Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Parsnip Risotto with Mascarpone and Sage

Last night I was scrolling through my recipes and realized I had ALL the ingredients needed for this recipe, which is bizarre since who ever has parsnips just sitting around? This girl. That's who. So I made this. My gentleman was out, so I had a nice, warm vegetarian risotto for dinner.

I think I've pretty much mastered risottos at this point. I think Gordon Ramsay would be happy with me. It takes a little patience and practice but eventually it'll cook properly. I followed the recipe exactly, but I didn't have fresh spinach so I threw in some frozen. That wasn't a great idea. It just isn't the same. So don't do that. Either use fresh spinach or skip it.

I really enjoyed this because the grated parsnips blend in with the risotto so it's smooth, not chunky or anything, but still has that unique parsnip taste. I love mascarpone so that's always a nice addition. I wish I'd used a stronger white wine because the flavor cooked off really quickly. And make sure you use a good-quality vegetable broth because it's a very prominent flavor.

I'm not sure I'd make this again, but it was great for a cold winter night.

risotto

Parsnip Risotto with Mascarpone and Sage
From Delicious Every Day, edited from metric
Originally adapted from Vegetarian: A Delicious Celebration of Fresh Ingredients

32 ounces vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large or 3 medium parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated
6 sage leaves, finely shredded
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons of mascarpone, plus extra to serve
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup baby spinach

Start by placing the vegetable stock in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low to keep warm.

In a large pot, melt the butter over a medium heat and add the onion, parsnips and sage and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is softened but not browned.

Add the rice and stir well to coat before cooking for a few minutes until they begin to turn translucent.

Add the white wine and cook until the wine has all but evaporated.

Use a ladle to add a spoonful of stock to the risotto and stir until the stock almost disappears before adding the next ladle of stock. Continue until all of the stock is used, or the rice is plump but retains a bit of bite.

Remove the risotto from the heat and add the grated parmesan, baby spinach and mascarpone and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and set aside for 5 minutes.

Serve with extra mascarpone and fried or fresh sage leaves.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

THE RETURN OF COOKIE MONDAY!

Maybe. For now. Sporadically, I think.

But we had a Cookie Monday this week!

I found this recipe on Pinterest and immediately decided I must make it and feed it to everyone. This turned out to be an excellent idea. I ran out of cookies by lunch time. This is crazy! And a lot of people have asked for the recipe. It's fantastic.

I didn't use the chopped up candy canes because I find that they get a weird texture when baked, and I don't particularly like it. So I used Andes Peppermint Baking Chips, which worked wonderfully. They pass well for candy canes but don't get weirdly chewy. I loved these cookies. I plan to make them again for my family over Christmas. We are planning to make little ice cream sandwiches out of them. Amazing.

crinkle

Peppermint Crinkle Cookies
Lauren's Latest {not me}

3 whole candy canes, crushed
1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper or use silicone baking mat and set aside.

Place candy canes into a plastic food storage bag and crush using a rolling pin. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla and egg. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir all dry ingredients together in a small bowl and then in pour into mixer and slowly mix until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Stir in crushed candy canes. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Yield: 2 dozen (I doubled it and got 5 dozen total)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Chickpea Tomato Minestrone

It is cold and has been kind of snowy, which means it is soup season. I have a whole bunch of kale in the refrigerator so I'm trying to use it up (I've made a lot of kale chips, for example). I decided to make this soup, but I changed a few things. Instead of chickpeas, I used cannelini beans. I used mafalda pasta instead of bowties because that is what I had already opened. I used kale instead of swiss chard. And I added fresh rosemary sprigs that I dried from our summer garden to infuse the soup from the start. These were all excellent ideas.

The not-so-excellent idea was to add extra red pepper, and early on, so it would have time to really spice up the soup. The result of this was a very, very spicy but deliciously autumny minestrone soup. My gentleman liked it a lot but did have issues with the amount of spice. I liked it but I did wish I'd reduced the red pepper. Oh well! Next time.

soup

Chickpea Tomato Minestrone
Kitchen Daily

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks -- diced medium
2 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup small pasta (such as Barilla Mini Farfalle)
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 bunch swiss chard or kale, chopped, discard hard stems
Salt and pepper
Dash red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes or until the veggies begin to soften. Next, add in the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Then add the tomato paste, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes (with the juices from the can), and oregano. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add in the stems of swiss chard, chickpeas, and pasta. Let cook for another 10 minutes. Finally, add the swiss chard leaves and let cook for 30 seconds or just until the leaves start to wilt. Remove from heat.

Add salt / pepper / red pepper flakes to taste and top with Parmesan.

Servings: 6