Sunday, October 21, 2018

Instant Pot Chicken Risotto

Wow, I haven't posted here in over four years! But a friend asked for this recipe and the easiest way to get it to her was to type it up and if I'm going to type it, I might as well put it here. I got an Instant Pot almost two years ago and it is a GAME CHANGER. I love it so much that I bought a 3qt one to be it's companion. Some nights I just use the mini for a side of rice, mac n' cheese or mashed potatoes. Often I'll use it for a small batch of soup. Sometimes I have the biggie and the mini going at the same time. During the summer having the IP so you don't have to turn on the oven is awesome. And now that my kids are in taekwondo 3-4 nights a week, of course right during meal prep time, the IP is a life saver. This is one of those meals. I had a few minutes before class so I made this and then when we got home all I had to do was open up the pot and say, "Dinner's ready!" to two hungry kids who just worked up a huge appetite kicking and jumping and screaming Hee-YA!

Instant Pot Chicken Risotto
(and per normal for my recipes, sorry I don't measure, so most stuff is just approximate.)

1 small onion
8-10 mushrooms, sliced
2 chicken breasts, cubed
two hearty splashes of a white wine
2 cups of risotto
4 cups of broth
a LOT of butter. At least a stick
a LOT of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, I used about 1/3 of my 8oz block
salt and pepper
a couple handfuls of frozen peas
optional: crispy bacon

Turn the IP to the saute feature and saute a diced onion and mushrooms in a pat of butter. When the onions turn translucent add the diced chicken. Saute for a couple minutes to brown the chicken. Add the wine to deglaze the pot. Next add the rice and broth. Stir. Add the butter diced up. Did I really use a whole stick? Maybe not. But probably. Grate the cheese in, salt, pepper and stir. Put the lid on, set to 6 minutes. This is the hard part. Most recipes wills say natural release and I ignore that part. Don't ignore it this time. Natural release for 7 minutes. Then open, stir, taste and see if you need more salt or pepper, or even butter. Add the peas.

Now, this is when I had to go to take my kids to taekwondo so after I added the peas, I put the lid back on and had the gauge back to SEAL and kept it on warm. We were gone for a couple hours. When I came back home it was still absolutely perfect. Not dried out, not burnt to the bottom. I added some crispy bacon that I had pre-cooked on the stove and we were set. If you are eating it right away, you may want to thaw your peas before adding them and stir them on the saute feature for a bit. Anyway, enjoy!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Baked Eggs with Red Sauce

One day I was pursuing through Pinterest and came across a dish that looked amazing. It was in a cast iron skillet with a red sauce and baked eggs. I didn't even click on the recipe to read about it, but the image stuck in my mind. (It was called shakshuka for those interested.) That being said, the image stuck with me for a couple of days. Last night as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I thought about it and starting thinking, perhaps I could make something using it as an inspiration point with the ingredients already in my house. So this is what I made, I think it was really good. Feel free to change/omit or completely do your own thing! I'm sure I broke a few culinary laws in making this.

Baked Eggs in a Red Sauce

1 package of breakfast sausage
1 orange (or whatever color bell pepper or spicy peppers if your prefer)
half a bunch of kale
1 can of pureed tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 stick of butter
lots of parmesan
mozzarella if you like
1/2 tsp of garam masala spice
1/4 tsp of ground cardamom
4 eggs

In a large skillet brown your sausage. When it is mostly cooked add diced bell pepper and kale. Cook until vegetables are tender.

In a small sauce pot mix tomatoes, cream, butter and spices. Bring to a boil and let cook until it thickens a bit, by reducing. Add parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. (Don't salt before reducing or it will be too salty!)

Pour red sauce over sausage and mix. I threw in some chunks of mozzarella too. Then either butter some ramekins or if you are using an over proof skillet use that. If you are using ramekins, fill half way with tomato sausage mixture an carefully crack an egg on top. Or carefully crack eggs around the skillet. Bake at 350 for twenty minutes or until egg whites are cooked through and egg yolks are still runny. (It may take less time, because I prepped the sauce up ahead of time so it was cold when I put it in the oven.)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Chili Relleno Soup

I have had a few requests lately to resurrect my cooking blog. I really appreciate the compliment that that request is! I hope my food blog serves as an inspiration to get cooking. Or if you do cook often, for some new ideas. I know I get stuck in a rut sometimes! Okay, a lot of times. I'd love to hear if you made one of my dishes or even used it as a jumping off spot for another dish. Sometimes just the inspiration is all that is needed.

