Pan Seared Chicken with Risotto Milanese

Like every generation before us has said, we live in crazy times. Social media magnifies people’s behaviour, good and bad, and also allows movements to take off like wildfire. The #metoo movement has been such a long overdue and important conversation.

You would have to live under a rock to not hear the conversation. Which makes me wonder about some on social media. I’m in the process of setting up an Etsy shop to sell greeting cards with my photos so I have been doing loads of research and trying to get everything set up so I can hit the ground running. I’m being way more proactive in promoting my brand across the platforms. While I love to connect with people what I’m not looking for is to be hit on. I don’t understand it. Twitter is not Tinder people! Obviously on the scale of what a lot of us women go through it’s mild but I don’t understand that someone thinks this is ok.

Thankfully most treat this connections as above board but it’s just so weird when it happens. Even if I was single I would never dream by starting off by talking about a connection’s physical appearance. Just creepy!

Ah well, good thing I’m not obligated to respond. I’ll just keep cooking!

For this dish I thought I should actually look through my cookery books. They are not just pretty books! I really liked the risotto Milanese from a Williams Sonoma book. A great accompaniment to pan seared chicken. Here is my version.

To start the prep bring 5 cups/40 oz of chicken stock to a simmer. In a small bowl add about a teaspoon of loose saffron threads with a 1/4 cup/2 oz of hot water. Set aside to soak.

I just love that colour. In the large skillet that the risotto will be cooked in, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Season the chicken thighs with sea salt and pepper. Begin browning the chicken.

Finish cooking the chicken in the oven at 375F/190C. Add a 1/2 cup of chopped pancetta and a finely chopped shallot. Sauté until the shallots begin to soften.

Slice a few mushrooms and stir in. Add 1 1/2 cups of arborio rice to the skillet cooking for a couple of minutes. Then add a half cup/4oz of a dry white wine.

Gradually add the stock a bit at a time with the rice on medium heat. Halfway through the cooking add the saffron along with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Near the end of cooking before the liquid is absorbed, toss in 2 tablespoons of butter and about 3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Once the liquid is absorbed serve with chicken and garnish with parsley.

For those that live in the cold climes, trying to get decent photos without natural light can be like trying find a yeti. But this time I tried candlelight. Why I didn’t think of this before. I have no idea.


Gorgonzola Risotto with Filet Mignon and Sundried Tomato Sauce

Last week I passed the three year mark for blogging.  One of the changes WordPress seems to have made is they now make it very low key.  Basically it’s “So, yeah, you are another year down, don’t forget to take out the trash” tone to it.  I liked how it was before where they gave you a great breakdown on how you are doing, what was a hit, what wasn’t.  I’m ok with a little woot, woot!

And with three years of recipes sometimes it’s hard to come up with something new.  Things have been somewhat calm this past week which would allow me more time to cook.  But then instead of writer’s block, I was having a bit of cooking block.  Broke that on Wednesday!  I wanted a special meal with flavours that wouldn’t be subtle.  We had a couple of filets in the freezer and some sundried tomatoes to use up.  Off to the store to get some gorgonzola and oyster mushrooms and I had a very good idea of what I wanted to do.

Prep the ingredients beforehand for everything.  To add a bit of crunch to the dish I toasted a third of a cup of pine nuts.  Do it in a dry skillet.  And keep an eye on it!  It can take awhile to toast but can burn quickly.

Gorgonzola risotto 1 2015

Remove the pine nuts from the skillet and set aside.  In a larger skillet start the risotto.  This recipe is for 2-3 people.  First by melting 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add a finely chopped small shallot and 2 cloves of garlic.

Gorgonzola risotto 2 2015

Add 1/2 a cup of risotto and saute for a minute or so.  Then add a tablespoon or so of champagne vinegar.  Stir well.

Gorgonzola risotto 4 2015

This recipe needs about 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock.  This current batch I made was the best so far.  So much flavour!  Add about a 1/2 a cup at a time and allow the risotto to absorb the liquid.  At this point, in a small skillet, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter.  When it is hot add the filets to the skillet.  Make sure they are seasoned well with sea salt and pepper.  Baste with the butter as you cook.

