Wednesday Wine Tasting Plus Poached Pears and Blue Cheese

It is Wednesday and for me that means Wandering and Wine Tasting.  The triple W!

Today my friends at Little Raven Vineyards shared a great recipe for Red Wine Poached Pears with Blue Cheese.  How could I not share pears and blue cheese?

Pears simmered in red wine with spices may seem old hat but adding peppercorns is a new twist for me. Add a wedge of Maytag Blue, your best local blue cheese or heck, splurge for a great French cheese and drizzle with the spiced syrup.  A dessert fit for royalty!

If you can find the wines locally, try {and BUY} them and most definitely, make these pears!

Recipe and wine notes from Little Raven Vineyards:

The recipe maximizes the pear’s natural sweetness, combining it with a fruit-forward red wine and highlighting both with a touch of cinnamon and vanilla.

Wine-Poached Pears with Maytag Blue Cheese.

Ingredients:

2 cups red wine (We recommend the Velvet Devil Merlot, 2008, $12 a bottle)
½ cup water
½ cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
8-12 peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
3 inch piece of vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
4 Bosc or Bartlett pears, slightly under ripe, unblemished, stems attached
6 ounces Maytag blue cheese (If you have a favorite blue cheese, give it a try. There are a number of excellent ones available these days including Rogue River from Oregon or Crater Lake Blue. Make sure to select a high quality blue cheese.)

Directions:

Combine wine, water, orange juice and sugar in a medium stockpot. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add peppercorns, cinnamon and vanilla bean. Set aside.

Using a sharp paring knife, slice a small amount from the bottom of each pear to form a flat surface. Gently scoop out the core using a small spoon or melon scoop. Peel each pear using a vegetable peeler.

Place pears into syrup and heat over medium high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the pears for 40 to 60 minutes, turning regularly to ensure even coloring. Remove the pears and cool.

Store them in an airtight container up to 2 days until ready to serve.

Return syrup to a gentle boil and cook until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Strain and store syrup until you are ready to plate up desert. (If you have leftover syrup, try it on ice cream, it is one delicious topping!)

Plate one pear on each plate with a 1.5 ounce wedge of the Maytag blue cheese. Pour 2 tablespoons of syrup over each pear and serve at room temperature.

Delicious!  Elegant!  Fit for guests!

And now to the tastings {and yes…the purchases}!

Tortoise Creek Wines 2009 Zinfandel, Lodi, California -$13

This red is juicy, ripe, yet possessing a smoldering structure with plenty of acidity and grip. Scents of spice and rose petals grace the nose. The wine is a canvas of blueberry and raspberry flavors, splashed with clove, semi-sweet chocolate, and a hint of cigar box. It is complex, with soft black tea tannins and mouth-watering acidity.

Le Grand Ballon 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley, France -$14

This wine hails from the banks of the Loire River, in the region of Touraine, where Sauvignon Blanc reins. Aromas of white flowers and citrus scents escape from the glass. In the mouth the wine is refreshing, offering flavors of lemongrass, gooseberries, lime zest, and snappy hints of mineral. An ample dollop of acidity makes this white perfect for your favorite seafood dishes.

Since I will miss the Saturday tasting (yeah, I do this several times a week), I am sharing the wines in advance.  I have never been steered wrong at LRV, so I am going to give them a thumbs up and if they prove to not be all they claim, I will come back and update this post!

Giovanni Rossi 2008 Le Quattro Dolcetto d’Alba, Serralunga D’Alba, Italy -$19

This is a bright, delicious red, with a sultry mouthfeel. Flavors of pie cherries and blueberries fill the palate. The wine has a spicy, lively profile, with plenty of acidity. Sultry tannins push back against the ripeness. It is the perfect red for Italian dishes that are crusty with cheese or slathered in olive oil.

Gustave Lorentz 2009 Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France -$20

Aromas of melon and lime zest fill the senses. A lush offering in the mouth is layered and complex, blooming in the glass as it warms. Melon hard candy, yellow apples, mineral hints of lanolin, and touches of lemon zest create a portrait of refreshment. The wine lingers in the mouth with a zippy tangerine tone.

Clink, Clink, Salute!

