FNCCC reminder

April 19, 2011

Ingrid Hoffman is this week, don’t forget!  Here’s her bio and her recipes.  Betsy said she makes mexican food which is awesome cuz I love queso… I wonder if she has a recipe for it.  But how difficult is melting some velveeta and stirring in some sauteed onions and hamburger meat and a can of rotel?  Maybe I can learn to just make some healthier chips to dip into the unhealthy queso?!

Oh well, go cook some mexican food!

Wild Mushroom Risotto

April 14, 2011

Normally I wait until Thursday or Friday to make a chef’s recipe but this week I was so happy about Anne that I made her dish on Tuesday. Watching Anne cook is really exciting and certainly ignites a passion in me. You can see why she was a teacher at a culinary institute for awhile.

I mentioned I had leftover arborio rice from a recipe last year and I really wanted to try my hand at a risotto again.  Searching Anne’s recipes located this wild mushroom risotto.  This being only my second risotto (and second dish ever to make with rice) I found it odd when Anne’s recipe had me toast the rice.  That wasn’t something I was expecting and it kind of weirded me out, especially after being so afraid I was going to play the pick-out-the-scorched-rice out game.

Going through the reviews on the recipe everyone was raving about how you put some sort of rehydrated mushroom paste into it and that REALLY gives it the flavor of shrooms you are wanting.  I mean srsly, just about every post was raving about it so I had to go on a treasure hunt to find dried mushrooms of any type and eventually tracked them down in a corner of Homeland that can only be reached by a bridge guarded by a cave troll.

The last time I made risotto I ended up with enough to feed the military so I halved the recipe this time and ended up with 2-3 decent servings.

Have you ever reconstituted mushrooms before?  It looks pretty gross and jeezy creezy does it smell bad.  After rehydrating them I wasn’t sure if I had porcini mushrooms or zombie flesh… I am craving brains at the moment though!

(self edit: Boooooo!  That was bad, I know… die in a fire)

Come to think of it, at no point does risotto ever actually look good. It always looks like you are on the verge of scraping it onto a plate for your evil cat to dine.  That’s okay though because if you get it right, risotto is a delicacy.

See, even when reducing it looks gross, am I making risotto or trying to get shoe leather edible?


I did babysit it very well though.  I didn’t get to pick out anything scorched at all!

So you finally get done babysitting dinner and you feel a bit… let down.  It looks like mush with shrooms in it but then you notice you got the perfect creamy consistency that it calls for.  You lean in to smell it and your eyes roll back in desire.

The first bite.


Before you know it the top button of your pants is pinging off your wine glass as it flies from your ever expanding waistline.

This is probably the best thing I’ve ever cooked.  Srsly.  This will be added to my list of things I would cook myself and devour.  Having a risotto in your repertoire is also something you can brag about even though once you do it you realize it really is easy as pie.

Cooking Notes:

1.  Use a dry white wine you enjoy.  This also makes it extremely easy to pair the correct wine with it… ya know… if ya enjoy wine.

2.  The chives add some color but aren’t necessary, I’d recommend just skipping them.

3.  This turns into A LOT of food.  Halve the recipe for 2-3 people.

4.  It’s supposed to reheat well (I haven’t tried) but make sure to add some water when you do it.  If you don’t the texture will be very gummy.

5.  It retains its heat VERY WELL due to the density of the dish.  You can take it off when al dente and have no problem that it will finish itself off.


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed with heel your hand
  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms, such as shiitakeoyster or cremini, cleaned and sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaking in 3 cups hot water
  • 1 medium or 2 small onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 6 to 7 cups hot chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives


Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil and add the smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a medium-high heat. When thegarlic cloves have begun to brown and are very aromatic remove and discard them. Add the assorted fresh mushrooms to the pan and season with salt. Saute the mushrooms until they are soft and pliable. Turn off the heat and reserve.

Using your hand, carefully scoop the porcini mushrooms out of the hot water. (At this point the water should have cooled off significantly. If it is still too hot for your hand, use a slotted spoon.) Pour the top 2/3 of the mushroom water into another container and reserve for use while making the risotto. Discard the bottom third. It contains a lot of sand and dirt from the mushrooms. Puree the rehydrated mushrooms with a little of the reserved mushroom water to make a smooth mushroom paste. This will not look good but it will certainly taste good! Reserve.

Coat a large saucepot abundantly with olive oil. Add the onions and season generously with salt. Bring the pot to a medium-high heat. Cook the onions, stirring frequently until they are very soft andaromatic but have no color. Add the rice and stir to coat with the olive oil. Cook the rice for 2 to 3 minutes to toast, stirring frequently. Add wine to cover the surface of the rice and stir frequently until it has completely absorbed. Add the reserved mushroom water and then add chicken stock until the liquid has covered the surface of the rice. Stir frequently until the stock has absorbed into the rice. Repeat this process 2 more times. Check for seasoning, you probably will need to add salt.

