Wednesday, May 23, 2007
~ just like Grandma would've made if she was an insane perfectionist 50's housewife!
1 3/4 cups tomato juice (NOT V8!)
3 tablespoons minced onion
3 tablespoons minced celery (the leaves on the top of the bunch work just as well)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (doesn't make it sweet, just sets off the salty)
1/2 teaspoon salt (doesn't need much b/c juice is canned)
1 bay leaf
3 whole cloves
4/5 whole peppercorns
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 cup COLD water
1 envelope unflavored gelatine
Boil juice, onion, celery, sugar, salt and spices for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, pour gelatine into the cold water & set aside. This will "soften" the gelatine, which means that it will expand and get somewhat gooey. Pour the gelatine into a large bowl (preferably with a pouring edge on it). Add the hot mixture by pouring it through a strainer so that you lose all the chunky bits. Stir a lot so that it's smooooth. Add lemon juice and hot sauce while stirring. Pour into a ONE QUART mould. (To find out how big your mould is, fill it with water and empty it into a measuring cup/bowl thing.) Cover with plastic wrap if you want to. Put it into the fridge, making sure it's sitting level. Placing the mould on a plate helps with this. Chill overnight or at least 4 hours. When ready to unmould, fill a large pan with HOT water. Immerse the mold in the hot water for 10 seconds or so. This melts the gelatine on the outside just a little bit so that it will release. Put a plate on top of the mould and flip over. Tada! Wiggly aspic!
Dill Shrimp Salad
~ Now this is the good stuff!
1 bag very small shrimp, sometimes called 'salad' size or equivalent amount of diced shrimp
2 stalks diced celery
3 green onions, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced You can seed them first so that you get firm little chunks of tomato.
1 container (8 oz) sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons) Squeeze it above your hand and let the juice run through your fingers so that you catch all the seeds.
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH dill (dried really doesn't cut it in this one)
black pepper and salt to taste (I use a lot of pepper.)
Chop everything. Throw it all in a big bowl. Combine sour cream, mayo, lemon juice and spices in a small bowl. Add to other ingredients. Mix. Yes, it's that simple. Serve with crackers (water crackers or unsalted crackers work best) or slices of toasted French bread.
For Dill Sauce to accompany Tomato Aspic:
Mix together everything but the shrimp and vegetables.
Add a little less mayo.
Monday, May 21, 2007
1C. Arborio Rice
6-8C. Vegetable Stock-keep hot, add the poultry seasoning to it
Sprinkle of Poultry Seasoning
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
2Tbls. Canola Oil
½ medium sized sweet onion-chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
½ lb. Cremini mushrooms sliced
½C. Shredded parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, place the oil over medium heat and let it warm up. Place the onion in the skillet and sweat it a bit, then add the garlic. Don't brown it, just sweat it until it's transparent. Add the rice and keep stirring. Get the rice covered in the oil, then start ladling stock while constantly stirring. This takes a while, but if you stop, it WILL burn. It's labor-intensive, but try the rice at stages. You may need more stock, so keep some handy in case. The rice will be somewhat chewy...that's the way arborio rice is...so when it is a good doneness...stop and turn off the heat, put the parmesan cheese and mushrooms in and stir it in completely...cover it. You can also put a splash of half n half at this point.
Sauteed Veggies for Risotto
2 medium sized carrots-peeled and chopped
1-2 parsnips-peeled and chopped
1-2 summer squash-chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2Tbls. Canola oil
Veggie stock-to start some steam, don't need much.
In a saute pan, place the oil and put the flame to medium. Put all of the veggies in a bowl and mix them up. Place a portion of the veggies into the oil when it sizzles placing a piece in to test the oil. Don't over-crowd the pan or you won't get good color on the veggies. Stir them around once to coat with oil and leave them a bit to get some brown on them. Stir them around once the browning occurs. After a good stir, add half a ladle of stock in and cover. Let the steam finish them off. Place in a bowl when some of the crunch is gone. Repeat with the remaining veggies until finished. Keep bowl of veggies warm. I kept them all separate until assembly time.
Sun dried tomato and Olive Tapenade
1C. Sun dried tomatoes-reconstituted in boiling water
½C. Garlic stuffed green olives
Salt and pepper to taste
Buying the tomatoes in bulk, they are extremely dry and would only make a paste if you made this so you must reconstitute them. Place them in a jar or bowl. Fill the jar with near-boiling water and leave them until the water cools. You can pour the water into the veggie stock as I did to add tomato flavor. Let them dry a bit afterwards as you don't want them soggy either.
I chopped both the olives and sun dried tomatoes by hand with a chef's knife, but you can easily use a food processor or chopper. I chopped until they were in smaller bits, though you don't want it done to the point of a paste. If you use the processor, you can chop the pieces roughly first, then add the oil and seasonings to finish to the desired consistency. If by hand, chop separately and place in a bowl. Then add the oil and seasonings and stir it up.
The tapenade can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for a couple of days easily.
First take the risotto and put it on a plate or platter. Spread it kinda mounding it to the center. Spread the tapenade over the entire of the risotto evenly covering the whole thing. Next take the veggies and place them in a ring around the edges. I topped it off with some of the reserved cheese and flat-leaf Italian parsley that I chopped. This should serve quite a few people, you can easily make the tapenade, and keep it for other dishes or do the risotto in smaller batches when needed.
Thank you all for your encouragement with this recipe.