Lentils and Arobrio Rice

We really like lentils

We really like lentils

This recipe is adapted from Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy. If a more soupy consistency is desired up the stock to 11 cups. Chop the vegetables very very small for the best flavor.

Lentils and Rice

  • 3 slices bacon diced fine
  • 1 cup onion diced very fine
  • 1 cup carrot diced very fine
  • 1 cup celery diced very fine
  • 8-10 basil leaves sliced into thin ribbons
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 8-9 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano
  • 3 green onions diced fine
  • 2 tbsp butter

In a large stock pot melt butter over medium low heat. When it begins to foam add bacon and render fat. When bacon begins to brown add onion and saute until golden. Add celery and carrot and continue to saute until all vegetables are soft. Add tomato paste and mix well. Add wine and basil and turn heat to high. Deglaze pan and cook until almost all wine has evaporated. Add stock bring to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer liquid for 15 minutes then uncover and add lentils. Bring back to a simmer and then cook partially covered for 15 minutes. Add rice, return to a low simmer and cover. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes adding more liquid is necessary. Add cheese and green onion and let stand covered for five minutes. Serve hot.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Italian, Recipes, Rice/Risotto | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Horchata

No milk involved

No milk involved

This is a traditional Mexican drink for a hot summer day. It is also known as Mexican rice milk. The big trick is in the straining for the smoothest result. It reminded us a bit too much of almond milk, so we won’t be taking the time to make it again. And trust us it is time-consuming.

Horchata

  • 1/3 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon simple syrup*

Grind rice to a fine powder. Blanch almonds in boiling water for two minutes then dunk in ice water. Pop skins from almonds then dry well. In a frying pan toast skinned almonds until light brown spots appear. Add almonds to ground rice and cinnamon stick. Cover with boiling water and let stand for 24 hours in a cool place but do not refrigerate. The next day add cold water to mixture and stir well. Remove cinnamon stick and place in a blender and pulse until completely smooth. Strain mixture once with a standard strainer. Discard solids. Line strainer with 3 layers of cheese cloth and strain again. Discard solids. Rinse out cheese cloth and strain again. Repeat until no solids remain. Mix remaining liquid with simple syrup and serve over lots of ice with cinnamon sugar on top. Add a couple shots rye whiskey if you really want it to taste good.

*To make cinnamon simple syrup take discarded cinnamon stick and add it to equal parts sugar and water. Bring to a boil then steep for 30 minutes. Strain and syrup is ready.

Posted in Dessert, Mexican | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Super Cheesy Cheese Sticks

So good and crispy

So good and crispy

These are so good make an extra two batches just to handle the snacking. The dough is very similar to pie dough.

Spicy Cheese Sticks

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Old Bay
  • 1-1 1/2 tbsp buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl add everything but the buttermilk and mix on medium speed until butter is beaten into cheese. Add buttermilk slowly until dough forms. Remove dough from bowl and roll out to 1/8″thick. Slice into 4-5″ long straws about 1/4″ thick and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until puffed and light brown, about 20 minutes. Best hot but good cold. Will keep in the pantry for about a week.

Posted in Appetizers, Food, Recipes, Sides | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Butternut Squash Soup with Turkey Croquettes

Cause Christmas has turkey too

Cause Christmas has turkey too

This is a fairly simple soup to make but the recipe does require leftover turkey and fresh butternut squash. The recipe is adapted from Cooking Light Soup.

Cream of Butternut Soup with Turkey Croquettes

For soup

  • 3 lbs butternut squash cut in half seeded and cleaned
  • 3 large carrots diced fine
  • 1 large onion diced fine
  • 2 ribs celery diced fine
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Salt/pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter

For Turkey Balls

  • 2 cups finely chopped cooked dark turkey meat
  • 1/3 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 egg

Drizzle squash halves with honey, salt and pepper and roast at 350 degrees until soft. Scoop flesh and mash. In a large stock pot heat butter and saute onion until golden. Add carrot and celery and saute until softened. Add garlic and oregano and saute until fragrant. Reserve 1/2 cup cooked vegetables then add mashed squash. Saute until squash begins to dry out then add chicken stock, bring to a boil then simmer until slightly thickened and squash dissolves. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine reserved 1/2 cup vegetables, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and the remaining ingredients for the turkey balls. Mix well and refrigerate for an hour. When soup is ready puree in a blender then return to pan and bring to a low simmer. Add cream and season with salt and pepper. Cook until thickened, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile place remaining 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs in a dish and pack turkey mixture into patties 1″ wide by 1/2″ thick. Roll turkey patties in breadcrumbs and pan fry in oil until golden on all sides. Serve soup with 2-3 croquettes and fresh oregano on top.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Garden, Recipes, Soups | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

In Our Kitchen: The Remnants of One Holiday and Signs of Another

Yes that is a fried egg in the middle of that chunk of dressing

Yes that is a fried egg in the middle of that chunk of dressing

Like many other folks everything is about eating leftovers up after Thanksgiving. This is the only time when a turkey sandwich has to have cranberry sauce, gravy and stuffing on it and when breakfast has to turn into a heart attack.

