Tomato, Sweet Corn and Basil Risotto Cakes

February 22nd, 2014

 

Risotto Cake 3

 

What a lovely little risotto cake.  I love food that can be stuffed in a ramekin, baked, and then un-molded.  I was perusing Nourish Magazine, a quarterly magazine from New Zealand, on-line recently and found this recipe for a vegetable filled risotto cake.  Nourish promotes local, seasonal and vegetarian fare, although the vegetarianism is not total.  There are recipes using meat products as well.  It is always fun to get a fresh prospective on eating.

Risotto Cake New 1

 

The recipe makes six to eight risotto cakes.  I think this would make a lovely luncheon dish topped with a small dressed salad.  For dinner, it makes a pretty side to fish or chicken.  The risotto can be made ahead of time, placed in the ramekins and baked right before you are ready to serve the risotto cakes.  The flavor of the tomato, corn and basil adds lots of interest to the dish.

Risotto Cake New 2

 

So simple, but yet so lovely and delicious.

IMG_0800

On a change of subject, the above picture was taken at last year’s Bloggers’ get together at Larry, of Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings, and his wife  Bev’s Almost Heaven South lakeside pavillion in Tennessee.  We had the most wonderful luau with authentic delicious food, great company and a chance for all of us bloggers to connect with each other.  The event for 2014 is scheduled for either June 7th or 8th.  The official date will be announced in March.  We would like to invite any of our fellow bloggers to attend.  I can guarantee that you will have a good time.  You can contact Larry or Chris, at Nibble Me This, if you are interested in attending.

Blogger Party Grill line up

We had some of the best barbecue gurus in blogland manning the grills.  This grill line-up still brings a smile to my face.  Come and join us.

TOMATO, SWEET CORN AND BASIL RISOTTO CAKES

2 onions, diced
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 cup Arborio rice
3 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced (I used canned)
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp basil pesto
⅔ cup sweetcorn (I used frozen)
⅔ cup grated cheese (I used Parmesan)
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot, soften the onions in the oil.

Add Arborio rice and cook for a couple of minutes being careful not to let the rice catch on the pan.

Then add the tomatoes, mix well and let the Arborio rice absorb some of the moisture from the tomatoes before adding the stock.

When the Arborio rice is nearly cooked through take it off the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Spoon into greased ramekins and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden.  Un-mold by running a knife around the sides and inverting onto plates.

Serve with salad.

Printable recipe

Company Chicken

September 24th, 2011
I have had a lot of company lately.  We have eaten well with everyone pitching in to help.  But I haven’t thought to do a dish such as this.  This is one of those meals that you would serve at a dinner party like we used to have.  I am speaking for myself here.  At the lake we do not have a formal dining room.  We either eat on the screened in porch overlooking the lake or in the kitchen.  But this is also the kind of dish that I still like to make when time permits.  The chicken is not really complicated or time comsuming.  It can actually be prepared ahead of time and cooked when you are ready.  So no more excuses.  I am adding this to my list of company dishes.
The chicken is elegant with a savory stuffing under the skin.  I asked the butcher to bone the chicken breasts for me since it is impossible to find boneless breasts with the skin on.  The fillet strip is ground up in the food processor with spinach, cream, fennel seeds, lemon zest, and nutmeg to make the stuffing.  A spirited sauce is made with Madeira and chicken broth.
 
With the chicken I served Saffron Rice Timbales and Provencal Green Beans.  The two of us enjoyed it immensely.  Maybe next time I will actually share it with company. 
COMPANY CHICKEN ( Gourmet Magazine 1986)
For the stuffed chicken:
4 chicken breasts, boned but not skinned
1 1/2 tablespoons crushed ice
3 tablespoons chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup firmly packed cooked, squeezed, and chopped spinach (about 1/2 pound fresh)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the sauce:
1/2 cup Madeira
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon arrowroot dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
Arrange the chicken breasts skin side down on a cutting board, making sure the skin is evenly stretched over the breasts, and remove the fillet strip from each breast discarding the white tendon.  In a food processor grind the fillets.  Add the ice, blend the mixture until the ice is absorbed, and with the motor running add the cream.  Add the spinach, the salt, the fennel seeds, the zest, the nutmeg, and the pepper and blend the filling well, scraping down the sides.  Turn the breasts skin side up and beginning at the pointed end pull the skin back carefully, leaving the thin trasparent membranes attached along a long side and leaving the skin attached at the opposite end.  Spread 3 tablespoons of the spinach filling evely over each breast, smoothing it, and stretch the skin over the filling to cover it.  Chill the chicken, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for 1 hour.  The chicken may be prepared up to this point 24 hours in advance and kept covered and chilled.  In a large ovenproof skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking, add the chicken, skin side down, and season it with salt and pepper.  Saute the chicken for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown, turn it skin side up, and bake it, covered, in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Mine took longer because the breasts were large.  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it stand, covered loosely with foil, for 5 minutes.
Make the sauce while the chicken is standing:  Pour off the fat from the skillet, add the Madeira, and boil it, scraping up the brown bits, until it is reduced to about 2 tablespoons.  Add the broth and boil the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.  Stir the arrowroot mixture, add it to the skillet, whisking, and simmer the sauce, whisking for 1 minute.
Holding a knife at a 45 degree angle slice the chicken crosswise and arrange the slices, overlapping them slightly, on a platter.  Spoon some of the sauce around the chicken and serve the remaining sauce separately.  Serves 4. 
SAFFRON RICE TIMBALES (Gourmet Magazine 1986)
1/3 cup minced onion
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2/3 cup long-grain rice
1 1/4 cups canned chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained and finely chopped pimiento
In a small saucepan cook the onion in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened, add the saffron and the rice, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the rice is coated well with the butter.  Add the broth, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the rice, covered, for 18 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.  Stir in the pimiento, remove the pan from the heat, and let the rice stand, covered, for 5 minutes.  Pack the rice into 4 buttered 1/2-cup timbale molds (or small ramekins) and invert the timbales onto heated plates.  Serves 4.
PROVENCAL GREEN BEANS (Provence the Beautiful Cookbook)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound small tender green beans (haricots verts), trimmed
salt and freshly ground pepper
handful of dried bread crumbs
Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic cloves and when they begin to sizzle and color, add the beans.  Cook, tossing repeatedly, for 4 to 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the crumbs and toss or stir with a wooden spoon only until the crumbs are crisp and begin to color.  Serve.

