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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

January 27, 2016 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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I MADE IT. I’M A SECOND SEMESTER SENIOR.

Basically, I have no idea what just happened to me? One minute I was walking through the door with my space cats backpack in August, and the next I was dragging myself out of school while wearing a Pusheen the Cat onesie and bright yellow sunglasses in January? Confusion?

A heavy snowstorm fell on my town the night after the last day of first semester, and when I awoke the next morning, the world was still, covered in a blanket of lovely white. I felt so peaceful watching the flakes fall from the sky, knowing that I had reached the stressful apex of my high school career and was about to giggle my face off on the ride down. With the heat cranked up and my fuzzy purple blanket wrapped around my shoulders, I took out a pencil and just…wrote. Wrote about everything I’ve felt, everything that’s taken place, everything I look forward to in the next few months. It was so nice to just breathe a sigh of relief, because the past five months have been insanely, insanely stressful at times.

On Sunday night, I decided to cook up this risotto after yoga class. And while it’s a delicious dish, I’ve come to realize that it’s more than that: RISOTTO IS A METAPHOR FOR MY LIFE. I know you are now groaning because I’m about to go off on a tangent, but BEAR WITH ME PLEASE, my English teacher this year doesn’t let me be creative and I need to let my imagination fly somewhere.

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The thing about risotto is that you have to stir it. CONSTANTLY. And it gets annoying at times and your arm starts to hurt and you start yelling at your spoon, but you keep going, because you will ruin that risotto if you stop. And just when you think your risotto is done, you take a bite and even after three additions of liquid, it’s still too al dente. But you keep on keeping on, stirring and tending to that risotto until it’s just perfect. And you eat it and cry because carbs are beautiful, especially on a winter night.

Right now, I’m in the transition: I’m stirring my own personal risotto, and it’s not done yet. I’m getting there, but it’s not ready. I’m still adding things, still adjusting the seasonings, still searching for a balance. I am a very impatient person when it comes to waiting for things, so I get anxious and frustrated and awkward at times, but I just keep going, because I know that a delicious future is ahead of me. And I just gotta breathe and get through it.

But hey, stirring can be fun. I can still sing and dance like a fool. I can still have a conversation with someone sitting across from me and laugh at how adorable that smile is. I can still do a spontaneous yoga pose, still think about the complexities of life, still be myself through all of this stirring. And that’s awesome.

Okay. My risotto metaphor is done now. You may now proceed with your life.

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This was one awesome risotto. I mean, sweet potatoes, fried sage, AND white wine?! Sign me up again. It was heavenly. Ugh. Now I’m hungry again.

So, make this risotto (possibly for me, cough, but wait, I can make this for myself hahahaha) and think deep thoughts about life and then just rejoice in delicious warm carbs. Good.

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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 50 minutes, ish, I don't know, really
Total Time 1 hour, ish
Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons of olive oil

8 large sage leaves

1 red onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

3 cups (approximately) of vegetable broth

Salt, to taste

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of smoked paprika

1 cup of roasted sweet potato puree

3/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until glistening. Once hot, add the sage leaves, and fry until they are crispy and beginning to turn brown around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the fried sage leaves to paper towels and set aside.

To the sage-infused olive oil in the Dutch oven or heavy pot, add the chopped red onion and saute with a pinch of salt until beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer, then pour in the rice. Stir frequently for two minutes, then slowly pour in the white wine.

Bring everything to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring continuously, until all of the wine has been dissolved. Once things start to look dry again, slowly pour in a cup of the vegetable broth and keep stirring frequently until the liquid is again absorbed. Keep repeating this process until the risotto is thick, creamy, and the rice is fairly (BUT NOT TOTALLY) soft when you take a bite.

Yes, you have to stir constantly. Use it as an excuse for why you didn’t do your AP Stats homework. And no, I don’t know how approximately long this is going to take, or how much liquid you’re gonna have to add. Risotto is one of those things where you sit back, relax, taste as you go, and you’ll know when it’s done. Trust me.