Right now I'm doing a low-carb deal for the month of August. Just to jump start some weightloss. The thing is, I don't think food should be about counting calories or measuring this or that. So I am not counting carbs. I'm being mindful to not go grab a snack of sourdough with butter (oh my god, I want some toasted sour dough right now!) Or not eating a bowl full of pasta. I'm adding in a lot of veggies and even trying some new ones (daikon radish anyone?).

If it doesn't look appetizing I don't want to eat it. The other day I came across a green smoothie recipe that the author of the recipe swore tasted like the milk at the end of a bowl of Fruit Loops. Yeah, I know if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And actually the thing is, I probably wouldn't even like Fruit Loops these days since I've been eating a real food diet for so many years now. But I was intrigued and against my better judgement I slurried together ingredients like avocado, almond milk and flax seeds. I barely got a few sips down before I thought to myself WHY am I drinking this? It is disgusting. I love avocado in lots of different ways, sweet liquid avocado is not one of them. I love almonds, almond milk, not so much. Flax seeds, well whatever on those. I get my omega 3's through expensive fermented cod-liver oil, I shouldn't need to add them to a green sludge.

All this to say, we eat with our eyes first. It's a good instinct to develop. I think that is why I like taking photos of the food I cook. It makes me take a moment to appreciate the work that went into whatever I cooked that is about to be eaten. It is a way to share my art. And when I'm in a cooking mood, it is a creative art. There are times when sure, I just throw some food together for the family.... but other times that I really get into creating a new or favorite dish.

So here is the what I made today for lunch. I took inspiration from the flavors of a Chili Relleno. I love spicy soups and I make them for lunch a lot since the rest of the family is just bleh on soup and the girls are a NO to spicy. We eat dinners together but we usually all eat different lunches.

So without further ado... (keeping in mind that I don't actually ever measure, these are just guesses...)

Chili Relleno Soup:
1/4 yellow or whit onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1 pablano pepper and any other peppers you might want to add for spicyness/flavor
3 pieces of bacon
1/4 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of chili powder
1/4 of a package of full fat cream cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups of chicken stock
1.5 cups of cheese blend of your choosing (sharp cheddar, monterey jack, colby, etc.)

Cut bacon into small pieces and fry in the bottom of a medium soup pot. When crispy remove. Dice and cook onion in the bacon grease, letting it get a bit brown around the edges. Add cut up chili peppers and minced garlic. When the chilis start to get soft, add the heavy cream and cream cheese. Whisk until the cream cheese melts completely. Add salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Add chicken stock and bring to a bare simmer. Slowly, slowly add grated cheeses, whisking between each small handful, making sure it completely is incorporated before adding more cheese. Or your soup will separate and it will look gross. Cook at a low bowl for about 10 minutes. Serve adding bacon garnish back in.

Serves 2 big bowls or 4 small ones, keeping in mind that with all that cheese and cream it is quite filling soup! Also keep in mind that since there is no thickening agent this is a thin soup.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Savory Butternut Squash Pie

 I'm posting this recipe because it was intriguing and it was good, but not something that was so good that I'd want to make it over and over. But if you like the flavors, it might be something different for your family. I found the original recipe on an African Food Website, but it didn't have any information so I'm not sure if this is an authentic African recipe or what. I tried googling, but could only find sweet pies (think pumpkin pie) nothing that resembled this recipe. I did change this up a bit to fit what I had on hand.

Savory Butternut Squash Pie

1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups water
1 egg
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

1/2 a good size butternut squash.
1/2 pound of bacon
one onion
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese
sprinkle of pine nuts
olive oil

Cook the rice in water according to package directions. While rice is cooking, peel and cube squash. Place on a cookie sheet with diced onion and bacon that has been cut in bite size pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and thyme. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes or until bacon is crispy and squash is cooked through. (For crisper bacon, cook separately.)

