Mushroom risotto with veggies.


Ok so I haven’t posted in a long time because I’ve been busy with life in general 

Long ago I ordered risotto at a an Italian restaurant because I wanted to try something different. Since then I have enjoyed risotto in many forms, mushroom, seafood, spinach and even squid ink risotto. Another very well known Mediterranean dish. Risotto is creamy and rich and could be enjoyed with white or red wine. Risotto could be served as the main dish or can be a side with suggestions of salad, grilled chicken, or steamed veggies.


Ingredients 

350 g. Arborio rice

1 package dried porchini mushroom

6 or 7 cremini mushrooms sliced

1/4 cup brandy or 1/2 white wine

800 ml. Low salt Chicken or veggies soup stock

2 Sprig fresh thyme 

One small tomato diced

Half of a red bell pepper diced

2 cloves garlic minced

1 rib celery diced

Olive oil

2 tbls butter plus more for finishing 

Sea salt

Ground black pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmigiana cheese

Instructions 

Soak dried mushrooms in 1/2 cup hot water for about 15 minutes. Bring soup broth to a boil then put it in a back burner on low and keep warm. In a large sauce pan melt some butter and a glug of olive oil on medium high heat, add celery and garlic and sauté. Add the rice and a pinch of salt, stir constantly with a wooden spoon in order to coat all the grains with the oil. Add the brandy or wine and stir until absorbed. Add the mushrooms with the hot water and the sliced mushrooms. Add the leaves from the thyme. Add a ladle full of stock and stir, add another ladle full and stir until almost all the broth has been absorbed by the rice, continue to add broth continue repeating this process and stir until liquid gets absorbed, keep stirring–this process will take about 15 minutes. Add broth, stirring constantly until almost all the broth gets used up, taste the rice and check to see if it’s al dente and creamy. Add a pinch of salt, tomatoes, peppers and the rest of the liquid broth, turn off heat and add some butter and parmigiana cheese. Cover pot with lid and allow rice to steam for about 5 minutes while you prepare the table and plates. Taste the rice and adjust seasoning with salt if needed or more cheese.. put more cheese on the table for guests to help themselves garnish their dishes. Other finishes are more thyme and olive oil, freshly ground black pepper.

Please enjoy with your loved ones or family and friends. 

Please comment and include which wine you drank and weather you used brandy or wine. Let me know if you served with side of meat or veggies, salad etc.

Thank you so very much for reading my blog


Jim

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Braised Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks are very tasty and preparation here is pretty simple in a tomato sauce known in Greek as kokinisto (red sauce)

Ingredients 

4 lamb shanks (extra fat can be trimmed out).

1 small onion diced

1 carrot diced

1 celery stock diced

4 garlic cloves slivered

1 cup chicken or beef stock

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes 

1 cup red wine 

Pinch of dried oregano, and thyme  

Course salt

Fresh ground black pepper 

Handful of kalamata olives pitted and chopped (optional)

Olive oil

Method

Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper, thyme and oregano. Preheat oven at 375. In a Dutch oven over medium high heat on stove top, splash some olive oil and sauté the onion, celery, carrot and garlic, after a few minutes put in lamb shanks and sear on all sides turning every minute. Deglaze pan with the red wine while scraping bottom with wooden spoon. Add the rest of the ingredients..  should almost be completely covered in liquid. Cover and transfer to preheated oven. Cook for about an hour and a half.

When done taste sauce and adjust seasoning with salt if needed but remember the olives are salty and I prefer to use a no salt stock. The consistency of the sauce shouldn’t be too think and it’s fine that it’s oily … but if you prefer thicker just boil on stove for a few minutes after removing shanks. The meat should fall off the bone.

Serve over pasta, rice or roasted vegetables, crusty bread and a full bodied red wine.

Enjoy and please give me your feedback.

Thanks again for visiting my blog

Jim


The love of cooking

Sometimes people ask me what I like so much about cooking.. I always say it’s because I love food, but I thought about it and it’s a lot more than that alone. While food is survival for a lot of us animals, it can be many things to many people and cultures. I find it very therapeutic to put on music and start cooking something completely from scratch, in a time where you could order anything to your door or buy it frozen in a box. I find anytime someone does something more traditional in this modern world very amusing.. like knitting, woodworking, drawing or painting, there’s something very sexy about cooking and food.

