Tag Archives: rice

Risotto 101

3 Feb

Hey Kids!

Ye olde Culinary Chick is having guests over this weekend, barring any shenanigans from the weather this weekend.

On the menu are braised lamb shanks with dried cherry and rosemary demi-glace,  saffron risotto and roasted broccoli.   One of my guests, a childhood friend, loves potatoes and I serve them every time she comes over. However, this time I wanted to make something a bit different and dust off some of the skills I acquired over the years. One of them was how to make risotto. And believe it or not, you can too. If you follow my directions, you will have a great side dish to dazzle your friends with.

Risotto is an Italian dish made with arborio rice, a short grain rice prized for its al dente  texture and creaminess when cooked.  The version we will cook is Risotto ala Milanese. C’mon, its easy!

You will need the following equipment:

heavy-bottomed pan ( cast iron or aluminum [plain or anodized])

a wooden spoon

a ladle

1 – 2 qt. saucepan

Risotto Milanese (serves one as a main dish or two as a side dish)

2 tbl.  olive oil

1/2 c. arborio rice

1/3 c. diced onions

2 c. chicken stock or broth

pinch of saffron*

2 tb. parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1-2 tbl. butter

1 tbl. chopped fresh parsley

In a 1 – 2 quart saucepan, bring chicken stock and saffron to a simmer. Keep warm.  Heat olive oil over medium heat in heavy-bottomed pan and add onions and saute until clear and soft ( do not brown)

Add rice and saute, making sure all rice grains are coated and center of rice is visible.

Add one ladle of  hot stock to the pan with the rice and onions and stir with wooden spoon until all of the liquid is absorbed.

After all of the liquid is absorbed from the first ladle of stock, add another ladle of stock and stir again with the wooden spoon until absorbed. Repeat these steps until you have used all of the stock and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

By this time your rice will have doubled in size and you should see a  small amount of thickened stock in bottom of pan.

Add butter and stir until incorporated. Add parmesan cheese and pepper. If needed add a scant amount of salt ( taste first).

Add parsley and serve with a side salad as a main dish or as a side dish with seafood or meat.

A note: Saffron can be found in specialty stores and can be pricey. If you do not have saffron, you can still enjoy this dish without it. The addition of some fresh chopped herbs  or seasonings that will compliment your main dish will suffice such as  lemon zest, chopped chives, tarragon or roasted garlic puree  as an example will add flavor and color to your risotto. And, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can make this using vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock and omitting the butter and cheese.


Brown Rice for breakfast: Who Knew?

13 Jan

Brown Rice with pears, walnits and skim milk

In the search for a healthy way to start my morning, I have had issues with just about every breakfast option available to me.  I hate funky textures, so I can’t get past the first three bites of  hot oatmeal before the texture of it drives me crazy. I have valiantly tried eating cold cereal, but frankly the idea of it left me, well…you know. As a child I was raised on a hot breakfast, so I’m stuck on the idea.

I once had a personal trainer who extolled the virtues of egg whites and some sort of turkey bacon or sausage. So for the past eight years ( yes), this is what I would eat, along with the bi-monthly splurge of no-cholesterol pancakes.  If it was a hot July or August morning, then a pot of coffee and fruit and toast worked just fine. But, it’s been a real issue for me. So imagine my pleasure when my boss; a holistic doctor, suggested I treat brown rice as a breakfast alternative to oatmeal or a healthy addition to my egg whites.

Eureka! I just imagined all the possibilities. For those who don’t know, brown rice is considered a whole grain because only the husk is removed. It has a delightful nutty flavor and a chewy texture.  A note to those who may be diabetic: I ran across conflicting information on the web concerning  brown rice and glycemic load ( healthy)  and glycemic index (unhealthy), so consult your doctor before adding this to your diet.

Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl

½ cup Cooked brown rice ( cook according to package)
¼  of Raw apples/pears diced
½ cup berries
2 Tbl. Raisins ( optional)
1 tbl. Chopped walnuts or almonds
¼ tsp.  ground cinnamon
¼ c. skim milk/almond milk/rice milk
Honey/Stevia to taste

Just combine these ingredients in a bowl and heat in a microwave. Enjoy

Hey, $25 gift card contest extended!!!!