Gorgonzola risotto 5 2015

Finish the steak off in the oven at 350F/175C until the desired doneness.  Allow it to rest while you finish the meal. In the same skillet, add a bit more butter then saute some shallots, garlic, and sundried tomatoes.  Saute for a couple of minutes to soften the tomatoes then add a handful of the oyster mushrooms.

Gorgonzola risotto 7 2015

Once the risotto is almost done add a third of a cup of crumbled gorgonzola and about the same of mascarpone cheese to the risotto.

Gorgonzola risotto 8 2015

Mix well.  Just before serving add the pine nuts and a small handful of basil.

Gorgonzola risotto 9 2015

Serve with the filet and top with the mushroom sundried tomato sauce.

Gorgonzola risotto 10 2015

There were a few strong flavours in this dish but it was balanced and delicious.  When I mentioned it to my daughter she said I could make it for them.  Anytime.  I think I can swing that.

PS.  So I started this post this morning but got interrupted by doctors appointments and things.  The whole day went pear shaped and I only just remembered I hadn’t finished this when we were walking the dogs.  My husband called it postus interruptus.  🙂  As we are getting ready for date night I’ll be further behind on reading posts but I promise to catch up!


Chorizo Risotto and the Strange Priorities

I don’t like cheats.  I think those that cheat should face consequences.  But when the consequences are out of whack compared to other offences I have a problem with it.

A news story that lit up the internet this week had to do with the NFL and the Pats.  In a game at the beginning of the year there were some deflated balls.  The NFL couldn’t, to their satisfaction, get the quarterback to talk about it even though he wasn’t the one who deflated the balls.  So they suspended him for four games and took away the team’s first round draft pick.  People went nuts!  The reason?  In the past few years the NFL has been grossly underwhelming with their punishments over things like rape, domestic violence, etc.  But a ball is deflated and all hell breaks loose.

And that saddens me no end.  I keep hoping the world will move in the direction that my daughter doesn’t have to worry about these issues.  I do hope the increasing outrage over these priorities will usher in a world, eventually, that doesn’t consider women and girls as second class citizens and a woman being punched so hard she is knocked out and dragged out of the lift will prompt a more swift and complete investigation than the one that happened for balls deflated.

In the meantime we just keep moving along.

This week I had some chorizo from the co-op.  I actually like chorizo very much but I made the mistake of getting the ones they make at the co-op.  I keep trying but they are either dry or mealy.  I think I need another source!  Shame really.

This is for two so double it for a family of four.

As always do the prep before you start cooking for this dish.  I chopped up half a cup of onion, a few cloves of garlic, and a few mushrooms.  Grate about 3/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese and prepare two cups of vegetable bouillon.  Make sure it is hot before you cook.

Chorizo risotto 1 2015

Heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil and saute the onions until they are softened.  Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes.  While this is started begin to grill the sausages.  Don’t worry about cooking them all the way through as they will be finished off in the risotto but you do want to get a sear on the sausages.

Chirozo risotto 3 2015

After the garlic and mushrooms have cooked for a couple of minutes add 1/2 cup of arborio rice to the skillet.  Stir for a minute or so then add 1/2 a cup of a dark ale.  I used our Irish Red for this.

Chirozo risotto 2 2015

Bring to a simmer and add 1/2 cup of the broth at a time allowing it to absorb before adding more.  When it is halfway cooked slice the sausage and add it to the skillet.  For this dish I added some frozen corn for a pop of colour.

Chirozo risotto 4 2015

When the last bit of the bouillon is added add the cheese to melt in.

Chirozo risotto 5 2015Once the risotto is al dente it is ready to serve.

Chirozo risotto 6 2015Grate cheddar cheese over the dish and serve.  It’s a shame the sausages weren’t up to snuff as the rest of it was quite enjoyable with the cheddar and ale.  I’ll have to try again with different brands.


My Family Spoils Me with Amazing Food

Spoilt I tell you, spoilt.  Whenever I have a birthday or it’s a special holiday my family often creates lovely meals for me.  Several weeks ago I had my birthday and I was treated to a 3 course meal. Our son was up first with a fresh salad, my husband knocked it out of the park with an amazing sundried tomato risotto, and our daughter finished it off with her flourless chocolate torte.  And this is after our daughter started my day with breakfast in bed!  How lucky am I?

