30 September 2009

Veggie Risotto

It's been cold and rainy in Vermont. Comfort meals have been sounding really good....and tasting really good. We needed something delicious to go with sauteed brussels sprouts and pork chops. How about a veggie risotto??? Perfect!
risotto, pork chops, sprouts!
Speaking of brussels sprouts, they are a strange vegetable, aren't they? For some reason I never cared too much for them, I would eat them of course, but just thought they were 'ehh'. Then, for some reason a few years ago I ate a brussels sprout, and I fell in love. I don't know why, but for once I thought 'this is one awesome sprout!!!' or something like that. Either way, I have cared for these compact little green cabbage guy ever since.

Now back to the risotto. You can usually follow the back of the package of Arborio rice for directions, but I can give you the low down (again. Also see previous risotto post). For some reason, I've found risotto gets a bad rep for 'difficult'. To make it is by no means difficult, but it does require patience. And attention. I stirred this baby for a solid 40 minutes and never left it's side...there were witnesses. Dedication I say.

Printable Recipe
by kaceys kitchen

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock, warmed
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups veggies or seafood (I used leftover sauteed mushrooms, peppers, onions, and tomatoes)
  • salt/pepper/other spices (if needed)
  1. In large pan, heat butter over medium heat and add rice. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add white wine, stirring, reduce liquid by half.
  3. Add stock, approximately 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring constantly. When most of liquid has evaporated, add another 1/2 cup of stock. Continue adding stock each time it cooks down, for about 30 minutes. Taste rice, it should be tender but with a little firmness. Season if necessary. If it is not yet done, continue adding more stock. You may or may not need all of the stock, taste testing is the best way.
  4. Add sauteed veggies now, cook liquid down if needed, add parmesan cheese.
  5. Serve immediately.

28 September 2009

Tortellini Salad

I love Tortellini. Actually, I pretty much love any pasta filled with cheese. (Have I said that before?) It's comforting and tasty. And it must be good for you if it's in a salad, right? I can really justify anything, it's kinda an awesome skill I have.

Well, I was heading over to the Finger Lakes Region of New York (more wine tasting!!!) this past weekend to spend time with friends and friends family, and I was in charge of some food. Tortellini salad was on my menu. It really is very simple, and another one of my favorite type of meals that would use whatever you have on hand!

Tortellini Salad
by kaceyskitchen

The Staples
  • 1 pkg of frozen (or fresh) tortellini, cooked al dente & cooled (I like tri-colored! Purty!)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 can pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach
  • sprinkle of parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 bottle of zesty italian dressing
Other Ideas
  • cubed cheese (anything yummy!)
  • peperoni
  • balsamic vinegar/olive oil
  • grilled & chilled chicken
  • roasted red peppers
  1. Toss all ingredients together.
  2. Chill.
  3. Add more dressing if necessary.
  4. Consume all.

23 September 2009

Milan Cookies

You know those really, really good and addictive Pepperidge Farm cookies, Milanos...the best cookies in the whole wide world?!?! I never even thought to make them until I recently saw the Daring Bakers July challenge. No, I'm not a Daring Baker, but I enjoy checking out the food bloggers who do, and comparing their results.

These were pretty simple to make, however I wasn't entirely impressed with the results, even though I'm not sure why. Everyone else seemed to enjoy them, including the dude painting our house. I'll probably try them again sometime, but I have a feeling it's a store bought food that shouldn't be messed with. Not by me anyway. Kinda like Oreos...don't mess with Oreos....unless they are strawberry milkshake Oreos. Mmmm...

Anyway, if you want to tackle it, let me know how it goes:

Milan Cookies

by Gale Gand via foodnetwork
about 3 dozen cookies

  • 12 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
Cookie filling
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 orange, zested (I omitted)
  1. Cream the butter with a paddle attachment then mix in the sugar.
  2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
  3. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated.
  4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
Cookie Filling:
  1. In a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
  2. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl. Whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
  3. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
  4. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

22 September 2009

California Wine Tasting

Another day in California...another wine to taste. This traveling thing is pretty difficult. I mean, how was I supposed to taste all of these delicious wines and eat all of these amazing foods and do tons of cool things in only 7 days?!?!?! Lets put it this way....I tried. And it was glorious!

'tasting vineyard' at Summers Estate Wines
Shannon, Jim, and I planned to head up to Sonoma for a roller derby bout. They then came up with the genius plan to stay the night up there and do wine tasting the following day. Genius I say...genius...