When cooking for yourself you have complete control on what’s going in your food as opposed to additives that aren’t meant to be consumed or even digested by us humans but are added as preservatives in pre packaged food. Cooking is a very creative process as you all know I am an artist and enjoy this creativity, I also like the reward of taste. I like experimentation in the kitchen just as much as I like traditional cooking practices.
Food also has a health aspect for me as I like to think I take care of myself and in my culture my people have lived long healthy lives. Cooking for myself has also opened up my senses and I have tried many different things over the years from many different ethnic cuisines.. I love Asian food just as much as Mediterranean food. I was brought up in a family that was passionate about food and entertaining people and so I also really enjoy entertaining or just cooking for my family at home.

Try your hand at cooking and make something that takes up your afternoon, let me know what you cooked, post a picture and also let me know what inspired you and the music you listened while cooking and or who you were cooking for.

Health, love and happiness ❤🍷🍜

All the best for 2017

Jim Anastasopoulos 🍕

Broccoli and string beans with optional sardines 

Ingredients:

One bunch green string beans 

1/2 bunch broccoli including stems chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

1/4 cup crushed tomato and sauce

2 sprigs fresh oregano 

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp turmeric powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can sardines in water drained (optional)

Method

Bring a large pot of water half full to a boil, add the broccoli and the string beans, allow to steam. Drain the water after 5 minutes and turn heat down to low, add remaining ingredients except sardines, mix well and let cook another 5 minutes. Plate the dish and serve with sardines on the side as an option. Other ideas for serving add more olive oil, hot peppers, serve with rustic bread, rice etc.

Have a fun summer and stay healthy

Jim

   
 

Greek chicken wraps

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 red bell peppers 

4 garlic cloves minced 

Olive oil

Juice from one lemon

Small package of baby spinach 

1 tbls dried oregano 

Salt and pepper 

200 grams of Greek feta crumbled

12  large soft tortilla wraps or 20 small

Two large tomatoes diced

Method 

Bring the chicken to room temperature first before grilling them. Take chicken, cover with wax paper and pound with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin to flatten slightly. Combine two tbls of olive oil, garlic, pinch of salt and pepper and pinch of dried oregano and marinade chicken with it. Prepare a hot BBQ grill or grill pan with high heat and brush grates with oil. Grill the chicken and the peppers on hot BBQ turning them after about 3 minutes, turn grill down to low after each side of chicken has char marks, cover BBQ and allow the chicken to cook through on low until cooked through. Take the peppers off grill and cover in plastic wrap for 10 minutes while they cool down. When chicken is done brush with some lemon juice and allow to rest on a plate covered with aluminum foil. In a bowl combine the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper, lemon juice. Peel and discard the charred skin off of the bell peppers and cut to julienne and add to bowl with tomatoes feta etc. cut chicken into strips and also add to bowl with peppers, feta etc. mix all ingredients in bowl. To prepare wraps : put some spinach leaves on a wrap, add some ingredients from the bowl on chicken, feta, peppers, and tomato, roll up, tuck in the sides and assemble seam side down, cut then in half on a diagonal and serve them at room temperature. These could be served with a dipping sauce such as ztatziki sauce!!! but I prefer them as is. Enjoy!!!

Apple Crisp (my version)

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I have made apple crisp only about a dozen times, I used a combination of Spartan and Macintosh, but any tart apple will work well.. I like mine quite crispy on top so I tend to leave it cook a little longer than most.

Ingredients:

8-10 apples (any variety)
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
3/4 flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Grease a 10″ pie plate with a bit of butter, preheat oven to 375*. Peel and core apples, slice them to an even 5 mil. thickness and toss with a pinch of cinnamon. Layer apple slices across bottom of pie plate. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, flour, oats and butter. Spread the the mixture on top of the apples and bake for 45 minutes or 10 minutes more if you like it crispy.

Let cool 10 minutes before slicing and serve warm and with an ice cream scoop if preferred.

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