Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Risotto

I recently had goat cheese for the first time and I really enjoyed it.  So when I was looking to find something to make for dinner and came across a risotto recipe that had goat cheese in it, I was intrigued.  I took two different Risotto recipes, one from www.foodandwine.com  and the other from www.epicurious.com,  this is what I came up with:

You ll need:

  • 1 lb of medium shrimp (peeled, and deveined)
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped,
  • 1 clove elephant garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup white whine
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups peas
  • 9 stalks of asparagus chopped
  • 1 cup chopped baby portobella mushrooms
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 1 lemon

In a medium sauce pan bring the vegetable broth to a simmer and add shrimp.  Let shrimp cook for 2 - 3 minutes.  Remove shrimp from the broth and set shrimp aside.  Keep the broth on low heat.  In another sauce pan heat up the olive oil and butter then add the onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  Once the onions become transparent add the mushrooms, peas and Asparagus.  Saute for a few minutes, when the mushrooms become soft and the asparagus turns a bright green remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat some more olive oil in the saucepan and add the Arborio rice. Allow the rice to become covered with the oil. Now add 1 cup of the warm veggie stock and let simmer on a low to medium heat until the stock is absorbed.  Add 1 cup of  white wine and allow the rice to absorb it.  Continue to add the remainder of the veggie stock, 1 cup at a time allowing the rice to slowly absorb the stock.  The risotto will become tender when the stock is completely absorbed.  Now add the veggies and the shrimp that were set aside.  On a low heat, continuously stir all the ingredients together while adding the goat cheese and the juice of one lemon.  The mixture will become very creamy and will now be ready to plate.
Take a large spoonful of the mixture and place on a plate with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh Italian Parsley.  Serve with a slice of lemon and the Herb Butter Twists from my previous post.  

Herb Butter Twists

So I realized I had no more crusty bread which I needed to go with dinner tonight.  So I decided to try something new... I made these Herb Butter Twists...and they were so easy.

You need:
  • Pizza dough
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 tbsp Herbs De Province, which is a blend of thyme, rosemary, basil, and lavender. (If you don't have this you can use any of your favorite herbs)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
Sprinkle the kitchen counter with some flour and roll out the pizza dough in the shape of a rectangle.

In a small saucepan melt the butter and add the minced garlic and spices to the butter.  Allow butter to cool for a minute and then spread the butter onto the rolled out dough.

Fold the dough into thirds.

Then take a pizza cutter and cut the folded dough into strips. 

Now twist each strip and place onto a greased baking sheet.

Then bake the twists for 15 - 20 mins on 400 degrees.  

Pan-Seared Scallops over Baby Spinach

Believe it or not I have never had scallops until last week.  My husband and I went to dinner and instead of ordering two main dishes we just ordered a bunch of appetizers.  I tend to get a little daring when trying appetizers and my hubby suggested we get the scallops, which he loves. Well, now I have a love affair with scallops.  I came home that night and started looking for scallop recipes.
I found this recipe from a cooking light magazine I had lying around.  Of course I changed some things because god forbid I leave a recipe the way it is.  So here is what I did.

What I used:
4 slices of bacon, 12 large Sea scallops, course salt, fresh ground pepper, 1 medium chopped onion,  1 chopped clove of elephant garlic, 1 bag of baby spinach, 1 lemon, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1/4 cup cooking sherry, 6 - 8 stalks of  chopped asparagus, fresh sliced Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

(okay, so I forgot to put the lemon, the cheese and the cooking sherry in the picture...oops)

Cook bacon in a hot skillet until crispy, chop bacon and put aside.  Take the scallops and pat them dry with a paper towel, sprinkle some course salt and fresh ground pepper over the scallops.
In the really hot pan which already has the bacon drippings in it place the scallops in.  Allow the scallops to sear for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.  Once the scallops are done cooking place them aside and keep them warm.
Now throw in the chopped onion, garlic and asparagus.  Allow that to cook for a few minutes.  Once the onions are transparent and the asparagus is a bright green, add the cooking sherry, the juice of one lemon and the lemon zest.  Next add half of the spinach, allow the spinach to cook for 2 minutes.  You want the spinach to start to wilt.  Now add the other half of the spinach and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Put some of the spinach mixture onto a dinner plate.  Next, add a few of the scallops and some of the chopped bacon.  Shave some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top and serve with a lemon wedge and a piece of crusty bread.  YUM!

My hubby said this was the best meal ever!!!

Guess what's on the menu tonight?   

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Risotto!

Cranberry Orange Walnut Bread

So I had extra cranberries in the house after the holiday and god forbid anything goes to waste here.  So I decided to make this bread.  It is super easy and very yummy.  This recipe is adapted from the Family Circle Encyclopedia Of Cooking that I got from a garage sale many years ago.

You'll need:

2 cups of  flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp orange zest, 1/2 cup orange juice, 3 tbsp melted butter, 2 tbsp hot water, 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, halved, 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine all the dry ingredients and sift together.  In a seperate bowl beat the egg, then stir in the orange juice, butter, hot water and the orange zest.  Now combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Fold in the cranberries and the walnuts.  Add the batter to a well greased loaf pan.  ( I use a glass  9 x 5 x 3-inch pan).

