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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Salmon Bruschetta

This was a recipe I’ve been thinking about for a while, then I decided to try it out with my best buddy Ian. You will be amazed at how tender and juicy the salmon will be. Don’t cut corners on the garlic, this is what it’s all about.

4 portions salmon fillet about 3oz each
4 cloves garlic minced
2-3 large tomatoes diced
Olive oil
2 sprigs fresh basil chopped
Pinch dried oregano
One lemon
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
One bunch asparagus

Heat oven on high broil and make sure rack is about six inches from the broil element. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. In a bowl add three quarters of the garlic with the tomatoes, some basil, oregano, salt, pepper and about a 1/4 cup of olive oil and mix altogether bruschetta. Cut the tough stem end off the asparagus and add two tbsp olive oil and remaining garlic. Preheat an oven safe casserole pan large enough to hold the salmon and asparagus together in the oven for about 5 minutes. Spoon bruschetta mix on top of each piece of salmon and carefully put the fish in the heated casserole pan skin side down,
add in the asparagus and cook in broil for about 8 minutes. If salmon is a thick cut may need a few more minutes cooking time. When salmon is ready plate each fillet with asparagus side and squeezes of lemon on fish and asparagus.

Serve with crusty bread or pita and drink with Pinot Noir or any dry white wine will work well.

Enjoy and please comment.

Thank you

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Beef in aromatic tomato sauce on pasta

The spices in this sauce have influences from the Middle East. Beef is what I used but any red meat will work great especially lamb. Again the pasta that’s used here is fusilli but I have used large shells and rigatoni with success.

1lb sirloin steak cut across the grain
Large can crushed tomatoes in sauce
1 small onion diced
5-6 cloves of garlic minced
1 rib celery diced
10 cremini mushrooms sliced
1/2 tsp allspice powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
Sea salt
Olive oil
Tbsp butter
450 gr. fusilli or any other pasta
Small handful Italian parsley chopped
Grated pecorino cheese

Instructions

Put sliced meat in a bowl and mix in half the garlic, allspice, cinnamon and cayenne and a couple glugs of olive oil. Allow beef to marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large pot heat up some olive oil at medium high heat and sauté the meat for two minutes stirring continuously. Add in onions, mushrooms, celery and remaining garlic and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes. Stir in the can of tomatoes and turn up the heat and add a pinch of salt, sugar and oregano. As soon as sauce comes to a boil, turn down the heat to low, cover pot and cook to 30 minutes.

For the pasta bring large pot of water to a boil with plenty dose of sea salt, when water comes to a tolling boil toss in the pasta and stir occasionally while cooking according to package directions until pasta is al dente.

Drain pasta but do not rinse, add the drained pasta back to the pot and turn heat back on to low, add the butter, couple tablespoons olive oil and sauté the noodles for 30 seconds with the butter and oil. I love to add some cheese right into the pot now mixing the pasta and turn off the heat. The noodles should be coated well with the buttery cheese.

To serve plate each bowl of pasta, topped with meat sauce and sprinkled with parsley and more cheese.

Can be served with baguette or garlic bread.

I recommend a dry red wine; Shiraz or Agiorgitiko.

Enjoy and please comment

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Bruschetta Sandwich

Tomatoes are in season right now, as everyone is getting the last ones off their garden vines. Bruschetta is awesome and very good for you, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil… WOW simply amazing, sweet, acidic tomato, garlic and earthy fruity olive oil and herbs inside whole grain bread and maybe a grating of cheese. You could also throw in same mescaline mix or salad greens.

Ingredients:

2 ripe medium size tomatoes
1 garlic clove sliced
4-5 leaves fresh basil torn or chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
3 tbls extra virgin olive oil
Couple drops balsamic vinegar (optional)
Grain bread or whole wheat buns
Grated cheese: Parmesan, mozzarella

Cut tomatoes in half and then slice or dice as to your preference, put in a bowl with remaining ingredients except for bread and cheese, mix well. Spoon tomato mixture on top of a slice of bread or in between buns open face sandwich, grate cheese on top and toast sandwiches in oven for 5 minutes.

Serving should make about 4 sandwiches

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Tzaziki Dip

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup peeled and grated cucumber
3 large garlic cloves grated on a cheese grater
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint or fresh dill
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin Greek olive oil
Sea salt and pepper optional

Mix all ingredients together, enjoy with veggies, grilled meat, grilled vegetables and meat.

If garlic is too strong for your taste mix in more Greek yogurt.

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Grilled Sardines

Fresh Sardines are hard to find, but frozen ones are available at fish markets and some grocery stores.

Ingredients:

One package frozen whole sardines, there’s usually 12 in the pack, each are about 6″ long or fresh ones if available.

For sauce:
Juice from one large lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch dried chilli flakes

If using frozen fish allow to thaw.
Take the sardines and rinse in cold water, if you would like to keep the heads on that’s fine, I like to cut the heads off at the gills and discard the head.
With a sharp knife score the body of each fish 3-4 times about 1″ inch apart for each score. Place fish on one layer on a tray.
Prepare the sauce by combining all the other ingredients and mix well.
Pour half of the sauce all over the sardines and mix sardines well to coat with hands. allow sardines to marinade to 30 minutes.

Prepare BBQ for grilling by preheating for 5-10 minutes on medium to high heat. Brush grates with oil.
Slowly place each fish on grill and careful not to let flame catch on fish. Grill fish by turning once 3-4 minutes per side. Fish is ready when meat easily flakes off with touch of a fork. Once ready place fish in serving platter and drizzle remaining sauce on the sardines.

Serving combinations include:
Crusty Bread
Cheese
Olives
Beans
Red wine such as Pinot Noir

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Focaccia

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tbls olive oil
1 tsp honey
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus extra for rolling out dough
1 tbls instant dry yeast 

3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbls ground flax seeds
10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 clove garlic finely chopped
Pinch course sea salt
Tsp dried basil
1/4 cup olive oil

Note: if using whole wheat flour, add a tiny bit more salt and a bit more water

Preparation:

In a bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey. Set aside and allow yeast to foam for about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon combine the flour, flax and salt and make a well in flour. In the well ad the olive oil and add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft ball forms Knead the dough for about 10 minutes on a floured work surface. shape dough in a ball and place in a clean and lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rest in a warm and humid place for about 1 hour or more until the dough has doubled in size. 

Punch down dough on a lightly floured surface and knead again for a few minutes. Stretch and shape dough with hands to and oval shape approx 8″ x 12″, allow to rest again on a cutting board or floured service, covered with a tea towel for 30 minutes. Make indentations in dough with fingers or thumb. Mix garlic, basil and olive oil and pour into indentations on dough. place tomato halves in the indent holes of dough, brush entire top of dough with remaining olive oil and sprinkle course sea salt on top. Preheat pizza stone in oven to 400* for 10 minutes. Place dough directly on hot pizza stone and cook for about 10-12 minutes until golden on top. When done remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting

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