Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik’n

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

It’s supposedly spring around here, although the cold appears to be lingering for a while longer. Daylight remains present at nearly 7 o’clock and from my bedroom window, I can clearly see the hills surrounding downtown Ashland are purple and pink hued, softly green. I can hear our resident pigeons, cooing and wooing one another, building their nests. The sounds, the colors… they are some of my favorite things about this time of year in the Pacific Northwest.

Then there’s the abundance of fresh produce that seems to swoop into the grocery stores and farmer’s markets mid-spring that weren’t around through the winter. Artichokes, chard and other greens, grapefruit, spinach, peas, lemons, asparagus… they’re everywhere, in abundance and often scream at me to try new dishes.

I used Quorn brand vegetarian chicken in this recipe, which works nicely and maintains its chicken-like consistency in the risotto. The way that the asparagus is prepared prior to adding it to the risotto is actually my favorite way to cook asparagus. Generally I just trim off the tough ends, but cook it exactly the same. Nine year old Silas ate some a couple weeks ago and declared, “this is good ‘sparagus!” So I reckon it must be good if you can get a nine year old boy to ENJOY asparagus ;) !

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik’n

Serves 6 or so folks.

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh, thin asparagus
2 teaspoons oil
zest and juice from a large lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

8 medium sized crimini mushrooms, diced bite-size
one 12-ounce bag Quorn chik’n tenders
2 tablespoons oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 1/4 cups arborio (risotto) rice
2 teaspoons oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, minced
4 cups No-Chicken broth (vegetable broth if you must)
4 cups half and half
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

Directions:

Prepare the asparagus: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Dice the asparagus into pieces that are about 1 1/2 inches long. Place them on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle two teaspoons of oil on the asparagus, then sprinkle on the lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Gently turn the asparagus a couple times to coat with the oil and toppings. Bake for 10 minutes (if using really thin asparagus – which is preferable). If thicker asparagus is being used, bake for 12-15 minutes until fork-tender. Drizzle the lemon juice over the asparagus and set it aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

Prepare the veggie chicken and mushrooms: In a large saucepan or pot, which you’ll use for the risotto as well (I use one similar to this size and type), heat two tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, Quorn chik’n tenders, diced mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring to coat with the oil. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the tenders lightly brown and the mushrooms soften without getting overcooked. Pour the cooked tenders and mushrooms into a large bowl, then set it aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

Warm the broth to make the risotto: Pour all 4 cups of broth and 4 cups of half and half into a saucepan and bring to simmering over low heat. Keep on low, simmering while you prepare the risotto.

Prepare the risotto: In the saucepan you cooked the tenders and mushrooms in, heat two teaspoons of oil and 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the minced shallot and arborio rice, stirring to coat the rice with the oil. Saute until the rice changes in color from translucent to white (2-4 minutes). Once the rice has changed colors, add one cup of the warm broth, stirring it into the rice until fully absorbed. Once the broth is absorbed, add another cup of warm broth, again stirring until completely absorbed.

Continue adding the broth, one cup at a time until all the broth has been incorporated. The risotto will get creamier as more broth is added and absorbed, slowly. When all the broth has been added, stir the 1/2 cup of grated parmesan into the risotto. Gently fold in the roasted asparagus, chicken, and mushrooms. Let the risotto cook for an additional 5 minutes or so, to warm the asparagus, etc., back up. Serve immediately.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

Forbidden Rice Blog | Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Chik'n

Day to Day Life: Week Twelve

A peek at the last week:

Hi. Pet me.
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For St. Patrick’s Day we had green burritos. Spinach tortillas, cheese, cilantro lime rice, chipotle cream, black beans, avocado, fresh corn salsa, tomatillo salsa…
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Goodnight, sky.
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Wet banderas burritos another night!
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Buzz buzz, little bee.
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Homemade pizza pockets. Veggie pepperoni and cheese. Veggie chik’n, potato, pesto, sundried tomatoes.
Forbidden Rice Blog

First day of spring had some blue skies… but was still cold.
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Craig’s aunt is here visiting for the next week.
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Lemon!
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This shrimp as per request.
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Baseball season is here… This little dude will be playing for the Red Sox this year. Practicing his pitching this morning.
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Hope you’ve had a lovely week!

Saturday Sites: Week Twelve

Forbidden Rice Blog | Saturday Sites Week 12

1.) Twenty Spring pasta recipes! (Because I can eat pasta every day!)

2.) 7 grown-up things you should have in your home by age 30.

3.) I’d like to make these soon.

4.) I would probably get one and a half, then cry.

5.) OOOH! I know a few folks I’d send these to!

6.) Sho nuff, lets eat all these noodles.

7.) Are you familiar with Google Feud? I play at the gym and laugh out loud like a crazy person.

8.) This soup sounds perfectly delicious!

9.) The three most important questions you can ask your teenager.

10.) I like this message.

11.) 22 things creative people do differently than most folks.

12.) Mmm, this cake!

13.) Things you should never say to couples without children. Seriously.