The other day I thought I would recreate the dish my husband made.  For the steak, I kept it simple.  While the risotto is cooking either pan sear it in butter or grill it.  All it needs for seasoning is sea salt and pepper.  This recipe is for two people.  Just double it for a family of four.

Sundried Tomato Risotto 1 2015I finely chopped half a red onion, several cloves of garlic, and a small handful of sundried tomatoes.  In a large skillet heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions until they begin to soften.  Also prepare about 2 cups of vegetable bouillon in hot water.  Add the garlic and tomato to the skillet.

Sundried Tomato Risotto 2 2015After a few minutes add 1/3 cup dry white wine and 1/2 cup of risotto.  Cook for a minute or so.

Sundried Tomato Risotto 3 2015Add the bouillon 1/2 cup at a time. Bring to a simmer.  While this is simmering grate 3/4 cup of fresh parmesan and asiago cheese.  Set aside.

Sundried Tomato Risotto 4 2015When the risotto is about 3/4 the way cooked add the cheese and any bouillon left.  Continue to simmer until the risotto is cooked, keeping in mind it should be a bit al dente.  At this time cook the asparagus for the side.  I just quickly simmer them in water for a couple of minutes.  They should still be firm.

Sundried Tomato Risotto 7 2015I have to say this is my new favourite risotto, my husband really had a fabulous idea!  I could just eat bowlfuls of this.  🙂


Taking Risotto South of the Border

You know when you get a flash of inspiration and get excited, tell someone, and their response is “Erm, ok”?  That was my husband and me last night!  He had asked for risotto but I wasn’t in the mood for the usual one we do.  After debating in my head what to do I decided on doing a chilli sort of risotto.  I think that bit is what my husband wasn’t excited about as it brought to mind beans and the like.  I reassured him that I was thinking of the flavours instead of a full on chilli.

This is an easy dish to prep ahead of time if you are rushing about.  Our daughter tried out for the football team (soccer) at school and she did well enough to get on the A team.  Which considering she hasn’t played since she was about 5 was an excellent effort.  So we now deal with the practices and games, including a practice last night.  Hence the prep in advance.  First game this afternoon!

Southwestern risotto 1 2014

In a saucepan bring to a boil homemade chicken stock.  You will need 4-5 cups depending on how much aborio rice you use.  In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter then add a small chopped onion to saute.  Once the onions have softened add 3 chopped cloves of garlic and saute for a couple of minutes more.  Then add 1-1 1/2 cups of aborio rice to the skillet and stir well.  Add a few splashes of lime juice and chipotle tabasco sauce.

Southwestern risotto 2 2014

Add a cup of stock and stir well.  Gradually add the stock, letting the aborio absorb the liquid.

Southwestern risotto 3 2014

As the risotto cooks begin to add the seasoning.  I added ground cumin, chilli powder, ground cayenne pepper, and dried oregano.  When the risotto is halfway cooked add half a cup of frozen corn and a few sliced mushrooms.

Southwestern risotto 4 2014

After a few minutes add a chopped bell pepper and a sliced jalapeno.  Keep adding the stock.  When it is almost cooked add 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese and some chopped tomatoes.  Stir well and adjust the seasoning and the lime as needed.  Add a few chopped teaspoons of fresh cilantro and serve.

Southwestern risotto 6 2014

Grate some more parmesan cheese over the top and add a dollop of sour cream on top.  My husband and the kids really enjoyed this twist on risotto.  I loved the heat in this dish.  Of course, if you want the spice to knock your socks off add more hot pepper!


Don’t Be Radicchio With My Risotto…

Occasionally I find myself backed up in the book department.  I’m in the middle of a couple and have several in the wings.  When that happens and the kids want to make a trip to the library I find myself wandering in the cookbook aisle.  Oh the possibilities!

If I had the budget and space I would be buying cookbooks all the time.  Alas, I don’t have either.  Though over the years I’ve collected a few very old cookbooks from the 1800’s.  I find them fascinating.  I have tried to do recipes though it gets tricky when they talk about slow ovens or hot ovens.

This time round I found “Lidia’s Italy” by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali.  Now there is a job I’d love to have!  Being paid to travel round Italy and creating a cookbook based on what I see.  Sign me up!

