Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pancetta and Pea Risotto


Oh Jamie Oliver, you always inspire me. Whether it's from "Jamie at Home" , "Jamie's Food Escapes", or even his "Food Revolution", he inspires me to be adventurous and try new things.

On one of his recent episodes of "Jamie's Food Escapes", he traveled to Venice where he made this incredible array of risottos from one basic recipe. I decided it was high time to rid my fear of making risotto and dive in to the deliciousness.

Basic Risotto Recipe (adapted from Jamie Oliver):
32 oz chicken stock (I used Progresso Tuscan Chicken Stock, yum!)
1 TBS butter
2 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 head celery, finely chopped (confession, I left this out and it's still fine!)
14oz of risotto rice ( I get it in the bulk bin at Whole Foods, it's called Arborio rice)
2 glasses of white wine (about a cup to a cup and a half)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBS butter
1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese

1. Heat the stock. In a separate pan heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

2.The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

3. Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

4. Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.

Variations :

  • I added cubes of pancetta while the veggies were cooking, then added blanched peas at the end.

  • You could use leftover rotisserie chicken with some steamed asparagus.

  • crushed tomatoes with sliced basil

  • roasted butternut squash for the fall

  • sautee some sliced cremini mushrooms in marsala wine and mix in at the last minute.

  • Get creative!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Simple Pleasures

A tasty breakfast and a good book to read on a Sunday morning is one of my favorite things! Poached eggs with asparagus and chorizo.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Easy Salad Niçoise


Feeling inspired by a recent Barefoot Contessa episode and my recent haul from the Riverside Arts Market, I decided to throw together a Salad Niçoise for lunch.

A traditional salad niçoise features canned tuna, olives, and french haricot verts to what I've shown here. I had some fresh sugar snap peas and asparagus from the market, so I used that in place of the haricot verts. I made Ina Garten's Mustard Vinigarette to pour over the top of this.

All of the green vegetables were blanched, the potatoes and eggs were boiled, the tuna was seared (1-2 minutes on each side in a lightly greased pan).

I love how pretty this looks arranged on the plate and this would also be a great dish to serve at a party, like a wedding shower. It's fresh, beautiful, and best of all... delicious!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Friends of the James Beard Foundation Dinner Benefit

One Ocean Resort Hotel & Spa, Northeast Florida’s newest beachfront boutique resort, located in Atlantic Beach, announces the premier partnership with the renowned Friends of James Beard Foundation through a Dinner Benefit on Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. Bringing together the best of the best in Florida’s First Coast cuisine with prominent area chefs, the five-course benefit dinner proceeds contribute to a local scholarship for culinary education and Friends of the James Beard Foundation while building national awareness of the gourmet food movement in Northeast Florida and education of the James Beard House in Jacksonville.

The prestigious benefit will be an intimate seated wine dinner for $125 per person for non-James Beard Foundation members and $100 per person for James Beard members. The exclusive team assembled includes Chef Ted Peters and Pastry Chef Nancy Slatsky of Azurea, Chef Tom Gray of Bistro Aix, Chef Matthew Medure of Matthew’s and Chef Brian Siebenschuh of Orsay. All wine pairings for the spring season courses are from the Foley Family Wineries.

Proceeds from the dinner will be divided equally between a local culinary scholarship in the name of Azurea Restaurant, the James Beard Foundation’s scholarship program and general operating fund (which enables the foundation to maintain the historic James Beard House as a performance space for chefs and to administer educational programs).

The James Beard Foundation (JBF) is a not-for-profit culinary organization and its mission is to celebrate, preserve and nurture America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. The JBF’s programs include workshops, classes, conferences, readings, and other educational experiences that help people learn about and engage with food. JBF offers scholarships to culinary students who need financial support to pursue careers in the food and beverage industry. JBF invites chefs to participate in events at the James Beard House in New York City and at events abroad to allow people to experience America’s dynamic cuisine first hand. JBF also administers the annual James Beard Foundation Awards, which recognize and honor excellence among chefs, cookbook authors, food journalists, restaurant designers, and others working the food and beverage industry.

The benefit dinner is hosted at Azurea, the signature restaurant of One Ocean Resort, which has established its own food and wine personality, creating a culture of passion and seeking perfection. True to its coastal surroundings, providing an elegant, artfully inspired atmosphere, Azurea offers a view of the ocean from any seat in the house while recently honored with an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.
To join the Friends of James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner at One Ocean Resort, call Jennifer Aringdale 904-853-2346.