14.) I tried this method earlier in the week and made my first ever beautiful, perfect, poached egg!

15.) Despite being someone who didn’t like coconut for a very long time, this pie is screaming at me to make it!

16.) How to drive across the United States and hit a major landmark in every single state.

17.) Photos of photographers doing what it takes to get The Shot.

18.) Let’s toast each other with these Colorado bulldog floats.

19.) 29 reasons 29 is the weirdest age ever. I only have a few months left!

20.) These words.

Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Some days simply require flour, eggs, butter and sugar. Non-fancy, nearly plain, delicious cake. Original pound cake recipes that date back to the 1700’s got their name from the ingredient list: one pound of flour, one pound of sugar, one pound butter, and a pound of eggs. When you start getting into recipes from the 1800’s, other ingredients are often added: brandy, rose water, nutmeg, mace, grated lemon peel, cinnamon… And then you get to this day and age and ingredients go haphazard. (In a delicious, creative, delightful way of course.)

When I saw the following recipe, I knew it had to have a place in my kitchen. While the initial thought of chocolate and orange threw me somewhat for a loop, I recalled a dark chocolate bar I had once that included crystallized orange peel, which was completely delicious. The orange in this pound cake isn’t overwhelming, but its slight presence works nicely with the chocolate ganache topping.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Slightly modified from Joy the Baker

Makes one 9×5-inch loaf.

Ingredients:

For the cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons orange zest
one 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate pieces

For chocolate ganache
3 oz chocolate (chopped)
½ cup heavy whipping cream

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Directions:

Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch baking pan, then dust lightly with flour. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside until needed.

Place the granulated sugar in a bowl. Add in two tablespoons of the orange zest. Use the back of the spoon to work the zest into the sugar. Set aside.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together softened butter and cream cheese. Occasionally scrape down the bowl, until the butter and cream cheese are evenly mixed. Add the orange-sugar to the butter-cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy (3-4 minutes).

Add in one egg at a time, beating at medium speed for one minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the vanilla extract.

Add your dry ingredients all at once, then beat on low speed until dry ingredients are completely incorporated. Fold in the chocolate pieces.

IMG_9364

Scrape the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes, rotating once or twice during baking. The cake is done when a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs.

Make the chocolate ganache while the cake is cooling. Melt the chocolate in a double broiler, then slowly whisk in the heavy whipping cream until the mixture become silky. Spread it over the cake. Before the ganache sets, sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of orange zest over the cake.

Cake will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to four days.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Meatless Monday: Sweet and Sour Tofu

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Sweet and Sour Tofu

As a kid, Chinese takeout night was my favorite takeout night. In Hawai’i, the conglomeration of cultures makes various cuisines easy to come by. You can go to the “Chinese place” and get Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, Chinese, American food… We often got dishes like fried rice, pan fried noodles with pork or chicken, sweet and sour spareribs and/or shrimp, egg foo young, egg rolls…

The sweet and sour dishes were always my favorite, next to any noodle-type dishes. Chinese sweet and sour sauce is perhaps the most popular, or familiar Chinese sauce. Possibly because there are numerous dishes that can be made with this sauce.

As with numerous sauces or well known dishes, everyone’s version is slightly different. Some recipes use tomato sauce, others use vinegar and sugar directly. Following are two most commonly used recipe for tuning Chinese sweet and sour sauce. For the following recipe, I used ketchup, which I had seen in numerous recipe. This makes a lot of food, so if you aren’t cooking for an army (or a house filled with boys), you can cut the recipe in half.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Sweet and Sour Tofu

Sweet and Sour Tofu

Serves 10-12

Ingredients:
40 ounces super firm high protein tofu, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups vegetable oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 medium pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
1 large red bell pepper, cubed after seeds and stem are removed
1 large yellow bell pepper, cubed after seeds and stem are removed
1 white onion, peeled and cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely minced fresh pineapple (use some of the same pineapple mentioned above)
1 cup ketchup
1 1/4 cups rice vinegar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons sriracha
3/4 cup No-Chicken broth
6 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and pepper to your liking

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Sweet and Sour Tofu

Directions:
Prepare the tofu: heat the two cups of vegetable oil plus two tablespoons sesame oil to about 400 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the tofu until lightly brown and crispy on the outside. Drain on paper towels. Continue frying until all the tofu has been cooked.

Prepare the sauce: heat up the two tablespoons of vegetable oil in pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and fresh minced pineapple. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or so, until fragrant. Whisk in the ketchup, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and sriracha. Bring all the contents to a boil.

Whisk together the cornstarch and broth until completely combined, then whisk this mixture into the ketchup-based sauce. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Add the fried tofu, chopped bell peppers, onion and pineapple, folding into the sauce until evenly coated. Cook for 10-15 minutes, then taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve immediately with rice or whatever starch you prefer.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Sweet and Sour Tofu

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Sweet and Sour Tofu

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Sweet and Sour Tofu

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Sweet and Sour Tofu