risotto w/ chicken, peas and crispy prosciutto

yummmmmingredients (serves 4):
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
3/4 Tbs butter
3 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
12 oz boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, chopped coarsely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
6 slices prosciutto
3 Tbs finely shredded fresh sage

1. place stock and the water in pot; bring to a boil. reduce heat; simmer, covered.
2. heat butter and half of the oil in a large pot; cook onion, stirring until soft. add rice; stir rice. add wine; cook, stirring, until liquid is almost evaporated.
3. stir in 1 cup simmering stock mixture, one cup at a time, stirring until absorbed after each addition. total cooking time should be about 35 minutes or until rice is tender.
4. in a large skillet, heat remaining oil; cook chicken, stirring until cooked through. add garlic; stir until fragrant. stir chicken mixture and peas into risotto.
5. cook prosciutto in same skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels then break into chunks. stir sage and half of prosciutto into risotto; sprinkle remaining prosciutto over individual risotto servings.

courtesy of best-ever recipes


mint choco cupcake w/ mint buttercream frosting

we (of course) used the georgetown cupcake recipe for the cupcakes. plus a little mint extract.

then we used a recipe from williams-sonoma for the buttercream frosting. and we added about 5-6 droplets of mint extract. and a little food coloring. to me, mint is supposed to be green :)

we were trying to imitate the mint chocolate cupcakes from georgetown they sell on sundays and thursdays, only.

get the cupcake recipe here. add a drop or two of mint extract.

ingredients for quick buttercream frosting (makes 4 cups):
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 1/2 Tbs. milk, plus more, if needed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
Food colorings (optional)
5-6 droplets of peppermint extract

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, the 4 1/2 Tbs. milk, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Tint with food coloring as desired. (add a little milk for fluffier frosting--- and whip a little longer.)

mmmmmm. anything with the words, "butter" and "cream" in the same vicinity. my favorite.


roasted potatoes with garlic cloves

sorry for the dark photo--- we ate outside (and it was after dark). but we love these potatoes. we have for a long time. they are really yummy!ingredients (serves about 4):
6 large wavy potatoes, such as yukon gold
1 head garlic, separated into cloves but not peeled
1 bunch rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
2. bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. blanch in the boiling water for 2 minutes, drain.
3. put the potatoes on a baking sheet and toss with garlic, rosemary and olive oil. season with salt and pepper and spread out on the baking sheet. bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. serve hot.

*courtesy of molto italiano: mario batali


seared salmon with cucumber salsa

another "repeat". husband loved it. the cucumber salsa is just right.
ingredients (serves 4):
-1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, halved lengthwise again and thinly sliced crosswise
-1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
-1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch julienne
-2 Tbs. chopped shallot or red onion
-1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish (optional)
-1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
-1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
-1 tsp. honey
-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
-1 tsp. salt
-4 salmon fillets, each 5 oz. and about 1 inch thick
-1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
-lime wedges for garnish

In a bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, shallot and chopped cilantro and toss gently to mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 1 tsp. of the canola oil, the honey, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Pour the lime juice mixture over the cucumber mixture and toss gently to mix and coat evenly. Set aside.

Sprinkle the salmon fillets on both sides with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and the black pepper. In a large, nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1/2 tsp. canola oil. Add the fish and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Transfer the salmon fillets to warmed individual plates and top each with one-fourth of the salsa. Garnish the plates with the cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Serve immediately.

*courtesy of (you guessed it!) williams-sonoma


prosciutto wrapped asparagus

another big hit at easter dinner...ingredients (serves 4):
12 large asparagus spears
4 thin slices of prosciutto
2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp paprika
1 lemon, quartered (optional)

preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. grease a baking dish large enough to hold the asparagus and set aside.

using a sharp knife, cut off the tough ends of the asparagus. peel the stalks to within about 2 inches of the tips. gather the stalks together and trim off the bottoms so all the asparagus are the same length.

fill a frying pan with just enough water to cover the asparagus when it is added. bring to a boil. add the asparagus spears, overlapping them as little as possible, and cook, uncovered, over high heat until tender but still quite firm, 3-4 minutes (the timing will depend on the thickness of the stalks). drain well. ---i have a trusty asparagus steamer pot. thanks for that, d.

divide the asparagus into 4 bundles of 3 stalks each. wrap 1 prosciutto slice around the center of each bundle. place the 4 bundles in the prepared baking dish. dot with butter, season to taste with pepper and sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan. bake for 5 minutes to brown the cheese. remove from the oven, dust with paprika, and serve hot with the lemon quarters.