When rice is finished, whisk an egg in a small bowl. Add a spoonful of the hot rice to temper the egg and stir. Add a bit more rice and stir. Then pour the egg into the rice and mix well. Add sesame seeds and stir.

Butter a pie dish. Pour rice in and with the back of a spoon, mold the rice around the pie plate in a crust shape. Drizzle a bit of oil on the rice. Bake for 15 minutes. If timed right, it should be cooking on a lower rack than the squash.

When both are done, scoop the squash, onions and bacon into the rice add in sun dried tomatoes. Mix 3 eggs and heavy cream and grated mozzarella cheese. Pour the egg mixture over and around the squash. Top with goat cheese and pine nuts. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until egg is set.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Island Chops

If you like sweet main dishes, this one is for you! It was delectable. The grill, I think, does make a difference, the dish sort of needs that smoky flavor that a charcoal grill adds to a dish. I'm sure this would be decent stove side or broiled in the oven, but those charcoals really did add to the yum factor.

Island Chops

1 pineapple
4-6 pork chops, bone in
1/2 cup cashews
1 tbsp coconut oil (butter would be fine too)
3 tbps apricot jam
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp sour cream
fresh ginger
salt and pepper
curry powder

Sprinkle curry powder, salt and pepper on your pork chops and rub it in. Slice your pineapple. Get grill really hot and grill them until done. I know right? How long? Well that depends on how far your chops are from the coals, how hot your coals are, how thick your chops are.

I use the hand pressure test to tell if meat is done. It take some practice but it is pretty reliable. If you press the skin between your pointer finger and thumb with your hand loose that resistance is similar to the resistance that raw meat will give you. If you loosely make a fist and press in that same spot again, that is about what the meat should feel like if you want it pink (like for steak.) Since you want pork cooked further than that, clench your fist, and then press in that same spot. That is how firm well done meat should feel. Hope that helps!

For the sauce...
In a small dry skillet, toast cashew nuts and then set aside. Melt coconut oil. Add jam, heavy cream, grated ginger (as much or as little as you like) and pepper. Whisk on high until sauce thickens. It'll take a while but then it will happen. Do not walk away or you will either have a boil over or a burnt mess on your hands. When it thickens, remove from heat and add the sour cream. Whisk it in. Taste. If it is too sweet add more sour cream. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Stack pineapple and porkchops, top with sauce and sprinkle with cashew nuts. Enjoy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Shrimp Pilaf

Ding ding ding, another winner! This came out so tasty and was pretty quick to throw together. It's one that I'll probably want to make again, so I'm writing down the "recipe" before I forget what I did.

1 bag of shrimp (is that a pound?)
3-4 strips of bacon (optional??)
6-8 asparagus
1/2 zucchini
4-6 button mushrooms
1 carrot
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup uncooked rice
uncooked spaghetti noodles (about the amount for one serving)
olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
broth (I used shrimp, but chicken would be fine)
splash of heavy cream
italian seasonings
curry powder

Cook rice. 1/2 cup of rice to 1 cup of water, salt and a glug of olive oil. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Set timer for 15 minutes. Bam.

In a large skillet start cooking diced bacon. While bacon is frying, cut asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces. Dice zucchini, and carrot. Slice mushrooms. Mince garlic. Bacon should be about done. Add a few glugs of olive oil and all your vegetables. Stir occasionally. Add italian seasoning and about 1/4 tsp of curry powder. Break spaghetti noodles into 1/2 inchish pieces and add to vegetables. Keep stirring on medium heat. If anything starts to stick, throw some more olive oil in the skillet.

Meanwhile peel those dang shrimp. Keep the shells and stick them in your freezer for use on another day.  You don't have to do this, but if you don't you are throwing away potential free shrimp stock, just saying. (I  make stock when I have about a gallon size zip bag of shells ready to go.)

