Tag Archives: recipe

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

22-07-04 Black Bean and Corn Salsa

As I noted earlier, I was bored this morning. A little bit after I posted that, I got motivated and went out. Something struck me and I decided to go fetch some vegetables to make a western style omelet. That took me out to Ingraldi’s. As I perused the offerings, one of the ladies suggested the corn was really good. I picked up a few ears, a big tomato, a zucchini, and some potatoes. I paid and went to the vehicle.

That is when I began thinking about black bean salsa.

Many years ago I went through a short phase of eating this. I had never had it before, stumbled across it (Cooking Light, I think). I know someone gave me a jar of it too that was very good. So, I sat in the vehicle, googled a recipe, looked it over, got out of the vehicle, and purchased some more corn and some limes.

Off to Shop Rite I went for some more ingredients. I came home and began making this. I opted to make my own beans. Somewhere in all this I was looking at other recipes and someone mentioned how easy it is to make one’s own beans. This is something I have always wanted to do, but never wanted to put the time into. Well, with an Instant Pot, time is trivial. Easy peasy and it is one-fourth the price of canned. I dare say they are better than canned too.

So, I made the beans, fried the corn, prepped all the other ingredients, and assembled.

This is one of those dishes that improves over time. I wanted it cold, so I forced myself to wait an hour before having any. I had some more a few hours later. That was better. The stuff I have tomorrow, I suspect, will be better still.

This looked just like the Southern Living recipe did. It tasted good. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. Next time, I think I need some more tomato and more lime juice.

Shop Rite was out of jalapeno, so I substituted a habanero. A second one would have done well. While nothing wrong with this salsa, I thought it needed something else to pull it all together. A little zing might be just the thing.

Also, since it’s made with all fresh ingredients, there was no “sauce” to this salsa. Salsa is usually slurpy. I missed that with this. I kept thinking if I had blended (no way for me to actually do that, mind you) some of the black beans and added it in, much like one does with soup, I would have had some of that texture I was looking for.

I was excited after purchasing the vegetables. I have pared my lifestyle down so much that it is drab. Today I needed some color, some brightness. This salsa did that for me without adding to my things. That was important to me. Yummy!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Recipe by Robert OwensCourse: Culinary


Prep time


Cooking timeminutes

Southern Living recipe


  • 2 1/2 fresh corn kernels (from 5 ears)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (from 1 medium pepper)

  • 2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup chopped plum tomatoes (about 2 medium tomatoes [5 oz. total])

  • 1 cup chopped red onion (from 1 small [5 oz.] onion)

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (from 1 bunch cilantro)

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño chile, not seeded (1 small chile)

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-high until hot. Add corn and oil; cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add cumin; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in bell pepper until combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  • Add beans, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and salt to corn mixture; toss gently to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve.

Spring Break Steak & Eggs

10-04-03 Spring Break Steak & Eggs

Spring Break has been all but eliminated this year. There has been so much snow that I only enjoyed Good Friday off this year. Truth be told, I enjoyed the balance of the break this winter with all the blizzards. Anyhow, squeezing in as much as I can in the long weekend, it seemed as though a king’s breakfast was in order.

I love the new cast iron grates. Unlike some of my buddies, I have not adjusted to losing the gas assist on the Performer to use them. To remedy that, this morning as I fired up the smoker for some pulled beef (a request), I moved the new grates to the OTG and returned the SS grate to the Performer. I think this is how things will remain. We shall see.

A couple days ago I picked up a huge bone-in ribeye. It was so large that I decided not to eat it Thursday evening. With a meatless Friday ahead of me, I froze it for another evening when the appetite is greater. On the way back yesterday, I had some extra time, so I pulled into the butcher to pick up a chuck roast. When the family requests specific cooks, I am more than happy to oblige. While there, I saw some Delmonicos in the case. I decided to pick one up.

With the smoker going, I fired up the OTG. First went on a cast iron pan for the potatoes. They took a bit longer than I had expected. I should have par-boiled the spuds first. Once they got going, I put on the steak. First I had rubbed it in a rub I got from Weber (reg. req.). I knew I should have left out the brown sugar. It browned darker than I would have preferred it have. Once I flipped it, I put two eggs into the smaller cast iron pan. They cooked quickly over the fire. I should have used more grease in that pan as the eggs stuck just a bit.

