Cauliflower Risotto Cakes

I had all intentions of getting this typed up this morning before I headed out for the day but that just didn’t happen.  It is an absolute gorgeous day.  I walked for about an hour and a half today and I was in a tank top.  Loving all the vitamin D I’ve been getting lately.

Last night’s dinner was the first (yes, there will be a third and final one) transformation of the risotto that I prepped on Monday night for dinner.  Creamy risotto is mixed with roasted cauliflower, breadcrumbs, parsley, an egg, S&P, plus some cheese before being shaped into cakes and sautéed in a little EVOO.  If you want to save yourself time (and I think it’s totally the right thing to do), purchase pre-“riced” cauliflower.  My local Walmart carries it where you’ll find the bagged salads and it’s a LIFE saver for this recipe.  The cauliflower is roasted (beware, there’s a bit of a “funky” smell during the beginning of the cooking process) for 40 minutes before being mixed with all the other ingredients.

Also take my advice here – don’t make the cake mixture in advance.  I was trying to be “wonder woman” and prep dinner so that when I got home at 6:15pm all I had to do was patty the cakes and cook ’em.  Well I think the mixture dried out a little big and the cakes fell apart in the pan.  Learn from my mistakes!

caulicakes

The cauliflower cakes are served with a tangy dipping sauce that’s so simple to whisk together.  Duke’s mayo, lemon juice, chives, garlic and some S&P.  Despite the fact that they fell apart, they were delicious.  And if you don’t think you like cauliflower (I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite veggie raw), this may turn you into a believer.

I’m using the last of the risotto tomorrow nigh…

I can promise you, risotto will not be on the menu this weekend.

Sweet Onion Risotto with Sautéed Kale

Welcome to another edition of “cook once, eat 3 times.”  I prepared this dinner on Monday night and will be using the leftover risotto to make dinner tonight.  Risotto is not a “quick” dinner due to the time that’s needed to allow the rice to absorb the liquid but if you do this on a night or day when you have more time, you can easily prepare two more meals that week using the leftovers.

This risotto recipe is unlike any other risotto I’ve prepared in that you use brown rice instead of arborio rice and you precook the rice.  First you bring liquid (I used chicken stock) to a boil along with the rice and simmer for about 15 minutes.  You drain the rice, reserving the liquid.  The reserved liquid is combined with more chicken stock.  Lots of chopped onion is sautéed in olive oil with lots of garlic and then you add in the rice.  Add in the wine and once it’s cooked off, turn the heat down and begin adding the stock mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it’s absorbed.  This whole adding liquid and stirring constantly game goes on for about 25 minutes.  Once all the liquid is absorbed, reserve some of the risotto for another night and then add in the salt, pepper and cheese (I used manchego because our store wasn’t hitting on much Monday).

And then you prepare the kale sauté that tops it all off.  Kale (I used baby kale) is sautéed in a  little bit of EVOO.  Once wilted, add in golden raisins and chopped pecans along with salt, pepper and a splash of vinegar (I used white wine vinegar).

risottokale

I was incredibly impressed by how creamy the rice was despite not using arborio rice and I adored the kale topping.  Especially the raisins (sweet) and pecans (nutty and salty).

Stay tuned for how I use the leftover risotto….

Flying Biscuit’s Creamy, Dreamy White Cheddar Grits

When we have overnight guests, I do my absolute best to plan menus that are made for the people that are visiting.  Like I mentioned yesterday, my parents still talk about the lamb chops that we had at one of our wedding parties years ago so I knew that lamb would be a winning dinner.  And a few weeks ago my dad commented on the homemade pasta we made that I featured on the blog so I really wanted to make homemade pasta while he was here.  My momma loves grits.  And crunchy bacon.  No matter where we go for breakfast or brunch, 99% of the time she orders grits, bacon and fruit.  So that’s just what we had on Sunday before they headed west.

grits

I decided to make some special grits and researched the recipe for the Flying Biscuit recipe.  It didn’t take my long to find a recipe that seemed legit.

Changes I made to the recipe:  I used whole milk instead of half and half and I used regular grits, not quick-cooking (only because those are items I had on hand).

The grits were amazing.  Super smooth, cheesy and perfect.  I really think using white pepper instead of black pepper makes a world of difference.

I served our grits with bacon (crunchy for Mom), sausage and some fruit.

Now my breakfast this morning seems really boring…

Weekend Review

Happy Monday!  I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend.  My parents came into town and we had a blast.  But honestly, time flew by and I feel like the weekend was over in a flash.  On Friday we met my parents in Raleigh for lunch at Tazza Kitchen. Big Guy and I have dined at Tazza Kitchen on a couple of occasions and we’re impressed each and every time.  We shared some guacamole to start and the chips were addictive.  They also brought some salsa to the table with the guacamole and it was fantastic.  A little sweet and not too spicy.  I ordered the arugula and goat cheese salad for lunch and added shrimp to the salad.  It was amazing.  Post-lunch we made a quick stop at Fresh Market to grab a few items we needed for the weekend.

