Day to Day Life: Week Thirteen

A little peek at the last week:

My favorite kombucha, as well as my new favorite flavor.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

Easy burrito night for the husband and I. Have you tried Paqui tortilla chips? They are DELICIOUS.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

Both kids were out of town for a little while, meaning we were KID-FREE for part of Spring Break. I excitingly spent a portion of that time like this… reading (this book), snuggled under the quilt a dear friend made me, cuddling my trusty roll of toilet paper for the persistent symptoms that are still lingering from the flu/cold I’ve now had for three weeks.

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

My mother-in-law made us vegetarian gumbo one night! (It was tasty!)

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

I made us fish tacos another night…

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

Including a fresh cherry tomato pico de gallo.

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

The only part of Chicken’s bath time he enjoys is post-bath snuggles.

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

Holy crap, I made baked lemon doughnuts with a homemade lemon curd. They were yummy. Recipe tomorrow!

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

My mother-in-law, her sister who is still here from Louisiana, and my buddy Janet and I went to Sammich one day for a lunch date.  While I got the pastrami, this is the special that my MIL ordered. A sammich piled high with prime rib, house roasted turkey, house cured and smoked bacon, cheddar, avocado, lettuce and mayo! LUCKY LADY!

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

My husband had a reading event at Weisinger’s Winery here in town. There was a great turnout and even after being together for nearly 8 years now, I am still always enchanted by his story-telling and the way he teaches about writing.

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

Gorgonzola bacon veggie burger!

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

We had a dinner party for 12 folks one night… This kitchen disaster of dishes from one side of the room to the other made me wish we had a dishwasher. As in the machine, not Julie-the-dishwasher.

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

My mother-in-law has these childrens books from the 1950’s. As I was reading through them, I was laughing delightfully. My dirty-brain was entertained thoroughly!

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

Crazy brownies! Delicious brownies!

 Forbidden Rice Blog | Day to Day Life 2015 - Week 13,

 

I hope you’ve had a wonderful week! : )

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.
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First day of spring had some blue skies… but was still cold.
Forbidden Rice Blog

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