Thursday, August 2, 2012

mushroom risotto

Ahh Risotto... The ever scary, don't think about attempting it, super difficult- RISOTTO...  The only reason as to why the stigma of risotto is so ingrained in my brain is because of Chef Gordon Ramsey's show: Hell's Kitchen.  "You can't make a @#*$% Risotto?? You Donkey!"

I stumbled across a recipe on  with 1,149 reviews and 5 stars.. WHOA this must be A-mazing! Thank you Myleen for this Gourmet Mushroom Risotto recipe!!  So I scan the ingredients- simple -and I have most of them in my kitchen already... White wine- YUM; that's an added plus because I can drink it!!

...Nervous... Still... I read the reviews of the first 30 people just to see if they have tips or tricks and I pick up a few!  I also saw a video explaining how to make it, which greatly helped me visualize my success (haha).
And a success it was!!  Level of difficulty: intermediate in my opinion.  It's just high maintenance during cooking, you honestly can't walk away from the stove for 20 minutes with continuous stirring.  But bakers know that 20 minutes of constant stirring is easy-peasy... it's the cooks that complain about that!!

I followed the ingredients and instructions to the "T" with the addition garlic.  See my helpful tips below as well!


6 cups chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
  • Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cody's Tips
  • I thinly sliced my mushrooms for a dainty, accent the rice texture kinda-deal.  (I love mushrooms so I added all of it!)
  • Make sure the heat for your RICE is medium low or your cooking time will double!!
  • Make sure your chicken broth is simmering/boiling when adding it to the rice or your cooking time will double!
  • You know the rice is done when it's soft on the outside and al dente in the center
  • Every risotto is different, you may need more/less liquid: wine/broth each time you make it
  • The reason for the constant stirring is because you don't want the rice to get stuck on the bottom of the pan AND you want the broth evenly distributed in the rice
  • It tastes just as great the next day!!

It's a hard dish because you can't taste it in between steps to know you're on the right track... You have to wait until you're DONE before you can actually taste it!  TRUST ME, it is SO worth it!!  It was rich, but not a two-bite and you're done, rich.  It was fulfilling, but not "oh I over-ate and my stomach is going to burst" filling.   To be very honest (and I hate to toot my own horn) but it was seriously restaurant quality good!!

This is definitely a dish I'm making when we have company.  And there are so many variations, asparagus and sun dried tomatoes.. chicken and mushrooms... scallops and truffle oil... NOM NOM!!

The stigma has gone away and trust me when I say, it's risotto night at least every other week!!

healthy shakes for breakfast

We recently purchased a refurbished Vitamix from  We chose refurbished because it came with a 7 year warranty and didn't think we needed a quieter version that was worth the additional $300 price tag.  Besides a few finger prints on the stainless steel, it works perfectly!  Eric and I talk about how this purchase is probably our best home purchase yet; we use it EVERYDAY!!

I make a smoothie everyday as a breakfast replacement, which is actually a much healthier, much more filling breakfast than my normal banana or Pop Tart.  Because I don't eat meat, I lack iron therefore bruise very easily; and normally stay for a month or so.  But I've noticed after 2 months of smoothies, my bruises only stay for about two weeks!!!  I have to thank spinach and kale for their health benefits!

Additionally, I hate the texture of yogurt but I force myself to eat it because of the active cultures that are good for you...  And into my smoothie it goes, no more texture or force-feeding issues!!

I noticed that it takes me about 10 minutes to prepare my morning smoothie (including cleaning it) and when I'm running late, unfortunately, I can't spare 10 minutes.  So I came up with a make-ahead smoothie cup!
And you can't see it, but I made a 'nest' in the spinach and spooned yogurt in there too!!  Just dump it in with some ice and PRESTO, my smoothie is done!!  I've since learned that I can actually use an ice tray to freeze my yogurt- wayyy better idea!!

And as a side note, banana's make everything taste better!!  It mutes the bitterness of spinach and kale (oh heavenly!)

Here's some smoothie recipes that I make:
Handful of grapes
4-5 strawberries
Handful of spinach or Kale or both!
1 banana
1/3 cup yogurt
1 cup of ice

2 handfuls of frozen fruit (I buy a pre-mixed bag from Costco)
Handful of spinach or Kale or both!
1 banana
20 raw almonds
1/3 cup yogurt
(frozen fruit helps with the smoothie consistency)

Handful of spinach or Kale or both!
1 banana
8 baby carrots
20 raw almonds
1/3 cup yogurt
1/2 medium apple
(this one comes out more juicy and smoothie-like because of the apple juice)

It's quick, it's easy, it's healthy, it's delicious!  Happy blending!!