Diane Seed’s Asparagus Risotto


Diane Seed is known to those who have been fortunate enough to attend her occasional classes, as a teacher who weaves a spell, while she infuses Italian history and a story with each dish she creates with you.  I had the pleasure of spending an evening with her and it was truly the highlight of my cooking journey.  She is fascinating, and so pleasant. She glides in the kitchen with an ease that is contagious. I found myself be very child-like and wanting to mimic her every move.

One of the dishes we made while I was graced with her presence was Asparagus Risotto. She taught me most people feel the need to make their risotto with Arborio Rice, but she compared it to Minute Rice and she said Carnaroli Rice is the only rice for GOOD risotto. When I came back home I couldn’t find it though.  I found some on Amazon.com to order.  I also found it in the North Beach or Little Italy while I was in San Francisco.  So you might have to search for it in your hometown.

I hope you take the time to make this dish. It is truly an indulgence well worth it.  This is taken from my notes.  Enjoy her comments about some of the ingredients!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                                                  

Vonnie

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh green asparagus

salt

1 3/4 oz butter (

1 medium onion, finely chopped

10 ounces Carnaroli rice (the only rice to use Anything else used will taste like Minute)

8 ounces good dry white wine ( cook with what you would drink, not cheap)

a little light stock,  (asparagus water about 3 cups or more)

1 3/4 ounce freshly grated parmesan cheese (buy a good quality and grate it yourself)

black pepper, Freshly ground                                                    

Directions:

Cut off the extreme tips(1 to 1 1/4 inch) of the asparagus and reserve.  Cut the remaining stalks into pieces (1 3/4 inches) and cook quickly in a little salted water.  When they are tender,  puree and sieve to eliminate any tough fibers.  Stir this pulp into cooking liquid to make an asparagus stock. (this is the salted water the asparagus cooked in).

Melt 1 1/2 ounce of the butter in a large pan, add the onion and let it begin to soften before adding the asparagus tips. With a wooden spoon ( must be a wooden spoon) stir in the rice and let it absorb in the flavor of the butter and pour in the wine.  Turn up the heat so the wine evaporates quickly then ladle on a little of the boiling asparagus stock.  When the rice has absorbed the liquid add another ladle of stock and continue in this way until the rice is cooked. You may need to use a different stock if the asparagus stock is finished before the rice is tender.  It is important to add only boiling stock a little at a time to the rice.  This process usually takes about 20 minutes and needs constant care. ( just like a baby or a man!!)

When the rice is cooked check for seasoning and stir in the remaining butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add your black pepper to your taste.

Deutsch: Abgesackter Carnaroli Reis; Risottoqu...

Image via Wikipedia

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Valentine’s Day menu


Enjoy spending time with the one’s you love.

 

This is one of my favorite Valentine’s menus.  I made it for Mark Valentine’s Day 1994 ( sometimes it pays writing notes in my cookbooks!)  I was very pregnant with Maddie, Chris was 4, and Taylor was 2.  The boys and I cut out 100 hearts and wrote all the things we loved about Mark on them.  We taped the hearts to the door so when Mark got home from work he would see them. Then we sat down and enjoyed this wonderful dinner and laughed and told Mark all of our adventures of the day!!

I hope your Valentine’s Day is full of love and laughter.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                                      

Vonnie

 

 

Menu:

Deep Fried Ravioli with a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Tossed Salad with Grandma’s Italian Dreesing

Garlic Green Beans

Chicken Amore

Raspberry Cobbler

 

Deep Fried Ravioli with a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Ingredients:                                                                                           

1 pkg. raviolis, found in the refrigerator section

1 cup of roasted red peppers, rinsed and chopped

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Directions:

In a food processor combine peppers, vinegar, mustard, oil and salt until finely chopped. Pour into a mixing bowl and sitr in mayonnaise. Serve as a dipping sauce for raviolis.

Fry raviolis in oil until crspy.

