One of the best things we’ve cooked lately (and we’ve cooked some delicious things!). The risotto was to die for. Buttery and rich without any butter? It doesn’t get much better than that. The cornmeal shrimp were a nice contrast to the creamy risotto – try using the same cornmeal crust on other things, such as chicken or fish even. We will definitely be making this risotto again (and as you can see, that’s not something we do often!)
Just remember that the squash needs to cook for quite a while. We have a tendency to find a recipe, and not really read through it until 5:30 or 6:00 when we start cooking. Which is a fault on our part, because usually by that time, our stomachs are rumbling and we get a bit impatient. Seeing ’1 hour’ in any recipe can easily turn what was supposed to be tonight’s dinner into tomorrow’s dinner. This one, however, was easy enough to speed up. Just (carefully!) chop up the uncooked squash into chunks (halve the squash, then quarter each half). Smaller pieces=shorter cooking time. I think we cooked the pieces for 20-30 minutes. And since you don’t need the squash puree until the very end, you can have it cooking while you begin coating the shrimp and cooking the risotto.
Fried Cornmeal Shrimp With Butternut Squash Risotto
Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Bon Appetit.
1 1 3/4- to 2-pound butternut squash
24 uncooked large shrimp (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, deveined
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, peeled, smashed, plus 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 1/2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Vegetable oil (for frying)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400Â°F. Pierce squash several times. Place on baking sheet; roast until tender, about 1 hour. Cool. Cut squash in half; discard seeds. Scoop flesh into processor. Puree until smooth. Measure 1 1/2 cups puree (reserve remaining puree for another use). DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
Place shrimp, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 smashed garlic cloves in large resealable plastic bag; turn to coat. Chill 2 to 3 hours, turning bag occasionally.
Stir cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss. Arrange in single layer on large plate.
Preheat oven to 200Â°F. Bring broth to simmer in heavy small saucepan; reduce heat to low and keep hot. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and 2 teaspoons thyme; stir 1 minute. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add wine; stir until almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup hot broth and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding hot broth 1 cup at a time and stirring frequently until rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add enough vegetable oil to heavy large skillet to reach depth of 1/4 inch. Heat oil over high heat. Working in 2 batches, fry shrimp until golden brown and cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper-towel-lined baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.
Rewarm reserved 1 1/2 cups squash puree in microwave. Add warm puree to risotto and stir until rice is tender but still firm, about 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and remaining 2 teaspoons thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide risotto among bowls. Top with shrimp and serve.
A twist on the typical burger, and with all the ground beef madness going on right now (yikes!), ground turkey is the way to go. In fact, I prefer turkey burgers to beef ones. As long as you treat them right, you can have turkey burgers that are juicy and flavorful. One of the keys is making sure you have a nice set of buns. We used some ciabatta bread rolls that were crusty and delicious.
Next time we’ll get more creative with the toppings. We ran out of salsa (oops), so ended up topping them with a slice of tomato, cucumber, and some cilantro. Add some avocado/guacamole, crisp lettuce, and red onion in there and it’d be hard to top this burger.
Spicy Salsa Turkey Burgers
Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.
1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
1 cup mild salsa, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon chipotle-flavored hot sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 crusty rolls, halved horizontally, toasted if desired
4 lettuce leaves
Other toppings (tomato, avocado, red onion, etc.)
Mix ground turkey, 1/2 cup salsa, shallots, cilantro, 3 tablespoons oil, hot sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Shape turkey mixture into four 3 1/2- to 4-inch-diameter patties.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add burgers; cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low. SautÃ© until burgers are cooked through, about 4 minutes, turning occasionally.
Arrange roll bottoms on 4 plates. Place lettuce, then burgers on roll bottoms. Top each burger with 2 tablespoons of remaining salsa, then roll tops.
