Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mushroom Risotto

Do you ever have those nights where you are just dying for an excuse to spend a long time in the kitchen? Ok, maybe you're not all crazy like me, but having an excuse to sit there stirring while drinking a glass of wine is pretty relaxing too! I love the creamy comfort of a risotto, and using some summer vegetables I had along with some crisp Sauvingon Blanc seemed like the perfect reason to make one. Bon Appetit!

Mushroom Risotto

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup diced shallots
3 cups arborito rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, warm
5 cups chicken broth, warm
2 large portabello caps, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 large zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 large heirloom tomato, diced
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat a large pot on medium heat and warm 1 tablespoon oil. Saute shallots 2 minutes, then add rice. Stir together so that oil and shallots thoroughly coat rice and let toast until rice begins to glisten, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the warmed wine (warning, if the wine is cold, it'll shock the rice and the risotto won't turn out right). Keep stirring until rice absorbs wine, then begin adding chicken broth. Add broth about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed before you add more. You should stir almost constantly throughout the process, which can take around 30 minutes. Keep adding broth until the rice is not absorbing it as well, the mixture should be very creamy at this point.

In the meantime, heat oil in a large skillet. Saute mushrooms until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in zucchini and saute about 3 minutes. Stir in diced tomato and simmer about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and finish off with balsamic vinegar.

Add mushroom mixture to risotto. Stir in parmesan and goat cheese and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Best Salad You'll Ever Have

If you haven't purchased the September issue of Bon Appetit, stop what you're doing now and RUN to the magazine stand. I'm absolutely obsessed with this issue, filled with bacon, figs and goat cheese, and have made probably 6 recipes (and actually following them too!) already.

My absolute favorite has to be the Warm Escarole Salad with Goat Cheese, Hard-Boiled Eggs and Bacon, which I actually made twice this week. A sort of spin on cobb salad, this salad is SUCH a treat. If you can't find escarole, substitute any leafy green of your liking. For the exact recipe, check the link above. My version includes more bacon than what Bon App called for :) Because of that, I reduced the amount of oil added to the dressing since there were additional bacon drippings.

Warm Escarole Salad with Goat Cheese, Hard-Boiled Eggs and Bacon

2 heads of escarole, torn into large bite-sized pieces (about 8 cups)

5 bacon slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 5.5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Divide escarole among 6 plates. Cook bacon in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain; reserve skillet with bacon drippings. Finely chop bacon; set aside.

Whisk olive oil and vinegar in small bowl to blend. Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add olive oil mixture and whisk just until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette over escarole. Sprinkle with eggs, goat cheese, and bacon.

I served the salad as a side to the Pineapple-Glazed Pork with Chiles and Lime- also delicious! Another recipe that I followed, two in one night- crazy!

Pineapple-Glazed Pork with Chiles and Lime

1 cup pineapple juice, divided
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped seeded red jalapeño chiles
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 3/4-pound pork tenderloins
Chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 500°F. Bring 3/4 cup pineapple juice and sugar to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover; boil until syrup is deep brown, checking frequently to prevent burning, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately swirl in remaining 1/4 cup pineapple juice, chiles, and allspice. When bubbling stops, whisk in lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup glaze into small bowl and reserve.

Line baking sheet with foil; place rack in center of sheet. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper; place on rack. Brush with glaze from saucepan. Roast until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145°F, brushing occasionally with glaze from saucepan, about 15 minutes. Slice pork. Drizzle with reserved glaze and sprinkle with cilantro.

Orange Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Apron is back! my apologies for being MIA, the past few weeks have been filled with work, travel, tennis, fun and of course, cooking! This was a meal that I whipped up after a night of tennis in no time. It's simple, but the flavors really pop.

Orange Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops, 1 inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup shallots, diced
1/2 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Warm olive oil in pan, then place pork chops in skillet, cooking 4 to 5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Heat butter in skillet and saute shallots about 3 minutes. Add orange juice, mustard and salt and pepper to taste to deglaze plan. Place pork chops back in pan for another minute, then serve with sauce

I served this with a simple side salad dressed with some of the marinade from my Fresh Fig and Brie Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. I tossed the figs with spring greens, the marinade and pistachios. Yum!