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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sandy's Sunday Morning Thoughts on Risotto

It was a fun night at The KITCHEN when a dozen people gathered to tackle one of the biggest food myths: Risotto is hard.

Four delightful teams of strangers, friends, and family worked together to make a meal for everyone to share. We made 3 types of risotto - Butter and Parmesan, Bacon and Peas, and Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese - and then sat down to dinner together to enjoy our work.

Most cooks, especially new cooks, believe that risotto is hard, requires stirring constantly, and has to be eaten the second it's done. We proved that wrong without using any “foolproof oven method” or slow cookers. With the proper planning and attention to the dish you can make an impressive risotto. You can even make it a little ahead of time and reheat it just before serving.

Next time you want to impress someone, try this foolproof recipe. It’s guaranteed to blow their socks off!

And if you'd like to learn some other impressively easy cooking techniques, please join me at one of my upcoming classes at The KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market,

Basic Risotto
4 servings as a main, 6 as a side;  about 40 active minutes
Read the recipe at least twice before you begin - the tasks are easy but require a lot of words to explain.

  • stock, any kind, 6 cups
  • parsley, ⅓ of a bunch
  • onion, 1 medium
  • butter, 2 tbl + 4 tbl
  • saffron, pinch
  • arborio rice, 1 ½ cups
  • salt and pepper
  • white wine, dry, ½ cup
  • asiago cheese, 4 ounces
  • liquid measuring cup
  • small 6 cup pot
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • small bowls
  • 1 cup dry measuring cup
  • large deep skillet or dutch oven (make sure it has a heavy bottom)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle (or long handled, heat proof, ½ cup measuring cup)
  • Tasting spoons
  1. Measure the stock into the small pot over medium heat. This should be kept on a low simmer while you cook.
  2. Wash the parsley and set aside to dry.
  3. Dice the onion into ½ inch pieces.
  4. Measure out the rice into the small bowl and add a pinch each of salt and pepper to the rice. Set near stove.
  5. Heat 2 tbl of butter over medium heat in the larger pan. When the butter is melted, add the onion and saffron and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent (about 5 min).
  6. Add the rice to the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is well coated and translucent on the edges, about 5 min. Add the wine to the rice and onion and stir constantly until the wine is all absorbed.
  7. When the wine is absorbed, add 1 ladle of the simmering stock. Stir constantly until the stock is mostly absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and stir. From here you will stir after each stock addition, but do not need to stir constantly. If the rice begins to stick, just scrape it up with the spoon immediately after adding stock. Repeat the process until you’ve used about ⅔ of your stock, when you will begin checking the rice for doneness. The rice is done when it's still firm, but not crunchy.
    **To serve later, stop here. Add half a ladle of stock, stir it in, and remove the pot from the heat. Reheat and cook off the extra liquid before continuing.**
  8. While the rice is cooking, grate the cheese and chop the parsley.
  9. When the rice is done, taste and season as needed. If needed, adjust the liquid content by adding stock or cooking longer.
  10. Once the rice is done, remove from heat. Add the remaining butter and stir thoroughly. Taste, adjust seasoning, and add half the cheese. Taste, add more cheese or adjust seasoning as needed.
  11. Top with parsley and serve with the cheese on the side.

Recipe by Sandy Ruffin, Cooking Coach ~

Monday, February 15, 2016

Winter Warm-Up

We might have survived the coldest weekend of the year, but it's not spring yet!  If you need something to thaw you out and get you through the week there's nothing like a big pot of chili.  The secret to good chili is, of course, the meat.  Ground beef is all well and good but I like a nice pork butt (actually cut from the shoulder) slow cooked with lots of jalapenos!  

Pulled Pork Chili

2lb Pork Butt
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Oil
2 Yellow Onions
6 Cloves Garlic
4 Jalapenos
2 Bell Peppers
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes
2 Cups Frozen Corn
2 Cans Black Beans
2 Cups IPA
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes
2 tsp. Turmeric
2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Coriander
Salt & Pepper

Rub the pork with a little bit of olive oil and the brown sugar.  Cover and set aside.  In your chili pot 
saute onions and garlic in the oil until golden brown.  Add the jalapenos and peppers and continue to cook until soft.  Add the pork, sear on all sides.  Add the tomatoes and enough water to cover the meat, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 2 hours, turning the pork occasionally.  
Remove the pork and tear apart with a pair of forks.  Return to the pot with the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for another hour.  
Serve with cheese or sour cream!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe

By Gail Winning, KITCHEN volunteer

As a former collegiate athlete, I look forward to playoff seasons and the Olympics because these events epitomize players' love for their sport and the passion that has driven them through endless practices to arrive at this point. We get to show our support by watching the games and celebrating with friends, often involving food.  Every year I make my college roommate's Spinach Artichoke Dip and the bowl is always wiped clean.   I'm not sure where the recipe originated from but it'll be something I continue to pass along and so can you. 

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 tbl butter
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 shallot finely chopped
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed/dried
1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and chopped
1 package (8oz) of cream cheese
1 tub (8oz) sour cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
Splash of Worcestershire Sauce

1. In a medium to large pot, melt butter and saute garlic and shallots until soft and fragrant (5-7min).
2. Add the spinach and artichokes to warm up for 2-3min.
3. Cut the cream cheese into smaller cubes and add to the pot, stir, allowing cheese to melt.
4. Add sour cream and continue stirring to combine everything.
5. Add parmesan cheese and Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm with tortilla chips or bread.