I also prepared a chili sauce for the steak. As it was simmering, I decided it needed to be kicked up a bit. A good squirt of sriracha took care of that. My my, that sauce was heavenly.

The very first table I ever waited on at the Mad Batter when I was 17 was a family of four. That restaurant always started out new waiters on breakfast. I served this family their omelettes, etc. and then asked them if there was anything else I could provide them. The father looked up at me and asked for some ketchup. I surveyed the table and blurted out, “For what?” Indeed, a mistake. As I would learn, plenty of folks enjoy drowning their eggs and spuds in ketchup. I had never seen that prior to that day. It wasn’t until today, I could somewhat appreciate the sentiment.

The chili sauce was so good, I mixed it in with the potatoes . . . and the second helping too. Do yourself a favor, and make this the next time you cook a steak. Your taste buds will thank you.

Breakfast was awesome. It’s good to be king.

Steak Rub
1 tablespoon(s) mixed peppercorns (black, white, pink, green)
1 teaspoon(s) pure chile powder
1 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
1 teaspoon(s) brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon(s) granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon(s) granulated onion

Chili Sauce
1/2 cup(s) ketchup
1 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon(s) red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon(s) brown sugar
1 teaspoon(s) granulated onion
1/4 teaspoon(s) Freshly ground black pepper
healthy squirt of sriracha

Smoked-Gouda Risotto with Spinach and Mushrooms

09-12-14 Smoked-Gouda Risotto with Spinach and Mushrooms

Sitting in my To-Try cookbook is this risotto recipe. How long it has been there I do not know. The recipe, by Charles Dale, was first published in Cooking Light in May 1999. Every now and then I work on clearing out my files. I have no recollection of having read this before, but looking at it, I realized that it sounded good. I made turkey stock around Thanksgiving and have been looking to use it up, so why not with a new risotto? I am very happy I did.

Much like many Cooking Light recipes, this came about a familiar food in a slightly different manner. One of the ways it cut the calories/salt of the dish was to reduce the amount of stock used. One was to combine four cups of stock with water. I had already portioned out six cups, the standard amount for risotto, in gallon freezer bags, so I just used the whole thing.

This recipe did state not to heat up the stock. Rather, one was to add it cold to the rice. I was skeptical of this step, but I decided to try it. I could see that it took longer for each cup to be absorbed by the rice. That may be a good thing in the long run. I found this to be a procedure that I will test out with other risotto recipes.

Other than that, this was a pretty straightforward risotto. The new twist for me was to prepare a “topping”. The mushrooms were to be a combination of button, oyster, and cremini. The market had no cremini, so I substituted portabellas. I had leftover fresh thyme from making the stock. I picked up some fresh rosemary. This was a huge addition to the dish. The rosemary was pronounced and added positively to the mushrooms.

I sometimes cook my risotto a touch long thus drying up the liquid. I consciously left this risotto soupy. Both Gert and I were very impressed with this risotto. We will repeat this. Awesome stuff!

Treat yourself to this. I find making risotto a rewarding experience. The results with this one will have you itching to make risotto regularly.

Smoked-Gouda Risotto with Spinach and Mushrooms

Recipe By :Chef Charles Dale
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:10
Categories : Rice

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup shallots
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces smoked gouda cheese — shredded
5 cups spinach — chopped; about 5 ounces

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups shiitake mushrooms — sliced; about 3 1/2 ounces
2 cups button mushrooms — sliced; about 1/2 pound
2 cups cremini mushrooms — sliced; about 1/2 pound
2 cups oyster mushrooms — sliced; about 3 1/2 ounces
1/3 cup shallots — chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme — chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary — chopped
1 clove garlic — minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese — fresh; 1 ounce
rosemary sprigs — optional

To Make the Risotto:
Combine water and stock.
Melt butter in a saucepan.
Saute 1/3 cup shallots for two minutes covered (next time I’ll leave them uncovered and cook longer).
Add rice. Cook for two minutes.
Add 1/2 cup wine. Cook until absorbed (roughly half a minute).
Add 1/2 tsp. salt.
Begin to ladle stock in 1/2 cup at a time. As with all risotto, constantly stir.
Continue adding stock until all six cups are used, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you do. This will take 20-25 minutes.
Stir in smoked Gouda until it just melted.
Stir in spinach until it is wilted.

