Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mushroom Risotto "Rice Balls"

I think my new favorite reason to make risotto is leftovers!  I seem to have an inability to cook just enough to feed the family- I always seem to make enough to feed a small country!

I recently made some kick-butt mushroom risotto and in typical form made enough to feed the entire neighborhood. We ate it for a couple of nights and still had leftovers. Since it was way to good to let any of it go to waste I had to get creative in order to use the rest of it.

Rice balls are something I grew up eating. My Grandmother made them as did my Mother, her siblings and now my cousins.  So as I was thinking about what to do with this divine left over risotto rice balls came to mind. Hmm... why not take the leftover risotto form it into balls and fry it? Now, these are nothing like the rice balls of my youth (hence the reason I put rice balls in quotes for the recipe title), but it seemed worth a try.

Honestly, I think these are nothing short of genius!  Mr. Meat and Potatoes ate the risotto for dinner and liked it but said he liked it even better as a rice ball.  This is well worth a try!

Mushroom Risotto "Rice Balls"

2 cups aborio rice
2 cups mushrooms, chopped (I used shitake, cremini and oyster)
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp thyme, chopped
1 tbsp plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cup dry white wine
7 cups mushroom stock
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup white corn meal

Place the seven cups of mushroom stock in a large pot and heat but do not let it boil.  In a dutch oven or other largish pot heat one tablespoon of olive oil.  Add garlic, mushrooms and thyme and saute until starting to soften.  Add the aborio rice and allow to heat until the rice is somewhat translucent and starts to "pop" (it will sound  a bit like Rice Krispies. Add 1 cup of white wine and stir until wine is fully absorbed by the rice.  Ladle in the warmed mushroom stock one ladle at a time stirring until rice absorbs the liquid.  Once all of the stock is used add the additional 1/4 cup wine and stir until it is absorbed by the rice.  Remove from the heat and stir in the nutritional yeast. Season with salt and pepper.

You could stop here and have a lovely risotto!

To make the rice balls spread the risotto mixture onto a pan and allow it to cool.  Once cool enough to touch roll the risotto into balls and dredge in the cornmeal. 

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a saute pan and fry the balls until golden brown all over.

Note: This makes a lot of risotto! If you are going to just make the rice balls you  may want to cut the recipe in half. These would make a wonderful appetizer or hors d'eouvre.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Breakfast: Greens, Grains and Miso Soup

Greens, grains and soup for breakfast?  You bet!

You may recall a couple of posts back I wrote about Christina Pirello's  Three Day Intensive Study macrobiotic cooking class.  During the course of the three days we leanred alot about eating for health and nutrition.  One of the biggest take aways for me was how important a meal breakfast is.  After all, you are indeed "breaking your fast" and as such you should concentrate on putting whole, simple nutritious foods into your system.

I have never really never liked breakfast (when I did eat it inevitably I either found myself hungry shortly after or experienced somewhat debilatating blood sugar drops).    And now, I know why- I was simply eating the wrong foods. Toast, bagels, and other refined foods are just not the way to start the day.

I was skeptical-- could I really get into this breakfast thing after more or less forty five years of either fighting with my Mom because I didn't want to eat it or not eating it at all?  Early indications are the answer may actually be yes. 

After listening to Robert Pirello discuss breakfast and its benefits when you put the "right" foods into your body upon breaking the fast I promised him I would give it a try.  True to my word I have done just that and early indications are that I actually may become a breakfast person!

So, if you have never thougt about putting things like vegetables such as greens, carrots, mushrooms, daikon radish and wakame into your breakfast regime I encourage you to rethink that immediately.  What I have found is that a breakfast consisting of quinoa, amaranth, rice, wheatberries or other grains paired with some greens and Miso soup (great for digestion) will keep me  full and engergetic well past when I would normally have started feeling hungry for lunch.

Quiona  and Corn with Greens

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 handful fresh or frozen corn
1 collard Green
1 kale leaf
1 baby bok choy
Sea salt to taste

Place the quinoa into a sauce pan and cover with the 2 cups water. Toss in the corn.  Bring to a boil and then turn to a simmer and allow to cook until water is absorbed.  Season with sea salt to taste.

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Once rapidly boiling sumberge greens until bright green and remove. Allow to cool enough to touch and chop into bite size pieces.

Miso Soup

1 carrot cut into coins (don't throw away the greens if they are attached)
7 slices of daikon radish sliced thin
2 dried shitake mushrooms soaked and sliced (reserve soaking water
1 Collard green
1 Kale leaf
1 leek cleaned and cut thinly
Carrot greens chopped
1 pinch of wakame (dried seaweed)
Red miso paste

In a sauce pan place the wakame and the vegetables.Season with sea salt. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reducce heat and simmer covered until the carrot and radish are tender.  For each cup of soup add 2 tsp of miso.  Be sure to disolve the miso in some soup liquid and then add to the pot. Do not allow the Miso to boil.  Chop and add the reserved carrot greens if they came attached to the carrots.
Note: If you would like to make ahead enough for a few days only add miso to the soup you are drinking immediately and each morning heat the soup you are going to have and disolve and add the miso before eating.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Avocado Pesto Pasta

Like most of us I get tons and tons of email. Much of it is spam, or unwanted emails from companies I have bought from in the past.  I also get lots of email with a vegan theme. Sometimes I wonder where all these companies get my email address.  Much of what I get I just skim through and delete but every once in a while some ting catches my eye. 

The email I got in May from the VegNews Rrecipe Club titled Vegan Avocado Pesto was one of those that caught my eye.  How could it not?  Such a beautiful photo of a simple, green rich looking dish.  It looked delicious!

I have made this a couple of times and it is has been a winner with the omnivores I have served it to, including Mr. Meat and Potatoes. It is a great meal to throw together after a busy day at work (like I did tonight) or to impress your guests at a dinner party.

If you don't have avocados in the house RUN to the store now! This is a must make!

Avocado Pesto Pasta

2 ripe avocados, seeded and flesh removed
1 lb. of your favorite pasta cooked according to package directions
3 cloves garlic
Fresh basil leaves, about 2 1/2 ounces
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor combine all ingredients except the pasta. Blend until smooth.  Pour over warm pasta, toss and serve.

Avocado on FoodistaAvocado