Crawfish Tail Risotto


Happy New Year & Cheers to 2017!

The Crawfish Risotto with Tabasco and Parmesan Cheese is one of my favorite winter dinner (or lunch or anytime basically…) meals.  I had this in a restaurant, in downtown Nashville, a couple years ago and now it’s a go-to.

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Cooking…

For the most part, you can follow the cooking instructions on the Arborio Rice container.  I only change it slightly and I only use Arborio.

Using a large skillet – over low heat, on my cook-top the heat is on “1” for the entire process

Melt 2 Tbsp of butter (I use salted sweet cream) along with 2 Tbsp of EVOO

Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped, fresh, sweet onion

Sauté the onion in the butter & oil mixture for about 3 – 4 minutes, just until the onion is clear.

Now, add 1 cup of the Arborio Rice & 1/4 cup of white wine and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes         (I use an inexpensive Vouvray, mainly because I like it and it pairs very well with this recipe.)

Next, pour in 1 cup of warm chicken broth (I use regular broth, not the reduced fat nor sodium, regardless, use what you prefer.  Additionally, I heat the broth in the microwave so I’m not adding cool broth to a hot risotto mixture.  Don’t skip the warming…)

The remainder of the cooking process requires patience.  After adding the first cup of broth, let the risotto simmer over that low heat until you see that the broth has been absorbed by the rice.  You’ll feel it become thicker as you stir, infrequently.  After the first cup is mostly absorbed, add the second and repeat the process.  Now add the 3rd cup and repeat.  Finally, I add the last little bit of the remaining stock, repeating the process.  It’s a total of 32 ounces of the broth.

Now it’s time to taste test the risotto.  I prefer my rice/pasta past just past “al dente” so my cook time is slightly longer, therefore my low heat throughout the cooking process.  If the pasta is cooked to preference, now add 1/2 package of the Cooked Crawfish Tail Meat (I get this @ Publix in the freezer section near the fish counter.)  I do squeeze out/drain the juice from the tail meat before adding to the risotto.  Since the crawfish is already cooked, it only needs to warm up in the risotto mixture.  I fold it in for about 4 minutes max, don’t go too long or the meat will become too chewy – so to speak.

The picture above was taken just after I added the tail meat.  So, as you can see, the mixture needed the additional 4 minutes of simmer time to thicken a bit.

Serving – I use a large soup bowl and just before I add the risotto to the bowl, I go around the edge with narrow line drizzle of Tabasco.  After spooning in the risotto, add fresh grated parmesan cheese.  You can add/reduce the Tabasco to your taste.  I prefer just enough to get the heat on the finish of each bite…

Cheers!!!

Oatmeal-Walnut-Cranberry Cookies


The holiday spirit is in full swing in the house this afternoon – Bing Crosby & Dean Martin “Traditional Christmas” on Pandora and a small pour of Weller bourbon, neat.  It’ll put ya where you wanna be…

College football conference championships on the TV and a chill in the outside air – seems like a good time to heat up the oven.  Val and I transformed an Oatmeal Raisin recipe into Walnut-Cranberry – daYum fine if I do say so myself.  You’re guaranteed to sit down with a few of these and well,,, return to the jar several times.

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In your heavy-duty mixer, mix the following ingredients…

1  3/4 sticks softened butter (salted sweet cream)

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

(Mix on med speed until well mixed)

Add…

1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

(Mix on med speed until well mixed)

Add…

3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned)

1 1/4 cups dried cranberries

1 1/4 cups, rough-chunk walnuts

Mix well…

Baking:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

Use tablespoon size, rough, drops of the dough mix, drop onto un-greased parchment paper on baking/cookie sheet

Recipe makes 48 cookies, 12 cookies per on each bake

I baked for 9 minutes

 

Cheers…

 

Fig & Gorgonzola Bruschetta


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…a little something to get the holiday started

Top left:  Bianco D’oro Italian Dry Salami

Bottom left:  Chorizo

Top left cheese:  Cambozola (brie-style with injected mild blue; cow’s milk)

Top right cheese:  Robiola (cow-goat-sheep w/ soft rind)

Fig and Gorgonzola Bruschetta:

  • Unbaked baugette from Whole Foods (cut in half, brush on some evoo, bake in the oven, 425 degrees for about 7 mins, little golden color & crunch)
  • Add room-temp gorgonzola crumbles as soon as the bread comes out of the oven
  • Add thinly sliced dried figs
  • Balsamic reduction – 1 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup honey, simmer over med heat for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring so as to not let the reduction stick to the pan; remove from heat and let stand until it sticks to the back of a spoon
  • Drizzle the reduction over the top of the bruschetta

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

A delectable Pinot


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If you’re a Pinot fan, this is one you’ll definitely enjoy – about $40.  It’s Oregon and it’s slightly toward the Burgundian style vs. the fruit forward, bing cherry, of many others.  As you can see from the glass, it’s more toward dark fruit than red fruit; giving it a cola and earthy nose.  It has more complexity and structure than the light bodied Pinots, more my personal style.  A very nice Pinot for the price.

unWine’d with a pour…

 

Cherry Smoked Turkey Drumsticks


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Fall temperatures crept into middle Tennessee earlier this week, and greatly welcomed.  With the chill in the air comes the smell of hardwood in a smoker – in my world anyway.  I’m not a huge fan of turkey but I thought I’d try smoking some drumsticks since it’s a much shorter smoke time for a Friday afternoon/evening.

These 6 legs were about 3.5 lbs total.  I kept the dry rub simple so as to not overpower the flavor of the meat.

First, melt one stick of salted butter in a large bowl.  Now roll all the legs in the butter so they’re completely coated.  This helps to hold the dry rub and gives the skin a nice color and crispness when done.

Dry Rub: (Mix thouroughly in a bowl)

2 tsp kosher salt

2tsp fine ground pepper

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp chipotle chili pepper

2 tsp paprika

With the drumsticks on a baking pan, sprinkle the dry rub evenly over all the drumsticks.  And, make sure the legs are at room temp, or close, before you put them on the smoker.

Smoker temp:  I held 250 – 275 degrees and it took a little over 2.5 hours, which included about 6 medium size pieces of cherry wood for the smoke.  I only turned them a couple times during the smoke and I used the remaining melted butter to brush on until I used it all.

Using an instant read thermometer, I pulled the drumsticks off when the internal meat temp was 165 degrees, (+/-) a couple degrees.  Afterward, I let them sit for 30 minutes before serving.

They were juicy with a nice smoke flavor and the chipotle provided the slightest bite on the finish.  A nice end to the work week.

Cheers…