When you think the risotto is just about done, add the nutmeg, smoked paprika, roasted sweet potato puree, and salt to taste. Stir continuously to slightly thicken the risotto, about 3-4 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. (Hey buddy, go easy on the nutmeg! It can overpower easily!) When you’re satisfied, stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately with the fried sage leaves on top. Please pour yourself a glass of wine, because I can’t yet. Thank you.


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Until next time, my loves. <3 <3 <3


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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

January 27, 2016 Print this page

A lot of people get intimidated by risotto, but you really shouldn’t–it’s super easy to make, and it’s a delicious, hearty dinner for a cold winter night. I gave one of my favorite dishes a fresh new spin by frying some sage leaves, adding a splash (a, er, rather large splash) of white wine, and stirring in some roasted sweet potato puree just before serving.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 50 minutes, ish, I don't know, really
Total Time 1 hour, ish
Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons of olive oil

8 large sage leaves

1 red onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

3 cups (approximately) of vegetable broth

Salt, to taste

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of smoked paprika

1 cup of roasted sweet potato puree

3/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until glistening. Once hot, add the sage leaves, and fry until they are crispy and beginning to turn brown around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the fried sage leaves to paper towels and set aside.

To the sage-infused olive oil in the Dutch oven or heavy pot, add the chopped red onion and saute with a pinch of salt until beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer, then pour in the rice. Stir frequently for two minutes, then slowly pour in the white wine.

Bring everything to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring continuously, until all of the wine has been dissolved. Once things start to look dry again, slowly pour in a cup of the vegetable broth and keep stirring frequently until the liquid is again absorbed. Keep repeating this process until the risotto is thick, creamy, and the rice is fairly (BUT NOT TOTALLY) soft when you take a bite.

Yes, you have to stir constantly. Use it as an excuse for why you didn’t do your AP Stats homework. And no, I don’t know how approximately long this is going to take, or how much liquid you’re gonna have to add. Risotto is one of those things where you sit back, relax, taste as you go, and you’ll know when it’s done. Trust me.

When you think the risotto is just about done, add the nutmeg, smoked paprika, roasted sweet potato puree, and salt to taste. Stir continuously to slightly thicken the risotto, about 3-4 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. (Hey buddy, go easy on the nutmeg! It can overpower easily!) When you’re satisfied, stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately with the fried sage leaves on top. Please pour yourself a glass of wine, because I can’t yet. Thank you.


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Pumpkin Roulade Cake (oil-free + dairy-free)

October 31, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Hello, gorgeous. Goodness, look at those curves on you! You’re really on a roll with beauty like that.

I’m sorry. My humor has been flushed down a dark toilet and has been clogged there for weeks. I haven’t even been writing for two minutes and I’ve already offended you with cake flirtations and bathroom references. I think this is what they call senior slump.

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I am so glad October is over: it was a stressful month with taking the SAT, juggling classes with lots of reading, and submitting my early decision application to college (!!!). And when I get anxious or nervous, I resort to stress baking, so tasty treats have been spewing out of my kitchen lately.

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Even though it was crazy, October still yielded lots of fun adventures and surprises. I made a flower crown and wore a toga to school. I went apple picking with one of my best friends ever (we collectively got 38 pounds of apples). I visited my top-choice school on a beautiful autumn day and felt perfectly at home there. I finally did full lotus. I dressed up as a tomato for Halloween.

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…say what?! TOMATO?! Proof is in the pudding (or is it the sauce…tomato pudding would be disgusting…).

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Now you know why hot boys are knocking at my doorstep!!! 😉

So, yeah. Crazy months yield crazy baked goods.

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This one was a huge hit with my taste-testing squad. Everyone said it was light, perfectly-spiced, and wonderfully spongy…and no one noticed that there was a) no oil in the cake, and b) tofu in the filling.

Once again, say WHAT?! I said tofu. T-O-F-U. In a dessert. And everyone agreed that it was delicious.

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While this roulade cake sounds fancy (and hard to assemble), it’s really quite easy! If you can dump things into a bowl and have a kitchen towel you’d be okay with getting messy, you should be good to go.