To Make Mushrooms:
Heat olive oil in saucepan.
Add mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 minutes (until mushrooms begin to brown).
Add 1/3 cup shallots, 1/4 cup wine, chopped thyme, chopped rosemary, and minced garlic. Sauté 1 minute or until wine is absorbed. Season with salt and and freshly ground pepper.

Serve risotto topped with mushrooms. Garnish with fresh rosemary.

It’s 9:00, Do You Know Where Your Butts Are?

09-01-10 It's 9:00, Do You Know Where Your Butts Are?

My wife and I visited Jamaica a couple months ago. I have had a hankering for jerk ever since. The other day I checked out a book from the local library. There were two preparations that interested me. I thought I would do one butt of each this weekend. When my wife heard of the plan, she asked with puppy eyes, “You’re not making your regular recipe?” So, I decided to select one of the jerk preps and make the Renowned Mr. Brown for the other.

The cryo pack was bigger than normal at 19.21#. One of the butts was decidedly larger than the other. Given the jerk recipe was for 4-6# of meat, it went on the smaller of the two.

I prepped the butts and placed them in the fridge while I finished making my chili (also a request). After the children went to bed, I began assembling the WSM. I needed more charcoal. I decided to grab a bag of RO lump. This will be my first smoke with lump.

It seems my Maverick transmitter’s switch is broken. Grrr . . .

Anyhow, I got the meat on. I love the smell of the smoker going on a cool evening.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Jerk Rub

Recipe By :Helen Willinsky
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:10
Categories : BBQ Rub

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1 onion — finely chopped
1/2 cup scallions — finely chopped; including green parts
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 Scotch bonnet chiles — habaneros can be substituted; 4-6 each; minced fine
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until a paste.

“Jerk From Jamaica: Barbecue Caribbean Style”
S(Formatted by):
“© 1990 by Helen Willinsky”
“1 cup”

Giant T-Bone Steaks with Lone Star Rub

09-01-09 Giant T-Bone Steaks with Lone Star Run

I’ve always like T-Bone by Neil Young. A frivolous song from re*ac*tor, but it represented a fun album that I have enjoyed through the years. I thought of this as I prepared dinner.

Got mashed potatoes
Got mashed potatoes
Got mashed potatoes
Ain’t got no T-Bone
Ain’t got no T-Bone

Neil Young, T-Bone

This has been a difficult week, the first week back with my students after the holiday. It seems like everything we learned up until now vaporized. Sigh . . .

By the end of the day today, I was fried. We had a meeting until the last moment of the day. Deflated, I shuffled back to my classroom and gathered my things to go. Before I did, I checked my e-mail. The only mail was the Recipe of the Week from Weber.

Looking at the photograph of the T-Bone, I decided that was exactly what I needed. I picked up my boy and off we went to the butcher. I asked for two 1-inch thick T-Bones. They went to the back and cut them for me right then. A total of 2.45 pounds of heaven (admittedly, a little more than I expected).

I came home and lighted a chimney of K. I made the rub, brushed a little EVOO onto the steaks, and then pressed the steaks into the rub. The recipe called for four steaks, yet I used all the rub for the two I had. It did not seem too much.

Once the grill was ready for direct high, I placed the meat on. I grilled five minutes on the first side and four on the other. I let rest a couple minutes and plated with some canned beans.

This was simple, but oh so tasty. The rub was nice. This is exactly what I needed tonight.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Giant T-Bone Steaks with Lone Star Rub

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:05
Categories : Beef Grill
Main Dish

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated onion
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
48 ounces t-bone steaks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 limes — cut into wedges; optional

In a small bowl combine the rub ingredients.

Allow the steaks to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat.

Lightly brush or spray both sides of the steaks with the oil and then evenly coat with the rub, gently pressing the spices into the meat. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill over direct high heat until cooked to your desired doneness, 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare, turning once (if flare-ups occur, move the steaks temporarily over indirect high heat). Transfer the steaks to a work area and let rest 3 to 5 minutes before carving. Serve warm and with lime wedges, if desired.