A risotto with radicchio caught my eye.  This is my version of it.  Instead of simmering water I chose to use chicken stock.  As I’ve mentioned before I find water to be a harsh ingredient.  I also changed the recipe to just make 2 portions with enough for a small lunch as leftovers. Before starting heat 2 – 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock.

Radicchio risotto 1 2014

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet.  Chop 4 slices of streaky bacon and start rendering in the skillet.

Radicchio risotto 2 2014

After a few minutes add in a half cup of thinly sliced red onions and two cloves of garlic finely chopped.

Radicchio risotto 3 2014

Add a half cup of arborio rice and half a cup of dry white wine.  Stir well for a couple of minutes.  Add 3/4 cup of radicchio.

Radicchio risotto 4 2014

Add stock a half cup at a time allowing the rice to absorb the liquid.

Radicchio risotto 5 2014

Grate a cup of fresh parmesan cheese.  When the risotto is about halfway cooked add fresh peas to cook and then when the risotto is nearly cooked add the cheese.

Radicchio risotto 6 2014 Radicchio risotto 7 2014

Season with salt.  Serve as soon as the risotto is cooked.  It needs to be firm and slightly al dente.

Radicchio risotto 8 2014

The recipe called for putting in the radicchio near the beginning.  I think next time I would wait longer as the colour is lost as it is cooked.  But it lent a nice balance with the bacon.  And it was really good with toasted buttered ciabatta.


Please Spear Me Some Risotto

I’m being an optimist.  Officially it’s 19 days til spring and my fingers are crossed that spring will arrive.  It’s turning out to be a lovely day today with barely a cloud in the sky.  This afternoon snow should be wandering through for the next few days again.

The kids have enjoyed their downtime this past week being off from school and it’s been relatively quiet which is nice.  We’re not those parents that schedule their kids within an inch of their lives but it is nice to have a break in routine.

There was a request for risotto as we haven’t had that recently so I decided to switch it up a bit.  We had some asparagus that needed to be used up and I thought pancetta would be a great pairing.

For risotto I always prepare the ingredients before I start cooking to keep it easy.  I sliced up half a red onion, chopped 4-5 cloves of garlic, and cut up the asparagus.  While I am doing this I heat up the stock for the risotto.  The ratio I used is 5 cups to about 1 1/4 cup of risotto.

Pancetta risotto 1 2014

In a large pan melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and saute the onions until softened.  Then add the garlic and chopped up pancetta.  I found this pancetta at the co-op that was uncured and thinly sliced.  I think next time I will get thicker sliced pancetta because while this was tasty the flavour wasn’t as bold as I was hoping for.

Pancetta risotto 2  2014

After a couple of minutes add the risotto.  Stir well then add about a third of a cup of white balsamic vinegar.

Pancetta risotto 3 2014

Gradually add the heated stock stirring well.  As the liquid is absorbed add more.

Pancetta risotto 4 2014

While this is simmering I grated parmesan, asiago, and fontina cheese until I had just over a cup.  In the last five minutes of cooking or so add the cheese.

Pancetta risotto 5 2014

In the last few minutes add the asparagus.  You still want it bright and crunchy.  Nothing worse than overdone asparagus.  Also the risotto should be on the slightly al dente side.  Not crunchy but firm.

Pancetta risotto 6 2014

With the three cheeses this was really creamy.  And it is hard to go wrong with a bit of bacon.  And the plates were cleared quickly so that is always a good sign. 🙂

I may have asked this question already so if I did I apologise but with new tablets out now I was wondering for those who use their tablets to blog, what do they use?  I need one that I can easily transfer pictures from my camera to the tablet then put watermarks on.  I think the big sticking point is getting the pictures from the camera to the tablet so I can blog on the go.  Thank you for any advice!


Risotto with Balsamic Grilled Steak

Sometimes you just have to change things up.  We love risotto but we usually make Risotto with Sherry Mushrooms which is delicious but we have it often enough it can feel like being in a rut.  With the weather turning cool (there was a frost advisory last night) I wanted something a bit more rustic for our risotto.  I was pleased with the result and it went very well with the steak.

