the edges.
7. Cool on rack and store in an airtight container.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.





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