One we all arrived back to our house we helped my parents unload the car and my Mom and I started crafting!  I’m helping host a baby shower for my sister-in-law in a couple of weeks and my Mom and I had several projects to get done while they were here. For dinner we cooked up a feast!  My parents enjoy lamb but they don’t cook it all that often (neither do we) so we thought it was the perfect meal for their visit.  On the menu:  pistachio crusted rack of lamb, mascarpone mashed potatoes, and roasted broccolini.

lamb

Everything turned out delicious.  And I have to say, those mashed potatoes might be the best ever.  Definitely not a “light” recipe but they are amazing.

After dinner we all watched “Criminal Minds” before calling it a night and heading to bed. Saturday started with a quick workout for me before getting back to the house and crafting with my Mom.  The guys left to run some errands and just drive around and then we met them for lunch at the Country Club.  This is when time started flying.  When we got home we played dominos (I did not win) and then made homemade pasta and bolognese for dinner.

pasta

The dough was a little more finicky this time around but the end result was nothing short of perfection.  We enjoyed this plate of pasta with an incredible 2010 Pride Sangiovese.

The rest of the evening was spent hanging out and watching t.v. before calling it quits for the day.

On Sunday I prepared one last meal before they hit the road back home.  (I’ll share breakfast tomorrow!)  I was sad to see them leave but I know I’ll see them in a couple of weeks when I head to Charlotte for the baby shower.

Such a treat to have them visit and I’m looking forward to planning another weekend soon!

Fluffiest Multigrain Pancakes with Almond Butter Drizzle

Oh man!  I wish we were devouring this breakfast right this moment.

fluffypancakes

We enjoyed this plate of flapjacks and bacon on Sunday after a long, long walk.  And while the bacon isn’t the healthiest breakfast option, the pancakes are incredibly good for you.  The pancakes start with soaking rolled oats in buttermilk.  While the oats are soaking, mix together the remaining ingredients (the only change I made was using gluten-free flour instead of whole wheat) and making the drizzle.  I think the drizzle was my favorite part because well, I love nut butter.  The drizzle was made by thinning out the almond butter with some warm water and a little maple syrup for sweetness.

The pancakes were fluffy but didn’t make you feel stuffed.  I also loved the almond butter drizzle as I’m not really a “sweet” breakfast kind of gal.

Do you call them “pancakes” or “flapjacks”?

They’re definitely pancakes in my world.

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

I think I’ve found the way to Big Guy’s heart:  homemade bread.  Every since we started making homemade pasta, it seems that new kitchen adventures don’t seem quite as intimidating.  So this past Sunday we decided to give homemade ciabatta bread a try.  You do have to start the recipe the day before but that part of the process is super easy.  You make a “sponge” by combining some yeast, flour and water in a bowl and wrapping it tight and just letting it hang out until the next day.  The recipe I used does an incredible job of explaining each step.  The dough is incredibly sticky and I can’t stress the importance of following the timing of each step (especially the amount of time the dough is mixed in the mixer).

When we finally got to the final step – cooking! – we could not wait to see our final result.  The house smelled absolutely amazing.  When we took the bread out of the oven, we were a little worried – it was rock hard.  BUT as the recipe instructed, let it rest for an hour.  And miraculously the bread softened up and was perfection.  And while we had plans to turn the bread into pizza we couldn’t resist cutting an end off and enjoying the homemade bread in it’s purest form.

ciabattabread

Once the bread had completely cooled, it was time to turn one of the loafs into pizza.  Imagine a french bead pizza but with ciabatta bread.

ciabattapizza2

We picked up a local marinara sauce from The Raleigh Wine Shop and then loaded on the cheeeeeese.  We used fontina, provolone, mozzarella and after cooking a nice sprinkle of parmesan.  We also added some pepperoni and fresh herbs.

ciabattapizza1

Happy Valentines Day!

Golden Chicken with Cilantro-Cashew Pesto and Coconut Rice

How was everyones weekend?  Ours was filled with some amazing weather so we spent lots of time outside.  We took a quick trip to Raleigh on Saturday for brunch at Standard as well as to do a little grocery shopping before we went to a 1st birthday party for our dearest friends little guy.  It was a fun afternoon with friends before heading home and having an awesome steak dinner.  Yesterday was absolutely beautiful – I’ll take 80 degrees in February anytime.  We spent most of the day outside while also tackling homemade ciabatta bread for the first time. (p.s. it turned out perfect)  We took the homemade bread and make pizza – more on that later.

But let’s rewind to dinner Friday night.  I had planned dinner for Big Guy and me but unfortunately a delayed flight turned this dinner for two into dinner for one.  Don’t worry, there were leftovers for him.  The chicken marinates in a mixture of Greek yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, brown sugar and curry powder (where the “golden” comes from) for about 30 minutes before cooking.  While the chicken marinates, prep the pesto and the rice.

goldenchicken

The end result was incredible.  The chicken was so tender (bone-in chicken thighs for the win) and I adored the curry flavor.  The rice was fluffy and full of flavor from the coconut milk.  And the pesto added such a pop of freshness.  Fresh cilantro, a little fresh mint, garlic, cashews, lime zest and a little juice took this dish to a whole new level.

I hope you have an awesome week on tap.  I’m preparing for my parents to come this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited to spend time with them!