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Risotto Primavera

May 6, 2022

 

Spring has sprung here in New Hampshire finally! The lacy tree blossoms, the tulip-and-daffodil studded yards, and warmer temps all beckon us to linger outside every chance we get. The trampoline is in full use, and flip flops and Birks are finding their way onto our happy feet.

I love seeing how the change of seasons affects our appetites. We go from craving warm bowls of comfort food to wanting fresh veggies and salads. This Risotto Primavera is a sort of in-between, with all the stick to your ribs comfort from cheesy, warm risotto and all of the feel good bites of lots of green veggies.

This is the perfect side dish when you break out your grill and cook some chicken or steak, or our favorite, swordfish. It feels indulgent, but also healthy.

There is something so relaxing about cooking risotto. The adventure of stirring and ladeling in more broth and stirring some more (sipping a glass of wine somehow adds to the relaxation right?) until you are left with a creamy, cheesy flavor bomb of a side dish. The wine and the parm make this irresistible.

I love artichokes with risotto – I often make artichoke risotto up north at our camp when we cook steak on an open fire, since we can keep all the makings for it in the pantry. But the addition of fresh asparagus and peas were so springlike and welcome.

Feel free to play around with your veggies though. Mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and butternut squash are all also delicious veggies with risotto.

Though it is delicious hot, this dish can be served at room temperature, so feel free to bring it to a potluck or picnic. It will brighten up any meal. Cheers to spring friends!

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Risotto Primavera

Serves 4 (I doubled this recipe).

  • 1 cup Aborio rice.
  • 1/2 cup onion or shallot (finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 tablespoon butter (preferably unsalted)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (we use Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (have more on hand)
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichokes (I like canned but frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup peas (if frozen, let soak in warm water to thaw)
  • 1/2 cup chopped blanched asparagus (see directions)

Directions:

  • Put chicken stock in small pan over medium heat to warm it.
  • Blanch Asparagus: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  When boiling, add asparagus and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender. Get bowl of cold water + ice cubes ready, and drain asparagus then add to the ice bath to lock in their green color.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet or frying pan and bring to medium high heat, add onions and cook until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add butter and Arborio rice, stir to coat rice.
  • Increase heat to high, add white wine.  Let rice absorb the wine while the wine cooks off (2-4 minutes). Reduce heat back to med high.
  • Add the warm chicken stock, one cup at a time.  As the rice absorbs the stock continue adding stock gradually. Stir constantly.
  • Continue cooking until the rice is almost all the way cooked through, it should be al dente with a firm center (approx 15-20 min).
  • When rice is cooked, reduce heat to low. Add ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, the Parmesan cheese and stir. Then add the vegetables. Taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed. Add more Parm on top for serving.

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

February 23, 2022

Guys, this is one of the best dinners I have made in a long time. I am so happy to share it with you all!

The idea for this dinner began when I read Alexandra Cook’s post on how much she loves sautéed escarole as a winter side. She makes the point that by February, we have roasted so many veggies that cooked greens hit the spot and are so easy. When I grabbed a few heads of escarole at the store, I got to thinking. Wouldn’t they be delicious in soups or pastas? The answer is yes and yes.

I looked around at other recipes online, and one of them was very similar to a simple pasta dish our family loves making combining these ingredients.

We usually make ours with broccoli or spinach (fresh or frozen) and use any pasta shape. I merged ours with one I found on Epicurious. And the result was amazing. I give all the credit to that glorious trio of shallots, garlic and wine cooked together to give such a delicious base. And the pasta water helps create the most luxurious sauce. Trust me, you are going to want to try it. And then make it again because it is sooo yummy.

The acid from the wine, the slight bitterness from the escarole, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the heat from the sausage, the comforting pasta, all covered in the delicious sauce is so well balanced. And the crispy fried rosemary on top is genius. I can’t stop thinking about how many other dishes I can use it on.

