Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Risotto

The other night we had a large butternut squash and didnt know what to do with it. Then we remember this awesome recipe from my friend Adam.

He had made it at a dinner party at his house some time ago, and it is truly wonderful.

It does take a bit of time to prepare the stock in advance, but well worth it. As Adam notes on his blog, you can make extra and freeze it.

I made a few tweeks to the recipe as written, but it was generally the same.


(yield: 7-8 cups of liquid)

1 Tbs. butter

1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced.

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 celery stalk with leaves, washed and sliced1 leek, washed and thinly sliced,

white and light green parts only

2 cups canned pumpkin puree

8 cups stock

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

4 allspice berries

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cinnamon stick

2 Tbs. pure maple syrup


1/4 cup olive oil

1 3/4 cups Arborio rice

1 1/2 cups diced (1/2 inch) fresh pumpkin, butternut, or other firm-fleshed squash

1/2 cup dry white wine

6-7 cups pumpkin broth

1 Tbs. minced fresh sage

2 cups arugula, washed and chopped

1/3 cup diced fresh mozzarella

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly grated black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3/4 ounce)

Start the broth by sautéing the vegetables in butter until soft.

Add the pumkin and stir to combine.

Then add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Finally, strain the stock though a fine sieve to remove the vegetables. Keep the stock warm as you begin the risotto.

Start the risotto, by warming the oil and adding the rice and squash. Saute for a minute until the rice begins to brown slightly.

Add the wine, and cook while stirring until dissolved.

Add about a 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of the stock and continually stir. Continue to add stock, cooking until it is almost all gone, until the rice is al dente and the squash is cooked through.

Finally add the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh cheese.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thank You Dinner

My in-laws have been staying with us helping with the new baby (yes, I have a 3 week old at home), as a thank you I made a multi-course dinner.

Here are the highlights

Barbecue shrimp salad wrap

Tuna timbal (avocado, tomato and fried onion)

Spicy shrimp with cocao

Seared tuna with pomme frite and truffle aioli.

Chocolate lava cakes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Potatoes Onion and Cheese and Apple

My mother in law is known for many things, cooking is not one of them, but there are a few (ok 2) recipes that I have taken of hers.

Potatoes, onion and cheese was a family favorite when my wife was growing up.

I've made a few modifications and updated it a touch, in this version I have added sliced apples. It adds a ice sweetness and goes great with the cheddar.

Potatoes, Onion and Cheese (and Apple)
3 - 4 med to large potatoes, sliced
1 med to large onion, sliced
1 large firm apple, cored and sliced
3/4 cup grated cheese (more or less to taste), I used cheddar
salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to 400.
Rinse the potato under cold water to remove the starch. This helps to prevent this from becoming mashed potatoes.
Toss the potatoes, onions, oil and salt and pepper and place in an over proof dish.

Bake for about 30 minutes until the potatoes begin to soften. Add the apple slices.

After another 30 minutes or so, the potatoes and apples should be cooked, but not mushy, top with the cheese and cook another 5 minutes to melt the cheese. You can finish this under the broiler to crisp the top.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just another monday

I picked up some more beets at the farmers market over the weekend and made the beets with warm goat cheese again.

I also made more of the carrot red curry soup, this time adding parsnip.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Last night we made sushi again. This time I picked up a nice piece of tuna and tobiko.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More Pizza

Have no fear, even with all the craziness at home, we have managed to eat pizza about once a week.

Last night I made a fresh tomato sauce and wanted to skin the tomatoes. This is easy to do.

Prick the bottom of the tomato with a sharp knife, just deep enough to pierce the skin.

Dunk the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for a minute or so until the skin begins to peel.

Remove from the water and either place in an ice bath or run under cold water. At this point the skin should easily peel off.

I tried again a potato pizza, only this time with fresh thyme and truffle oil.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Squash

Here is another great variation on the roasted squash I made the other night.

This time instead of the brown butter I topped the squash with blue cheese.

Prepare the squash as I did for the brown butter recipe. When the squash is cooked, top with blue cheese and place under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese.

I served this with a simple salad with a mustard thyme dressing.

Mustard Thyme Dressing
1 - 2 cloves garlic
3 - 4 fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper
1 Tbs (more or less to taste) Dijon mustard
2 Tbs red or white wine vinegar
4 -6 Tbs EVOO

Using a mortar and pestle crust garlic with a touch of salt.
Add the leaves from the thyme and pepper
Mix until the leaves are broken and starts to form a paste

Add the mustard and mix until smooth.

