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Roasted Squash Risotto

A week ago I was looking through the fridge seeing what needed to get used up.  I had some butternut squash that I never got around to roasting.  I then looked in Rice & Risotto: a collection of over 100 essential recipes and found one that called for squash.  Sounded like a plan to me.  (The copy that I have has a different cover, but the ISBN number is the same).  I started with this cookbook because Lindsay has been requesting more rice and veggies in our meals.  Guess not everyone prefers protein and starch heavy farm meals.  *shrug*

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 Tbs dried Basil
  • 1 Tbs dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Onions
  • 2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 3/4 C dry White Wine
  • 5 C Veggie stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Put the squash into a roasting pan.  Mix 1 Tbs of oil and the honey together and pour over the squash.  Mix until everything is coated.  Put the squash into the oven for 30-35 minutes or until tender.

Heat the veggie stock in a pot until simmering.  In a small bowl, mix the basil, oregano, and 2 Tbs of oil together and set aside.  Heat the butter and remaining oil in a large pot over medium heat.  When the butter is melted, add the onions and cook for 8 minutes, or until soft and golden.  Stirring occasionally.  Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat the rice in the oil mixture.  Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly.  Once the wine is mostly absorbed, add enough stock to cover the rice and cook over medium-low heat.  Here the recipe calls for stirring constantly, but I find that everything comes out just fine if you thoroughly stir it a couple of times a minutes.  Again add enough stock to cover the rice when the first batch is almost completely absorbed.  Repeat until you have used up the stock.  About 20 minutes.  After you have added all of the stock and the risotto is still a little bit soupy, add the herb oil and squash.  Gently, but thoroughly mix everything together.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until the rice is creamy and cooked, but still retaining a little bite in the center.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Easy and tasty. What more could you ask for?

The reason you want to heat the veggie stock up is so when you add it to the cooking risotto, you don’t dramatically drop the temperature and cause the cooking time to skyrocket.

Categories: cookbook, recipes, supper, vegan Tags: ,

A bit of crock pot cookery

One of my most under-utilized kitchen appliances is my slow cooker.  It’s an unbelievably easy way to have supper ready when Lindsay and I get home from a long day and neither of us feel like doing anything more than throwing in a frozen pizza.  I think the problem lies in that I need to get it prepped the night before and throw it together before I head out to work.  I’ve got my mornings timed to the last minute so I can sleep as late as possible.  I know the obvious solution would be to go to bed earlier, but that never seems appealing to me.  Around a month ago, a friend was coming over to dinner after work and I needed to have something ready to eat basically when I got home.  Fortunately, I had swiped a roast from my folks over Christmas so I had a very easy out with the crock pot.  I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but Mom and Dad have a dairy farm up by St. Cloud and every year they save a steer for butchering.  It’s a much cheaper alternative to buying meat all the time at the grocery store.  Also, in my ever so humble opinion, it is a much tastier option as well as healthier, both because I know where the meat comes from and what the steer gets fed.  (For reference, it is probably closest to organic beef, or as my little sis labels them when she sells the calves, all natural, because she hasn’t gotten the certification).

I was looking for a beef roast recipe that works in a slow cooker.  Specifically I was looking for how long it needed to cook on which setting.  As a starting point, I referred to mini-cookbook that came with it.  And to my surprise, I found a recipe that sounded really good.  Naturally, I tweaked it to suite my tastes, but it was mainly the ratios that I adjusted and added some ginger since I had it in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb Roast
  • 2 tsp ground peppercorns
  • 1/2 bulb Garlic, minced
  • 3.5 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp Mustard Powder
  • 2 thumb sized pieces of Ginger, minced
  • choice of Vegetables, cut large  (I used baby cut carrots, potatoes, celery, and onions)

Place the roast in the center of the slow cooker and arrange the vegetables around it.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the roast.  Cook on High for 4-5 hours, or on Low for 8-10 hours.

I know, it's the same pic as a couple of posts ago, but it's the only decent one that I have.

I checked the roast when I got home (total cooking time of 9 hours) and the roast was amazingly tender.  All of the intramuscular fat and sinew had completely dissolved and the meat was literally falling apart as I took it out of the crock pot.  One thing that I would change is to add the veggies later on in the cooking process because after nine hours, they were a little bit mushy.  I guess turning them into a puree or mash would be an option too.  I’m not sure what to do about the dark tint all of the veggies took on because of the cooking liquid.  I guess either accept it as is or cook them separately.  The one thing the I did change when writing down the ingredients above is that I corrected a mistake that I made when I was reading the recipe initially.  I put in a full tablespoon of ground pepper instead of getting a tablespoon of peppercorns then grinding.  It tasted great, it just was on the peppery side.

New Cookbook!!!

A couple of weeks ago, I got a new cookbook!

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook is a compilation of the last eleven years of recipes from America’s Test Kitchen.  This is my new favorite cookbook because ATK tests and retests recipes to make them the easiest and most foolproof as possible.  Plus they give a brief explanation of why the recipe works better the way they printed it.  They explain the science of cooking without losing any of the fun of preparing really amazing meals.  That’s the other reason why I love this cookbook; the meals cause you to drool like my in-laws dog Ty.  Even though there are some pretty high-brow dishes in this book, all of the recipes call for ingredients that can be purchased at most supermarkets.  The ones that are harder to find, can be substituted pretty easily with other things.  See my previous post about the Horseradish Crusted Beef as an example.

Do yourself a favor and purchase this book (cover price of $39.95) or at the very least, flip through it the next time you are at a bookstore.

Categories: cookbook Tags: ,