Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday, February 10th - real Muffins and Butternut Squash and Chestnut Risotto

Last night as we were making the Portobello mushroom burgers and sweet Potato fingers, we ran out of gas so we had to finish in the oven on broil. So since we had the oven on, we roasted the chestnuts we needed for the Butternut Squash and Chestnut Risotto tonight. Well, they would keep so it didn't matter but it was efficient to do them since we were doing oven stuff anyway.

All you need to do is with a small paring knife, mark a cross on each one toward the top end. i.e. the end without the round birthmark looking butt end. Put them spread out in a single layer under the broiler on high until you hear them popping. YOU WILL hear them popping. In fact, you'll hear some of them exploding. Fear not! (keep the door closed) That might be because you didn't pierce the skin enough when crossing them so when they're roasting, they expand and burst the shell. No worries. Wait a bit until you think you've got most of them. Turn the oven off and let them sit for a few minutes in case some of them are delayed poppers. With a dish rag, or bare hands quickly shell them while they're still hot. If you wait, the skins will start to stick. While they're hot, it's as easy as shelling peanuts THOUGH far more painfully hot. Be careful. Hence the rag recommendation. That's what my father always does. He's the designated sheller. Let cool and then put them away covered in the fridge until you need them.

Breakfast was a treat. Since D when to get blue cheese last night at Urban Fare, he picked up some muffins for breakfast. Woohoo, the GOOD MUFFINS. Big, hearty, healthy (seeming). He got two, Lemon Poppyseed with Cranberries and Morning Glory (your basic powerbar in a muffin with walnuts, carrots, oats, raisins) soo good and perfect after my muffin blog entry yesterday.

Lunch, I popped out to London Drugs and bought a ready made soup in a tetra pack from Knor. Tuscan Bean Soup with Sweet Basil. It says it serves two but maybe as a skinny starter. I poured into a medium sized tupperware and nuked it for 3 minutes. It's cooling off fast as I type here. I picked up some Carr's Garlic and Herb water crackers to eat with.

Dinner is one of my favorites. I've been collecting risotto recipes since high school watching Martha Stewart and Julia Child. Tonight we're having one we've done a few times.

Butternut Squash and Roasted Chestnut Risotto

2-3 cups diced butternut squash
3/4 -1 cup chopped chestnut
I am purposely ball parking the filler because you should play around with it as much as you like. D is conservative with the veg so the beginning of the range is his measurements.
1/2 c Arborio rice per person (we're making enough for the two of us to have a smaller lunch portion so 2 c)
2 l stock (we have 1l lobster stock, homemade from my birthday lobster, frozen and we'll have to augment with a veggie stock cube)
Now this is legitmately a ballpark. You may need more or less depending on your rice or how hard you like the rice. I like it softer.
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (you can use 1t of dry)
1 large shallot
1c white wine
Fresh parmesan

Roast the chestnuts as described above and chop the size of chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a large fry pan fry the squash in butter until just tender and set aside
In the same pan add some olive oil and butter, about 1 T each. Add the shallot and saute for about a minute until just softened. Add the Rice and the thyme. Stir until all the rice is coated and shimmering and slightly toasted.

Add a ladle of stock and stir until it is almost completely absorbed. Add another and another until it's all done the same way. It'll be about half an hour at least. Taste it to see if it is the texture you like. When you're one ladle away, turn the heat off, add about 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan.add the ladle add the veg back and cover for a few minutes (this last bit is optional). Add 1 last pat of butter to finish. Salt and pepper to taste. YOu may not need any salt depending on your stock.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan. I'm havin Dona Paula Chardonnay, a chilean chardonnay for non-chardonnay lovers. D is still on deTox.

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