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Faux Mushroom Chicken Risotto

mushroom chicken rice, butternut squash and sage

Is a bit misleading, since this does not actually have major chicken in it. It does however have real chicken broth (with teeny pieces of chicken,) that I cooked down from an actual chicken carcass, so it's a bit more chickeny than if I'd used the normal pre-fab broths. If you're using a purchased broth I'd add a 1/4 cup or so of shredded chicken.

Makes 4 servings as dinner
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 garlic glove, minced
  • 2 cups mushroom, sliced
  • pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth (optional shredded chicken)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  1. saute onion in oil until fragrant, add garlic and cook another minute
  2. add mushrooms and cook until they have begun to release moisture or shrunken
  3. add pepper and zest, saute another minute
  4. add rice and cook, stirring frequently for a few minutes (add optional shredded chicken here)
  5. pour in chicken broth, give it a good stir, and simmer, covered, over low heat until much of the broth is absorbed
  6. add 1 tbsp butter and cook uncovered over low heat, letting more liquid steam off, repeat
  7. check ever so often, stirring and making sure not to burn
  8. eat when ready
I served this over butternut squash puree with a few fried sage leaves, yum.

Frying sage leaves is super easy. Heat high-heat oil in a frying pan. Drop sage leaves in hot oil. As soon as leaves stop sizzling remove them to a paper towel w/ wooden chopsticks or slotted spoon. Ta da!


    MLK Cake 2010

    mlk cake

    Jevan and I met on January 15th, 2005 that weekend, and every anniversary since, has fallen on the Martin Luther King Jr holiday. The first weekend we baked a cake together together (we got domestic very quickly.) Love and lust drunk we decided to make it black & white swirled, with red/pink frosting in the middle, to symbolize harmony and the insides we all share.

    This is our fifth year together, and fifth cake.

    gleefully icing cake
    The first year

    We either didn't take pictures of the second year, or they're on some hard drives I need to hook up and transfer pictures from.

    mlk cake 2008
    Year the third

    mlk cake 2008
    The best so far.

    MLK cake 2009
    The fourth, in which I learned a valuable decorating lesson.

    I'm just a tad bitchy and judgmental about cupcakes (aren't they so 2006/2007?) BUT, I woke up from a dream, knowing how I could get the design for this years' cake right, and if it involves cupcakes--so be it.

    The Idea: mlk cake 2010 draft
    I woke up Sunday morning thinking of this and rushed to draw it before my mind blanked. Now to see how we can execute it.


    mlk cakes

    Not the worst, but I learned several more important lessons in decoration, the first of which is marzipan is a bitch to work with.

    I hope everyone had a fantastic MLK Day, and remembered "don't be a dick" not to anyone, not if they look different and not if they think different; "don't be a dick" is an imperative.

    Recipe to follow.


    Mushroom Beef Bourguignon

    cotes du rhone
    This weekend we had some friends over for dinner, and I wanted to make dinner using my new toy/ dutch oven. None of the recipes it came with  seemed quite right, I wanted something I could leave mostly unattended and that would cook for hours. I googled, I searched epicurious for "dutch oven" still nothing, so I decided to search Smitten Kitchen, success! I was going to make the vegetarian version, but had been feeling a bit anemic lately so decided to add the beef. The recipe seems like it could easily be made vegan by leaving out the beef, using veggie broth and substituting soy margarine; I bet it would still be delicious.

    Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Mushroom Bourguignon (serves 4 with a little left over)

    bourguignon ingredients
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 3/4 lb beef stew meat 
    • 6 cups mushrooms, sliced (combination of portabella & crimini)
    • 1 smallish yellow onion, finely diced
    • 1 large carrot, finely diced
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme (all my normal thyme seems to have died, so I used the flourishing "caraway thyme")
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 2 cups beef broth
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 cup pearl onions
    • 1.5 tbsp flour