*courtesy of williams-sonoma Italian favorites cookbook


lime-carrot cupcakes

we made these (again) for easter dessert.

umm. delicious.

but this time add a little cream and a little lime juice to the frosting. whip the frosting a little bit longer too and it should turn out really light and fluffy. di-vine.


baked brie

this was a big hit for easter dinner appetizer/side. yummm, cheeeese
1 frozen pastry dough, thawed (do not microwave)
1 wedge brie
about 1/4 cup brown sugar
a couple handfuls nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts--- whatever you like)
1/4-1/2 cup of chutney or some sort of fresh fruit (i used mango ginger chutney)
crackers for serving

preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
place aluminum foil on the length of a baking sheet. place pastry dough flat on the baking sheet. then add brie. pile on brown sugar, nuts and chutney (or fruit).
bring up the sides of the pastry dough and wrap and twist the brie up "like a present."
bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

"and then eat it and love it"

*courtesy of my sister, s!


bread pudding

ingredients (serves 2):
-2 cups brioche cubes (each about 1/2 inch square)--- we just used "Shepherd's bread" (a kind of white bread
-1 1/4 cups heavy cream
-1 egg
-1 egg yolk
-1/4 cup sugar
-1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 10-oz. individual pie dishes and divide the brioche cubes between them. (i used one pie pan... that's all i had!)

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream until steam starts to rise, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the warm cream into the egg mixture. Divide the mixture between the prepared pie dishes and place them on a baking sheet. Bake until puffed and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

*courtesy of williams-sonoma.com


penne carbonara

so so good! reminded me of Rome... *sigh*
ingredients (serves 2):
4 strips of bacon, cut into 1" pieces or 4 oz diced pancetta
1/4 of an onion, diced
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
1/2 lb dried penne or other pasta shape
Fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste

1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium low heat. When the fat begins to turn translucent and liquefy, add diced onions. Cook until bacon is crispy and onions are soft and browned. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
2. Bring a pot of of salted water to boil. While water is heating, whisk egg and egg yolk together in a small bowl. Add the grated cheese and whisk until cheese is coated with the eggs.
3. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to the package. When pasta is al dente, drain and return cooked pasta to the pot.
4. Pour eggs, bacon, onions, and bacon drippings over the pasta. The hot noodles will cook the eggs and make a creamy sauce, but to avoid scrambling the eggs, you will need to work quickly and stir vigorously. Stir in peas and season with salt, if necessary (the cheese and bacon are already salty, so be sure to taste first). Top with lots of freshly ground black pepper and more grated Parmesan.

*adapated from Chow.com via dcist.


chocolate soufflé

ingredients (serves 4):
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
4 Tbs butter
1 1/2 Tbs flour
7 oz dark chocolate, melted
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. grease four 3/4 cup ramekins or soufflé dishes. sprinkle insides of dishes evenly with sugar; shake away excess. place dishes on baking sheet.
2. melt butter in medium pan, add flour; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes or until mixture thickens and bubbles. remove from heat; stir in chocolate and egg yolks. transfer to large bowl.
3. beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, one Tbs at a time, beating until sugar dissolves between additions. gently fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture in two batches.
4. divide soufflé mixture among dishes; bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until soufflés are puffed. (we baked them for 13 minutes in our gas oven and they were perfect!!)