{Feature photo by Andrew Fung used under CC Attribution 3.0}

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Curry Turkey Muffins with Yogurt Tzatziki

If you read my post on Strawberry Chipotle Chicken, you know I am in crisis mode.  My favorite skinny jeans don’t fit…too much rich cooking and baking these past few months.

So I am back to clean, light and healthy eating…not forever of course, just until I can get back into my jeans.

I love using Jennie-O extra lean ground turkey…I use it in lightened Bolognese, turkey burgers. turkey chili and turkey meatloaf.  I can lighten almost any traditional meat dish with turkey.

I was craving curry and found a great recipe for Curry Spiced Meatloaf.  I had some wonderful rainbow chard that needed to be used…a fine chop, quick saute and into the loaf it went. I think this really helped keep the turkey moist.

The perfect topping was a tzatziki made with Fage zero to lighten it up even more. The cucumber mint added a cool counter to the hot curry I used.

Inspired by Taste of Home Curry Spiced Meatloaf.

Recipe Notes/Modifications:  I used brown rice for the rolled oats,  1/2 bunch rainbow chard (sautéed) instead of carrots, no salt chicken broth for the milk and lean turkey breast for the beef. I baked these savoy little loafs in a muffin tin for portion control.  Served with a salad, a dollop of tzatziki, it was just perfect.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs or rolled oats
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine egg, milk, bread crumbs or oats, garlic, curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper, carrots and onion. Add ground beef; mix well. Pat meat mixture into an 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan or muffins tins.  Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until no pink remains.

Servings:  4 – 2 turkey “muffins” each.

inked to: Real Food Wednesday, What’s On Your Plate,  Eat at Home, Works for Me Wednesday, Sweet and Savory Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Welcome Wednesday, Wandering WednesdayGold Star Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Potluck Wednesday, Let’s Do Brunch, What I Ate Wednesday, Wandering Wednesday,

Strawberry Chipotle Glazed Chicken

It  has finally happened…all of this rich cooking and baking has…well…added a few pounds and if I don’t get back to clean eating, I will be forced to invest in a pair of pajama jeans.  There, I said it, zipping my skinny jeans has become a daily challenge.  The words out of my mouth while trying to squeeze into them are not pretty, not pretty at all!

I did this to myself…I threw my clean eating habits out the window and blamed it on the cold, snowy, winter in Denver. I have no motivation to head out on a run when it is 30 degrees and snowing.  I have no motivation to get on the elliptical.  I haven’t lifted a weight in 3 months.  I allowed these pounds to creep up on me! Arrrgghhhh!!

I love my bedazzled TR skinny jeans so I just can’t let this continue!  My favorite jeans are staring at me, mocking me from the closet. And I have another confession…it isn’t just one pair, it is all of them.  Even the Lucky boyfriend jeans (which, by the way, run big).

YIKES! I. Refuse. To. Buy. New. Jeans!

With spring around the corner (and a return to SoBe), it is time to dust off the Eating Well, Cooking Light and Clean Eating cookbooks and get back on track. Back to light, healthy and Clean Eating principles. Back to working out.  Cheers to my jeans sliding right on without tugging, pulling, squatting and cussing!

So, the question I will be asking myself over the next few weeks is:  Pajama Jeans or ?

Today ? wins with strawberry chipotle grilled chicken.  Fresh, smoky and slightly spicy!  A perfect “re-entry” to light and healthy food. Served simply with EVOO misted steamed spinach.

Strawberry Chipotle Grilled Chicken adapted from Eating Well.

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries, tops removed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup strawberry preserves (I used no sugar preserves)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  1. Stir strawberries, broth, preserves, ketchup, vinegar, chipotle peppers, thyme and allspice in a small deep bowl. Transfer to a shallow nonreactive dish large enough to hold chicken. Add chicken and turn to coat well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat grill to high. Oil the grill rack. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Transfer the marinade to a medium skillet.
  3. Bring the marinade to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is reduced by about half, 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, reduce the grill heat to medium and grill the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 7 to 9 minutes per side. Let the chicken cool slightly; serve with the sauce.

If you are struggling with the winter hibernation weight blues, join me on my daily culinary journey to take control of my jeans. It will be light, healthy and oh…so…delicious!

