Monday, February 16, 2015

Stu- Pen- Di- Ca Risotto

Comfort is in my definition this - Time spent with good friends or family surrounded by great food with familiar flavors and thoughts of warmth!  Last weekend, we got to spend some "Comfort" time with some great people.  The meal was great and the company was fantastic.  The conversation never strays too far away from food though and, as a food guy, I appreciate that.  Risotto is amazing and can take on so many different flavors.  Here is a simple, yet, elegant version to share with you all.

Cheers to you on your "Comfort" this cold winter!


Roasted Cauliflower, caramelized onion and aged cheddar Risotto

Roasted cauliflower
1 head cauliflower (chopped)
1/4 c. Olive oil
1 t. Cajun seasoning
kosher salt and ground black pepper (2-3 pinches)
1/4 t. red pepper flakes

Caramelized onions
1 yellow onion(large)(shaved thin)
3 T. Olive oil
1/4 c. sugar
kosher salt and ground black pepper (pinch)

1 small yellow onion (diced)
4 c Arborio rice (risotto)
2 T. butter(salted)
2 qt. chicken stock(fresh if possible)
kosher salt and ground black pepper (pinch)
1 pint heavy cream
1 c. shredded sharp aged white cheddar cheese
1/4 c. grated Romano cheese

Method for cauliflower:

1.preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.lay cauliflower on cookie sheet and coat with olive oil and seasonings.
3.roast in oven for 20-25 minutes or until cauliflower is golden brown and caramelized.  reserve.

Method for caramelized onions: saute pan on low heat cook onions with olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.
2.cook until onions are translucent on medium-low heat.

Method for risotto:
1.heat chicken stock in stockpot. large saute pan, heat butter and diced onions on medium heat to brown onions.
3.add rice and stir; toasting rice for 30-40 seconds.
4.turn heat to low and add chicken stock in ladles (enough to submerge all rice at first)
5.continue to stir regularly on low heat adding chicken stock as needed for 20 minutes or until rice is just al dente.
6.add in cream, salt, pepper and cheeses. stir constantly.
7.add in cauliflower and onions.
8. serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Who wants to Sprout?

Circa 1983, Brilliant, Ohio.  A mother prepares cabbage rolls for her family.  Fresh cabbage harvested from her garden boiled and wrapped around a mixture of ground beef, seasoning and rice, slow cooked with a garden made tomato sauce.  Some people absolutely LOVE this dish but, when you are 10 years old and the predominant flavor in your mind is that it's going to taste like gross cabbage... all bitter & green.... YUCK, no thank you.

Circa, 2014, Twinsburg, Ohio.  Your company is about to roll out a smaller, more bitter form of your own personal Kryptonite... by a name from another country no less...  This 40 something seems to be destined to force feed himself these things called Brussels Sprouts... Double YUCK!!!

Problem is, my taste buds have changed many times since I was 10 and when these little morsels were roasted with a few additional ingredients, well, they were AMAZING!  Not only are they trending all over the country from appetizers, to salads, to sides but; everybody loves them!  This one is for all of you who once hated cabbage, Brussels sprouts or any other bitter form of this once despicable vegetable family!


Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Salad with Artichokes, Cauliflower and Roasted Red Peppers

3 lb Brussels Sprouts (sliced or halved)
2 c quartered artichoke hearts
1 head cauliflower (sliced)
1/2 c. olive oil
1 t. Cajun seasoning
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 small jar roasted red peppers (drained and sliced thin)
fresh grated Romano cheese.

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. in bowl, toss sprouts with cauliflower, olive oil, Cajun seasoning, salt, cayenne pepper and maple syrup.
3. transfer to cooking tray and heat 35-40 minutes in oven. Or until nice and toasty brown and when tested has a nice caramelized flavor.
4. toss in artichokes and roasted peppers. garnish with fresh Romano cheese.
5. serve warm as a side or toss with pasta or rice for an entree.