Monday, June 11, 2012

JP's Mushroom Risotto

Ok, so first off I need to admit this is not one of my recipes.  I've altered it a little bit but it's my Uncle Jean-Pierre's concoction, and we refer to him as "JP".  My Aunt Maggie and Uncle JP live out in Sacramento and are literally my only family in California.  JP used to be a professional chef, is Tunisian, and cooks with a passion that leaves your mouth open.  A dinner party at their house is truly an experience as there are at least 10 courses and wine the entire way.  JP has taught me a lot about cooking and every time I visit I learn something new.  Some of my good friends have been able to experience Maggie & JP's and there's currently a list of others that beg me to take them there!  So, with that said this is one of JP's dishes (he doesn't use recipes) so I'll try to relay the best I can!

Servings: No idea, but I think around 8-10 good portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes (give or take)

1 Bottle of your favorite white or red to drink while cooking, #1 JP requirement
3/4 Bottle of dry white wine, portioned out (2 buck chuck from Trader Joe's, don't get all fancy)
4 Handfuls of risotto arborio rice, literally put your hand in the bag and pull out 4 handfuls
2 Tablespoons, olive oil
3/4 Carton mushrooms, roughly chopped (I used baby bella)
1 Shallot, finely chopped
1 32oz. box chicken stock, portioned out
1/2 Jar of saffron (you can get it at Trader Joe's)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan, grated to put on top

Start off with a heavy bottom skillet on medium high heat.  Put the arborio rice in the dry skillet and toast for a couple of minutes.  In the meantime, start another smaller skillet on a different burner on medium heat.  Add olive oil, and sauté mushrooms and shallots until soft.  About 5-7 minutes.

After toasting rice for a couple of minutes, lower heat to medium.  Add 1/4 of the bottle of wine and 1/4 of the chicken stock to the rice.  Let simmer.  Season with saffron, salt, and pepper.  Taste as you go along, you'll be able to tell if you want more salt or pepper.

Ok, so this is the tricky part.  Risotto takes time, and it sucks up a LOT of liquid.  Overall, it should take about 30 minutes in total to cook.  You have to constantly stir it, and add liquid once the rice absorbs it.  There's no "measurement" for this.  Just keep adding equal parts wine and stock (about a 2 second pour each time) and it will work itself out.  I promise!  You'll know the rice is done when it's tender and and have almost doubled in size, just keep trying it as you go.

Once the rice is done, add the sautéed mushrooms and shallots.  Top with grated parmesan and voila!!  You can serve immediately but it also can be put in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Apologies if this is vague for some of you, so message me if you need help!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Berrylicious Pie

I've been experiencing warmer weather here in San Francisco, and it puts me in the mood for spring!  This pie is so delicious and very easy to make.  Even if you don't think you're a good baker, you should be able to pull this off pretty easily.  I mean it is strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.  Where can you go wrong??

Servings: About 8 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes

*1 1/2  Cup fresh strawberries, halved (about 1 package)
*2 Cups fresh raspberries (about 2 packages)
*1 1/2 Cups fresh blueberries (about two packages)
*1/2 Cup white sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
*3 Tablespoons cornstarch
*2 refrigerated pie crusts
*1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix sugar and cornstarch together.  Add strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries and coat with the sugar and cornstarch.

Line pie dish with one of the pie crusts. (Make sure you take it out of fridge 15 minutes before using so it's more flexible)  Add in the berry mixture.  Lay the second pie crust on top of the berry mixture and pinch together at the ends so it's all sealed in.

Take the beaten egg and brush it on the top of the pie crust.  Sprinkle sugar on top.  This will make sure it's nice and brown and crusty.  Also, poke a few holes in the top of the crust so the pie doesn't blow up all over the inside of your oven!  Put aluminum foil over the crusts on the edge so they don't burn.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Take pie out and remove aluminum foil.  Then bake for an additional 20 minutes until golden brown on the top.

Let cool for at least 1-2 hours before serving otherwise it will be a big sloppy mess!  You need to give the fruit and juices time to cool down and seize up.

Serve with vanilla ice cream if you wish and enjoy this tasty treat!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BACON Brussel Sprouts

OK, so I will be the first to admit that I didn't "think" I liked brussel sprouts.  It's the one vegetable as a kid I never really tried and just assumed that they tasted awful.  Now, granted if they are not cooked properly they can be very bitter and a not very fun to eat.  I guarantee with this recipe I will change your mind.  I have made these more than a few times for dinners and anyone eating with me roll their eyes behind my back because they don't like brussel sprouts!  Please just give these a chance and I promise this will be your new favorite vegetable side dish!  They may be tiny little weird cabbages, but they turn into tiny little bites of heaven!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

*3 slices thick bacon, chopped
*1 Tablespoon olive oil
*1 1/2 pounds brussel sprouts, cut in half length wise
*1 small shallot, chopped
*2 cups chicken broth
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon pepper

In a dutch oven or soup pot on medium high, brown bacon pieces until crispy.  About 3 minutes.  Take bacon bits out of pan and set aside on paper towel.  Add olive oil to the bacon fat on the bottom of pot and throw in the chopped shallot.  (VERY important to keep bacon fat in there as this is where most of the flavor comes from!)  Cook shallots for about 1-2 minutes.

Add in brussel sprouts to the pot and toss with the liquids.  Season with salt and pepper and let cook for 2 minutes.  Then add in 2 cups of chicken broth, cover and lower heat to medium low.  Let it simmer for 8-10 minutes until soft.

Top with the crispy bacons bits and serve!  Tiny little cabbages at their finest!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Momma Maynard's Marinade

This recipe is near and dear to my heart from Momma Maynard.  My mom used to always make flank steak with mashed potatoes for Sunday dinners and birthdays.  I actually used to think this is how steak normally tasted and was surprised when I had a steak without it!  This marinade has been passed around to many friends and family because it's literally that good.  So from my family to yours, hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Marinade Time: 24 hours

1/4 Cup soy sauce
3/4 Cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
3 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 white onion, chopped

Combine all the above ingredients.  Score both sides with a knife so the marinade can sink in.  Place flank steak in a large ziploc bag.  Pour the marinade over the top and place in refrigerator.

I typically do this the night before, so the next morning just flip the steak over so the marinade can get on both sides.

Take steak out of refrigerator 30 minutes before so it can warm up a bit.  Grill about 7 minutes on each side for medium rare.  Once cooked, let it rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes.  This allows all of the juices to stay inside the steak.  If you cut the steak straight off of the grill all the flavor runs out.

Pair with mashed potatoes (and a nice robust Cabernet) and you have a Maynard favorite!  Bon appetite!

Friday, January 20, 2012

QUICK Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookies

I actually couldn't believe how easy and flavorful these cookies turned out.  I have a friend here in San Francisco that can't eat any of the desserts I make because of her really bad gluten allergy.  These cookies are completely gluten free and I don't even understand how they still taste amazing.  It's a complete miracle given I've tried some interesting gluten free desserts.  If you're looking for an easy cookie recipe that is a huge crowd pleaser, you'll fall in love with this!

Servings: Makes 24 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes per batch

*1 Cup creamy peanut butter
*1 Cup white sugar
*1 Egg
*24 Unwrapped chocolate kisses
*Parchment paper or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or coat in cooking spray.  Mix peanut butter, white sugar, and egg all together.  Form 2 inch dough balls and place on cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

As soon as you take the cookies out of the oven, place chocolate kisses in the center of cookie.  Place baking sheet in refrigerator for 10 minutes so chocolate kisses don't melt.

THAT'S IT!  Enjoy right away for up to a week or freeze up to 3 months.  Enjoy!