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.   You will know when the loaf is ready when a knife in the center comes clean.  Take out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.
This loaf would make a great holiday gift.  You could wrap it in some colorful cellophane and add a matching ribbon!  It also goes great with a cup of coffee for an afternoon snack.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vegetable Tempura with Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce

I am a fried food junkie so vegetable tempura is among one of my favorite things to eat.  Don't get me wrong I love vegetables but fried vegetables are a very special treat!  This recipe is inspired by a recipe I read on http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/appetizers-and-snacks/asparagus-tempura-with-ginger-soy-dipping-sauce/

What you'll need for the tempura batter:

1 tbsp baking powder, 1 1/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup ice water, and a pinch of salt.

Whisk all the ingredient's together, make sure not to over mix it.  The batter will have a lumpy texture to it.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In the meantime prepare your veggies. I used cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, and sweet potatoes.  I peeled and sliced the sweet potatoes to 1/8 " thick.

For the Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cups low sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cups honey, 1 tsp freshly grated ginger, 1 clove freshly grated garlic, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 scallions finely chopped.  Mix everything together!

 When the hour is up, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a dutch oven, the oil must be between 350 and 400 degrees.  Take the tempura batter out of the fridge and pour two cups of flour in a seperate bowl.  The seperate bowl of flour is for dredging the veggies.  Take each piece of vegetable seperately and dredge it in the flour and the drop it in the batter.  Once the veggie is covered with the batter you can drop it in the oil.  The veggie will be golden brown when its time to remove from the oil (about 2 minutes).  Place the golden veggies on a paper towel.  Continue to do the above steps until all the veggies are cooked or you run out of batter.


***The above recipe is from www.thepioneerwoman.com***

Friday, November 26, 2010


Below are some cupcakes I have made.  Should you be interested in purchasing cupcakes I can help design a cupcake for whatever your needs may be.  Please email: rachel4@optonline.net

Buttercream Cakes

Below are some butter cream cakes I have made. I can help design a cake for whatever your needs may be.   Please email me should you be interested purchasing a cake: rachel4@optonline. net

Fondant Cakes

So I have been decorating cakes for a few years now and thought you would like to see what I have done.  I will post pictures of the cakes below.

Should anyone be interested in purchasing a cake you can email me at: rachel4@optonline.net

Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

I have never had brussel sprouts before but with Thanksgiving around the corner all the cooking blogs I read and cooking shows I watch have been talking about brussel sprouts.  So I called my Mom and asked if she has ever had them and she told me that my grandmother used  to serve them to the family.  My mom said she never liked them and that she remembers them giving her headaches or neck aches she was not sure which one... ?  So after many laughs about the "side effects" of brussel sprouts I decided I would make them.  Not because I want to make myself sick but they just look so yummy.  So, I crossed my fingers and hoped I would not have any of those "side effects" my mother claimed to have.  So here is what I did:

10 brussel sprouts stems cut of and halved, 1 small chopped onion, 2 minced cloves of garlic or 1/2 a minced clove of elephant garlic, 4 diced slices of bacon,  a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Heat a fry pan and throw in the chopped bacon. Saute the bacon for a few minutes and then throw in the onions and garlic.  Saute that for a few more minutes and then throw in a pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper.  Once the brussel spouts start to brown and get tender, they are ready!

I have to say that these brussel sprouts were so good and tasty and I had no "side effects",  although I did call my Mom and joke with her about how terrible I felt and it was the brussel sprouts fault  :)

All joking aside I will definitely be making these again and in many more creative ways.

Stuffed Mushrooms

I have many versions of stuffed mushrooms this version is a great starter for Thanksgiving or any hearty meal.

What you'll need:
15 stuffing mushrooms, 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley, 1 tbsp fresh oregano, 1 medium chopped onion, 3 cloves of regular garlic, minced or 1 clove of elephant garlic, minced, 5 slices of bacon, cubed, 2/3 cup white wine or white cooking wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup vegetable stock, 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs, 1 fresh lemon, 1 cup Italian Panko breadcrumbs, 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash the mushrooms and pop off the stems.  Chop the stems and place them in a seperate bowl.  Heat a fry pan or sauce pan with some olive oil, add the bacon , once the bacon starts to cook add the onions and garlic and saute.  You can add some more olive oil should the bacon start to stick to the pan.

Once the onions start to become translucent add the chopped mushroom stems and the chopped parsley.  Saute till the mushroom pieces are soft, then add the white wine and the remaining olive oil. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze both lemon halves over pan (I squeeze the lemon juice into my hands first, to avoid any pits falling into the mixture).  Once the mixture starts to simmer add the breadcrumbs.  Once the breadcrumb mixture is moist shut the pan off.  Continue to mix, should the mixture look too dry add some extra white wine or add some vegetable stock.  Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Stuff the mushrooms with about a tablespoon or two per mushroom. Place the stuffed mushrooms into a 9x13 pan with some vegetable stock and white wine.  Sprinkle the Pecorino cheese over the mushrooms.  Cover the mushrooms with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.   Take mushrooms out of oven and plate the mushrooms with a spoon full of the liquid from the bottom of the pan over each mushroom and enjoy!


please don't use my photos without asking...