During the third addition of stock, add the reserved sauteed mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of the pureed porcini mushrooms. When the stock has absorbed into the rice and the rice is cooked but still “al dente“, remove the pot from the heat. Add the butter andcheese and whip until well combined. This will set the perfect consistency of the rice. The rice should flow and not be able to hold its shape and look very creamy. Serve immediately garnished withchives.


FNCCC Information Updated

April 12, 2011

I know some of you like to plan ahead so I went ahead and randomized the remaining Food Network Chefs.  The week we will be doing them was added to each of their names as well.

You can either click on FNCCC above or click here.

Buffalo Chips (cookies… not poop)

April 12, 2011

The best part about reading about food is the pictures!  But I forgot to take any… but I forgot to take any so… yea.

This past week was Warren Brown and he had 11 recipes I think?  One of which was, “Take sugar cookies, frost them.”  Seriously, that’s pretty much how it read.  His most notable recipe was an apple cobbler that Betsy ended up making and she needs to get a writeup of that shit yo.  It was soooooooo fucking amazing I can’t even tell you.

I decided to just bake something and Betsy’s mom offered me a recipe called Buffalo Chips.  It’s a cookie recipe that has to be from the 80s or 90s, before they realized that some things in copious amounts weren’t good for you.  Starting off for the recipe it has 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of shortening, 2 cups of granulated sugar, 2 cups of brown sugar… see where this is going?

Then you have chocolate chips and shredded coconut and it’s just insane.  I’ll add the recipe to the end for those interested in it.

The amount of ingredients was a bit daunting and the amounts so large that I broke out my bowl that’s big enough to bathe a baby in.  I’ve screwed up PLENTY OF TIMES thinking a bowl was big enough only to have to transfer stuff halfway through the making.  Wasn’t going to let it happen this time around.

After you put in the butter, shortening, and 2 lbs. of sugar you get a very nice and sweet batter.  Then you have to add in 2 lbs. of flour.  It didn’t tell me to do it slowly so I dumped it all in and went to town!  It was pretty tough mixing it in.  My hand mixer was audibly struggling and I feared it would give out but we kept on mustering through it.

That’s not all though because then you add a cup of rolled quick oats (which I still have a ton left and will probably be turning into no bake cookies).  The coconut and choco chips go in at this time as well and the mixer was like… fuck this, I quit.

Betsy’s brother, Scott, was over and we were playing PS3 games and getting liquored up (wild Friday night, I know).  He comes over just to watch my cooking disasters now and he showed me how to mix it using the spatula to kind of fold this ginormous fucking batter together.

The problem that creeps up once you add the oats is that it turns it into granola and you can imagine how tough mixing 8 lbs. of granola can be.  It also has issues holding together and is very crumbly.

It calls for you to measure out 1/4 cup of the dough to make the cookie (hence the reason it’s a buffalo chip because buffalo’s poop is big).  I had wanted to do them in smaller sizes but when you get done and realize you have a silly amount of batter you toss that idea out the window and start measuring the quarter cups.  I was using a quarter cup… cup, and if you pack it too much into the measuring cup the cookie has difficulty melting.  You will endup with a cookie that looks like it came out of a catfood can (that tastes fucking amazing).

I was pretty happy with how they turned out and Scott’s dad said, “They were the best baked thing I’ve made  yet.”  He’s a sweets tasting guru so pretty good compliment /nod.

Baking Notes:

1.  I’d recommend rolling them into a ball or something after you measure the amount so they cook prettier but either way they were really good.

2.  Use a finer sugar because it turned out a bit gritty (or mix better).

(recipe goes here when you get home!)


April 2, 2011

That’s right… for Jamie Oliver I decided to make tiramisu .  I’ve decided that when you bake you don’t do it for yourself.  You bake things for others because by the time you are done mixing and beating and folding and sweating and baking you just want the thing to be done and over with.  That’s why baked goods are always given away.

Did you know baking is also french for disaster in your kitchen. I dirtied up more dishes making tiramisu than making a dinner with two sides, it’s just crazy.

Anyway, just figuring out what went in this thing was difficult.  Mr. Oliver put all his directions in grams but Food Network was nice enough to convert that into ounces.  I’ve never measured flour by ounces so I converted ounces to tablespoons (nothing could go wrong with all these conversions right?)  I don’t own a coffee maker so I stopped by Starbucks to pickup a 5-shot of espresso.  I’m sure they thought something was wrong with me because they gave me a look like I was some sort of crack addict getting their fix.