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Pumpkin Roulade Cake

Want a healthy (yet beautiful) dessert that doesn’t have added oils and still tastes delicious? Look no further than this pumpkin roulade cake! Shh…don’t tell anyone…there’s tofu in the filling…

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients

Prep Time 3 hr
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 1 cake (about 12 servings)

FOR THE CAKE:

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup of unrefined cane sugar

1/3 brown sugar

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Pinch each of nutmeg, clove, and allspice

1/2 teaspoon of salt

FOR THE FILLING:

12 ounces of silken tofu

1/2-3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Directions

FOR THE CAKE:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan with wax paper and nonstick cooking spray then set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Fold in the sugars, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract with a spatula until well-incorporated, then gradually fold in the flour mixture (1/2 cup at a time) until everything is combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, dust a tea towel with confectioner’s sugar and set aside.

Once the cake is fully cooked, let it cool in the pan for five minutes, then invert onto the prepared tea towel. Peel off the wax paper and roll up the cake like a log, rolling from the short side to the long side. Put the cake wrapped in the tea towel on a cooling rack and set aside.

FOR THE FILLING:

In a high-speed blender, process together all of the ingredients for the filling. Taste and add more confectioner’s sugar, if necessary.

Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over medium until bubbling. Next, reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5-10 minutes, whisking frequently to prevent clumps from forming. Once very thick, transfer the mixture to a bowl and put in the fridge to cool completely.

TO ASSEMBLE:

When both the cake and frosting are cool, unroll the cake onto a cutting board. Using an inverted spatula, spread the filling all over the cake, leaving about an inch around the border to make sure the filling doesn’t come gushing out.

Applying gentle pressure, roll up the cake with the filling inside the same way as you did before. Give it a squeeze to seal the seam and place the cake, seam side down, on a plate or the same cutting board you just used. Put it in the fridge for at least three hours and preferably overnight.

Let sit out for 5-10 minutes to come to room temperature before eating. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or unrefined cane sugar before serving, if desired.


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What did YOU do this October?! Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know! 🙂


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Pumpkin Roulade Cake

October 31, 2015 Print this page

Want a healthy (yet beautiful) dessert that doesn’t have added oils and still tastes delicious? Look no further than this pumpkin roulade cake! Shh…don’t tell anyone…there’s tofu in the filling…

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients

Prep Time 3 hr
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 1 cake (about 12 servings)

FOR THE CAKE:

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup of unrefined cane sugar

1/3 brown sugar

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Pinch each of nutmeg, clove, and allspice

1/2 teaspoon of salt

FOR THE FILLING:

12 ounces of silken tofu

1/2-3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Directions

FOR THE CAKE:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan with wax paper and nonstick cooking spray then set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Fold in the sugars, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract with a spatula until well-incorporated, then gradually fold in the flour mixture (1/2 cup at a time) until everything is combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, dust a tea towel with confectioner’s sugar and set aside.

Once the cake is fully cooked, let it cool in the pan for five minutes, then invert onto the prepared tea towel. Peel off the wax paper and roll up the cake like a log, rolling from the short side to the long side. Put the cake wrapped in the tea towel on a cooling rack and set aside.

FOR THE FILLING:

In a high-speed blender, process together all of the ingredients for the filling. Taste and add more confectioner’s sugar, if necessary.

Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over medium until bubbling. Next, reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5-10 minutes, whisking frequently to prevent clumps from forming. Once very thick, transfer the mixture to a bowl and put in the fridge to cool completely.

TO ASSEMBLE:

When both the cake and frosting are cool, unroll the cake onto a cutting board. Using an inverted spatula, spread the filling all over the cake, leaving about an inch around the border to make sure the filling doesn’t come gushing out.

Applying gentle pressure, roll up the cake with the filling inside the same way as you did before. Give it a squeeze to seal the seam and place the cake, seam side down, on a plate or the same cutting board you just used. Put it in the fridge for at least three hours and preferably overnight.

Let sit out for 5-10 minutes to come to room temperature before eating. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or unrefined cane sugar before serving, if desired.


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Boeuf Bourguignon

February 28, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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This winter has been brutal for us Northeasterners. I think this month was the third coldest February on record, I believe? The combination of sub-zero temperatures, blustering winds, and piles and piles of snow has been hard both on the mind and the body, so I’m honestly happy to be kissing February goodbye.