Tossed Salad with Grandma’s Italian Dressing

Ingredients:                                                                                                            

Romaine lettuce, Chopped

Tomatoes, sliced

Cucumber, peeled and sliced

Add all salad ingredients in a bowl and toss.

Dressing:

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients together set aside. In a large mixing bowl add vinegar. Whisk oil in slowly and well. Add dry ingredients and whisk well. Before serving over tossed salad whisk dressing.

Garlic Green Beans                                                                             

Ingredients:

4 cloves garlic

1 lb. green beans

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. butter

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook green beans by steaming until crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Crush and mince garlic. In a large skillet heat oil and butter over meduim heat. Add garlic and saute. Add green beans, salt and pepper. Toss in pan until beans are thoroughly coated and evenly heated.

Chicken Amore

Ingredients:                                                                        

1 cup flour

salt and pepper to taste

4 chicken breast halves

1/2 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

dash hot sauce

1 1/2 cup white wine

3/4 cup sliced black olives

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1-7 oz. jar pimentos

Directions:

Mix flour, salt and pepper together in a large zip bag. Add chicken and shake well. Make sure chicken is coated well. Heat oil in a large skillet over meduim heat. Add chicken and brown 3-5 min. turn and brown another 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, parsley,seasoning, hot sauce and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add olives, mushrooms, and pimentos. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes.

Raspberry Cobbler

 Ingredients:                                                                                    

1 pkg. frozen raspberries

2 cups Bisquick

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup melted butter

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Thaw berries and spread evenly on the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, combine bisquick, milk, butter, and 2 Tbsp. sugar. Mix well until moist. Set aside. In sauce pan combine water, 3/4 cup sugar, and cornstarch. Bring to a boil. Stir until mixture is thick and clear. Pour over berries. Drop Bisquick mixture by spoonful over berries. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew and Baked Apples


I always look forward to the Fall season.  There are so many dishes I love to make, but it just seems of the four seasons, Fall goes by so quickly and I never get to make all the wonderful dinners I have in my repertoire.

These are a couple of recipes that get rave reviews. I faithfully make for all of my families. These are perfect recipes for when your day is overly busy. The stew is great because you can put it in the slow cooker and all the work is done for you. The baked apples are a perfect accompaniment.  Don’t be fooled by simplicity of these dishes. The flavors meld together nicely and no one will ever know it took you no time at all to create a wonderful dinner.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking~                                      

Vonnie                                                               

 

 

Chicken Stew Ingredients:

1 1/4 pound of chicken breasts or thighs or a combination, cut into bite sie pieces.

1 dried bay leaf

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 red skin potatoes, quartered 

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1/4 cup white wine

1 (18oz) jar chicken gravy

1/2 cup each, frozen corn, green beans, and peas

 Directions:

Place chicken in 3 1/2 to 4 qt. slow cooker. Top with bay leaf, pepper, onion, carrots, and celery. Pour white wine and gravy over vegetables and chicken.

Cover and cook on low setting 8 to 10 hours.

After cooking 8 to 10 hours increase setting to high and gently stir in frozen vegetables. Cook for 15 minutes.

 

 

 Baked Apples with Granola Ingredients:                                                

 2 large crisp apples(fuji,braeburn, gala)

2 Tbsp. raisins

2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar

4 tsp. butter

4 crunchy granola, crushed

 

Directions: 

Cut apples in half lengthwise. Using a spoon scoop out core and make a 1 inch indentation in each half. In a microwave pie plate arrange apple halves cut side up. Fill each apple with raisins and brown sugar; dot with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and fold back one edge 1/4 inch to vent steam.

Microwave on high 5 to 6 minutes or until apples are tender. Top each apple with granola.