“Weber-Stephen Products Co”
“© Weber-Stephen Products Co”
“1 steak”
Start to Finish Time:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 671 Calories; 49g Fat (66.7% calories from fat); 51g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 151mg Cholesterol; 1085mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 7 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 5 1/2 Fat.

NOTES : Heavenly!

First made: 9 January 2009

Sweet Potato Soufflé

As an elementary school teacher my plight is that I am out-numbered by women. When I began my career, I was the only male elementary classroom teacher in the district. All these years later, that has changed somewhat. I am now one of four in my building.

Last week there was a baby shower for a colleague. Baby and bridle showers are something I have not taken a great liking to over the years. My current team does handle these functions differently. Rather than have a big to-do before or after work, there is just a small celebration during our lunch period. Everyone brings in a dish and we chow down, toss the gifts to the recipient, and take a couple photographs. No biggy.

My cooking is a hit. My chili is oft-requested. And so it was for the function last week.

As I chowed down I took a helping of a sweet potato soufflé. It was excellent. So excellent, I had some more. I didn’t eat sweet potatoes until recently. Gert and I tried a dish a few years ago and we found we like these things. Supposedly, they are good for you too. Go figure. I have begun grilling them. They just melt in one’s mouth afterwards. Awesome!

Now this soufflé was more like dessert than a side dish. I hate to think what the calories I ingested were. I was surprised when I found out that the dish was made by a male colleague of mine. I suppose I am just as sexist as everyone else. In addition, he grew the sweet potatoes that were used.

Today he handed me the following recipe. He knew I enjoyed the dish and knows I like to cook. It dawned on me that my father never experienced this moment of two men exchanging recipes in the work place. I think he is okay with missing it.

Sweet Potato Soufflé
Cream the following ingredients together until smooth.
Once done, pour into a 2-qt greased dish.

2 lbs. cooked sweet potatoes (or 1 large can, drained)
2 eggs
1 stick soft butter
2/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 C evaporated milk

Mix together the following and put over potatoes.
3/4 C brown sugar
1/3 C flour
1/3 C melted butter
optional: 3/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

With 5 minutes to go in the bake, top the dish with mini-marshmallows.

Roadside Chicken

08-08-23 Roadside Chicken Dinner

Gert picked up some chicken thighs the other day and I decided to grill them tonight.  Last night I picked out Roadside Chicken as the preparation.  Of course, today was such a day that I didn’t marinate these as long as I would have liked.  Ideally these would have been in for eight hours.  I had just about two hours.  Even so, the taste was delicious.

This preparation really takes me back.  When I was a boy the family would travel Rt. 40 on our way places.  Mostly bridge tournaments I suppose.  Anyhow, in the summertime the volunteer firehouses along the way often had barbecues.  We would stop and get chicken.  This recipe is that chicken.  Awesome stuff, folks.

Of course, getting the chicken on the plate was a comedy of errors.  I began with a plan.  The charcoal was lighted.  Once ashed over, I placed it in the kettle and put the lid on.  The idea is to let the coals burn off about five minutes before the chicken went on.  I went inside to prepare everything else.  I came out and realized I had all the vents closed.  Sigh . . . the coals were not hot enough . . . or at least I thought.  I could put my hand on the grate without burning.  Decisions decisions.  I quickly lighted another chimney on the POC gasser.  Once hot enough, I dumped them atop the other coals.

Well, I had plenty of heat.  Probably too much.  Hindsight indicates the first batch would have been fine.

The recipe indicated about 45 minutes for the cook.  That seemed a bit long, but then again this was supposed to be four half chickens.  I only had five thighs.  Next time I should prepare but half of the basting sauce for this amount of chicken as I had plenty leftover.

I basted frequently.  These smelled delicious.  Each baste flared the coals.  It wold have happened no matter what, but I think the coals were too hot when I put on the chicken.  I probably should have let them cool a bit more.  There were flames when the sauce dripped down.  One thigh scorched early.  By the end there was a good amount of char on the chicken.

I once again prepared corn on the cob on the grill.  Unlike the first time, I did not care for the corn tonight.  The corn was thinner.  Gert ran over at the end of the day and the pickings were slim. Also, I cooked it too much.  I think the corn does better with less char on it than what I did.

