Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking

October 15, 2009

Garlic Pilaf

Filed under: rice, side dish, Uncategorized, vegetarian — Emily @ 8:02 am

This is a great side dish that is quick to throw together and goes with most entrees.  I am notorious for putting all my effort into the main dish and neglecting sides. While this takes a few extra minutes, most of the time is down time, so you can put everything together and then focus on the main dish. It is definitely worth it! I recently had this with one of our favorite easy and quick dishes, Laughing Cow Chicken–which I will share soon!

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

2 Tbsp. butter

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 cup long-grain white rice

2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Have ready a covered casserole dish.

In a saucepan or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and rice to the pan and cook until both are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup of the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, cover, and bake for 25 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 1½ cups chicken broth and bake, covered, for another 45 minutes.  About 15 minutes before it is finished baking, stir in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Note: This recipe can be doubled without increasing the baking time.

Source: Annie’s Eats


September 7, 2009

Basic Risotto

Filed under: main dish, side dish, vegetarian — Emily @ 8:35 am

A few months ago I had the privilege of seeing Giada De Laurentiis speak at UCLA at the L.A Times Festival of Books. She was just as cute and bubbly in person as she is on TV! She brought her daughter and husband up on stage as well—what a cute family! I went home and opened up her cookbook that had been sitting on my shelf for a long time. I decided to try this risotto recipe and this led to a week-long kick of making tons of different types of risotto! While risotto does require you to be attentive and stand by the stove for awhile, it is very easy and really versatile. You can add just about anything to it! This is a basic risotto recipe which serves as a building block. I added thawed frozen peas and dried shiitake mushrooms.

Basic Risotto

Serves 6 (as a side dish)

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup finely chopped onion (from 1 onion)

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep hot over low heat.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and the salt and pepper. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Add-in Ideas:

prosciutto, vegetables such as peas, seafood such as shrimp, or herbs and other seasonings such as saffron. Don’t cook these items with the rice or they will overcook with the long cooking time. Instead, cook them separately and add them in at the end.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

And here are a few pictures of Giada at her talk. She even walked past me and said hello before she went on stage. The moderator for the event was Barbara Fairchild, who is the editor of Bon Appetit Magazine—and was also a friend of Julia Childs.

August 12, 2009

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas

Filed under: side dish, vegetarian — Emily @ 7:55 pm

Misc food pictures 056

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas

6 side-dish servings

5 3/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped onion
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Cover and set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and finely chop. Cover the broth and keep warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, and garlic, saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice. Add the wine; cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes. Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Giada de Laurentiis

October 30, 2008

Autumn Squash with Chili Flavors

Filed under: side dish, vegetables, vegetarian — Emily @ 6:37 am

Another great recipe from the cooking school that I go to, Chez Cherie, in La Canada, California. We have an excellent Farmer’s Market here in Studio City on Sundays from 8AM-1PM. I found some great looking butternut squash for $1 each so I snapped one up and decided to try the recipe out again. I’ve never really worked with butternut squash before but this is a great recipe—especially if you are hesitant to try squash. The general consensus for cutting up butternut squash: Make sure you use a large, sharp knife. Cut the squash around the “equator”—in the middle, where the round part starts turning into the long part. The bottom part will have seeds which you will need to scoop out–the top part won’t. Cut off the skin with a large vegetable peeler or a knife (I prefer a knife). Sorry for the blurry picture–my camera was not cooperating with me!

Autumn Squash with Chili Flavors

4 cups butternut squash, acorn squash or pumpkin cubes (or a combination)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
pinch of chipotle powder
drizzle of olive oil
1 can kidney or black beans (we used black beans), drained and rinsed
4 oz. can diced green chiles
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (Jack or Mexican blend)


Preheat oven to 400.

Place the squash cubes and red onion on a baking sheet, and season with salt, pepper and chipotle powder.

Drizzle with olive oil and roast until squash is tender, about 18-20 minutes.

Toss with drained beans, chiles, corn and cheese. Adjust seasonings to taste.

**Can also reheat with chicken stock to make a soup or puree.

Source: Chez Cherie

September 17, 2008

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

Filed under: soup, Uncategorized, vegetarian — Emily @ 12:33 am

This soup was absolutely delicious. The flavor of thyme was perfect! Aaron and I both loved this dish and will definitely be making it again. It was a little time consuming—you need to make the mushroom stock (you could make it ahead of time and it would definitely make the process a lot quicker). But this is perfect for some of the cooler days ahead (well, not so much in Los Angeles….)


Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don’t wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.

Source: Ina Garten

April 11, 2008

Cuban Black Bean Patties and Pineapple Rice

Filed under: vegetarian — Emily @ 2:48 am

I made this tonight and it was delicious! Aaron gobbled it up.


1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups rinsed, drained canned black beans (1 [15-ounce] can), divided
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup cornmeal
Cooking spray
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream


To prepare rice, cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place rice in a large bowl. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pineapple; sauté 4 minutes or just until pineapple begins to brown. Add pineapple mixture, cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to rice in bowl; cover and keep warm. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.

To prepare patties, place 1 1/2 cups beans, garlic, cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl; partially mash with a fork. Place 1/2 cup remaining beans and egg white in a food processor; process 30 seconds or until well combined. Add bean puree to mashed beans in bowl, and stir until combined. Add cheese and onion to bean mixture; stir until combined. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Place cornmeal in a shallow dish. Dredge both sides of each patty in cornmeal.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Spoon about 1/2 cup rice onto each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 patty and 1 tablespoon sour cream.


4 servings

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 294(27% from fat); FAT 8.7g (sat 5.4g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 10.2g; CHOLESTEROL 28mg; CALCIUM 155mg; SODIUM 532mg; FIBER 3.5g; IRON 2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45g

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