Friday, December 9, 2011

50 Women Game Changers in Food - Week 27

Anne Willan

At number 27 of the 50 Women Game Changers in Food, Anne Willan, originally from England, is "recognized on both sides of the Atlantic as a leading authority on the cooking of France and it's culinary history."  She was an associate editor of Gourmet, is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, and most notably known as the founder of La Varenne (opened in 1975).  She taught cooking in London and Paris before moving to the United States, where she currently resides with her husband.

While looking through Anne Willan's many creations I came across her Wild Mushroom Risotto recipe.  I, myself, had only made risotto twice before with "ok" results.  However, there is a wonderful restaurant in Miami, Caffe di Notte, which serves the most amazing Champagne Risotto with Short Ribs that I had always hoped to be able to make something even close to what I have had there.  I hit the jackpot!! It's creamy and tasty with a smooth earthiness from the mushrooms...absolutely DIVINE!!  A definite keeper!!

Wild Mushroom Risotto Courtesy of Anne Willan/La Varenne

Fragrant boletus (porcini) mushrooms are classic in risotto, and other intensely flavored types such as chanterelles do well too.  Dried mushrooms are an alternative (you'll need about 2 ounces/60g for this recipe), or you can supplement expensive fresh wild mushrooms with some cultivated ones.  for example, portabellas, peeled and cut in wedges, make a nice contrast of color with the white rice.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 quart/1 liter/1¾ pints chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons/45 g/1½ oz butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup/200 g/7 oz risotto rice, preferably Carnaroli or Arborio
  • ½ cup/125 ml/4 fl oz dry white wine
  • ¼ cup/30 g/1 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
For the mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon/15 g/½ oz butter
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ pound/225 g wild mushrooms, trimmed and cut in ¼-inch/6-mmslices
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the mushrooms: Heat oil and butter in a skillet and add the whole clove of garlic. Add the mushrooms with salt and pepper and sauté them, stirring often, until they are tender and all liquid has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes depending on the type of mushroom. Take from the heat and discard the garlic clove. Taste, adjust seasoning and set the mushrooms aside.
  2. Heat the broth in a saucepan and keep it warm at the side of the stove. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt half the butter. Stir in the onion and sauté it until transparent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and sauté it, stirring constantly, until it absorbs the butter and looks translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add about 1 cup/250 ml/8 fl oz of the broth and simmer, stirring, until the rice starts to dry, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring all the time and adding more broth in batches to keep the rice moist. At the end of cooking, the rice should be tender, still slightly al dente (chewy) and creamy from the starch that has begun to leach from the grains. This will take 25 to 30 minutes and don’t hesitate to use plenty of broth.
  3. Meanwhile, reheat the mushrooms in the skillet. When the risotto is ready, stir them into the rice. Take it from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, the Parmesan, and the parsley. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve the risotto in shallow bowls or on deep plates.
GETTING AHEAD: Risotto is best eaten at once, hence the wait in a good Italian restaurant while your risotto is prepared from scratch. It can be kept warm for up to 15 minutes with the pan in a water bath, but will stiffen so you will need to stir in a little more broth just before serving.

French Fridays with Dorie - Chard-Stuffed Pork Roast

This week's recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was Chard-Stuffed Pork Roast.  Another great recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table

This was a very interesting recipe: a pork roast stuffed with a combination of sauteed kale, onions, garlic and the sweet addition of raisins or cranberries (I used cranberries).  Then crusted with crushed coriander seeds and peppercorns.  It was moist and savory.  Delicious!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ana's Bocadito de Jamon - Ham Spread

There are of course many versions of this.  However, this is Ana's.  It's simple, quick and delicious. And when you have a large hungry bunch like she had over Thanksgiving weekend this a great idea for lunch on the run.

Ana's Bocadito de Jamon

1 can Deviled Ham
2 Hormel Ham Steaks (6 oz)
1- 8 oz whipped cream cheese with chives

Process ham in food processor add Deviled Ham and cream cheese.  Refrigerate for about an hour and serve on sandwich buns or crackers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

50 Women Game Changers in Food - Week 26

Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers

Picture courtesy of The Telegraph
They opened the critically acclaimed restaurant The River Cafe in 1987. They introduced Londoners to simple italian dishes made with the finest ingredients.  Throughout the years several successful chefs trained in their kitchen including Jamie Oliver.  The River Cafe Cook Book, was published in 1995, followed by several others and consistently demonstrating throughout their recipes that with just a few good quality ingredients you can make an amazing meal.  Sadly, Rose Gray died of cancer last year at the age 71.

I had intended to make their Expesso and Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate, which you can probably find on Sue's blog (see below), but found that I had all the ingredients for this recipe on hand.  I had made something similar to this recently, however I must confess this recipe was much better and so easy to make.  Serve with lightly toasted italian bread and a nice red and your done. Salute!



9 ounces, spaghetti
juice of 3 to 4 lemons, the freshest possible
optional: the zest (the grated, colored part of the peel) of some of those lemons
2/3 cup, olive oil
1 1/4 cups, Parmesan cheese - freshly grated (Parmigiano-Reggiano if possible)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves - chopped

In a generous amount of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti just until al dente, then drain it thoroughly and return it to the hot (empty) pan.

Meanwhile, beat the lemon juice with the olive oil, then stir in the Parmesan until the mixture is thick and creamy. The Parmesan will melt into the mixture. Season, and add more lemon juice to taste.

Add the sauce to the hot, drained spaghetti and toss gently or shake the pan so that each strand is coated with the cheese. Finally, stir in the chopped basil and, ideally, some grated lemon zest.

For more great recipes by Ruth and Rose please visit the rest of our group:

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - 
Eats Well With Others
Taryn - 
Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan -
 The Spice Garden
Claudia -
 A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather -
Miranda - 
Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - 
Healthy Living
April - 
Abby Sweets 
Katie -
 Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - 
One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -
Bake Away with Me
Viola -
 The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - 
The View from Great Island
Barbara - 
Movable Feasts
Kathleen - 
Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - 
Beloved Green
Jeanette - 
Healthy Living 
Linda -
 Ciao Chow Linda
Linda A -
 There and Back Again

Martha - Lines from Linderhof
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen
Annie - Most Lovely Things
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook

Matafan - Potato Pancakes

For this French Friday with Dorie we made Matafans. There were several suggestions in Dorie's book, Around My French Table, on how to serve matafans (potato pancakes) as hors d'oeuvres.

However, when I read that her husband likes them with syrup; I was sold on the idea. Breakfast happens to be my favorite meal of the day,  when I actually have time to make it like on the weekends.  I love the combination of salty and sweet: potato pancakes with syrup and bacon!!  Yummy!! The pancakes are time consuming to make because you have to bake the potatoes first then strain them or put them through a food mill but definitely worth the results.  They are light, fluffy, and delicious with what topping you prefer.