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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Morel, Dill and Asparagus Risotto

I developed this recipe to use the sample of dried morels that I received from the fine folks at Marx Foods.

Morel and Dill Risotto
1 cup dried morels (1 ounce) or 1/2 pound fresh morels, lightly rinsed
Boiling water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
10 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cups Italian rice for risotto, preferably carnaroli
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, cooked
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
7 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1. In a heatproof bowl, cover the dried morels with boiling water and soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Rub the morels to loosen any grit, then lift them out; discard the soaking liquid.
2. In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat. Add the fresh or soaked morels, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
3. In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer; keep warm over low heat. In another large saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the rice until the grains are evenly coated with fat, then add the thyme, dill and wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes longer.
4. Add 1 cup of the hot stock to the rice and stir over moderately high heat until it has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook the risotto, adding 1 cup of stock at a time and stirring constantly until it is absorbed before adding more. Stir in the morels and the asparagus. The risotto is done when it is smooth and creamy, about 30 minutes total. Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Top with the goat cheese just before serving.

These morels are so flavorful! I highly recommend Marx Foods for your morel mushroom needs!

You can order dried morels here and fresh morels here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Meeting Take Home Chef Curtis Stone

Yesterday Sur La Table at Santana Row hosted a book signing for Curtis Stone's new cookbook "Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone"

Curtis walking to the stage for a cooking demo

Curtis during cooking demo

My cookbook autograph

Me with the adorable Curtis Stone

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cookbook Review - Gale Gand's Brunch!

I was recently asked if I would review a new cookbook from Gale Gand. The book arrived from the publisher on Wednesday. I poured over it that very night. Everything looked delicious. I was drawn to the photo on the cover for the baked eggs in ham cups, but felt sure that someone else would select that recipe to try.

Then a few pages later I looked at the glossy photo of asparagus with poached eggs and parmesan.
(click to embiggen photos)

I invited a few friends over for a sunday brunch. The recipe is very easy to follow, calling for ingredients that I readily had on hand. While I made a few modifications for my own cooking style (such as using an asparagus pot to cook the asparagus rather than the sauce pan) the food turned out delicious. I presented the dish on a platter and everyone served themselves.

All of my guests proclaimed the meal to be fantastic, including my best friends nine year old son. I served it with the bacon scallion scones from another recipe in the book.

I can't say enough good things about this book. I am anxious to try all of the other recipes and would like to thank Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness for asking me to be a part of this!