It was an excellent weekend. Saturday morning Shan and I went to the farmers market, purchasing some goodies, then we hit the road. After consuming almost 2 containers of goat cheese and a whole loaf of bread (between the 3 of us), I got to swim a little and lay out in the California sun. Then we headed down the street to see the B.A.D. All-Stars destroy the Wine Country Homewreckers.

Prior to hitting up the wines, we drove by the 'Old Faithful of California'. Don't go there. But we were suckers and paid an absurd entry fee and for pellet food to feed the goats (and LLAMAS!). They were kinda cool.

We hit up Summers Estate Wines where we had a decent time, we all bought a bottle, and we saw some girl ruin $65 wine by dumping her unwanted tasting into the decanter. Whoops!

Next we went right down the road to Vincent Arroyo Winery. I think we all agree this place was pretty cool. We purchased amazing balsamic vinegar and olive oil (and wine!) that they also make. We had a picnic outside, eating bread, VA olive oil & balsamic vinegar, goat cheeses, basil and heirloom tomatoes. I could live on just that meal alone. And what would a picnic be if we didn't crack open a bottle of the wine we just bought!

Jim, Kacey, Shannon at Vincent Arroyo Winery
Oh my....

16 September 2009

Eclairs.... No...Cream Puffs

I've been wanting to make Eclairs for a long time now, but for some reason keep putting it off. Well, after my good friend Sweet Cheeks made these, I knew I had to try. Don't ask me why, but I didn't use the recipe she did. I should have. I will for next time. Instead I found a recipe that had me so discouraged I just threw it out. I threw out both the recipe and the pastries after they came out of the oven. I suppose they weren't horrible...but they weren't what they should have been, and I wasn't going to put up with it.

Mom came to the rescue and dug around for a cream puff recipe a friend gave her a long time ago, which is almost the same as the eclair recipe. Are they the same? Are the recipes interchangeable? What is the difference, the shape, the ingredients? Please let me know.

Everything ended up coming together pretty well, so you'll probably want the recipe.

Cream Puffs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  1. Heat water & butter to boil.
  2. Stir in flour, all at once, over low heat until mixture leaves pan and forms a ball.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beat until smooth.
  5. Drop by spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in preheated 400 F oven for 45 minutes.
  7. When cool, fill with pastry cream and top with confectioners sugar or drizzle with chocolate.

French Vanilla Pastry Cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  1. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar for 2 minutes or until pale yellow. Adding flour in 3 additions, stir until well mixed.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the milk, remaining sugar and vanilla bean over medium heat, stirring often until the sugar is dissolved and small bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pot. Stirring constantly, pour about 1/3 of the milk mixture into egg mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour egg mixture into remaining milk and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring, until mixture begins to mound and hold its shape; remove from heat.
  3. Stir in butter and remove the vanilla bean. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the custard and cool to room temperature.
  4. Beat whipping cream until stiff; add a large dollop of cream to the cooled pastry cream and fold in; add remaining whipped cream and fold in until almost combined. Place in the refrigerator until completely chilled.

13 September 2009

Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. It's like a dream come true. If I ever move to San Francisco, I know exactly where I will spend most (all??? yikes!) of my paycheck each Saturday. From dozens of different plums or tomatoes, avocados, breads, cheeses (Oh! The cheeses!), fish, meats, sandwiches, pastries, and more, the farmers market had more than I could imagine. Inside the ferry plaza, you can find an array of restaurants, flower shops, bakeries, wine shops, olive oil, salty pig parts, kitchenware stores, and more. Let's just say I tasted a lot of good eats. And by a lot, I mean A LOT!

lox, the creamiest cream cheese ever,
thinly sliced onions, and tomato on amazing bread

At the farmers market, Super Gnarly Cousin from SF and I did some caviar tasting at Tsar Nicoulai Caviar. Lets put it this way, it was interesting. The caviar was good, and it was fun to do once, pretending to be champagne and caviar snobs, as if we really did have $125 to buy 1 ounce of this stuff.

This was the explanation we received when we asked how to eat it:
"Indulge yourself by eating the caviar from the side of your hand. For ultimate romance, eat the caviar from the skin of your loved one. Or just eat on crackers with creme fraiche."
I found that pretty amusing. We ate ours off of our hands (our own hands), until we realized the unique taste we were experiencing was really what I call 'city sludge'; the griminess you feel from touching things all day in a city. After that we just used our mother of pearl tasting spoons...ooolala.


Champagne for my real friends...