I believe I may be obsessed. To me, a cupcake is the perfect treat. Not too big, not too small, just sweet enough to satisfy. One (ok ok, maybe two) cupcakes a day makes any day better. Needless to say, I’ve made many more cupcakes since that last batch. They are a great thing to experiment with, as once you get a basic recipe down, you can add all the flavorings you want and mix and match with various frostings. Up next on the menu are banana split cupcakes, we’ll be making those this afternoon. :)
Rich Chocolate Cupcakes with Seven-Minute Frosting
Simply the Vegan Almond Cupcake recipe with 1/2 cup of cocoa powder mixed in and topped with seven-minute frosting. While it makes for picturesque cupcakes, the frosting hardened to almost a meringue-like consistency after the first day. Not the best cupcake topper.
Almond Cupcakes with Marshmallow Fondant
Vegan Almond Cupcakes gone fancy. I was terrified (and intrigued) to try decorating these things like the pastry artists on the food network. I managed to find a recipe for Marshmallow Fondant, which, while extremely messy to make, was easy enough to work with, and doesn’t taste too bad either. I slathered a thin layer of the chocolate fudge frosting on the cupcake, and then positioned the fondant circle on the cupcake. Then added decorations. Despite my ambitions, I don’t think I’ll be a professional cake decorator anytime soon.
Chocolate Hazelnut Kahlua Cupcakes
These were last weeks cupcakes, and could rival the almond ones for perfection. Just don’t eat them too close to bedtime. :) And yes, these ones are vegan too! Recipe makes 12-14 cupcakes.
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant hazelnut coffee powder
1 tablespoon kahlua
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup tofutti cream cheese (or regular cream cheese)
4 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, melted
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant hazelnut coffee powder
2 teaspoons kahlua
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line pan with cupcake liners, and oil top of pan to prevent overflow from sticking.
Combine the soy milk and vinegar and stir well. Set aside, mixture will curdle.
Stir together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In separate bowl, combine soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, coffee powder, and kahlua. Add wet ingredients to dry ones and stir until combined (don’t overmix!)
Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, beat together margarine and cream cheese until just combined. Beat in melted chocolate. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix until smooth and fluffy, then add flavorings. Dust frosted cupcakes with cocoa powder and enjoy!
T: What are we cooking tonight?
L: We don’t have anything planned for dinner, and we don’t go to the store until tomorrow.
T: What do we have?
L: *inspecting the eerily empty refrigerator*
L: a sweet potato, some shiitake mushrooms, a zucchini and some tofu.
T: What a combination.
L: *does a quick google search for “tofu shiitake zucchini recipe”… Prints off the first recipe that happens to pop up (which also includes, by the way, a sweet potato).*
L: Let’s try this.
T: *very skeptical of recipes from anything but a cooking authority*
T: Ok then…
30 minutes later, we had what looked like a glorified tofu scramble. We modified the recipe a bit (this was the day before grocery day, remember). And you know what? It may have been the best thing we cooked all week. Go figure.
By the way, props to you if you can form this into patties. I think it would taste even better that way. But, after one crumbly attempt at a patty, and some very rumbly tummies, we tossed the whole bowl into the pan and cooked it like a big hash brown.
Sweet Potato & Shiitake Tofu Scramble
Makes 4 servings (or so). Recipe from here, with modifications. :)
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 zucchini, shredded
2/3 cup green onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1 teaspoon sesame oil
5 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 carrot, grated, for garnish
1 cup water
2 teablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon seasame oil
3 shiitake mushrooms, diced
Boil sweet potato cubes until fork tender. Drain well and mash, set aside.
Press and drain tofu. The more moisture you can get out of it the better. Mash in tofu with the sweet potatoes.
Heat a small non-stick skillet and add the sesame oil, zucchini, green onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook until the zucchini softens, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add to tofu-sweet potato mixture.
Add mushrooms, sriracha, salt, and corn starch and mix thoroughly.
Attempt to form the mixture into patties. If you can, pan cook in a lightly oiled pan for 3-4 minutes per side, or until browned. If not, dump the entire mixture into a large pan and let sit (no stirring!) for about 5 minutes or until bottom is brown and crisp. Toss mixture with spatula and again let sit until bottom is brown. Repeat until mixture is evenly browned.
To make sauce, mix all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture boils, becomes translucent, and thickens. Drizzle over patties (or scramble mixture), garnish with grated carrot and sliced green onion.