Just all around something I would drive to a restaurant far away to order again and again.

This one will be on heavy rotation because it is so easy, and so satisfying. Hope you get to try it soon too!

Happy eating, xoxo Katie

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

1 pound tubular pasta like paccheri or rigatoni

2 sprigs Rosemary

1/3 cup olive oil

20 oz. turkey sausage (or any kind you prefer)

2 shallots, finely diced (1/3 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 heads (about 8 cups) escarole, torn into pieces

1/2 cup parmesan plus more for serving

Directions:

Bring pot of salted water to boil for pasta. You will need some of the pasta water for the sauce so be sure to reserve.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat. Fry rosemary, turning until crisp about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towel to drain.

Add sausage to the same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon or fork and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. While sausage cooks, start boiling pasta, setting timer for 3 minutes less than the packages cooking time.

Be sure there is still enough oil in pot, if not add more to equal about 1 T. Add shallots to pot and let cook for 2-3 minutes to soften, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and let cook for a minute before adding wine. Scrap up the bottom bits in the pan and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer pasta to pot with tomatoes, then add escarole and 1 cup pasta liquid. Cook, tossing until escarole is wilted, pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Add another 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid then gradually add 1/2 cup cheese, tossing until melted into a glossy sauce. Thin with more pasta water if desired, season with pepper and more salt if needed (you probably won’t if your pasta water is salted.) Add sausage back into pasta and stir to combine.

Divide pasta in bowls, and crumble rosemary on top and sprinkle with more parmesean cheese.

 

 

 

 

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

December 17, 2021

This is one of those recipes that I have been making for years around Christmas and my family loves (especially my husband!) so I am so glad I am finally sharing it with all of you!

The fluffy texture of brioche (or challah bread, I am using here) makes for the lightest, pillowy soft french toast, and the flavors of eggnog – with its sweet cinnamon and nutmeg flavors – go so perfectly together. 

This breakfast is so easy but is so special, perfect for quick holiday brunches while you are busy doing a million other things.  And it totally feeds a crowd – I am full after one piece.

The little dusting of powdered sugar is my kids’ favorite and just adds to the Christmas brunch allure.

To make it, you just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then dunk each piece of brioche into it.

I love to use our indoor grill pan which is a skillet on one side, and it cooks 6-8 pieces at a time.

This dish is such a treat and will fill everyone with the flavors of the season. You are going to want to grab some extra eggnog this year and keep some brioche in the freezer for the slow mornings of Christmas week.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

Ingredients

 

2021 Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies

December 10, 2021

Got a foodie in your life? Are you a foodie and working on your list? Well I’m here to help with all of the cool new items and cookbooks I’ve discovered in the past year. These are all things that I have bought and loved or am very excited to use (looking at Item #1)…so without further ado, here is my 2021 Holiday Foodie Gift Guide.

