Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Risotto with Radicchio and Mushrooms

1-1/4 cups of carnaroli, arborio, or vialona nano rice
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 stick of butter
1-1/2 cups diced mixed mushrooms chopped medium
2 shallots chopped fine
1 small radicchio (or 1/2 large one) sliced fine, then chopped into bite sized pieces
2-1/2 cups warm stock or water (more may be needed)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Sauté mushrooms till soft but not too soft, set aside in a separate bowl. Sauté shallots with 1/3 of the butter and when translucent add to mushrooms. Sauté till al dente radicchio with another 1/3 of the butter. Then add to mushroom and shallot mixture. Add last 1/3 of butter and add rice and cook till slightly toasty and brown but not burnt.

Start adding warm stock or warm water half a cup at a time stirring judiciously. The idea is to add liquid to the rice slowly to bring out the starch and make it creamy. Now is the time to add the salt and half of the pepper. As soon as the water or stock is absorbed add another half a cup and so on and keep stirring. This will take some time, at least 1/2 an hour or more. Don't get over anxious and add too much water, this is an exercise in patience. I cheated and used long grain white rice (because that's all I had) and it took me over an hour to make this risotto. I now see I need to us a proper rice for a proper risotto, next time.

When rice starts to plump up after 2/3 of the cooking time, add the white wine and 1/3 of mushroom, shallot and radicchio mixture thus allowing time to cook the alcohol out of the wine. As before when moisture is absorbed into the rice, continue adding water or stock to cook the mixture. When rice is almost completely softened, add the remainder of the mushroom, shallot and radicchio mixture. Serve and top with remainder of fresh cracked black pepper and fresh grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy. (Images borrowed from the net).

Be Safe, Be Well

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Split Pea Soup with Fresh Mint


one pound bag of dried split peas 8 cups water 2 tbs olive oil 1 yellow onion chopped fine 3 stalks of celery chopped fine 3 cloves garlic chopped fine 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 2 whole bay leaves 6-8 cups fresh water 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves chopped medium

Using the quick soak method in a stockpot add split peas and 8 cups of water, bring to boil for 2 minutes, cover and let sit for one hour. Meanwhile in a nonstick saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil sauté one yellow onion chopped fine till soft, put in bowl, then sauté 3 stalks chopped fine of celery till soft, put in same bowl as onion, then sauté 3 chopped fine garlic cloves for one minute only, put in same bowl.

At end of an hour drain and rinse peas then put back in same pot and add all the items in the bowl and enough water to cover those ingredients. Then add one teaspoon of salt, cumin, pepper and bay leaves and simmer till peas are very soft add more water if necessary. Next blend in blender along with half a cup of fresh mint leaves chopped. Husband raved about this soup. The mint elevates the lowly split pea in this soup to a new level.

A pound bag of split peas makes quite a few servings of soup. It's just the two of us so I can freeze some of it but I don't think it will be frozen this time. For Greek split pea soup add half a cup of parsley along with the mint, also the juice of one lemon at the end and garnish with feta crumbles. I was afraid lemon would make it too acidic but will try it next time. I grow my mint (not spearmint or peppermint but regular mint) in a container so it doesn't take over the garden. Enjoy.

When it rains it pours. One such downpour is my old laptop screen died and I am trying to learn how to use this new one, hence my lack of response on this and other blogs.

Be Safe, Be Well

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Happy Easter

Sometimes I see past past pieces of pottery and am amazed how long ago it was. This plate is from nine years ago. We've been planting a few bulbs and cold hardy vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and romaine lettuce. After tonight we hope the hard frosts will be an afterthought.

Our twelve year old laptop screen went out and we had a terrible time finding a solution. We realized without smart phone we couldn't even look up local businesses to help us. Phone books it seems are passé. Finally we bit the bullet and purchased a new laptop. Boy is it a lot faster. We had no idea. Now to find out how to get the files on our old computer transferred to our new computer. Hopefully we are able to retrieve them. Back up your old files and store them on a zip drive, you never know.

We noticed a local organization via fb was selling smoked Boston butt for a reasonable price so we ordered one.  It was really quite delicious and we'll have eight meals from the roast. I made a BBQ sauce from scratch which enhanced the smoked meat. By the way a butt is the upper part of the shoulder. Happy Easter to you all.

Be Safe, Be Well

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Eat an Artichoke

How did I know artichokes would be available at the grocery when I sent Gary to pick up a few items. Because it's Spring which means it's artichoke season. When I lived in California I grew artichokes. The photo above is the flower of the artichoke which emerges if the artichoke isn't picked. I was glad at the time I didn't pick this artichoke. This relative of the thistle is spectacular in bloom. California produces nearly 100 percent of the artichokes eaten in the United States. I just read that a hardy variety of artichoke is now available. Since artichokes are so nutritious I'll have to search for some seed. I'm just reading now there's an artichoke tea. Another nutritious items to add to my grocery list.

Headlines are filled with a multitude of proposed tax hikes. Crime is rising all over the country and criminals are let out of jail without bond, even murderers and rapists. Then there are reports of numerous terrorist watch-list folks sneaking across our southern border. Migrants with a myriad of covid mutations are being bused all over our country. These reports all raise my blood pressure. Since January I've documented the skyrocketing food and fuel prices. I'm at a loss on how to cope or how to proceed, so I decide to eat an artichoke.

I cut off the stem of an artichoke so the bottom is flat and place it in a steamer basket with water. I steam it approximately 30 to 45 minutes till the outer stems pull away freely with a tong. I place a generous dollop of mayonnaise on a plate and proceed to enjoy the vegetable. (Artichoke and asparagus are about the only time I use mayonnaise). I peel each leaf off, then using my teeth I scrape the soft inner flesh from the leaf. Before I can even reach the heart of the artichoke my plate is full of discarded leaves. At this point I've perhaps had two tablespoons of the sweet and nutty vegetable. But I am thinking of the artichoke and not any news reports and that's a good thing. Oh and I've also learned there is a liqueur made from artichokes called Cynar and it is used to make an aperitif called Cin-Cyn popular in Switzerland.

Over a year of isolation has precipitated upon my lifestyle and livelihood a slew of problems including medical ones due to the covid. My blood pressure has been increasing each month incrementally. My hands have a rash which won't go away. My teeth also need attention. Now my eyesight has deteriorated exponentially; I was worried I was going blind. I wasn't able to see birds at the bird feeder except as a blur. I'd put off going to any doctors, finally going to an eye doctor. It seems I have cataracts in both eyes. My left eye feels like there's a film across it, which means the cataract is pronounced. I have to get my blood pressure regulated so I can have cataract surgery. Of course all of this raises my blood pressure which I need to regulate before any surgery, which means I have to go to another doctor.

I've finished eating all the leaves of the artichoke and I am now down to the prized heart. I usually use a spoon and remove what is called the choke from the center to reveal the heart. This time I just use my fingers and scoop out the choke to uncover the heart. I break the heart portion into four parts and dip them into the luxurious mayonnaise and eat each morsel with delight. There's a dab of mayonnaise left on the plate. Since I'm eating alone I use my finger to lick the last bit. I say to myself I'm going to enjoy every last morsel because I never know what tomorrow may bring. Don't choke on the choke instead enjoy the heart.

Be Safe, Be Well