6 May
Hey, win a gift card!

Hey, win a gift card!

Due to the ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMING RESPONSE ( zero), I’m extending the contest dates to Midnight, May 24th. You have until then to tell me how you make your meals a gourmet experience in thee hard economic times. There will be two winners, each receiving a $25 Shop-Rite gift card.

Contest Rules:

1) No substitutions will be given in lieu of gift cards.

2) Shop-Rite gift cards can only be used at Shop-Rite stores.

3) Contest entries must be in by midnight, May 24.   The winners  will be announced on May 27, 2009.

4) All posts must be limited to 50 words or less.

5) All entries must have a valid e-mail address

6) Only one entry per valid e-mail address

7) Please refrain from using racist, sexist or pornographic comments. Entries which contain theses elements will be disqualified.

Have Fun!

Obama Sushi Roll

20 Feb
photo courtesy of Http://www.boingboing.net

photo courtesy of http://www.boingboing.net


I love the Japanese!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

10 Feb

I have always loved gumbo. I was in the mood for some the other day, but hadn’t made it quite some time, so I made some. It turned out great, but I forgot how time-consuming it can be. Here is the recipe I served at my last place of employment, The Admiral’s Cup in Fell’ s Point, Baltimore.

Chicken and Sausage gumbo


1 stick of unsalted butter

½ cup all-purpose flour


¼ cup olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

¼ cup fresh jalapenos, seeded and diced (optional for added heat)

½ cup diced celery

1 tbl. heaping chopped garlic (or to taste)

8 cups homemade chicken stock or broth

1 ea. 14-15 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 ea. 10 oz. package frozen sliced okra

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken (thigh meat or breast) diced

1 lb. sausage sliced (smoked andouille or smoked chorizo, or fresh hot Italian rope)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. kosher or sea salt

½ tsp. black pepper

½ Tbl. dried thyme

½ tsp. dried oregano

½ c. chopped fresh parsley

Optional ingredients:

½ lb. lump crabmeat, picked clean of shells

½ lb. diced peeled and deveined raw shrimp


1 bunch green onions, sliced thin

Hot, cooked long-grained rice


For Roux: In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt butter and heat until bubbly. Add flour all at once and with a wire whisk, work the flour into the butter until all lumps disappear. Turn heat down slightly, and whisk constantly until roux turns the color of milk chocolate; about 20 or so minutes. Let roux cool, and set aside in glass or ceramic bowl

Note: The roux is the base of the gumbo, and should be cooked carefully. DO NOT BURN! You must pay strict attention when cooking the roux. The roux must be the color of chocolate. If you burn the roux, you must start over. Patience is required in this step. The roux at this stage is also napalm-hot, and will take off several layers of your skin, so be careful in handling the roux.

In a heavy-bottomed pot (2-3 gallon capacity) over medium high heat, heat up olive oil until hot. Add the onion, peppers, celery and cook until unions are clear, stirring often. Add garlic and stock and heat until boiling, then add half of the roux and stir into stock and stir until thickened and no lumps are visible, about 10 minutes ( sauce should evenly coat the back of a wooden spoon). If needed, add ½ of remaining roux and repeat until thickened.

Turn heat to low, and add tomatoes, okra, chicken, sausage, bay leaf, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano and stir until distributed. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes. Check seasonings and adjust. Add optional ingredients and parsley, stir and cover pot. Remove from heat. Let gumbo sit covered for at least 15 minutes ( trust me, the residual heat will cook the shrimp and crab until done; cooking shrimp beforehand will only make the shrimp tough and rubbery). Serve over bowls of hot rice and sprinkle green onions over the top.  For the daring, have some hot sauce available.

Uh Huh!!!

Chicken and Brown rice meatballs

9 Oct

I made these a couple of days ago when my new roommate moved in ( that’s where I’ve been!). I wanted to make a meatball that was light ( wait a minute; it has brown rice in it. How can it be light?), and can hold up in a sauce. Well, I made these and they turned out great! These meatballs have a surprisingly light texture, and great flavor.

Serve these as you would regular meatballs; with tomato or marinara sauce over pasta, or in brown sauce with sour cream over noodles ( Swedish meatballs). This also makes a great meatloaf* as well.