Linked to: Tuesday Supper Club, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tuesday tasty Tidbit, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura’s Tasty Tuesday, Eat at Home, Slightly Indulgent, Hearth and Soul, Made From Scratch, Tasty Tuesday MOP, Delectable Tuesday

Red Pepper, Olive and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Every now and then I want a dish that doesn’t require too much time in the kitchen.  This 5 ingredient chicken is my “go to” when I want a light and healthy dish with little fuss.  Easy enough for a weeknight dinner but elegant enough for company.

All of the flavors of tapas found in the Mediterranean ~ freshly roasted peppers, kalamata olives and feta cheese tucked inside a chicken breast and grilled to perfection.  Using jarred red peppers cuts the prep down even more for those busy week nights.

Mix it up by using different olives, different cheeses, add pine nuts or capers.

Experiment with this simple dish!

Roasted Red Peppers by Stephanie Richard

Mixed olives.

Olives by Marco Bernardini

Market olives…oh, the choices.

Olives by Michael Cannon

Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken adapted from Cooking Light.

8 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed chicken breast half)

Ingredients:

  • 1  large red bell pepper
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh basil
  • 8  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Directions: Preheat broiler. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and finely chop.

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Combine bell pepper, cheese, olives, and basil. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff 2 tablespoons bell pepper mixture into each pocket; close opening with a wooden pick. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill; cover loosely with foil, and let stand 10 minutes.

Serve with a salad and a slice of fresh whole wheat bread.

Cookbook SundaysRecipe Swap SundayPotluck SundaySundays at One, Not Baaad Sundays, Saturday Swap, Sweet Saturday, Seasonal Sundays, Mouthwatering Mondays, Sumos Sweet Stuff, Something I Whipped Up, Made By You Monday, Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Tatertots and Jello, Decidedly Healthy, Saturday Night Special, Whipperberry Friday Flair, Homemaker Mondays, Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Eats Well with Others, Monday Mania, Tute Yourself Tuesday

{Captioned photos used under CC Attribution 3.0}

Cherry Banana Bread with Nutella Swirls

I had every intention of making this banana cherry nutella bread for World Nutella day but for whatever reason the day got away from me and then a week and then well….it was three weeks too late.  I don’t know where the time went but nutella is so darn good that it really doesn’t need a special day to be eaten or baked into a yummy banana cherry bread.

I found the Banana Nutella bread recipe from Barbara Bakes.  I made a few changes by adding 1/2 cup of dried tart cherries and replaced the sour cream with non-fat greek yogurt (Fage) to lighten it a bit more!  Results?  Gooey nutella swirls, plump tart cherries and a mello banana flavor.  A hit for sure.

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about three small)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low fat sour cream ( I used Fage Zero yougurt)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt

1/2 cup Nutella

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; Add flour mixture to banana mixture, stirring just until moistened.

Spoon 1/2 batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch loaf pan coated with baking spray with flour. Add 1/4 cup Nutella in dollops. Swirl a bit then top again with remaining batter. Add another 1/4 cup Nutella in dollops on top. Swirl again.

Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Bake mini loaves for 35 minutes or muffins for 18 minutes.

Linked to Tatertots and Jello, I’m Lovin it Friday, Friday Potluck, Family Friendly Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Food Trip Friday, Foodie Friday, Food on Friday, Saturday Swap, Simply Sweet Home, Katie’s Cucina, Sweet Tooth Friday, Friday Favorites, Feature Yourself Friday, Whipperberry Friday Flair, Recipe Swap Thursday, Frugal Friday, Sweet Saturday, Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try

Lavender and Fennel Crusted Salmon

Several years ago I planted a few lavender bushes.  I had no idea that these bushes would thrive in our Denver climate and expand to take up a big portion of the garden.

I love walking through the garden, brushing up against the leaves, the scent of lavender filling the air.  I often pluck a bunch of leaves and rub them in my hands to release the scent.  I am fascinated with the honey bees that congregate on and around the bushes, sometimes so many bees the lavender is abuzz.

This abundance of fresh lavender has expanded my culinary journeys.  I’ve made polenta cake with fresh lavender and honey, lavender ice cream. lavender shortbread, lavender crumb topping on fruit (especially good with pears), lavender vinaigrette and lavender lemonade.  If you have never used lavender in the kitchen but want to, look at The Lavender Cookbook and Discover Cooking with Lavender.  Both books are good and have creative recipes using lavender.

