Archive for the ‘Comfort Food’ Category

Got Leftovers?

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Now that you’ve made those fabulous roasted carrots with ginger and turmeric, and yams, and rice …. here’s an idea for “refreshing” the leftovers.

Heat a bit of avocado (or coconut) oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil just starts to shimmer. Add about 1/2 cup rice per serving and cook a a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Add the leftover roasted vegetables and combine well with the rice – you judge your serving size. Add a handful of fresh or frozen peas and stir to combine well. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and heat through. If you want a little extra protein, cook an egg or add some tofu. If you’re using tofu, I would probably use a firm tofu and cook that with the rice.

Not quite a stir-fry, not quite a scramble ...

Not quite a stir-fry, not quite a scramble …

This makes an easy and satisfying post-ride or work-night meal.

Aaaah, a quick and chilly ride yesterday.

Aaaah, a quick and chilly ride yesterday.

I need to start gearing up for the 2017 Napa Valley Tour de Cure … will you join me this year? Please help to support a great cause and take the ride of your life!

 

Rain!

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

It has been raining on and off all day and it is pouring right now.

I got a lot of stuff done at home today, but no cycling due to the unpredictable weather. I’ve still got a touch of a cough that’s been hanging on for a while, so it’s likely best to not risk it getting worse. At least this rain will clean the air and that’s wonderful!

Tonight was a great night to make some more roasted carrots.

Tonight was a great night to make some more roasted carrots.

It’s looking like rain until Thursday, then rain again on Saturday and Sunday. It’s looking like a gym in the morning before work kind of week, isn’t it?

Roasted Wild Mushrooms

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Here is another easy to prepare side dish. Mushrooms are considered to be a “superfood” due to their nutritional benefits, so you can feel great about eating this delicious and healthy side dish.

Roasted Wild Mushrooms

12 to 16 ounces of your favorite wild mushrooms
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Rinse and gently pat dry the mushrooms. Drizzle with a little olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper.

Roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes (the size and type of mushroom will make a difference, so watch carefully).

From left to right: Velvet Pioppini, Nebrodini Bianco, Shiitake, and Forest Nameko mushrooms.

From left to right: Velvet Pioppini, Nebrodini Bianco, Shiitake, and Forest Nameko mushrooms.

You can roast the larger mushrooms whole and add the smaller mushrooms after 10 minutes or so. You could also slice the larger mushrooms and cook them all about 15 to 20 minutes. There is such variation in the mushrooms that it might take a little trial and error to get them to your liking. We cooked all of these at the same time and the smaller mushrooms (Velvet Pioppini & Forest Nameko mushrooms) were a little more cooked that I would have liked, but they were still delicious.

Serving suggestion ... serve on top of pasta with a brown butter sage sauce.

Serving suggestion … serve on top of pasta with a brown butter sage sauce.

To make a brown butter sage sauce for pasta, place 1 tablespoon of salted butter in a heavy bottomed pan and heat on medium-high heat until the butter begins to bubble and turn golden brown and cook until the butter is a deep golden brown. Watch carefully as the butter can go from perfect to scorched very quickly. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, whisk together, and allow to heat through. Add about 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage and cook just a few minutes on medium-low heat to infuse the sage flavor throughout. Add the cooked pasta and gently toss to coat. Portion the pasta onto plates and top with the roasted mushrooms. Garnish with fresh sage.

Ginger & Orange Roasted Carrots

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

This year’s Christmas menu had a few new items for me. Normally I am not a fan of cooked carrots, but these were really good.

Ginger & Orange Glazed Roasted Carrots

I used a festive combination of orange, yellow, and maroon carrots.

Clean, peel, and cut about 6 medium to large carrots into 1/4-inch slices. Peel and coarsely mince a 3 to 4-inch piece of fresh ginger. Combine the carrots and ginger with the zest of one orange, a splash of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place them in a single layer in a roasting pan or baking dish. Roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, or until they’re slightly caramelized and tender.

You can prepare them a day ahead and let them marinate overnight. 

The roasting will bring out the natural sweetness in the carrots, but if you like this a bit sweeter, then you can add a touch of honey or maple syrup before roasting.

Mushroom Risotto

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

This mushroom risotto was the main dish for Christmas dinner this year. Based on this recipe, I modified it just a bit. I added a lot more mushrooms (probably double and added oyster mushrooms to the mix), added a little smoked Gouda cheese with the Parmesan cheese, and I forgot to get flat leaf parsley. Otherwise, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I did double the original recipe, which turned out to not be necessary because the serving size was pretty generous. The recipe below is not doubled, so it will make about 6 servings. Be sure to allow about an hour for total prep (25) and cooking time (35) and do remember the parsley!

Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Fresh Oyster Mushrooms

Fresh Oyster Mushrooms

Fresh Crimini Mushrooms

Fresh Crimini Mushrooms

Mushroom Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
about 6 ounces each: fresh shiitake, oyster, and crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 1/4 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio would be a good choice)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1 quart hot vegetable stock
3/8 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/8 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese (or cut into very small chunks)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Make sure to assemble all of your ingredients before starting. Once you add the liquid to the rice, you’ll need to stir constantly, so have everything ready to go.

Remember to heat the stock and keep it hot and close by for when it’s time to add it! Make sure you’ve got some hot water available, too, in case you need it to finish cooking the rice.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the crimini mushrooms and cook a few minutes, then add the shiitake, cooking a few minutes more. Add the oyster mushrooms last (they’re the most delicate). Stir frequently and cook until the mushrooms just begin to brown. Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and the Arborio rice. Stir to coat the rice well. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are golden brown.

