Tag Archives: Side

Risotto with Apples and Gorgonzola

21 Oct

This recipe is absolutely mouthwatering.  It’s another one that came from my mom – she tried it a couple of weeks ago and was raving about it. The recipe comes from – duh – who else? Jamie Oliver. Isn’t that where so many of the mouthwatering recipes on SS come from? He is so good at making spectacular dishes yet still prioritizing the purest ingredients.  He really just appreciates food and everything it does for you. Anyways, you have heard my ranting about Jamie, and you will hear it again in the future…now onto the risotto.

So, I had to alter it a bit due to my allergies, or more specifically, my oral allergy syndrome, which meant peeling the apples and omitting the walnuts.  I probably could have replaced the walnuts with a type of nut that I can eat, pecans (speaking of, quick survey: do you say pecans with a hard A sound or pee-kawns?), for example, but I chose to just take them out all together. My mom was right to rave about this recipe. But for once I have to say…it didn’t make the best leftovers. So eat up!

Risotto with Apples and Gorgonzola

Adapted from Jamie Oliver


2 pints chicken or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 head of celery, finely chopped

14 oz risotto rice

1 1/2 cups dry white vermouth or dry white wine

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

3/4-1 cup good quality gorgonzola cheese, diced

1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

2-3 crisp apples, cored, peeled (if desired), and finely chopped, tossed in lemon juice

A small bunch of fresh marjoram, leaves picked and chopped

a handful of walnuts

Heat the stock. In a separate pan heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and saute very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables are just soft, add the rice and turn up the heat.

The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring.

Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first cup of hot stock.  Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding cups of stock, stirring consistently, allowing each cup to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. If the rice is not cooked, continue adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, gorgonzola, chopped apple, and marjoram. Stir together and cover the pot to let the cheese melt in for a couple minutes. Heat the walnuts in a pan or toast them for few minutes (but watch them carefully!) Sprinkle with walnuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve.


Couscous with grilled summer vegetables and herbs

16 Aug

I made this the other night with Crackled pork and Arugula Watercress salad for a friend’s birthday dinner.  It is a GREAT recipe for the summer–savory but not too heavy, and loaded with fresh summer vegetables to take advantage of the fact that they are in season (my asparagus was from NJ, my red bell peppers from upstate NY!)

Couscous with Grilled Summer Vegetables and Herbs

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef Takes Off


9oz couscous

1 1/4 cups water

3 red bell peppers

1 handful of asparagus, trimmed

2 or 3 small firm zucchini and/or patty pan squash, sliced vertically

1 small bunch of scallions, trimmed and finely sliced

2-4 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely sliced

3 good handfuls of mixed fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, flat-leaf parsley)

2 olive oil and lemon juice dressing recipes (see below)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

red wine vinegar

For Olive Oil and lemon Juice Dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil saucepan, stir in couscous.  Cover and remove from heat. While the couscous is softening, blacken the bell peppers.  I did this by placing them directly on the flame of my gas stove, but if you don’t have a gas stove, you can use your broiler. The peppers should be blackened on all sides, so turn when needed. When fully blackened, let cool, then remove the seeds (and skins if you wish) and roughly chop.

On a very hot ridged skillet, lightly char the asparagus and squash on both sides, then toss them into the bowl of couscous with the peppers, scallions, chillies, and ripped up herbs. Mix-well. Add the dressing and toss. Finally, season with salt and black pepper to taste, and dribble a bit of red wine vinegar for a slight twang.

Cheesy Zucchini

30 Jul

Cheesy Zucchini has got to be one of my all-time favorite comfort foods–Which is why I refuse to come up with some fancy alternative name for it. My mother use to prepare zucchini this way all the time (probably significantly more often than she would have if she did not have cheesy zucchini-obsessed children). Since “leaving the nest”, I have made it for myself several times, but I don’t think any time has ever been the same.  Since I’m leaving for family vacation in Maine in a couple of days, I will have to remember to ask her for her official recipe.

But, in the meantime, here’s mine.  I’ve ran into a significant enough number of people who don’t particularly like zucchini (sometimes it can have a slightly bitter taste), and in my experience, adding some form of bread and/or cheese to anything tends to up its approval rating. And you should eat zucchini because its high in Folic Acid, which we all love.

Cheesy Zucchini

Serves 4


3 medium to large zucchinis, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

1/3 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic if you want it to be more intense-I personally think its much too intense)

1/4-1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425° and grease a cookie sheet. Toss the zucchini slices in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, and thyme leaves.  Arrange on cookie sheet in one layer. Sprinkle a pinch of breadcrumbs, a generous sprinkle of parmesan, and some salt and pepper to taste on each round. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Fiddlehead Ferns

2 May

This is less about the recipe and more about the ingredient.  I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day about things that we had cooked lately, which we do from time to time, more lately, and almost always before I host a party.  So she said, have you ever cooked fiddlehead ferns? Then she went on to tell me about how she had made them the other night and how they are in season right now and all the health benefits they have.  I’ll admit, I was only half-listening at the time, but, a couple weeks later, there they were in a big square basket at Whole Foods.  I immediately filled up a bag of them; they are green, they are a vegetable, and I love the way they look! (…ferntastic?)

Fiddlehead Ferns with Garlic and Sea Salt

Makes about 4 side dishes


1 lb fiddlehead ferns, rinsed, with dark ends trimmed

1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Large cloves garlic, minced

Course ground sea salt and black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over Medium-high heat.  Add the fiddleheads, sautéing them 4-6 minutes, flipping them in between. Add the minced garlic, reduce heat to low and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, then top with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.