All kidding aside the sponge cake was relatively easy to make.  My kitchen was hot though so getting the eggs and sugar into stiff peaks (or the ribbon stage) was a bit difficult.  I’ve seen chef’s whip shit by hand and I have NO IDEA how they do that.  I got out the electric mixer and whipped it into a splattering frenzy.  After that comes folding in a bunch of random shit.  Folding is stupid.  Why can’t I just mix that shit in?

Put the stupid cake in to bake and that’s when I started making the filling.  Not sure why it’s called a filling since it goes on like an icing but whatever.

I started making the filling when I realized I needed a cup to start melting the white chocolate in.  Grabbed the one in front of me and went oops.

The cup contained the butter that was supposed to be folded into the sponge cake…

…that was in the oven baking.

I shrugged, nothing I could do about it now!

Who came up with mascarpone?  It has the same consistency as marshmallow fluff.  It didn’t want to come out of the container, off my hands, or off the mixer.  Highly suggest making sure it is at least at room temperature or warmer.  The warmer the better.

/timer ding

I get the genoise (no idea what that means) sponge out of the oven and it actually looks good.  Test it for done’ness and it’s… done.  Set it aside to cool and started looking for a pan to put all this shit in.

Improvisation set in as I realized I have 2 things to bake in.  One is a sheet pan which would not work for this and the other is a the pan the sponge was made in.  I tipped the sponge cake over onto my cutting board and cleaned out the pan while it was continuing to cool so I could make the stupid thing in that.

The filling had something called Vin Santo in it.  For those that failed to click the link it is an italian desert wine that is sweet.  Not quite port sweet but still yummy and also dry.  When I asked about it at the liquor store the old lady looked at me like I asked if I could see her boobs.  She had never heard of a vin santo (surprise!) and asked about it.  She recommended a moscato because it’s a sweet dry white wine.  Sweet and dry aren’t two things I would have figured a wine could be but she was right and it’s really good.

Jamie’s directions on putting it together are a bit not helpful.  I should have trusted my gut here but didn’t.  I’ve always seem tiramisu as layers.  I considered cutting the edges off the sponge and then cutting it into a top / bottom layer.  If I make it again then I will most certainly do that.  Then I can drizzle the tia maria (amazing liquor that you should drink a shot with a can of coke or dr. pepper, it gives the soda a chocolate flavor) on one layer and the espresso on the other.

INSTEAD I broke the sponge up and tried piecing stuffing it back into it’s original pan.  Obviously I would endup with more sponge than I started so I had to put the extra in two bowls and make individual portions of tiramisu.  After that you drizzle on the espresso / white chocolate / tia maria.  Super easy and then you put the filling or icing on top.

I put it in the ice box to setup and then had some later that night.

It came out pretty good.  The coffee flavor from 5 shots was quite overpowering though and the desert is VERY rich.  VERY RICH!

1.  Use lady fingers OR cut the edge off the sponge and cut into two layers.  Don’t soak, just drizzle the espresso (no more than 4 shots) onto it.  Be careful with the white chocolate because it creates a crunch to it so big globs of it can really throw off the texture.

2.  Make sure the filling is warm, I’d suggest warming it up enough to pour unless you are good at putting cake icing on cake that moves a lot more than regular cake.



Note: 1 oz. = 1 T

Genoise sponge:

  • 3 1/2 ounces (110 grams) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 ounces (50 grams) melted butter
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) plain flour
  • 1-ounce (30 grams) good-quality cocoa powder


  • 1 pound 1-ounce (500 grams) mascarpone
  • 2 1/2 ounces (70 grams) caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks*
  • 3.5 fluid ounces (100 milliliters) Vin Santo
  • 4 to 5 shots espresso coffee
  • Tia Maria liqueur
  • 3 1/2 ounces (110 grams) good-quality white chocolate, melted
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 1 bar good-quality dark chocolate, for shavings


First make the sponge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C /gas 4).

Whisk the sugar and eggs until they are at ribbon stage. Fold in the melted butter, then fold in the sifted flour and cocoa. Pour the mixture into a lined Swiss roll tin and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the sponge from the oven when it is done and leave to cool.

To make the filling, put the mascarpone, sugar, egg yolks, and Vin Santo into a bowl and mix until smooth.

To assemble the tiramisu, break up the sponge and press it into the bottom of a shallow dish. Drizzle over the coffee, Tia Maria, and white chocolate. Spoon over the mascarpone filling, then dust liberally with cocoa. Using a large knife, scrape the chocolate towards you to make shavings and arrange these delicately over the top.



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