  1. A Raclette Grill –   I’m so excited to try this for our family party on Christmas Eve. What is not to love about grilled meat and veggies and melty cheese? We’ll have some cheese and chocolate fondue on the side for the kids and some other apps too. Originally a Swiss tradition where skiers could bring types of food that wouldn’t spoil up the mountain like potatoes and cheese, they discovered that putting these both near fire where the cheese melted and scraped onto the potatoes – the French word for scrape translates to ‘racler’ – was both easy and delicious. (If you want to learn more about the history or how to use it see this website).
  2. Theology of Home Linen Napkins, Cutting board, and Taste of Italy gift set. There is so much to love at the TOH Mercantile, their coffee, their candles, their new tablecloths. I have my eye on the wonderful kitchen towels, and the stunning charcuterie board looks great as part of your kitchen decor and is functional too. The Taste of Italy set is the perfect gift for a special foodie – their olive oil is amazing, and it is cheaper than tickets to Rome.
  3. A Dumpling maker – I just got this and can’t wait to try it. The options seem endless, dumplings, pierogies, and especially empanadas. We love all of these and once we nail down the recipes we like I’ll try share here.
  4. America’s  Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Cookbook – A friend on Instagram recommended this and I just got a copy. She is such a loving cook for her family of six and said it is one of the best slow cooker cookbooks she has had. It is surprising how hard it is to find original recipes for slow cookers that have a lot of flavor, so I’m excited to try it.
  5. Brod & Taylor Knife Sharpener – At $59, it’s an investment, but ask a foodie how much they would pay to have sharp knives and then you know this is a steal. (Plus they say it lasts 5 years). My peace of mind and sense of well being goes up dramatically when I notice I’m fighting cutting an onion or a piece of meat and then I sharpen my knife, and then it cuts like butter. So basically, the foodie in your life will for sure love this contribution to their mental health.
  6. Cacio E Pepe Sweatshirt – I first saw this on Jenny Rosenstrach’s IG stories (her daughter was wearing it home from college #parenting goals) and the company has a ton of other cute foodie slogans and favorites. You can find a few less expensive versions on Etsy so also search there, but I loved Novel-mart’s whole product line so wanted to share theirs.
  7. XXL Air Fryer – We tried the air fryer train a long time ago but the one we had fit maybe 8 chicken wings and wasn’t very practical. Enter this XXL size one that cooks a whole chicken. I can’t think of an item I have heard more people rave about that their air fryer so I think we’re going to have to try again.
  8. The Ultimate Cheese Making Kit – after trying Ina Garten’s recipe for ricotta and realizing how easy it is, a kit like this sounds so fun. It has so many different kinds of cheese, and learning about how each one is made is so great for kids (and us!) to learn where our food comes from and how it’s made.
  9. A Wok – My pan cabinet felt complete until I grabbed a new wok when it was on sale and wow – I use it at least twice a week. So just in case your favorite food is still making stir fry in a skillet, this gift will be put to good use. (There are more expensive, hand hewn woks on Amazon but a basic one works too!)
  10. Taco vs. Burrito Game – this game has almost 12,000 reviews on Amazon and was created by a 7 year old. Our crew will love this! Can’t wait to put it under the tree.
  11. Stonewall Kitchen Pine Breakfast gift set – We live a short drive from the Stonewall Kitchen headquarters and I have tried a lot of their products. This set is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, perfect for those slow mornings after Christmas.

Happy Shopping & Cooking & Eating friends!

xoxo Katie

Mussels with White Wine, Leeks & Chorizo

October 30, 2021

 

I love ordering mussels at restaurants. Fortunately there are so many restaurants near us in Portsmouth NH and Portland Maine that have them on their menus. They are sort of an interactive food, since you are eating the sweet, meaty mussels and then using the shells or some crusty bread or a spoon to scoop up the aromatic broth they are cooked in which tastes like heaven- acid from the wine, aromatic garlic and leeks, and the earthy taste of the ocean from the mussels. I love the spicy kick from the chorizo so much that I love adding it but they are good without it if you don’t have it or don’t love spice.

They are also really easy to make at home. Once you find a good fish monger who carries them like Whole Foods or specialty stores all you need to do is sort through them to make sure you are only cooking healthy, living mussels (aka the ones that are tightly closed and smell briny and not fishy). Then find some yummy base flavors like onions, leeks, garlic, wine, herbs, and you’ll end up with something delicious.

Then put a lid on them and they cook very quickly.

They are easy, fast and cheap to make at home, but they feel like a bistro/restaurant quality meal. I think the main reason home cooks shy away from them is the difficulty in figuring out if they are good or not. So here is a quick guide to help and once you do it a few times you get the hang of it (adapted from this post here if you want to learn more).