Just getting the corn on basted in butter was a hassle.  I was moving there for a few minutes all the while Beetle jabbering in my ear.  I also had green beans going inside.  Eventually it all came together, but it was not smooth.

The end result was that we liked the chicken a lot.  I know Gert liked it for she asked for more.  That means we’ll have this again.  I like it when she enjoys what I prepare.  I am having more success with the OTG and WSM than I do with the oven in this regard.  It was a nice meal that we enjoyed on the deck.  I decided to do corn on the grill again, but in the husks like some others do.  We’ll see how that turns out.

Anyhow, if you want a wonderful chicken preparation, you can’t go wrong with this.  Good stuff.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Roadside Chicken

Recipe By     :Bryan S.
Serving Size  : 4     Preparation Time :0:08
Categories    : Chicken                         Grill

Amount  Measure       Ingredient — Preparation Method
——–  ————  ——————————–
For the Marinade
1                cup  white vinegar
1/4           cup  Worcestershire sauce
1         tablespoon  kosher salt
1         tablespoon  sugar
1           teaspoon  garlic powder
1           teaspoon  onion powder
1           teaspoon  white pepper
1/2      teaspoon  celery salt

For the Basting Sauce
1                cup  white vinegar
1/2           cup  vegetable oil
1/4           cup  Worcestershire sauce
1         tablespoon  kosher salt
1         tablespoon  sugar
1           teaspoon  garlic powder
1           teaspoon  onion powder
1           teaspoon  white pepper
1/2      teaspoon  celery salt

2              whole  chicken — cut in halves

Mix/shake the marinade ingredients until well-dissolved.

Place four chicken halves into a 2-gallon freezer bag with the marinade.  Place in refrigerator 2-8 hours.  The longer the chicken marinates, the more rich the final flavor will be.  Turn the bag several times while it marinates.

Mix/shake the ingredients for the basting sauce.   Note the sauce is the same as the marinade with the addition of oil.  Do not put oil in the marinade.

Discard the marinade.

Prepare the grill.  Cook direct heat until chicken is done (no more than 45 minutes).

Apply basting sauce every five minutes to both sides of chicken.  You can’t put too much sauce on while grilling. Turn chicken every 5-10 minutes.  Apply the final sauce 5 minutes before pulling from grill.

“If you like the chicken from the roadside chicken stands then you’ll like this.”
“American Classic”
“Bryan S.”
“© Bryan S.”
“1/2 chicken”
Start to Finish Time:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 1926 Calories; 144g Fat (68.0% calories from fat); 130g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 679mg Cholesterol; 4033mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 18 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 17 1/2 Fat; 1 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Spaghetti Carbonara

08-03-25 Spaghetti Carbonara

The first time I had Spaghetti Carbonara was at my sister‘s house years ago.  Whether it was in Rhode Island or Iowa I do not recall, but I knew I really liked it.  Pasta, bacon, and cream: what’s not to like?

At some point I asked for the recipe since it was something I would enjoy eating more frequently than I visit her.  The thing is Gert is finicky.  She doesn’t like bacon.  She doesn’t like cream sauces.  She doesn’t like onions.  So, I had been hesitant to make the dish.

But I grow tired of working around all the food demands.  I like good food, so I plow ahead and fix some dishes that I like despite knowing I will hear about it.  I did so with this back in November.

A funny thing happen: Gert loved it!  As she should, mind you.  Ever since I have been hounded to make this again.  The thing is, there is nothing good for one with this dish outside the taste.  There are 748 calories based on six portions.  But we don’t get six portions out of this, so that means we are consuming more calories.  There’s also 49g of fat (60% calories from fat).  That’s not good either.  I don’t shy away from calories and fat, but this cannot be a regular meal.

Nevertheless, as I planned the menu, I acquiesced to the request.  It is spring break after all.  I am in cooking mode right now.  I had a chicken stock simmering all afternoon for a risotto.  Once that finished, Gert and Beetle went to the pool, so Fritz and I fixed dinner.

