Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mushroom Risotto

Risotto has been on my "bucket" list of things to cook ever since I've watched it being made in Hell's Kitchen.  It gets sent back more often then it gets served there, so I thought, just how hard is this recipe to do?  Maybe to Chef Ramsey's standards it might be hard, but my first attempt turned out creamy, well cooked and delicious!

I didn't follow any one recipe.  I read over the Joy of Cooking's basic Risotto, a recipe on AllRecipes and Jamie Oliver's Grilled Mushroom Risotto.  And then I set about to cooking.   Luckily Hilary was on hand because I completely forgot about adding in cheese at the very end.  She graciously grated it for me while I continued to stir.


  • 1 cup mixed dry mushrooms
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 8 cups chicken stock, kept warm
  • 4-5 shallots, diced
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Soak dry mushrooms in warm water till soft.  Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid.  Cut mushrooms into small pieces.
  2. Sauté fresh mushrooms in some butter till well cooked.  Set aside, including all liquid.
  3. Sauté dried mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.  Add to fresh mushrooms
  4. Sauté shallots in remaining butter on low heat for 5-6 minutes.  Do not allow them to brown.
  5. Add uncooked rice.  Continue to sauté for 5-6 more minutes, until rice starts to appear translucent.
  6. Add reserved liquid from soaking the mushrooms.  Continue to stir till all liquid is absorbed.
  7. Add white wine.  Continue to stir till all liquid is absorbed.
  8. Add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly.  As each 1/2 cup of liquid is absorbed, add more.   The rice will cook during this time and your risotto will develop a nice creamy texture.
  9. This should take about 25 minutes, but check the doneness of the rice periodically.  I did not need all 8 cups of stock before my rice was done.
  10. Add the mushrooms back into the rice just before it is completely cooked.
  11. Once the rice is done add in the Parmesan and stir well
  12. Serve.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tres Leche Cake


  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup masa harina
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 1/2 pt whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

  1. Setup a double boiler by filling a pot large enough to hold your mixer bowl and bring the water to a simmer. Move your oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Grease and flour a 9″ cake pan to prevent the finished cake from sticking.
  3. Put the whole eggs, yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a metal mixer bowl and whisk to combine. Put the bowl in your double boiler and whisk, heating until the mixture reaches 100 degrees F (luke warm).
  4. Mount the bowl on the mixer and beat with the whisk attachment for at least 5 minutes. It may look ready before then, but it really needs to go this long to get enough air integrated. The volume will triple and pale yellow ribbons of egg will flow off the whisk
  5. Sift the masa harina and cornmeal into a bowl though a fine double mesh strainer. 
  6. When the egg mixture is ready, add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the eggs and fold together. Repeat twice more, folding between each addition until you can’t see any more clumps of flour.  Be gentle while folding though as it will not rise properly if the egg mixture deflates. 
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a skewer comes out clean (about 20-25 minutes). 
  8. Put the cake pan on a rack and allow to cool.
  9. To make the tres leches syrup, just whisk the three ingredients together in a bowl. You only need half the mixture, so you can either double the batter and make 2 cakes, or you can store the extra syrup in a sealed container for the next cake you make.
  10. Use a toothpick to poke holes all over the cake, this will help the cake absorb the tres leches syrup. 
  11. When the cake cools to room temperature, pour half the syrup mixture over the cake, making sure to evenly saturate the edges. 
  12. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  13. For the whipped cream, put the cream, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 
  14. Beat until you see peaks form in the cream. 
  15. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the top of the cake. 
  16. Slice and serve with fruit.

Recipe source:

Hummus and red pepper

  • Red Pepper
  • Snow Peas
  • Hummus (no measurements, this one is all done to taste - some like a lot of garlic, others more lemon, just keep tasting and adding till you like it)
    • Chickpeas
    • Lemon juice
    • Tahini
    • Garlic
    • Salt, pepper, cayenne 
    • Olive oil

  1. Boil chickpeas until tender; drain and cool
  2. In food processor mix chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini until well blended
  3. While mixing, drizzle in olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency.  If it become to thick and pasty, you can add some water, a few drops at a time
  4. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
  5. Fill pipping bag with hummus
  6. Layout slice of red pepper with a snow pea on top and pipe a dollop of hummus on top.

Watermelon bites


  • Watermelon
  • Mint Leaves
  • Balsamic Reduction

  1. Boil 1 full bottle of balsamic vinegar until reduced to a thick syrup.  If desired you can add some sugar to taste.  Watch it carefully as it will burn quickly when it starts to thicken.
  2. Cool reduction 
  3. Cube watermelon into 1 inch squares
  4. Using a melonballer,  scoop out a small bit of the top of the square, being careful to not make the wall too thin, or the balsamic reduction will leak through
  5. Add a small amount of cooled reduction to each melon square
  6. Top with mint leaf
  7. Serve.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Easy Blondies

What can be easier then a desert that only has 3 ingredients and only takes 30 minutes to make?


  • 1 whole box of Ritz crackers
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 package Skor bits

  1. Crush the crackers into crumbs ( I used the food processor, much faster)
  2. Combine the crumbs with the sweetened condensed milk and the Skor bits - keep back 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top.
  3. Spread into a buttered 8x9 baking dish
  4. Sprinkle extra Skor bits all over
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes*
  6. Cool, cut into squares and serve

*I think next time I would have baked them a bit longer.  They were very good, but slightly undercooked.