Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chicken with Risotto and Caramelized Onions

Earlier in the week I picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner (from costco for $5. word.) I used the carcass to make chicken stock which I then used in this recipe. Good stuff.

1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3/4 C arborio rice
2 Tbs dry white wine
3 1/2 C chicken broth, heated
1 Tbs butter
1 C chopped cooked chicken
S&P, thyme

Saute the onions with some olive oil in a small pan over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until they're sweet and caramelized. Take off the heat and add the balsamic. Set aside.

Heat some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Stire in the rice and heat for 2 minutes. Add the wine and lower the heat to medium low. Start adding the broth to the rice, about a half cup at a time, adding more as the rice absorbs it. It's important that you microwave the broth and add it hot or else it will mess with the way the rice cooks and it won't come out nice and creamy.

Meanwhile, in yet another pan, cook up some chicken breasts/strips. I marinaded mine in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little bit of lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper, then cooked them up real quick in a hot cast iron pan.

Once the risotto is done, stir in the onion mixture, chopped up chicken, S&P and thyme.

Spaghetti Squash

This gets a thumbs-up. It tastes great and the spaghetti strands of squash make this is a "fun" food.

1 spaghetti squash
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
olive oil, S&P

Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out all the guts and seeds. (Sort out the seeds in a colander and set aside to dry for roasting later.) Place the squash in a foil lined baking pan, cut side up. Brush the insides with olive oil and season with S&P. Bake for an hour. When it's done, let it cool a little bit and use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti strands.

In a medium/large skillet (big enough to toss all the squash in later) over medium heat, saute the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes until they soften up and become somewhat translucent. Mix in the squash and cook for a couple minutes to let the flavors really mix together.

For the seeds-
These look and taste just like toasted pumpkin.
Lower the oven temp to 350. Spray a lined baking pan with cooking spray, spread the seeds out, season with salt and bake for 15 minutes.

pomegranate seeds

These are pretty good to snack on or put on a salad. I'm not a big fan of the hard kernel inside so I like to throw the seeds and an apple or two in the juicer attachment on my blender.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Suppli al Telefono

2Amy's here in DC has these on their menu and they're really good. Deep fried balls of risotto with a piece of mozzarella tucked inside. Frying them gives the croquettes a crisp outer shell that you crack open to get at the creamy insides. I'm not an at-home deep fryer but after seeing a baked version on another food blog I decided to try that. Also, I spent pretty much the whole time these were baking trying to figure out a way to photograph a smell. It was probably the chicken stock and onion in the risotto that made the kitchen smell really good.

The idea here is to make a bunch of risotto (arborio rice), let it cool, throw in some bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and an egg. Scoop up a bunch of the mix and tuck a cube of mozzarella into the middle. Put all the formed balls on a plate and chill them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Then roll the balls in bread crumbs (seasoned with S&P) and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, turning half way through.

I followed the directions on the risotto for preparing it, which called for sauteeing 1/4 cup of chopped onions before adding the rice and using chicken stock for the liquid. My finished product tasted a lot more flavorful than 2Amy's and this might be the difference. They probably prepare the risotto differently (no onion, etc).

At 2Amy's they don't give you marinara sauce, but that's really the perfect condiment for these. Maybe they don't want them to come off as cheese sticks, but these are so much more than that.

One other trick, for the mozzarella I actually just cut up a couple of sticks of string cheese.

Final verdict- these are great and all, but it was a lot to clean up for a version that when all is said and done can't live up to the fried version at 2Amy's. Also I froze most of them and I have no idea if they'll be any good later. I'll throw a couple in the toaster oven and try to bring them back to life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

What do you get when you slather spicy brown mustard on two slices of whole grain bread, layer on cave-aged Gruyere cheese, sweet caramelized onions and dry salami then grill that sammy up?


Inspired by The Kitchen Sink

Round two (one night later): Substituted fire roasted red peppers for the mustard.