Monday, January 26, 2015

Arancini Ami?

It has been said, you are what you eat....  Consider me a giant rice ball then!  You see, risotto balls or Arancini as they are called when cooked right are the perfect balance of risotto, creaminess, crunch and slight salt flavor.  Put these amazing creations over a little red sauce and find yourself crying for more!

No matter what season it is, these fantastic menu ideas are great!  A share-able appetizer or even a stand alone dinner.  You can't go wrong with Arancini.


Arancini (12-15 balls)

1/2 gallon chicken stock (preferably fresh made)
1/2 yellow onion, diced fine
1/4 stick butter
2 1/2 c. arborio rice
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
3 eggs
1 c.+ 3 T. heavy cream
2 c canola oil
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. shredded asiago cheese
1 1/2 c. seasoned panko breadcrumbs (in bowl)
fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

Marinara Sauce
4 ea. 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes (crushed)
1 yellow onion, sliced
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. dry basil
1 T. salt
1/2 T. cracked black pepper
2 T. corn starch (dissolved in 3/4 c. water)

Method for Arancini:

1. heat stock in sauce pan to just a slow rolling boil.
2. in large saute pan, heat onions with butter until soft and translucent on medium high heat.
3. add rice and stir; slightly toasting kernels of rice.
4. add 2 large ladles of stock and turn down to low heat.  continue reducing and adding stock every few minutes continuing to stir with wooden spoon until rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
5. add salt and pepper, 1 c. cream, cheddar and asiago.
6. turn up heat to medium high and stir, bringing the mixture together.  Once rice is thick and flavorful, remove from heat and lay into oven pan and chill in refrigeration.
7. in a bowl, mix together remaining cream and eggs.
8. once risotto is chilled to a workable temperature, spoon into 1-1 1/2 oz. balls.
9. dredge risotto balls in egg mixture and then breadcrumbs.
10. fry in canola oil in small saute pan until golden brown on one side (1 1/2 minutes appr.) and then gently turn over to fry other side.
11. remove from heat on a paper towel.  finish by heating in 325 degree oven for 6-7 minutes.

Method for sauce:

1. in large sauce pot, heat onions in olive oil on high to brown onions.
2. add crushed tomatoes and turn down to low heat for 15-20 minutes.
3. add basil, salt and pepper; turning heat back to high.
4. add corn starch mixture to thicken & remove from heat.

Spoon sauce onto plate or bowl; top with arancini and dust with shredded Parmesan.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My, My, Mahi

In our house, the word fish well... It just does not exist.  I know, sad but true.  My lovely has an aversion to the aftertaste of even the mildest form of sea creature.  And, my boys.... Forget it.  Tough news for a chef right?  Kinda.  See, I was raised in the steel valley and dinner almost always included some form of meat and potatoes.  So, I never really ate much seafood frankly until I got this gig!  I could cook the "you know what" out of it but, as for eating it, ehh, not so much.  I have however, become comfortable with eating fresh fish in either sushi form or, I can even enjoy a very high quality battered fish as well.

With Lent fast approaching, I wanted to give a different spin on fried fish.  Enjoy!


Quinnians' Mahi Mahi Tortillas

4 mahi mahi portions, 6 oz (sliced into 1-1/2 oz pieces on paper towel)
2 c. batter mix (tempura or other will work fine)
3/4 to 1 c. Killian's beer
1/2 t. Cajun seasoning
1 bag shredded coleslaw mix
1/4 c coleslaw dressing
1/4 c teriyaki sauce or Korean BBQ sauce
4-6 flour tortillas (4.5")
2 avocados, sliced
oil for frying
2 red onions, sliced thin
1/4 c. sugar
salt and pepper
2 T. olive oil


1. in bowl, mix together batter mix, beer and Cajun seasoning.
2. heat oil for frying in medium sauce pot on medium high heat (just until flakes of batter start to crisp when tested). Control the heat temperature as you add each batch of mahi mahi.
3. dredge mahi mahi in batter and fry in oil until golden brown.  Transfer to oven pan to finish in oven 2-3 minutes.
4. in separate bowl, mix together coleslaw mix, dressing and teriyaki or Korean BBQ sauce well.  let set at room temperature to let slaw start to wilt.
5. in small saute pan, heat onions, sugar, oil, salt and pepper on low heat until caramelized. (8-10 minutes)
6. toast tortillas in dry saute pan on high heat for 5 seconds each side.
7. build tacos with slaw on top of the tortilla topped by mahi, sliced avocado and finally caramelized onions.