Perfection Platter — $56
California Estate Osetra, Paddlesh Sturgeon, Brandy Trout, Vanilla Trout
Beet/Saron Whitesh, True Whitesh

Just call me fancy pants. Actually...don't, that's kind of creepy.

11 September 2009

These Tetons...They Seem So Grand...

welcome to the tetons

After driving all night, we had no clue how far or how close we were. But this is what we saw in the morning:

can you find me in the picture?

It is a food blog, so here's the food:

tetony breakfast

Eggs. Bread. Sausage. Tetons. Best Friends. Corniness. Awesomeness.

09 September 2009

Vodka Cream Pasta

Penne with Vodka sauce is probably one of my all time favorite dishes. I believe it's just an all around great dish. Creamy pasta, not to heavy, with chunks of tomato, garlic, basil, and a side of bread. Plus you can add almost anything to it.

stay at home night in san francisco
I found this recipe many years ago while cruising through one of my Rachel Ray cookbooks. I like Rachael Ray, no matter what anyone says. She makes real food with real ingredients and in real time. So what if she's a little goofy? So am I. (Maybe more then a 'little'). I'm more concerned that the food tastes good...and her recipes typically do.

I like this recipe, it's slightly lighter than most vodka cream pastas, but I feel it's a little more versatile that way. It's fun to add other things to this: veggies, scallops, chicken, sausage, or in this case, sauteed shrimp. It was yummy and I ate it for breakfast 3 days in a row. It really only takes a half hour to cook, and it's really easy to make a lot of if you are entertaining. Toss together a salad and you'd be all set!

You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta
by Rachael Ray
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
  • Crusty bread, for passing
*I will usually add some crushed red pepper, and parmesan cheese.
  1. Heat a large skillet over moderate heat.
  2. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness.
  3. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup.
  4. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes.
  5. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
  7. Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta.
  8. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

06 September 2009

Baked in SF

Some people say cupcakes are overdone...used and abused. I am not one of those people. Those people suck! I love cupcakes and I'm sure I always will. Not just cupcakes though, I love any personal sized food. Cupcakes, tarts, mini quiche, little pizzas, anything.

I also like to visit bakeries I've never been to before. Maybe because I get some good ideas, or maybe because just thinking about food makes me happy. Sometimes I just look. More often I buy and gobble down goodness. A few blocks from Shannon's apartment was a place called Baked. If you live near Potrero Hill in SF, you must go!

I bought a cupcake for each of us: red velvet, oreo, and chocolate chocolate. I at the oreo one (big surprise there!) which was excellent. I usually enjoy some larger chunks of oreo in my cakes, but this one definitely hit the spot. At $2 each, I thought it was a pretty decent price for city cupcakes, and I loved how simple yet pretty decorated they were. Taste verdict: Scrumdidliumcious!

The bakery was a little itty bitty teeny tiny place but packed fulled of baked goodies. They had the cutest mini-cakes and tarts too!!! I didn't think anything about the service until later on when I was told that there's a mean old hag that works there. Actually, I think she was described as a grumpy older woman, but mean old hag sounds so much better. And now that I think about it....she really didn't even acknowledge that I bought something from her. I suppose I should be lucky that she didn't say anything at all. Yikes!!!

03 September 2009

Gastronomical Adventures in San Francisco

I ate well this past week. Very well. And I tried to take pictures of everything I ate, I really did, but sometimes it just didn't happen. As usual, I get something really really tasty and unique in front of me and it's like my brain shuts out everything else and just tells me to CONSUME ALL FOOD!!! I'm kinda like a freak. But I did take a lot of pictures of things I ate, and I will still be doing a little posting/review of things I don't have a picture of.

Eating well in San Fransisco isn't hard, but it totally helps that I have a totally awesome cousin there that loves to eat well also. And eating in good company always makes things taste better.

This is a breakfast that Shannon and I made with a few goals. 1) quick 2) use up food in fridge 3) healthy delicious.
What we have here is a beautiful, well crafted, original recipe by yours truly. As always, making sure that presentation is priority.

Slow cooked scrambled eggs (as they should be), with sauteed red onion, and cheddar cheese over a toasted onion bun with fresh beautifully carved avocado. At a closer look, you may see specks of Sriracha, and pieces of delicious bacon.
You may be wondering how we were able to concoct such a glorious meal......the answer is skill. Skill and stomach growling hunger.

Aside from the visual appeal, it was decided that this was a fairly healthy meal. It did have avocado...and that's a good fat.