Makes 14 to 18 meatballs

You will need:

food processor


cutting board

mixing bowls

measuring cups

measuring spoons

gloves for handling ground beef

*meat thermometer

sheet pan

spray oil


1 lb. ground chicken ( do not use breast meat for this recipe)

4 ea. baby bella ( cremini, or button) mushrooms

1 ea. small onion

2T. chopped garlic

2 T. olive oil

2/3 cup cooked brown rice

1 egg ( or 1/4 cup egg substitute)

1 T. dried parsley

1/2 t. pepper

2 slices stale bread

1 1/2 t. sea salt

2 T. milk

1/4 c. grated parmesan

Slice and chop the mushrooms and onions in the food processor until finely chopped.  In a saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil to pan. Saute the onions, mushrooms, garlic and seasonings ( salt, pepper, parsley and italian seasonings)  together until all liquid is absorbed and onion mixture is done. Take onion mixture and cool completely.  Crumble stale bread and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix together ground chicken, brown rice, egg, crumbled bread, Parmesan, milk and onion mixture. Mix well. Set aside and chill in refrigerator for 1/2 hour. Wash hands thoroughly.

After chilling; either use gloves, or spray cooking spray onto hands lightly. Spray sheet pan with cooking spray. Shape meatballs into small balls and place 1/4 inch apart onto sheet pan. Place meatballs in oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until bottoms of meatballs are brown.

Make sure all surfaces that came into contact with ground meat are washed thoroughly with soapy hot water ( including your hands).

* For meatloaf: shape into rounded loaf, and cook in oven until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees ( or about one hour)

Dirty Rice

28 Aug

Do you like it dirty? Well, do you? MMmmnnnn, you cheeky monkey!

The CC does! But shhhh, my doctor wouldn’t be so thrilled about knowing that. So, the CC made a version of her favorite dish using ground turkey and turkey sausage to achieve the legendary taste that helped put N’Orleans ( Nawlins) on the map.

For those of you that don’t exactly know what dirty rice is, it is a rice dish made with ground sausage, livers, vegetables, herbs and spices. It is the dark appearance of the rice that gives the dish its name. Now, a note to all of you who find liver offensive: COWARDS! the lot of you. Seriously, you can skip the livers but the liver add a component to the dish that cannot be matched.

(Sigh). So if you must, skip the liver and add extra turkey sausage in its place.

You will need

large iron, aluminum, or enameled skillet

Lit to fit skillet

dry measuring cups

liquid measuring cups

measuring spoons

cutting board

chef’s knife

spoons for stirring


3/4 c. green peppers, diced

1 1/2 c. yellow onions, diced

1/2 c. celery. diced

1 tbl. garlic

1/2 lb. ground turkey*

1/3 lb. italian-style turkey sausage**, casings removed

1/2 cup chicken livers, rinsed and patted dry

1 tbl. worcestershire

1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne

1 cup uncooked white rice

2 cups chicken stock

salt and black pepper to taste

2 tbl. fresh parsley, chopped

vegetable oil

Place 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in bottom of skillet, and heat over medium flame. Briefly brown livers on all sides, then remove from pan. Let cool, then chop livers coarsely and set aside. Add ground turkey to pan and let brown, remove from pan and set aside. Add an additional 1/4 cup of oil, if needed and brown sausage stirring to break up in pan. Add peppers, onions, celery, and garlic and cook until softened. Add rice and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Add ground turkey, bay leaf, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, cayenne, livers and stir until blended. Add stock, turn heat to high and bring to boil. Turn down heat and cover pan. Cook over low heat for 15- 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove covered pan from heat and le stand with lid on for five minutes. Fluff rice with fork and stir in chopped fresh parsley.

Serves four to six persons.

*This dish needs a certain amount of fat to round out the flavor, so don’t use ground turkey breast for the turkey, It is too dry for this dish. Try to find regular ground turkey. Also, ground beef or pork can be used as a substitute

**As for the sausage, I used Shady Brook Farms Italian-style Turkey dinner links for the sausage. I used 2 links for this recipe, Add one more if you plan to sub sausage for chicken livers. However, you can use regular pork sausage for this dish, or smoked sausage will do as well.