Sunday, January 29, 2012

End of Week 5

This week for dinner we had:
  • boiled dinner (kielbasa, red potatoes, cabbage)
  • chicken Caesar salad
  • meatloaf, mushroom risotto, and green beans with a country pear tart for dessert
  • spaghetti and garlic bread
  • Eggs Benedict and sliced oranges
  • beef stew with yeasted corn bread and apple pie

This week was the first time I've ever poached an egg or made hollandaise sauce. It was easy and I'm not sure why I've never made eggs Benedict before. I found a recipe for the pear tart in a cookbook I have, and it called for a browned butter crust which I've never heard of or noticed in the book before. It wasn't so noticeably different from regular pie crust and I don't think I'll bother with it again.

Short story: Making the browned butter crust involved browning some butter in a saucepan and letting it firm back up again in the refrigerator before cutting it into the flour. My family was greatly disturbed at the sight of a cooking pot in the refrigerator. At least three of them asked quite urgently, "Why is there a pan in the refrigerator?" They're funny.

The mushroom risotto was so delicious. Here's how I made it:

  • 5-6 cups beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 6-8 button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • some grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (a handful or so)
  • about 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

I heat the stock in a separate pan and keep it hot - nearly simmering - while I'm working. Melt the butter in the oil in a big saute pan. Saute the onions and mushrooms on medium heat for a few minutes until the onion begins to look more transparent. Add the dry rice and continue to saute for another 2 or 3 minutes. Begin adding the hot stock a cup or so at a time and stir mostly continuously until the liquid is absorbed. (Don't bother with a ladle. Just use a pot with a handle and pour the stock into the saute pan.) Add another cup of stock and stir until liquid is absorbed, repeating this step and stirring pretty much constantly for about 20-25-30 minutes until the rice is done. The directions on the rice box say it only takes 20 minutes. It almost always takes me 30. It is done when the rice is cooked through and there are no hard centers in the rice grains. One way I can tell that it's done is that the rice releases a starch and the sauce becomes creamy instead of watery, and the rice/sauce sort of gathers itself together so that it will stay on a fork rather than drip through it. The rice should still be firm but not crunchy. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until it's melted. Stir in the parsley. This is SO good. There were no leftovers.

We tried some new things for dinner this week. They were all winners. I am not at all a fan of mushrooms but I've discovered if I chop them up small enough they don't bother me. Since I had some in my Bountiful Basket a couple weeks ago, I felt like I should use them. I didn't think they weren't awful, and everyone else loved having mushrooms in stuff.

This week I spent $72.67 on groceries. I have containers of beef stew stashed in the freezer - enough for two family dinners - and enough leftover ingredients to make eggs Benedict for three people.

1 comment:

  1. The first time I made risotto, I figured out the same thing--I don't know why anyone would dribble with a ladle.

    I'd like to know about the yeasted cornbread, please.