Lavender Field by Dave Catchpole

A single honey bee on lavender…soon lavender honey!

Lavender and Honey Bee by Steve Johnson

What could be better than being this close to the indescribable smell of lavender?

Norfolk Lavender by Martin Pettitt

While I have used lavender in many dishes, they were primarily sweet.  I had never used lavender on fish and would never have thought to pair it with fennel seeds so I was intrigued by the lavender and fennel crusted salmon recipe in the Sonoma Diet Cookbook. What a great way to bring a bit of summer to my winter table.  It was a delicious combination!

Lavender and Fennel Crusted Salmon adapted from The New Sonoma Cookbook.

Ingredients:

6 6 ounce salmon filets (skinless)

2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender , crushed (if you don’t have dried lavender flowers, use Herbs de Provence which is a mixture of spices and includes lavender)

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation:

Combine the parsley, lavender, fennel, thyme, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the mixture over the salmon and rub in with your fingers.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add salmon and cook 8-12 minutes or until golden brown and fish flakes easily, turning at the halfway point.

Easy and quick from prep to table.

I served the salmon with skinny mashed gold potatoes and sautéed rainbow chard.

Linked to: Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Tasty Traditions, Ultimate Recipe Swap, Cooking Thursday, A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa, Frugal Follies, HoH, Strut Your Stuff, Recipe Swap Thursday, Let’s Do Brunch, It’s a Keeper, Pennywise Platter, Fantastic Friday

{captioned photos used under CC 3.0 Attribution}

Wine Tasting Wednesday ~ 2-23-2011 and A Surprise Local Urban Winery

Another Wednesday and another afternoon of wine tasting.  Of course, it is hard to go wrong with Italian wines but who knew that there was such a good, local urban made wine.  Infinite Monkey Therom is located in Denver in the Sante Fe Arts district.  Love it!

A mix of all four and another case added to the cellar.  If you have a chance to try {or buy} any of these, you won’t be disappointed.  The proprietor of this little boutique wine shop is a certified sommelier so I know I am always in for a treat when I stop by and lucky for me, he does tastings twice a week!

Clink, Clink and Salute!

Masciarelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2007, Italy -$13

An interesting combination of new world and old world styles. Its nose offers a touch of crushed cherries with tones of smoke. Good extraction, complemented by a mouth-watering dose of acidity. Flavors of blueberries,black cherries, leather, and bitter-sweet chocolate fill the mouth. The tannins are soft, playing with the spice on the finish.  It is a great wine for the prie and would make a nice “house” red.

Robert Parker rates the wine 87.

Marquis Guadagni 2009 Orvieto Classic, Umbria, Italy -$10

This is a lovely change of pace from the usual whites. Scents of flowers and stone fruit emerge on the nose. The wine is lush in the mouth, with flavors of apricots, lime zest, almonds, and tangerines. Lively, with ample acidity, this white is ripe and refreshing.

Conn Creek 2007 Herrick Red, Napa Valley, California -$18

A meritage styled with composed of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, syrah, and a splash of petite verdot. This red blooms the longer it is open, so it rewards the patient. Flavors of red raspberries, black cherries, licorice, rose petals, and black tea tannins compose a portrait of ripeness and complexity. Spicy tones on the finish, including clove, vanilla, and smoke, are complemented by soft white pepper tannins.

Infinite Monkey Therom 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Grand Valley, Colorado -$19

A homegrown sauvignon blanc, with plenty of panache. Polished, reminding us of a Bordeaux styled white. Baked apple flavors marry with mango, lemon meringue, and honeycomb. The mid-palate is rich and spicy, with a touch of lemongrass and ginger. The finish is racy, with mouthwatering acidity and a cutting hint of mineral. Check out this winery online.

Arrival ~ Egypt: Kofta Kebabs with Tzatziki

Welcome to another installment of travels with Joan of Foodalogue and the fantastic Culinary Tour 2011 group.  The group travels around the world making dishes popular to the country or region.  How fun and adventurous is that?  Very!