        browned beef mushrooms
        1. Heat 1 tbsp butter and olive oil in dutch oven or large heavy pot.  Brown beef and remove. Briefly brown mushrooms and remove (careful not not let them weep)
        2. Add 2nd tbsp olive oil to pot then saute onion, carrots & thyme along with a bit salt & fresh ground pepper until onion is translucent and beginning to brown. Add garlic, cook briefly then add wine. Turn up heat until wine is reduced by half (if your beef chunks are large you may want to cut them into smaller pieces now), then add beef broth & tomato paste
        3. Add beef and simmer, covered, on low heat until beef is exceptionally tender (this took several hours, don't worry about overcooking it)
        4. Once beef is falling-apart tender add mushrooms and give it all a good stir. Keep cooking on low, covered, stirring occasionally. After mushrooms have shrunken add pearl onions, and continue to cook as before until mushrooms are tender. (or longer, I ended up having started too early so the food simmered, just barely, a good hour at this point)
        5. Mash the remaining butter & flour together, and stir the paste into the bourguignon. Start the water for your noodles and let cook
        6. Serve bourguignon over egg noodles with a dollop of sour cream. I Accompanied it with butter lettuce salad in lemon vinaigrette. Success!



          death metal cockatoo

          Here's an awesome video for the weekend:



          easy-peasy cold weather breakfast

          These are super-cute super-easy little breakfast casserolettes I've made a couple of times for cold-weather Sunday brunch.

          They're quick to make, take minimum attention and leave almost no dishes to wash (which is ideal to me; who wants to wash dishes after champagne?)


          This kinda strikes me as some ultimate mid-west diner fare, completely anti-gourmet but surprisingly delicious; I love the contrast between the salty bottom and sweet top.

          You will need:
          • a ramekin per person (or other small bowl that can take relatively high oven temperatures, my new dutch oven came with two mini-ovens that work perfectly)
          • 1-2 strips bacon per person
          • a small batch of your favorite pancake batter
          • 1 egg per person
          • maple syrup
          1. using kitchen shears snip bacon in small pieces into ramekins
          2. put ramekins in oven at 400 degrees
          3. cook bacon in ramekins until crispy, pouring off fat as needed
          4. meanwhile make up a batch of pancake batter
          5. after bacon is crispy remove from oven and pour off fat again (or sop it up w/ a paper towel)
          6. spoon pancake batter over the bacon, until ramekins are about 1/3 full
          7. crack an egg over pancake batter an put lids on ramekins (if you don't have lids you can tightly cover them with tin foil, carefully 'cause they're hot)
          8. put covered ramekins into oven and reduce heat to 350
          9. bake 5+ minutes, until egg is cooked how you want (in the picture I left them in to long and had completely hard yolks)
          10. remove from oven and pour maple syrup on top
          11. serve on an oven-mitt or other heat-proof surface & enjoy!
          What are other people's favorite cold weather comfort breakfasts?


          Hoppin' John

          Most cultures have some specific food you eat to welcome the new year and ensure luck/fortune/prosperity for the duration. Some people eat long noodles to symbolize a long life or food with names like what they want to bring about. In the southern US people eat a black-eyed pea dish called Hoppin' John. The black-eyed peas look kinda like coins, and it's often eaten with greens (the color of money) all adding up to a dish that should bring prosperity in the new year. Hoppin' John happens to be the tradition I've taken on; a little prosperity can't hurt, and the food really helps settle the morning after stomach. I have been trying to make a Hoppin' John that doesn't taste like dirt (black-eyed peas have a lovely if quite earthy flavor) for three years now, and have finally succeeded!

          This serves 4-6 people as a meal

          hoppin' john
          • 3 cups black-eyed peas
          • 4 cups broth
          • 3 strips bacon
          • one medium onion
          • healthy pinch red pepper flakes
          • a handful fresh spinach per person
          1. put peas in a large bowl and just cover in water
          2. using kitchen shears cut bacon into small pieces over a large heavy-bottomed pot
          3. cook bacon in pot until crispy
          4. dice onion
          5. pour off excess bacon grease and add onion to pot
          6. cook onion until translucent
          7. add peas & pepper and stir thoroughly
          8. add broth (I used chicken) and simmer gently until peas reach desired doneness (3-4 hours)
          1. rinse and roughly chop spinach
          2. fill each bowl 2/3 with the fresh spinach
          3. top with hot Hoppin' John and a pat of butter
          4. enjoy, make a resolution to be less hung-over next year
          hoppin' john