At this point it is easier to switch to using a wisp. Add the vinegar and mix until smooth.
Slowly drizzle in the oil as you mix to make a smooth dressing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Seared Tuna

Seared tuna is always a favorite. It is super easy to make and has a large range of possibilities. One nice thing is that it can be served hot or cold so works great for dinner parties when you are trying to plate everything at once.

Last night I made a simple pepper crusted tuna with oven roasted tomatoes and rice.

Let the tuna sit out for a few minutes to come to room temp before cooking. You do not want the fish to be cold. Heat up a pan on high.

Season the fish with salt and a lot of fresh pepper and a drizzle of oil, turn to coat.

Once pan is very hot, place the fish in the pan and let it sit for about a minute. You will be able to see the fish turn from pink to tan as it cooks. Flip and cook on the other side. To cook the sides, use a tongs to hold the fish upright on the pan to cook the outside.

Slice the fish into thin slices.

Place some rice on the plate, lay several pieces of the fish and top with some of the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a touch of reduced balsamic vinegar.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Even I mess stuff up

The other day I had defrosted some caramel to use to make apples. When we made the caramel apples, I think that the caramel separated, and the fat prevented it from sticking to the apples. None the less, it turned into a huge mess, though tasty.

Not wanting to through it out I wanted to use the apples for something else. I had recently read this recipe for a tarte tatin and was inspired.

I stated by dicing the apple, and heating with the caramel over medium heat until the apples were soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes.

While the apples were cooking I made a quick crust dough. I like the crustada dough from Al Forno. Its easy and holds up well to handling.

Roll the dough out and using a 10 or 12 in pan turn upside down and cut out a circle to fit in the pan.

Butter the pan and pour the cooked apples in spreading to make a singe layer. Then top with the dough.

Cook in a 400 deg oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden.

Once cool, flip the pan onto a plate and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Red Curry Carrot Soup

This is a really easy soup that has a nice subtle heat.

Red Curry Carrot Soup
1 med onion, diced
2 - 3 stalk celery, diced
2 lbs carrot, diced
3 - 4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 Tbs ginger, minced
2 Tbs red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
salt and pepper

Heat a large pot with a touch of oil and add the vegetables and salt.

Cook over medium heat stirring periodically to prevent sticking.

When vegetables are soft but not falling apart, add the garlic and ginger. Cook for a few minutes, then add the coconut milk and another can of water or stock, season with salt and pepper.

Continue cooking until the vegetables are soft and flavors blended. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add water or stock to thin to the desired consistency.

I served it with some homemade potato chips.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Brown Butter Squash

Once the weather turns cold we start to eat more gourds. This is an easy recipe and will work with almost any squash, though acorn have a nice balance of sweetness and savoriness.

Acorn squash are quite hard so use a heavy knife to cut through. It can also help to cut a slice off the side and rest it on the cut side as you slice to prevent slipping.

Brown Butter Squash
1 acorn squash (serves 2)
2 - 4 Tbs butter
salt and pepper
fresh sage to taste (if large cut into strips)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Slice the squash into thick slices about 1/2 to 3/4 inch.
Scrap out the seeds and reserve for garnish.
Place on a tray and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Bake the squash about 45 minutes to an hour, flipping to brown both sides nicely. When done the squash should be soft but not falling apart.

While the sqaush is baking prepare the seeds. Rinse them under cold water and remove and of the connective tissue to help separate them. Dry on a towel.

Heat a touch of oil in a pan and add the seeds. Cook until golden and crispy. When down season with salt and set aside.

To make the brown butter, melt butter in a small pan over medium heat.

After the butter melts it will eventually start to turn a golden nutty brown color. Once it has, turn off the heat and add in the sage and a drizzle of balsamic.

Pour the butter and sage over the squash and season with salt and pepper and top with some of the seeds.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars...take 1

The other day Auden asked for a granola bar. There was no way that I was going to buy one...most are basically just a cookie with extra oats.

After some searching I found this recipe, which I liked but decide to add back in some peanut butter and chocolate chips (ok so these are basically cookies.)

Granola Bars
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup honey
3 Tbs peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 300 deg.
Mix the oat and nuts and spread on a cookie sheet, toast in oven about 10 minutes until lightly golden.

Line a baking pan with foil and spread with butter.

Mix the rest of the ingredients into the oats. If the mixture is too hot, place in the freezer for a few minutes before adding the chocolate chips.

Firmly press the mixture into the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Let cool and cut into squares.

In the end we thought that it wasn't sweet enough and too honey flavored. Next time we will try with brown sugar.