This week we arrive in Egypt.  As with our recent travel to Japan, I haven’t been so had to travel virtually.  The first thing I do when I arrive in a new country is to set off for the local markets and food stalls.  I am especially interested in the various spices available and used in local and popular dishes.  I spent more than one day wandering the Spice Market in Istanbul and fell so in love that I filled the suitcase with tiny vacuum packs of spices, nuts and dates and sweets that I knew would survive the trip.  I smuggled manti through customs and savored them over a three-week period at home. I also made a great pistachio spice cake using my Turkish pistachios and spices.

When researching dishes popular to Egypt, I knew I wanted something that had a multitude of spices in one dish.  I found that in the popular Kofta Kebabs.  Nothing fancy, nothing hard to prepare but…oh…the mix of spices with the cooling mint and cucumber tzatziki hit all the flavor spots.

Travel with me (yes, virtually) and see the local spices, people and join me for a dish of kofta.

Spices…

Spices by Pawec Siwak

Spices sold on the street in Hurghada, Egypt by Michael Caven

Local fruit sold on the street…

Fresh fruits sold on the street in Hurghada, Egypt by Micheal Caven

When you arrive in a new country, you always find something that you don’t find at home.  These pipes are a good example.  I just love the color and trims. Photo by David Dennis.


A quiet moment on the street. Photo by Davidlohr Bueso.

Antique dealer on the street…

Cairo Bazaar - Antiques by Zack Sheppard

Kofta Kebabs

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck or lamb
  • 3 tablespoons grated onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for brushing the grill
  • Tzatziki, recipe follows
  • Grilled flat bread

Preparation:

Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear mixture to a coarse paste. Mix the paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt with the meat, onion, parsley, and spices.

Line a pan with aluminum foil. Divide the meat mixture into 28 rough balls. Mold each piece around the pointed end of a skewer (if you use wooden ones, soak them in water for 15 minutes before threading them), making a 2-inch oval kebab that comes to a point just covering the tip of the skewer. Lay the skewers on the pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat or prepare a grill. Brush the pan lightly with olive oil. Working in batches, grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until brown all over and just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with tzatziki and flat bread.

Tzatziki: Yogurt Sauce (Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce)

  • 2 cups plain whole milk yogurt or 1 cup Middle Eastern-style plain yogurt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled

Preparation:

If you’re using plain whole milk yogurt, line a small sieve with a coffee filter. Put the yogurt in it, set it over a bowl, and refrigerate 12 hours. Discard the expressed liquid and put yogurt in the bowl.

Grate the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater into another bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons salt and rub into the cucumber with your hands. Set aside 20 minutes, then squeeze the cucumbers to express as much liquid as possible.

Smash the garlic, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Stir the cucumber, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and mint into the yogurt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

The spices were just perfect….

Cool cucumber and mint yogurt sauce…

Street Scenes…no, you would not see me with this on my face…

Egypt by Archer10

Carriages to carry tourists to sites…

Egypt by Archer10

Linked to: Real Food Wednesday, What’s On Your Plate,  Eat at Home, Works for Me Wednesday, Sweet and Savory Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Welcome Wednesday, Wandering Wednesday, Wanderlust and Lipstick, Gold Star Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Potluck Wednesday

Lobster Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

The aroma of truffles has to be on the best in the world.  Seriously, the best.

Last year, I took my 13-year-old niece to Italy for two weeks (I have been many times but this was a first for her…eyes wide open the whole time but that is another story, another post).  For our first meal after settling into the hotel and wandering San Marco, I ordered pasta with black truffles. When it arrived, she was gaga over the heavenly scent of the truffles, a few freshly shaved on top by the wonderful waiter. She took one bite and the pasta with truffles was hers….for the rest of the trip, she had truffles at least once a day (sometimes with every meal).  On eggs, in risotto, on pasta, in cheese, truffle oil on bread…..she couldn’t get enough and well, I couldn’t either so it was a happy culinary journey.

So, in honor of the truffle and wonderful memories of our trip, I layered this mushroom risotto with truffles. White and black truffles, a drizzle of La Tourangelle Infused White Truffle Oil or Black Truffle Oil and a dusting of D Dalla Terra Truffle Salt.  I get most of my spices and specialty seasonings at the Savory Spice Shop ~ they ship so check them out online (I also purchased my lobster mushrooms from Savory Spice).

We could eat this every night….the smell of truffles filled the kitchen and the layers of truffle in the dish were out of this world wonderful!