Spring Green Risotto – The Barefoot Contessa

May 13th, 2010

This is a perfect Spring dish, especially if you have fresh peas, asparagus and chives. I can lay claim only to the chives from my herb garden. It is Barefoot Blogger Thursday and thanks goes to Kimberly of Indulge & Enjoy for choosing this recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics Cookbook. Risottos are so versatile and I love the flavor combination in this version. It is full of leeks, fennel, the spring vegetables and a wonderful creamy mixture of mascarpone cheese and lemon. Risotto is inherently creamy so the mascarpone is just guilding the lily, but in a good way. It does require attention though, so be prepared to spend time at the stove stirring. It is very much worth it.

SPRING GREEN RISOTTO

1/1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts ( 2 leeks )
1 cup choppped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest ( 2 lemons )
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2 inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teasoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside off the heat for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

Rice Lentil Pilaf and Learning From the Past

May 9th, 2009

We bought a place in the country in 1977. We were reading The Mother Earth News magazines and other” back to the land movement” publications of the era and wanted to be as self sufficient as possible. The house that came with the property was a veritable shack, long ago abandoned with broken windows and critter droppings everywhere. At the time we were young and idealistic, full of energy and up for anything it took to accomplish our goals. My husband is an engineer and at the time he was doing research in solar energy applications and because the house had a good southern exposure, he was sure we could add on to the existing structure and create a solar heated home. I won’t go into the details here because this is supposed to be about the food (remember?), but we would have been better off tearing the whole thing down and starting from scratch. But, after a lot of hard work we ended up with a very nice house where we raised our son and remained until we retired two years ago.

For a time we had a large vegetable garden and chickens and I have to tell you that I miss the fresh eggs. This is a shot of our son, Michael, in 1980 with the king of the hen house.

There’s one thing I don’t miss . . . the pigs. They were wily pigs. There were two of them. There was already a chicken coop and a pig pen of sorts on the property so we thought it would be “way cool” to raise our own meat. Those pigs seemed to know what was in store for them, because their whole mission in life was to escape. They would throw themselves at the pen door until the wooden peg holding it shut would give way and set them free to run. One time when my parents were visiting, I looked out the kitchen window and there was my Dad, holding the pen door shut and apparently yelling for someone to come and help him as the pigs repeatedly banged against the unsecured door. But the kicker was the time I had to call the University where David taught and have his secretary announce to everyone within earshot “Dr. Klett, your wife is on the phone. Your pigs are out again and you need to go home.” The pork chops were excellent.

Also during this era one of my favorite cookbooks was Laurel’s Kitchen. Laurel was a clog wearing, long peasant skirt kind of gal who baked her own bread and lived in a commune. We were obviously not vegetarians like she was, nor commune wannabes, but there were many good dishes in this cookbook that are still relevant today in our health conscious, whole-grain leaning society. I would say her wisdom has stood the test of time. So finally, I’ve gotten to the subject of this post. I love Laurel’s recipe for Rice Lentil Pilaf and have been making it for years. It makes me feel virtuous and healthy with the added bonus that it tastes good. I think the hint of cinnamon does it for me. So take a page from the past and give this pilaf a try. Some things are meant to be repeated. Rebuilding another old house? Why in the world are we doing that again? Sometimes we don’t learn from the past. But I have learned from at least one past mistake . . . Pork is best when purchased from a store.

RICE LENTIL PILAF
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbls oil
1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup lentils
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups water
1 Tbls tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup golden raisins ( or dried cranberries )
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Saute onion in 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan until it is soft. Add rice and cook, stirring for several minutes. Mix tomato paste with water and cinnamon. Add this along with the lentils to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the salt, nuts and raisins to the rice mixture and pour into casserole. Cover and bake the casserole for 20-30 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.