Add the wine and cook until it’s evaporated, stirring constantly. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium low and begin adding the hot stock. Add about 1/3 of the stock, stirring until it’s evaporated. Repeat with the remaining stock. Each addition will take about 7 minutes of stirring.

Continue stirring until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy. You might need to add a little hot water at this step and continue cooking until the rice is tender.

Stir in the cheeses and flat parsley. Serve immediately.

Mushroom Risotto ... warm, creamy, rich, and satisfying!

Mushroom Risotto … warm, creamy, rich, and satisfying!

I hope your holidays have been merry and bright, filled with family, friends, and a heaping dose of joy. Now, let’s get to some cycling – the weather is beautiful out there today. If you’re out and about today in Northern California, be sure to layer up – it is chilly out there!

 

That Was A Nice Weekend

Monday, December 5th, 2016

… a very nice weekend indeed. I got to spend time with old friends and new. A little foodie retail therapy. A little cycling. Lunch and some chocolate cake at Konditorei Austrian Pastry Cafe. A stroll through the UC Davis Arboretum with some nice company.

Chocolate cake ...

Chocolate cake …

A view from the Arboretum ...

A view from the Arboretum …

My first Christmas tree in my first house.

My first Christmas tree in my first house.

I have a busy day ahead of me tomorrow at work, so I really should be finishing up my chores and heading to bed soon.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Want some good, healthy comfort food? Here’s an idea for a healthy addition to your holiday table. The bacon gives just the right touch of decadent richness that many of us tend to crave during this time of year. Try roasting brussel sprouts with just a bit of olive oil and a touch of lean bacon.

Rinse brussel sprouts in cool water, trim the end, and then cut in half. Drain well.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. While the oven is heating, cook a slice or two of lean bacon and trim away most of the fat. Drain the bacon on paper towels, then chop. Combine the trimmed and halved brussel sprouts and bacon, drizzle a bit of olive oil, and a pinch or two of kosher salt and a grind or two of pepper. Toss to combine well and place in a roasting pan in a single layer. Roast to your desired doneness. I don’t like to overcook brussel sprouts, so I roast until just tender and a little browned – usually about 30 minutes or so.

Ready to go into the oven.

Ready to go into the oven.

Want to keep this dish a bit lighter and vegan? Simply omit the bacon and add a few grinds of Trader Joe’s South African Seasoning before roasting. Oh, so good!

 

A Little Rain … A Little Party …

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Sunday we had quite the little storm. I grabbed a quick ride in the morning and then came home to cook for a housewarming party (finally!)

Sunday morning, October 30th, near Pena Adobe Park.

Sunday morning, October 30th, near Pena Adobe Park.

A few friends came over on Sunday for a housewarming party. We had a fabulous meal.

Lynda brought some yummy mushroom brie and crackers.

Lynda brought some yummy mushroom brie and crackers.

Herbed Chevre and Smoked Gouda.

Herbed Chevre and Smoked Gouda.

The Herbed Chevre is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to “dress up” a plain Chevre. Simply take your favorite plain Chevre cheese, let it come to room temperature. Mix in some chopped fresh herbs (dried will do in a pinch), a couple of splashes of good extra virgin olive oil, and mix until smooth.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Crimini Mushrooms

The Stuffed Mushrooms are quick and easy, too. Here’s the recipe. I modified the filling a little bit – the filling was simply light cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and a few grinds of Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend (paprika flakes, sea salt, garlic, basil).

One friend brought a beautiful Corn & Shrimp Chowder, which I heard was fabulous. It had bell peppers in it, so I couldn’t eat it. What’s funny is that the soup that I made had peas in it, so he couldn’t eat my chicken soup!

Marsh's Corn & Shrimp Chowder

Marsh’s Corn & Shrimp Chowder

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Another friend made Pork Tenderloins with a Bourbon-Maple-Molasses glaze that was fantastic.

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Rick’s Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Maple-Molasses glaze.

Of course there was salad …

Mixed Greens with Fresh Fuyu Persimmons, Pomegranate, Feta Cheese, and a light and refreshing Citrus Vinaigrette.

Mixed Greens with Fresh Fuyu Persimmons, Pomegranate, Feta Cheese, and a light and refreshing Citrus Vinaigrette.

… and what is a party without dessert?

Tartlets: Fresh Lemon Curd and Caramel, Macadamia & Chocolate Tartlets.

Tartlets: Fresh Lemon Curd and Caramel, Macadamia & Chocolate.

The Lemon Curd recipe can be found here. I used pre-made tartlet shells … a little “semi-homemade” time-saving trick. I also cheated a bit with the caramel. I used Trader Joe’s Flue de Sel Caramel Sauce. This is my go-to caramel sauce.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful day. If you get the chance, would you please ride a few miles for me today? I’ve got to run to work now.

Curry …

Monday, October 17th, 2016

I have been informed recently that buying curry powder is cheating … or something like that. OK, fine. I suppose it is time to start making it from scratch.

When I run out of my pre-made curry powder, I’ll try Alton Brown’s Curry Powder Blend and this recipe also looks promising. In the meantime, I need to come up with some more ways to cook with curry.

 

101516-curry-2

Roasted Curried Yams – one of my favorites, spicy and sweet.

Happy Monday. Here’s wishing you a lovely day!

A Break from Paperwork

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

… because sometimes you just need a special treat …

Hawaiian Vanilla Company Coffee ... so rich, so smooth, so perfect for a cool, stormy Sunday morning.

Hawaiian Vanilla Company Coffee

 … so rich, so smooth, so perfect for a cool, cloudy A Sunday morning.

I know this will be shocking, but I would so much rather be out cycling today than doing paperwork.