After dinner we had to dash out into the cool evening and harvest what tomatoes we could and throw blankets and sheets over the peppers, cucumbers, and celery for the potential frost.  I hope this doesn’t bode for an early winter.  Winter last year was long enough!  Not ready for the heat to go on just yet.  🙂

About an hour before grilling the steak I marinated it in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and garlic.  I seasoned the steak with salt and pepper.  Whenever I do risotto I like to get everything prepped ahead of time so it goes smoothly.  It’s not hard but it is a huge help having everything lined up.  For this I warmed up 4 cups of vegetable bouillon in a pan and measured out a cup of arborio rice.  I chopped half of a large red onion, finely chopped 3 cloves of garlic, prepped the fresh thyme, and sliced the mushrooms.  I also grated about a cup of parmesan.  The last ingredient needed would be the peas.

Melt about 2 tablespoons in a large skillet.

Risotto with steak 1 2013

Once melted saute the onions for a couple of minutes and once they start to soften add in the garlic.

Risotto with steak 2 2013

After another couple of minutes pour in the rice and stir well.  At this point usually a 1/2 cup of wine or sherry goes in but that would be way too much with balsamic vinegar so just a few splashes of the vinegar will do here.  Stir another couple of minutes.

Risotto with steak 4 2013

I usually add the broth 1/2 -1 cup at a time letting it simmer.  At this point I started grilling the steak.  It was a thin steak so it only needed a couple of minutes per side.

Risotto with steak 5 2013

Once the steak is done, remove and cover to let it rest until it is time to slice it.

Risotto with steak 6 2013

Halfway through cooking the risotto I add the peas to cook because even though they are from our garden they have been frozen.  Keep adding broth as the rice soaks it up.  Also at this point taste test.  If the broth is too salty dilute with some water.  It worked well for me as I made the broth a little too concentrated.

Risotto with steak 7 2013

At this point I saute the mushrooms.  For this dish I love to use shiitake mushrooms.  I heated up some olive oil and added the mushrooms and thyme.  I saute until the mushrooms start to brown then I add them to the risotto.

Risotto with steak 8 2013

I like to cook the risotto like they do in Italy.  You don’t want it mushy, just a little al dente.  Near the end of the cooking add in the cheese and stir well.  It is now ready to serve.  I sliced the steak thinly and placed it over the risotto.

Risotto with steak 9 2013

It was a lovely meal that was perfect for our first real chilly night.  🙂


Risotto with Sherry Mushrooms

My husband and I enjoy watching Hell’s Kitchen.  Not so much Ramsey yelling all the time but we like the competition.  One thing that gets us is how often they screw up risotto.  And it always looks a beige brownish mess on telly.  I wouldn’t eat it!  But we do enjoy risotto and it is not hard to make.  Does ours always come out the same each time?  No but it’s close.  And no one yells at us!

This recipe makes enough for the four of us though that will change as the kids grow.

To start I heat up our homemade chicken stock. You need about 4 cups. This ensures you aren’t stalling the cooking process when you add it to the risotto.  Because homemade stock may not be that salty taste as you cook to see if you need to add salt as seasoning.

While that is simmering I prep the onions, garlic, mushroom and thyme. It’s about 1/2 an onion and a few mushrooms.  I have a cup of risotto ready. I also grate about a cup of parmesan cheese.  My daughter practiced her knife skills with the garlic.  I showed her how to mash and mince the garlic.

No fingers were lost in this production of risotto!  🙂

In a large skillet melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and saute the onions for a few minutes to soften.

Add in half the garlic ( we use about 3-4 cloves total) and saute for two minutes.  Then add in the risotto and again saute for 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of sherry.

At this point gradually add the broth as the risotto soaks it up.  Stir as it is cooking.  While this is cooking, in a separate skillet heat up some olive oil and toss in the mushrooms, thyme, and garlic.  Cook until the mushrooms start to brown then add in a bit of sherry and saute for a few minutes.

We have garden peas in the freezer which I used for this.  Because they were from our garden they take longer to cook than store bought, which I didn’t realise so I ended up using a bit more broth to cook than normal so this risotto came out slightly less creamy than usual.

When most of the broth has been absorbed add the grated cheese and mushroom mixture to the risotto.  Stir then serve.  When we were in Italy we learned that you don’t want the risotto to cook so much that it is mushy.  You don’t want it crunchy either but have it a bit al dente.

Serve with more cheese on top and enjoy!  This takes about 45 minutes total but is very easy to put together and there are many variations of risotto to try.