Warm food has been an absolute necessity the past few weeks. And this Boeuf Bourguignon…well, it’ll pretty much comfort you through any amount of wintry precipitation.

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As a self-confessed (and sometimes obnoxious) francophile, I adore a good boeuf bourguignon, otherwise known as a delicious beef stew made with bacon, tons of carrots and pearled onions, and red wine. After seeing Julie and Julia when I was in sixth grade, I pretty much forced my dad to make the infamous dish for me, and I make a habit to order it at least once every time I visit Paris.

This was the first time I actually made the dish myself, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the results, even though any good French chef would probably guillotine me if he discovered I used neither flour nor butter in my rendition.

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The tricks to making a really outstanding boeuf bourguignon are to use good-quality ingredients and let all of the ingredients braise for A LONG TIME. Most recipes will suggest cooking the dish for an hour and a half or so; I’d say at least two and a half hours are needed to get the beef tender and meld all of the wonderful flavors together.

Don’t fret, though! This extra time needed only means you’ll have a few more hours to laze about and breathe in the wonderful smells. And I promise that waiting will make it taste even more delicious.

I don’t want you to get intimidated by the French name–I want you to be confident and cook this dish, because it’s really not that difficult! You won’t break a sweat and your family, friends, and cats will be impressed that you can make something so chouette.

First, you chop up your bacon into not-too-big cubes…

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…crisp it up, then brown your stew meat…

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…saute the veggies for a while, then add back the bacon and beef along with broth, tomato paste, and wine…

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…and stick it where the sun don’t shine (AKA the oven) for a couple of hours before adding…*drumroll please*…

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…THE MUSHROOMS!!!!!!!!!!!! (Can you tell I like mushrooms a lot?!)

OK, there’s enough fungus among us. Onto the actual recipe.

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Boeuf Bourguignon

I am such a Francophile sometimes, especially when it comes to French food. This is a classic dish from the Burgundy region of France, and while it sounds complicated, it’s not as hard as you might think! I made a few adaptions to lighten the dish up a bit, and I promise you won’t miss any of the butter or flour. 

In the words of Julia Child, the inspiration for this recipe,”BON APPÉTIT!”

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients

Prep Time 30 min
Cooking Time 2 hr 30 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 8 servings

8 ounces of slab bacon, roughly diced (I used beef bacon, but pork is fine too)

2 1/2 – 3 lb beef stew meat, cubed into 1-inch pieces

1 lb carrots, washed well and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices

2 large onions, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup of cognac

3 cups of good red wine

3 cups of low-sodium beef broth

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 lb mushrooms, roughly sliced

1 lb frozen pearl onions

2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder + 4 tablespoons of water

Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Heat a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot on the stovetop over medium heat, then add the diced bacon. Cook until most of the fat has been rendered and the bacon has been browned, about 10 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl.

Toss the stew meat with 1 teaspoon of salt and add half of the pieces to the remaining bacon fat in the Dutch oven. Cook until the beef has been browned, about 5-6 minutes, rotating the pieces once or twice to ensure even browning. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, then repeat the same process with the remaining pieces.

Pour off all but about 1-2 tablespoons of the accumulated fat and add the carrots and onions. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and saute until slightly softened and golden-brown, about 15 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a minute more.

Slowly pour in the cognac and red wine. Increase the heat slightly and bring to a boil. Let cook for 3-4 minutes to burn off some of the alcohol, then stir in the beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, bacon, and stew meat pieces. Bring to a boil once more, then cover the pot with a lid and place in the preheated oven.

Cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every half an hour or so. You’re ready to move onto the next step when the beef and carrots are tender.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms, sprinkle with a little salt, and cook until starting to brown and becoming soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

When the beef and vegetables are ready, add the mushrooms along with the frozen pearl onions. Cook on the stovetop over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the arrowroot powder with 2 tablespoons of cool water. Pour the mixture into the stew, reduce the heat to low, and stir well. If needed, whisk together the remaining tablespoon of arrowroot powder with 2 more tablespoons of cool water and add to the stew to thicken further.

Let cook over low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve hot with smashed potatoes, your favorite grain, or over a bed of roasted vegetables.


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What is your favorite comfort food when the weather gets super cold? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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