Vegetables should be cooked and starting to brown, rice should be just about done too. Deglaze the pan with some white wine vinegar. (or whatever vinegar you have on hand.)
Add shrimp to the skillet and stir it until almost cooked through. Add rice, about 1/2 cup of stock and a splash of heavy cream. Stir until shrimp is cooked through and the noodles are not crunchy. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Water Kefir

Water Kefir is a fizzy probiotic drink. A lot of people think of it as a healthy homemade soda pop replacement. It is basically fermented sugar water. The kefir grains (which aren't grain at all, but actually yeasts and bacterias) work to eat the sugar converting it into simple sugars that have probiotics, higher vitamins (because they are made more easily digestible) including hard to get B vitamins. For a much better explanation check out this website, or google Water Kefir. There is also a Milk Kefir that you use with Raw Milk. This is not that. 
 Water Kefir in the quart jar on the right, has been fermenting for 24+ hours. It is pretty forgiving. My house was pretty cool today so I let it go a little longer. On hot days it may not need all 24 hours. But it is hard to mess up. More than 48 hours and you risk starving the grains though. On the left are swing top bottles, like these. You don't have to use swing tops. You can reuse beer bottles, if you buy extra caps and a capper, you can reuse store bought kombucha bottles or you can use another quart mason jar. I have found that the swing top bottles and the beer bottles create the most fizz. And sometimes if you use kombucha bottles they become hard to open, due to the pressure build up. Do not use plastic bottles. It's handy to have a funnel and you'll need a small strainer. Plastic is recommended, but since the grains don't stay in it long, I use metal. You want to keep your grains away from metal for the most part, I've read.

Pour a bit of your favorite juice in the bottom of each bottle. This is a cherry juice. My favorite is grape. If it is a lighter flavor juice I add a bit more (like the cherry above), grape I use a bit less. Experiment to your liking. Citrus juices are not recommended, although some people like to put a slice of lemon. Ginger also works well in kefir. You can also use fresh fruit instead of juice. Berries work excellently. Strawberry kefir is delicious!

Pour your kefir over your juice, carefully straining the "grains" out.

 Pour the grains back into the quart mason jar you use. You don't have to wash this out too often. And when you do, make sure there is no antibacterial soup residue left behind. (It'd kill the kefir...)

 For one quart of kefir you want to use 1/4 cup of grains and 1/4 cup of sugar. For most batches I use organic cane sugar. Sometimes I do half organic cane sugar and half succant. Kefir thrives on the succant, but it has a stronger flavor in my opinion so I don't use it as often. If your grains ever get a bit sad (they take too long to ferment, they aren't getting as bubbly, they start to get very, very small) use sucanat and or 100% pure blackstrap molasses (just a bit) to perk them back up. They need the minerals that plain white/cane sugar doesn't provide.

 This time I did half cane sugar and half sucanat.

 Another way to perk up your grains or to help them multiply faster (so you can have more than 1 quart going or so you can share with a friend) is to add a few drops of this concen trace mineral drops to them. I bought this at Amazon over a year ago and still have most of the bottle. A few drops will do fine and not every batch. (It's also good to add a few drops to your drinking water if you've been sweating a lot.)

 Add filtered water and shake to distribute the sugar. I use a Britta filter. It's important to remove the chlorine, which will kill the kefir.

Set on your counter and ignore for 24 ish hours. In hot weather I will sometimes put the flavored (second fermented kefir) in the fridge after 12 hours. Otherwise after 24 hours it is also ready to be refrigerated. One clue for you to check is when you see small bubbles at the top of your juice. And then you can start the process all over again.

*** Important to note. If you need a break from your kefir or you are going out of town, just get to the step where you are about to leave them on the counter to ferment, but instead, stick them in your fridge. They will keep for weeks like this and I think you can even rescue them if you forget about them for several months. If you are planning on taking a several month break from them, you can dehydrate them. I have not done this myself, but have heard of plenty of success stories.

If you just have them in fridge storage, when you take them out, depending on how long they've been in the fridge, they may be ready to pour on juice or may need to sit out for a bit. You can tell by how fizzy and the smell once you get some practice at it. ***
Blog Widget by LinkWithin