December 30, 2010

Risotto Rosso

I have been saying for awhile that I want to try to make a risotto with red wine, and I happened to find vialone nano in Rhode Island over Christmas, and I was dying to try it. Luckily I had printed this recipe from food52 a couple months ago and it turned out to be the most delicious recipe.

The mushrooms, pancetta, red wine and beef broth gave this dish a rich, earthy depth of flavor. It was truly like nothing I have ever tasted. (Or maybe like nothing I have ever created in my kitchen.)

It just barely made two dinner portions and one leftover lunch portion, so I will definitely double it the next time I make it. (I love having risotto leftover for lunch.) Also, I had about 1 1/2 cups broth left over, which never happens with arborio rice; I am usually scrambling to find more broth to finish cooking the rice. 

December 29, 2010

Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post is picture-less, but this recipe is so good that I just couldn't keep it to myself.

For anyone who likes oatmeal chocolate chip cookies - this recipe from food52 may be your new favorite. I know it's mine! The balance of spice, salt, chocolate and oats is just perfect.

December 21, 2010

Chocolate Chunk & Vanilla Bean Cookies

Look closely and you can see the vanilla bean specks!

I have been excited to try this recipe for awhile - I just love the flavor from vanilla beans and there is certainly nothing wrong with semisweet chocolate chunks!!

This recipe is from the Coconut & Lime blog and the cookies are delicious. The recipe says it will make 2 dozen, but I only got maybe 18. It turns out that's a good thing, because they are only good on the 1st and 2nd days. By the 3rd day they taste a little stale. My only complaint is that the cookies don't have a strong vanilla flavor. I was really hoping for a stronger flavor from the bean.

December 19, 2010


Our dear dog, named for a manly man, is certainly not a manly dog. We had about 2 inches of snow earlier this week and after walking a block or two, Patton started to whine and alternate holding up one of his paws as he walked. He finally just sat down and cried. MM had to pick up all 55 pounds of him and carry him home.

Patton's feet were cold. So now he is the laughing stock of the neighborhood with his booties.

Really, mom?

December 7, 2010

Cranberry Bread

mmmmm cranberries

I bought a couple bags of fresh cranberries before Thanksgiving with the intention of making cranberry orange relish, but I never got around to it. I thought I was going to end up freezing them, but then this glorious bread happened! I printed this recipe awhile ago and just (re)discovered it in my recipe book. Boy am I glad I did. If you like tart cranberries mixed with doughy (in a good way) bread and crunchy sugary crust, try this recipe!

I got the recipe from the Arugula Files blog, but it is a Martha Stewart recipe. (I heart you, Martha!)

December 5, 2010

Sky in the Pie

Today's post brought to you by the color orange...

I am terribly delinquent in posting this Thanksgiving pie, but hopefully you won't hold it against me or this delicious pie!

I love this pie.  It gets it name because under the pumpkin is a luscious cream cheese mixture, so it looks like the sky is in the pie. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of a slice so you could see the layers, so you will just have to use your imagination!

This pie also happens to be another family recipe (see here for my great-grandmother's coffee cake), and as far as I am concerned, no Thanksgiving is complete without it.

I made my own pie crust for the first time this year and I would call it a mild success. It was delicious, but I had serious issues rolling it into a large enough circle, which is why the pie in the picture just barely has a crust. I used the Cooks Illustrated recipe as explained on Smitten Kitchen (although I used all butter, no shortening).

Sky in the Pie
(for a 9 inch pie crust)

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
9 inch unbaked pie crust

1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
dash salt
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl, mixing until well blended. Add egg; mix well. Spread on the bottom of the pastry crust.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl; mix well. Carefully pour over cream cheese mixture.

3. Bake for 1 hour 5 minutes or until done (mine usually take 1 hour 15 minutes). Cool. Brush with maple syrup if desired (I don't know if I have ever had it with the syrup!)

Note: for a 10 inch pie, keep cream cheese mixture the same, but increase pumpkin to 2 1/4 cups, increase sugar to 3/4 cup and add one more egg to pumpkin mixture. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

December 3, 2010

What's Left in the Fridge Frittata

Every now and then, I end up with bits of this and that in the fridge and I hear my mom's voice in my head: "Don't throw that away! You can find something to do with it." This week they went into a frittata.

Frittatas hold a special place in my household as it was the first dish I cooked for Marshal Mike when we were dating. I haven't made one for a long time, but decided the ingredients I had on hand would be perfectly suited for it. Unfortunately MM is off playing Army so he didn't get to enjoy the fridge frittata. Below is a recipe for this particular frittata, but think of it as a general guideline and feel free to use any ingredients you'd like!

What's Left in the Fridge Frittata
Serves 3

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk (I had evaporated milk leftover from making a pie for Thanksgiving, so I used that)
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used a combination of Parmigiano-Reggiano and rosemary asiago)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
A handful or two baby arugula leaves

1. Position an oven rack in the top 1/3 of the oven; preheat the broiler. (I forgot you are supposed to use the broiler and heated the oven to 400 degrees. The top of my frittata did not get golden, which is why you see the bottom of my frittata in the picture above!)

2. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in an oven safe 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook until the onions caramelize and the pepper softens.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper.

4. When the onions and pepper are just done, add the handful or two of arugula to the pan and stir to wilt slightly. Lower the heat to medium low or low. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and gently stir (I forgot to stir, that's why you can see all of my vegetables in the above picture).

5. When the edges are set, transfer to the oven and cook until puffy and golden (obviously this will take less time if under the broiler than in a 400 degree oven).

6. Let the frittata cool for a couple of minutes (remember the handle of the skillet will be very hot!) Loosen the edges of the frittata with a rubber scraper. Use a plate to invert the frittata and either invert again onto another plate, or keep the bottom as the top, whichever is prettier! Cut into wedges.