When the girls came home, I was busy assembling everything.  Beetle took it upon herself to set the table.  She’s so cute when she does so.  She put out paper plates (left over from Fritz’s birthday party) and filled paper cups with water for each of us.  We even had plastic bowls for the salad.  Rather than re-set everything with china, we used the paperware.  The joy of having children.

I used almost a pound of bacon (I had used a couple slices for breakfast the other day).  It was still not enough, imo.  I again should have used a little more creamy Italian.  But as before, it was very good.  We have leftovers, but we did not get six servings . . . well, I guess we did, we each had two servings at dinner and there are two leftover.  Oh, the calories!

This time, Fritz ate some (quite a bit, actually) and so did Beetle.  She kept saying she didn’t like this, but once she ate some off of Gert’s plate, she requested more.  I imagine this will be popular in a few years with the whole family.

Risotto with Italian Sausage, Caramalized Onions, and Bitter Greens

Risotto with Italian Sausage, Caramelized Onions, and Bitter Greens

When I received this month’s Cooking Light, this was the one recipe that stood out.  I have wanted to make this and tonight I finally got around to it.  Reviews of this have all been positive.

Preparation was a snap.  I had most of the ingredients on hand.  I didn’t have chicken stock and was not prepared to make mine, which would take much longer than I had on this Wednesday.  As it was, we dined after 7:00.  That is perfectly fine with me, but with the children, that is pushing our comfort.  So, I purchased some boxed stock.  Heck, the celebrity chefs on television use it.

In a few minutes all was ready to begin.  Caramalizing two cups of onions (I used Vidalia) opened my senses.  They smelled so good.  Then I browned the sausage (leftover from a chili I made).  The shallots were strong and then the rice and wine.  From there it was standard risotto making.  Of course, I juggled making Beetle her dinner at the same time.  Risotto requires constant attention so diverting to her meal made me feel like a short order cook. 🙂

Right as I ran out of broth, the risotto began to get creamy.  I needed more liquid.  The next time I make this I will use more.  If I end up purchasing broth again, I’ll go for the 48 ounce box to help out.

I found the dish tasty.  I am looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow for lunch.  Rumor has it that this, unlike most risottos, re-heats well.  Yummy!

* Exported from MasterCook *

   Risotto with Italian Sausage, Caramelized Onions, and Bitter Greens

Recipe By     :David Bonom
Serving Size  : 4     Preparation Time :0:10
Categories    : Rice

Amount  Measure       Ingredient — Preparation Method
——–  ————  ——————————–
4               cups  low sodium chicken broth
1/2           cup  water
2          teaspoons  olive oil
2               cups  onion — chopped; about one large
2          teaspoons  sugar
8             ounces  sweet Italian turkey sausage link
1/4           cup  shallots — chopped
1                cup  Arborio rice — or other risotto rice
1/3           cup  white wine
2               cups  arugula leaves
3        tablespoons  Romano cheese — freshly grated
1           teaspoon  lemon rind — grated

Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and sugar to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until onion is golden. Place onion mixture in a small bowl; set aside.

Removing casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add chopped shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add Arborio rice; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in white wine; cook 45 seconds or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup hot broth; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Remove from heat; stir in reserved onion, arugula, and remaining ingredients.

CALORIES 390(24% from fat); FAT 10.3g (sat 3.6g,mono 3.6g,poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 21.1g; CHOLESTEROL 54mg; CALCIUM 104mg; SODIUM 900mg; FIBER 4.4g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 53.1g

“Sweet onions and salty cheese temper the bitterness of arugula, which cuts the starchy richness of the rice. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.”
“Cooking Light, MARCH 2008”
“©2008  SPC Digital.”
“1 cup”
Start to Finish Time:

Cookie Exchange

07-12-18 Cookie Exchange

The last week of school before Christmas is nuts. There is just so much to do and not enough time to do it all.

Last night I was up until all hours into the morning (I so do not do well staying up late these days) baking cookies. I decided to participate in my school’s cookie exchange this year. I have never done one of these previously, but all my blue-hairs (my name for the ladies on my cooking boards) talk about them and it sounds like fun.

After I signed up I began searching for a good cookie recipe. It dawned on me during my research is that cookies are not an upscale food. I kept trying to come up with something different. I considered linzer cookies, but all the recipes I found were more sandwich-y than I wanted. I finally put the word out for help and Patty (my sister) stepped up with Rolo-Filled Chocolate Cookies. She assured me these would provide the wow factor I looked for. Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical.