A basket of black truffles…

Black Truffles by David Loong

With so many varieties of mushrooms it was hard to decide what to use…I settled on lobster mushrooms for the wonderful flavor and the red color.

Mushrooms by Furtwangi

A risotto’s success is the right rice…carnaroli or arbario…nothing else will give you the creamy texture.

Risotto by Matthias Rhomberg

Carnaroli rice with dried black and white truffle…

White truffle oil and black truffle sea salt…

Finished dish with lobster mushrooms…

Recipe Notes:  The below is the original recipe.  I used red lobster mushrooms and added 1 tablespoon of black and white truffle and drizzled each bowl with white truffle oil and black truffle sea salt.

Recipe adapted from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible. Recipe link from Cookstr.

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 6 cups vegetable stock or water, kept simmering
  • 4 tbsp butter, diced
  • 1lb (450g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preparation:

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes.

2. Gradually add the stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly, waiting until absorbed before adding more. Continue in this manner for 25 minutes or until the rice is barely tender and has a creamy consistency, adding water if the stock has run out.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have browned and the liquid evaporates.

4. Stir the mushrooms into the rice and turn off remove from the heat. Stir in the cheese and serve immediately.

Monica at Sweet Bites Blog hosts a weekly Gutsy Cooks Club group that gets together to create from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible.  Join us for a virtual dinner.

Also linked to Midnight Maniac, Sweet & Savory Meatless Monday,  Another Meatless Monday, Made By You Monday, Mouth-watering Monda, Eats Well with Other, Tuesday Supper Club, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tuesday tasty Tidbit, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura’s Tasty Tuesday, Eat at Home

Sea Scallop Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce

I will call this a meal of leftovers but it is so far from a meal of leftovers.

Really… how could sea scallops, fresh roasted tomato coulis and basil puree transformed into sweet and savory scallop ravioli be leftovers?  Nested on the coulis mixed with a bit of heavy whipping cream and chives and topped with a few more dollops of creamy coulis.  A QUICK and easy {leftover} dinner.

Working with wonton wrappers makes ravioli on a busy week night a reality!  I have used them in Butternut Squash Ravioli and Two Way Asian Shrimp Dumplings.  Super easy.

This dish also works very well with a lemon butter and chives topping.  In fact, that is how I served it night one…2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest!

Both were fantastic so pick your favorite sauce!

Scallops by Jeremy Keith

Adapted from My Gourmet Connection.

Ingredients:

1 12-ounce package wonton wrappers (48 wrappers)

1 lb sea scallops, divided

Zest and juice of 1 lemon, separated

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs, unseasoned

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preparation:

Rinse the scallops in cold water and pat dry with paper towels and place them in bowl of a food processor.

Add 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest and 1-1/2 tablespoons of the lemon juice to the scallops in the food processor. Pulse 1 or 2 times to combine. Add the egg yolks, breadcrumbs, chopped chives, salt and 1 tablespoon of the heavy cream. Process the mixture until smooth.

Cover a flat work surface with wax paper, dust with flow and have a small bowl of water nearby to seal the ravioli.  Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, mound a half tablespoon filling in the center. Moisten the entire outer edge of the wrapper around the filling. Immediately top with another wrapper and press lightly to seal. Then, using the tines of a fork, crimp the edges all the way around and transfer the ravioli to a plate. Repeat with the remaining wrappers. Place a sheet of wax paper dusted with flour between each layer of finished ravioli. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

While the ravioli chills, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and make the Tomato Coulis.

Tomato Coulis:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds very ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
Salt and white pepper

Preparation:

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute onion until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer before adding the tomatoes. Stir well to combine, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until tomatoes have softened and most of the released liquid has evaporated.  NOTE:  I added two tablespoons of cream to the coulis for a creamy sauce.

Once the water has come to a rolling boil, reduce heat so that you have a gentle simmer (you do not want the ravioli to burst) cook 6 to 8 ravioli at a time for 3 minutes per batch.  Using a mesh scoop or slotted spoon, transfer cooked ravioli to individual plates and top with the Tomato Coulis.

Makes 4 generous servings

Linked to Food Trip Friday, Foodie Friday, Katie’s Cucina, Simply Sweet Home, Friday Potluck, Recipe Lion, Fun with Food Friday, Food on Friday

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