I hope you get to make them soon! Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

BUYING FRESH MUSSELS

  • Prime mussel season is from October to March.
  • Mussels are alive and are kept on ice at the market. They will often come in a mesh bag with a tag indicating harvest location, date, and use by date. If the mussels are loose in the case, you can ask your fishmonger to show you the tag.
  • Let your nose be your guide! Mussels should smell like the ocean and sea air: briny and fresh. They should not smell overly fishy.
  • The shells should be closed tightly. If you find any mussels in your bag with open shells, gently tap them on the counter, wait a minute, and see if they close. Discard any mussels don’t close, or those with chipped or cracked shells.
  • Transport mussels home from the market in an open-topped bag that can breathe. Tightly tying them up in a plastic bag without air circulation will risk smothering and spoiling them.

 

Mussels with White Wine, Leeks & Chorizo

Ingredients:

2 pounds of mussels

1 Tablespoon butter

2 leeks, light green and white parts washed and sliced

3-4 garlic cloves

1 cup chorizo, sliced lengthwise and then in 1/2 inch sliced or crumbled

1 cup white wine

2 cups stock (chicken, seafood or vegetable all work)

3 stalks fresh thyme leaves

3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Sort mussels, removing any that are open. Soak in a bowl of water with a 1/4 cup of flour for 10 minutes.

Melt butter in wide pan, then add leeks. Saute for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add chorizo and cook 2-3 minutes, then add white wine and cook a few minutes, then add chicken stock, thyme, parsley and mussels and cover. Cook 8 minutes. Remove lid and stir in cream, then pour into a serving dish. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

 

 

Apple Kale Salad with Honeycrips, Cheddar & Cinnamon Vinaigrette

October 14, 2021

I first saw this salad on How Sweet Eats and it is just so pretty I had to try it. And it was so good I had to blog it! It is the perfect fall celebration and since we just went apple picking last weekend we have lots of apples to make more. Its the smokey pepita clusters that do it for me. If you are having any trouble finding the pepitas try the bulk section of your local grocery store.

The smokey-sweet-salty combo is so good I’m thinking of trying it on everything. And the pecans are good enough to make for the holidays.

And I love getting my kale already washed and sliced. It made this salad come together so quickly.

The earthy kale, sweet apple, cinnamon vinaigrette all come together with a delightful crunch from the toppings. It feels amazingly healthy and a symphony of fall flavor at the same time.

This fall has been totally glorious, and after the fresh, easy cooking of summer I am craving having time to cook cozy cold weather meals. But it has been so warm this salad works perfectly. This is definitely happening again soon at my house, and I might even mix it up with some goat cheese or sliced chicken breast on top. I hope you get to try this one because it is going into our annual fall recipe pile.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Apple Kale Salad with Honeycrips, Cheddar & Cinnamon Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

SMOKY HONEY PEPITA CLUSTERS

  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt

SWEET AND SPICY TOASTED PECANS

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

CINNAMON SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

SALAD

    • 4 to 6 cups chopped tuscan kale
    • 2 honeycrisp apples thinly sliced
    • 3 ounces freshly grated sharp white cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

SMOKY HONEY PEPITA CLUSTERS

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave the coconut oil and honey together until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir the pepitas in a large bowl with the honey mixture, salt and smoked paprika. Place them on the baking sheet and smooth them out with a spatula – you still want them clustered so you can break them apart after baking!
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and toss slightly. Let cool completely before breaking apart.

SWEET AND SPICY TOASTED PECANS

  • Heat the pecans in a nonstick skillet over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant and toasty. Stir in the honey, red pepper flakes and nutmeg. Let the honey bubble and stir for a few minutes, then transfer the pecans to parchment paper and let them cool completely.

CINNAMON SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

  • Whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, shallot, garlic, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. This keeps great in the fridge for a few days!

SALAD

  • Massage the kale with a tablespoon or so of the dressing and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. I like to season the kale at this point with salt and pepper too. Slice the apples and combine the apples, cheese, pecans and pepita clusters with the kale and toss well. Serve with the vinaigrette!

Recipe reposted from How Sweet Eats