I wanted to bake a batch over the weekend to try them out, but I didn’t get around to it. Much like college, I procrastinated and there I was last night learning how to make these and make them look good for an audience. Not a good plan.

One thing I learned was that I do not think I ever had a Rolo before. I like them. But candy in cookies is not something I am wild about. Those cookies with the Hershey Kiss in the middle do not impress me. m&ms cookies I prefer not to eat. With that background, I wasn’t certain about these, but it was crunch time, and some folks had signed up for plain ol’ chocolate chip, so I figured anything would be fine.

I made the batter and immediately questioned it. The batter was very thick, much like fudge. I placed my lifeline call to Patty for help. She had the nerve to be out to dinner and not available to troubleshoot. What good is a recipe if you aren’t there to hold my hand through it? Nevertheless, I pushed on.

These cookies took forever to make. Each Rolo had to be unwrapped. Then it was encased in the fudge batter. I then had to roll it into a ball, tap it into chopped nuts and sugar and then place it on the cookie pan. I baked the first two dozen and was less than impressed with the shape with most of them. The Rolo makes these tall and the placement on the cookie pan did not flatten them like I hoped.

Through several experiments, it seems like I may have cooked those first ones a bit long. Patty had warned me about this. The cookie was fine but the candy had melted too much, thus not providing body to the cookie. I found the right balance by pulling the cookies out at eight minutes. Dozen after dozen I made. Sometime in the wee hours of the morn, I finished baking and then moved onto melting the almond bark.

Finding almond bark had made the search for the Holy Grail seem like nothing. Nevertheless, I eventually found it at Walmart (thanks Patty). I obviously have some patience to learn yet. I was ready for bed so instead of piping the melted chocolate as I should have, I shook a spoon over the cookies. This worked pretty well, but every few cookies ended up with a glob of the bark. Those didn’t look as nice as those that had the drizzle look.

Anyhow, I packed a plate for each participant and bagged them. I had asked about how to present these and had been informed a plastic baggy would suffice. I knew better. Most folks used boxes, tins, and other fancy wrapping. Next year I need to step up the presentation.

The most important factor, however, is taste. I ate some of these as I baked them. They were all right. They are rich, but did not wow me.

After the exchange, I came home for a quick dinner. I had a couple cookies. These Rolo cookies were very good then! It seems that when they are still warm, they are more like cake (which I am not a huge fan of), but when they are cooled, are very much a cookie. The chewy caramel from the Rolo is awesome!

Apparently I am not alone. I have have fielded all sorts of requests for the recipe and folks telling me all week how good they were! It looks like I had the wow cookie of the exchange! Thanks, Patty! I have plenty of Rolos left, so maybe I’ll make some more this weekend!

Dinner was short as I returned to school this evening to see the Christmas performance. The third, fourth, and fifth grades had their recital this evening. I got to babysit my class until it was time to go to the stage. I brought Beetle along. My students loved Beetle. She was a bit shy with the older children, but she handled it just fine.

We really enjoyed the singing. Beetle liked the songs from The Polar Express, especially Hot Chocolate, which she along to. The students performed well.

Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cookies

2 1/2 c. Flour
3/4 c. Cocoa
1 t. Baking soda
1 c. Sugar
1 c. Brown sugar
1 c. Butter
2 t. Vanilla
48 (9 oz.) Rolo candies
2 eggs
1 c. Chopped pecans
1 T. Sugar
4 oz. vanilla flavored candy coating (almond bark)

Beat 1 c. sugar, brown sugar and butter until fluffy and light.

Add vanilla and eggs. Beat well.

Add flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Blend well.

Stir in 1/2 c. chopped pecans.

Shape approx. 1 T. of dough around one Rolo candy covering the candy completely using floured hands.

Dip one side of the ball into a mixture of 1 T. sugar and the remaining chopped pecans.

Place balls nut side up onto an ungreased cookie sheet 2” apart.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until set and slightly cracked.

Cool 2 minutes then remove from cookie sheet to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Drizzle melted candy coating on top of each if desired.