Tuesday, August 21, 2012

White Wine Tri-Mushroom Risotto with Scallops

In August, my husband and I celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary. Every year, we cook something special instead of going out to eat. Last year was a picnic at the beach. This year, I wanted to cook something at home. I decided to make risotto with seared scallops. My husband loves scallops, but we don't always get them. He's also never had risotto so I wanted him to try some without spending a fortune at a restaurant. I decided to make three mushroom risotta using mushroom stock and three different kinds of mushroom. Risotto is not hard to make, but it does take patience and time. You can't rush it or else it won't be risotto. Risotta is suppose to be creamy and rice is suppose to be soft, but not chewy. If it's chewy, it's not fully cooked. If' it's too soft, you cooked it too long. I've made risotta a few times, but my husband was deployed so he didn't get to taste it. I love mushrooms and thought the pairing of mushrooms with scallops will be great. If you don't have wine or don't want to add wine, then leave it out.

**I did not write down the recipe so I'm not accurate with the measurements or directions***


Made for 2:

4 scallops
1 cup arborio rice, uncooked
1 container of chicken stock
white wine, about 1/2 cup
2 Tbsp butter
half onion, diced
1 garlice clove, minced
olive oil
dried shiitake mushrooms and choice of 2 other kinds of mushroom (fresh)
**You don't need a lot of mushrooms for 2 people, so about 2-4 mushrooms each should be fine**
grated parmesean cheese
salt and pepper

First, heat up the container of chicken stock in a pot and bring it to a boil. There is a possibility that you might use up quite a bit of stock so heat up all the stock just in case. When it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and add in 2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms. Cover and let sit for about one hour. Now you have your mushroom stock. After an hour, take the shiitake mushrooms out and dice them up. Wash and dice the rest of the mushrooms too.

Next, heat up a sautee pan with olive oil. Add in the minced garlic and diced onions. Sweat the onions and then add in the aroborio rice. Sautee the arborio rice, stirring constantly, until grains are lightly toasted. Add salt and pepper. Once the grains are toasted, add in the white wine or a ladle of chicken stock if you're not using the wine. Cook on medium low and stir constantly. When the liquid begins to disappear, add another ladle of chicken stock and stir. Keep following these steps until the grains are cooked. This will take some time, but you want to keep stirring to prevent the rice from burning. This process will take about 30-45 minutes on medium low heat. Be sure to not over-cook your risotto or under cook your risotto. When risotto is cooked, add in some grated parmesean cheese, 1 Tbsp of roughly chopped tarragon, and butter. Stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
**If you're unsure of when the risotto is cooked, taste it**
Perfect risotto should have a creamy texture with perfectly done rice; not chewy, but soft grains.

Meanwhile, heat up the chicken stock that was used to rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms to medium heat. Make sure you take out all the shiitake mushrooms. Then prepare the scallops to be seared. Make sure they're dried (pat them down with paper towel). I bought frozen scallops from my supermarket so I had to pat them down quite a bit since I thawed them out, but if you have fresh ones then you won't need to pat them down too much.  Heat up a sautee pan and drizzle a little bit of olive oil just enough to lightly coat the pan. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper one both sides and sear them in the pan making sure the pan is hot in the first place. The process of searing is to form a nice crust on the sides so you will need a hot pan for that. Sear the scallops for about 2-3 minutes on both sides or until it forms a nice golden color. Serve ontop of the mushroom risotto and garnish with some tarragon leaves. Voila`! 
White Wine Tri-Mushroom Risotto With Seared Scallops

For our 7 year anniversary, we celebrated it for that whole week. We went out and had a picnic at the beach. I made bacon caprese sandwiches: basil leaves, tomato, mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and bacon sandwiched between two toasted bagels. With sides of watermelons, chips and dips, blueberry danishes for desserts. My husband never had a caprese before (I know...he never tried a lot of things before lols) and I wanted something easy to make and pack so caprese it was! You can substitute the bacon for turky or chicken...pretty much anything or go meatless. We had a great anniversary week and we ended it with a nice, home-cooked meal. Happy 7 Yr Anniversary, Hubby!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Seafood Curry Soup

Soup is a great dish for a cold or horrible weather. Well, in Hawaii, you think the weather is always beautiful, but we do have rainy days. Although it does not rain badly in Hawaii, we recently had a few rainy and windy days combined. So I wanted soup, but not just any ordinary soup. I wanted fish soup. Sadly, we didn't have any fish, but we did have some shrimp and lobster tails. The tails were suppose to be for a special occassion, but we can always stock up later. So I decided to make a seafood curry soup. I'm not a big fan of soup only because I haven't found a soup that I really love, but I am a big fan of curry noodle soup. This is almost the same, but without the noodles. If you love khaub poob or thai red curry noodle soup then you'll love this. Serve with toasted bread and voila`!! It's a hearty asian soup.

4 lobster tails, cooked
4 potatoes, peeled
1 eggplant
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, sliced
package of crab imitation, bite size pieces
1 1/2 tsp karee curry paste (yellow curry)
1/2 - 1 tsp panang curry paste (red curry)
2 star anise
6 cloves
3 lime leaves
3 medallion slices fresh ginger
2-3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp oil
1 can coconut milk
Mint leaves
Toasted bread

First thing first: Cooked the lobster tails. I like to steam my lobster tails, but you can boil it if you like. The way how I steamed them, they come out looking beautiful like the lobster tails you would see at restaurants. I make a cut on the shell all the way to the tail. Then I pull out the lobster meat and let it sit on the shell. I then take a knife and make cuts on the meat half way down. I open up the meat and I repeat that step, but you can stop there if you'd like.

It's almost like butterflying chicken breast except it's lobster tails. This will make for a pretty presentation. If you're not into presentation, feel free to just steam the lobster tails in its shell.

Steam or boil for about 10 minutes. It doesn't take long to cook lobster so time may vary. I steamed it for about 6 minutes. It plumped up and turned out very pleasing to the eye.

This method of steaming allowed me to easily seperate the lobster meat from the shell. Whichever method is up to you. In the end, you want some cooked, chopped lobster tail meat.

I love to dip toasted bread in my soup and let it get soak up the soup. Delicious!!

Slice up some baguettes, drizzle with olive oil, and toast it until it is golden brown. Serve it with the soup and voila`!


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