This is a blog of my adventures in the kitchen. I always like to try new things, and I'm looking up different recipes constantly. Some recipes on here will be my own, some will be found recipes. Some will work, some won't. Trial and error, right? I'm no professional and I don't claim to be, I just enjoy cooking. :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Risengrød (Rice Porridge)

Whether you call it Risengrød, Risgrynsgröt or Risgrøt, it's all the same thing. Rice Porridge. :)

A Scandinavian Christmas Eve tradition, risengrød has quickly become one of my favorite comfort foods. I'm eating a bowl of it right now, as a matter of fact. ;)

I found this recipe on an article.

What you'll need:

1 1/2 C water
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 C rice (I used calrose, because it's my fave and I always have on hand)
4 1/2 C milk (I used 2%)
Cinnamon, sugar and butter to taste

Rinse rice well and drain.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring water, butter, and salt to a rapid boil over high heat.

Pour in rice, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.

Reduce heat to low, stirring rice until boiling is reduced to a simmer. Cover pot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until rice has absorbed most of the water.

Personally, I think the rice is delicious just like this. :) But it's definitely not porridge yet.

Add milk to rice, stirring to incorporate.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then immediately reduce heat to low. Once boiling has reduced to a simmer, cover pot and allow to cook for 45 minutes. (Some say to stir occasionally, others say not to touch it the whole 45 minutes. I stirred occasionally.)

I should have cooked it just a bit longer, because this just wasn't quite thick enough for my liking... But, what do ya do?

Top with a little butter and cinnamon/sugar to taste. :)

For a quick riskrem, mix cold risengrød with some sweetened and whipped cream. Drizzle some raspberry sauce over the top!

Pecan Pie

This photo doesn't do the pie justice, sorry...

With all of the rush of Christmas, I haven't had time to post. Unfortunately, I've done SO much baking/cooking, but haven't taken pictures of most of it. Plus, some of the things I've made my mom would kill me if I gave the recipe out. :P lol...

I'm posting a pecan pie recipe that I got from the Oct/Nov edition of Fine Cooking magazine. I made it a few weeks ago for my annual Christmas dinner party. I tried a couple of different pecan pie recipes that night, but this was definitely the winner. :)

I didn't use the crust in the magazine, but I'm sure it's amazing. Just use your favorite crust recipe.

What you'll need:

8 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 C light corn syrup
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 C pecan halves, toasted, cooled and coarsely chopped (I didn't toast. I'm lazy)

Blind bake your crust ahead of time. (dry bottom and edges just starting to brown) This will help keep the crust from getting soggy when you bake the filling in it.

Heat oven to 325F with a baking sheet inside.

Put egg yolks in a bowl and add the vanilla. Mix it up.

Combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, cream and salt in a saucepan.

Heat over medium heat, stirring often, just until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling, 3 to 5 minutes.

Whisking vigorously, and constantly, very slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the yolks. If you add it too fast, you'll get scrambled egg yolks. Yuck. Chef David Guas (this is his recipe, btw) added a great tip. Put a towel under the bowl to help stabilize it, that way it won't get away from you while you're whisking.

I didn't get a picture of this, because I was too busy vigorously whisking. ;)

He says to then strain this over a fine strainer, into a 1-quart measuring cup. I didn't do this. If you feel you may have curdled your eggs a little, then this is a good idea.

Spread the pecans evenly in the bottom of the pie crust, then slowly pour the filling over them.

Put the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the center of the pie is slightly firm to the touch and the filling doesn't wobble when the pie is nudged, 35 - 40 minutes.

psst.. I didn't use the baking sheet, but it's not a bad idea.

Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving. The pie can be made up to a day ahead, stored covered with plastic at room temperature, but it's yummiest fresh the day it's made. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beef and Pasta

This is one of my favorites and it cooks up in less than 30 minutes. :)

Things you'll need:

1 to 1 1/2 lbs steak (I usually use sirloin, today tri-tip)
Approx 6 oz pasta (I usually use farfalle, today I used rotini)
1 onion, sliced
1 can tomato sauce
1 to 1 1/2 cup beef broth
1 to 2 tsp dried basil, or 2 tbsp fresh - chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Thinly slice the steak.

Get your water boiling for your pasta, and get it cooking.

In a pan over medium heat add 3/4 to 1 cup of the broth and the sliced onions. Cook that until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

Put the onions in a separate bowl and set aside.

Add the sliced steak and some salt and pepper. Cook until cooked through. (obviously more than in the picture.) ;)

Throw the onions back in with the rest of the broth, tomato sauce, basil, salt and pepper.

Simmer and let it reduce down, 5 minutes or so...

Add the cooked pasta and stir it up.

Dish it up and top with grated parmesan. Aaaand done!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

This isn't one of those "simmer all day" kind of spaghetti sauces, I just didn't have time for that. :P Okay, I probably did, but I didn't want to. haha. Also, I haven't been to the grocery store for at least 3 weeks, so I didn't have any fresh herbs, instead I used dry. Scoff if you want, but I'm okay with it and since I made this for myself, that's really all that matters. :P

Definitely double the sauce ingredients if you have more than a couple of people to feed.

Things you'll need:

Again, all sizes are approximate. I just kind of threw it together.

Spaghetti pasta
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/4 - 1/3 C bread crumbs
1/4 C grated parmesan
1 to 2 tsp italian seasonings
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
herbs, sugar, salt and pepper to taste

First, preheat your oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, crumbs, parmesan, italian seasonings, salt and pepper.

Roll into balls, and place on a cookie sheet. I covered mine with aluminum foil, and sprayed a little cooking spray on it.

Pop it in the preheated oven.

While that bakes, make the sauce.

In a saucepan, add a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Toss in the chopped onion.

Cook that until it begins to caramelize, then add the garlic. You don't want to overcook the garlic, or it could get bitter. Continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sauce, herbs, sugar (I used about 2 tsps), salt and pepper. Use whatever herbs you like best. I used about a teaspoon (give or take) of the following: Parsley, basil and oregano.

Don't worry about it being the exact taste you want right now, after simmering the flavor is going to change alot. Also, the tomatoes are going to break down a bit during the simmering, as well.

Cover it up and let it simmer while the meatballs cook.

When the meatballs are cooked all of the way through, add them to the sauce and get your pasta cooking.

Taste the sauce and add whatever it needs. If it's a little too acidic, add a little more sugar.

Optional: add some of the pasta water to the sauce, and let it simmer down a bit. It can help thicken it up a bit of you think it needs it.

Plate it up, throw on some parmesan and eat! :)