 

Strawberry Turkey Salad


The summer night is like a perfection of thought. ~Wallace Stevens            

This salad will be the perfect accompaniment to your summer evening.
It’s light, but very satisfying.  If you don’t have turkey, use chicken or pork.  It will be equally as tasty!!
Add nice glass of sun tea or your favorite white wine and I guarantee a dinner that will be the highlight of your day.  Enjoy this while you watch the sunset!

PS… Last summer I entered this into a local recipe contest and WON!  I got a great chop-chop board as my prize.  Trust me when I say if you serve your family and friends this for dinner you will be a winner too!
Enjoy and Happy Cooking,
Vonnie                                                                                                                  

Ingredients:


6 TBSP Mango chutney
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 pkg. Romaine Lettuce, chopped
…8 oz. turkey breast, chopped
2 pt. strawberries, sliced
1 cup  red grapes
3/4 cup  celery, sliced
1/2 cup  red onion, chopped
fresh mint leaves (optional)                                                                                                                                   

Directions:

1. For dressing, in a bowl whisk together chutney, yogurt, and lime juice.
2. In a large bowl combine, lettuce, grapes, celery, and red onions.  Fill 4 plates with lettuce mixture.
3. Top lettuce mixture with turkey and strawberries. Drizzle with dressing. Top with fresh mint if desired.

Classic Swiss Fondue


This is a great Meatless Monday meal that will leave you satisfied. Don’t limit yourself to the listed dippers. Be adventuresome!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                                                                                                                                             

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 1/4 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

8 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)

8 ounces Swiss Cheese shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup Kirsch (cherry brandy)

A few gratings of fresh nutmeg

Black  ground pepper, to taste

Directions

What to dip: crusty mixed grain bread, French, Italian or Rye bread, cut into bite-sized cubes, new potatoes, boiled, asparagus spears, broccoli florets or cauliflower florets, blanched and prepared for dipping. Mushrooms, fresh or sautéed. Whole radishes, trimmed. Small dill pickles.

Rub the inside of a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan with the garlic; discard the garlic. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a bare simmer over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, toss the Gruyère and Swiss cheeses with the cornstarch. A handful at a time, stir the cheese mixture into the wine, stirring the first batch until it is almost completely melted before adding another. The fondue can bubble gently, but do not boil. Stir in the Kirsch and season with the nutmeg and pepper.

Transfer to a cheese fondue pot and keep warm over a fondue burner. Serve immediately with selected dippers.

Tomatoes


As spring kicks into full gear we can now enjoy so many more fresh fruits and vegetables.  April was recognized as National Florida Tomato Month as it’s the state that grows the most fresh tomatoes for consuming, while California grows the most tomatoes for processing. 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Dale from Lincoln Park, Michigan who is Michigan Heirloom Tomatoes. He shared his wealth of knowledge and helped me pick out 5 varieties of heirloom tomatoes for my garden. He gave me a lot of suggestions on planting too. Thanks Dale! I can’t wait to get my garden in the ground in the next couple of weeks. You can find Dale on Facebook:  Michigan Heirloom Tomatoes (Michigan Tomatoes)
With this in mind I decided to post one of my new favorite recipes using tomatoes.
Chicken with Prosciutto, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes.
Hope you enjoy. Let me hear from you.                                                                    
Happy cooking,


 

Serves:6

6 boneless chicken breasts
flour
3 TBSP. olive oil
1 TBSP. butter
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 pound prosciutto, cut into slivers * can use a mild flavored ham
1 TBSP. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
4 TBSP. tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup water
2-3  ripe tomatoes, diced

Dust chicken with flour. Heat oil and butter over medium heat in large oven proof skillet. Add chicken and brown thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Add prosciutto, garlic, rosemary, and bay leaf. Stir and add mushrooms. Saute for 3-5 minutes. Add wine, simmer gently for 3 minutes. Add tomato paste that has been mixed with water. Stir well. Transfer to 350 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes. Baste chicken so that it is well glazed and add diced tomatoes. Continue cooking for 10- 15 minutes.
Serve with lightly buttered pasta and a green salad.