*courtesy of best-ever recipes!

porterhouse steaks w/ blue cheese mashed potatoes

ingredients for steaks (serves 4):
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs butter
2 large red onions (about 1 1/4 lbs), sliced thinly
3 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
4 porterhouse steaks (2 lbs)--- we got 1 t-bone and cut it in half for the two of us
1/2 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 Tbs cold butter, chopped

1. heat oil and butter in large skillet; cook onions, stirring, until onions soften. add sugar and vinegar; cook stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes or until onions caramelize. cover to keep warm.
2. make blue cheese mashed potatoes.
3. cook beef, in batches, in heated large skillet until cooked to desired degree of doneness. cover beef; let stand for 10 minutes.
4. bring wine to a boil in same skillet; boil, uncovered, until reduced by half. add stock; return to boil. whisk in cold butter, piece by piece, until sauce is smooth.
5. divide beef, onions and mashed potatoes among serving plates; drizzle with sauce.

ingredients for mashed potatoes:
2 lbs russet potatoes, chopped coarsely
3 Tbs butter, softened
3/4 cup hot milk
3 1/2 oz firm blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives

directions for potatoes:
boil, steam or microwave potatoes until tender, drain. mash potatoes in large bowl with butter and milk, until smooth. fold in cheese and chives. cover to keep warm.

*courtesy of "best ever recipes" (thanks s&t!!)


salt & pepper shrimp

i made a little [basmati] rice to go with this. we ended up pouring a little bit of the dipping sauce over the shrimp and rice. another big hit with the husband!!
ingredients (serves 4):

-1/4 tsp sugar
-1/4 tsp chinese five-spice powder
-salt and freshly ground pepper
-4 Tbs corn or peanut oil
-1/4 cup cornstarch (cornflour)
-1 1/2 lb shrimp, peeling and deveined
-2 Tbs ginger, minced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 red or green jalapeño chile, seeded and minced--- (i didn't have one, so i just use a few green onions!)
2 Tbs mirin (rice wine)

make the spice mixture
in a small bowl, stir together the sugar, five-spice powder, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.

sear the shrimp
heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until very hot and add 2 Tbs of the oil. meanwhile, spread the cornstarch on a plate. quickly pat the shrimp dry and dip each shrimp into the cornstarch, coating both sides and shaking off excess. add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer and sear, turning once, just until opaque throughout, about 1 minute on each side. using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a bowl.

finish the dish
return the pan to high heat and add the remaining 2 Tbs oil. add the ginger, garlic and chile (or onions) and stir-fry for about 5 seconds until fragrant. add the spice mixture and mirin, quickly return the shrimp to the pan, and stir-fry until the shrimp are coated with the spice mixture and are heated through, 15-20 seconds. serve with the dipping sauce.

ingredients for dipping sauce:
3 Tbs fresh lemon or lime juice
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs water
1/2 tsp minced cilantro (i went w/out and it was still great!)
1/4 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced

stir all together. (may be made a day in advance, covered and refrigerated; bring to room temp before serving.)

*courtesy of williams-sonoma "food made fast: asian"


risotto with prosciutto & asparagus

this dish was deli-cious. i don't have a pressure cooker, so i used a large saucepan and just cooked everything a little longer than it calls for.
my husband LOVED it. i did as well but i think he's a little harder to please sometimes :) enjoy
ingredients (serves 6):
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken stock, warmed
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
6 thin slices prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 lb. asparagus, cooked until tender and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Set an electric pressure cooker to “brown” according to the manufacturer’s instructions and warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir until each grain is well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed. Add 5 cups of the stock, cover and cook for 12 minutes according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions, remove the lid and stir the rice. Add more stock if needed so the rice is thick and creamy. Stir in the butter, the 1 cup cheese, the prosciutto, basil and asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and pass additional cheese at the table.

*courtesy of williams-sonoma


penne with stuffed tomatoes

i wanted to make pasta. and these stuffed tomatoes. so it worked out well.

ingredients (serves 2):
1/2 lb cooked penne
12 cherry tomatoes
1/4 lb fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
1/8 cup minced fresh basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

cut the top off each cherry tomato. using a small spoon, scoop out the pulp to make a hollow yet sturdy shell. drain off any juice that accumulates in the shells.
in a bowl, combine the cheese, basil, salt and pepper. mix with a fork until well blended.
using the small spoon, fill each tomato with about 1 tsp. of the cheese mixture. arrange the filled tomatoes on a platter to serve.
use the extra cheese to spread over the pasta.
kind of self-explanatory :) always add a little olive oil and salt to the pasta after it's strained.

*partially adapted from williams-sonoma