I mean look at that

I mean look at that

That above is cubes of leftover dressing fried with bacon, butter and fried eggs. Only Thanksgiving makes this Frankenstein creation not only desirable but possible.

There is a reason Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Too bad some other bully of a holiday is always trying to step on Thanksgiving. Must be jealous.

At least one of our leftover creations was a little more wholesome….

food00258

Put a biscuit on me and call me pie.

We used some leftover dark turkey meat and roasted rutabaga to make a chicken pot pie. We also had a leftover reduction sauce from braised venison that we threw into the mix in lieu of chicken broth, hence the dark color.

Not everyone appreciates our cooking. When our friends came over for flan and tamales (recipes to come) we made sure to have this on hand for the kids. A commenter once said they never made anything special for kids; kids either ate what was served or didn’t. If we were parents we’d have the same philosophy, but we’re not so our philosophy is to have PB&J on hand so there are more tamales for us.

Store bought day old bread with store brand peanut butter still sings with homemade strawberry jam

At least the presentation is gourmet

While the remnants of Thanksgiving are still around so are signs of the next big holiday.

A cute castoff from a coworker

A cute castoff from a coworker

To get a peek inside other bloggers’ kitchens hop on over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her monthly roundup.

Posted in Rants | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Sunday Suppers: Anything But Turkey

Chances are your refrigerator is still stuffed to the gills with all things turkey. But we can still dream of a time when tryptophans aren’t on the menu. Perfhaps sometime next week. Here are some suggestions for your firs post-turkey meals

Blackened Shrimp Tostadas with Refried Black Beans

The secret layer is made of avocado

The secret layer is made of avocado

Crawfish Etouffee

That is some creamy goodness

That is some creamy goodness

Beef and Red Bell Pepper Stew

This is even better the next day

This is even better the next day

Seared Pork Chops over Dirty Rice

There is the American ratio of meat to everything else

There is the American ratio of meat to everything else

Or if you’re just sick of meat in general, you could try this:

Butternut Squash stuffed with Black Beans

That squash came from my mom's garden

That squash came from my mom’s garden

Posted in Dinner, Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Inside Out Caramel Apples in Puff Pastry

One of these is actually enough for two

One of these is actually enough for two

We make as many desserts for two in this house as possible. If you’re cooking for more make sure to adjust as needed. Making caramel is in theory simple, but in practice sucks. At least the first time. Be patient. Don’t stir. Work quickly. Keep an eye on the stove. If you mess up, it’s just sugar. And maybe a pan or two. Not that we’re speaking from experience. If you want to use store-bought caramels (which we didn’t try but surely would work!:) or caramel sauce go for it.

Inside Out Caramel Apples

  • 2 medium apples, we used gala
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk, warmed but not hot
  • 1 tsp rum (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon sugar
  • egg yolk, beaten

Cut puff pastry in half. Peel and core each apple, reserving a bit of skin or a flat disk of apple to plug the holes on the bottom. Roll each in half the cinnamon sugar and set in the center of the puff pastry squares. Slide your apple plugs under the bottom of each apple so the sauce will stay in the holes. Spray a baking sheet or casserole dish large enough to hold the apples without touching. Now for the part that requires patience. Pour the sugar in a wide bottomed sauce pan. (We used a four-quart pan.) Have your whisk and a rubber spatula at the ready. Set the pan over medium heat and do not leave the kitchen. Do not stir the sugar. Once it starts to liquify (at least five to eight minutes) you can use the rubber spatula to gently toss any dry sugar into the wet sugar. Once it turns amber, and this will happen very quickly pull it off the heat and whisk in your milk and rum making sure to work quickly. Fill the cavities with half the sauce and reserve the rest for drizzling over the baked apples. Wrap the apples in the puff pastry making sure to seal them thoroughly. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg yolk over the puff pastry. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until pastry is golden. Serve with caramel sauce and ice cream.

 

 

Posted in Dessert, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments