Monday, September 20, 2010

Entertaining/Cooking/Decorating/Green

Shallot-Herbed Risotto


Topped with fresh asparagus and peas, served in a Provençal bowl.
Serves 4 to 6
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup shallots, peeled and diced
8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 pound Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup asparagus, only tips and tender part of spears
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt and pepper

In large saucepan, heat oil and sauté shallots until soft. Remove from heat.
In separate pan, heat chicken stock until warm. Combine 2 cups stock and herbs in blender. Process until smooth, then return to remaining stock over heat.
Return saucepan with shallots to heat, then add rice and toast 2 minutes. Add wine and stir until liquid is evaporated.

Add stock 1 cup at a time, stirring continually, about 13 minutes. Add asparagus and peas to remaining stock. Then continue to add stock and vegetables to risotto 1 cup at a time, stirring continually until rice is al dente, about 5 minutes. Strain any remaining vegetable from leftover stock and fold them into risotto.

Remove from heat, add butter and cheese and a little more stock if necessary. Stir well and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


Green Entertaining


Carolyne Roehm sets a table with florals such as dianthus 'Green Trick' as well as mangoes, grapes and apples.
 
No, this is not Carolyne's version of how we help to save the planet and be responsible conservationists. While I am a strong believer in those worthy endeavors and am becoming better informed in my choices, this green story is about the color green in food and decor. I love green. This wonderful color is one of Mother Nature's impeccable choices for a neutral. Think about how every flower, regardless of color, has green stems and foliage to frame it. Think of how green grass is the foundation and carpet to garden and home, and how truly beautiful a tree is with its canopy of green leaves.

With the abundance of wonderful produce coming from the garden and the farmers' markets, the summer months are the perfect time to do this. Carolyne begins thinking of green dishes using vegetables, and the first thing that comes to mind is the variety of great soups — fresh pea, spinach, sorrel, zucchini, watercress or asparagus, to name some favorites — all equally delicious served chilled or hot.

For main courses that can incorporate the color green, pastas and risottos are for me delicious staples. Certainly there are some lovely meat, fish and poultry dishes served with wonderful green sauces reflecting culinary traditions elsewhere, but after another stay in Florence this spring, I am still obsessing over Italian food.


Spinach, Garlic and Potato Soup


A splash of lemon and touch of red pepper flakes add an extra kick to this soup.
Serves 4 to 6

4 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 pound baby spinach, cleaned and chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add garlic, onion and potatoes. Sauté 3-4 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook until potatoes are soft. Turn off heat, stir in spinach and cover a few minutes until spinach is wilted. Add lemon juice and red pepper flakes, if using. Partially purée mixture with immersion blender or food processor, leaving it a little chunky. Add a little more broth if necessary.

Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto


Marinated tomatoes and Parmigiano-Reggiano top the homemade pesto bruschetta. Leaf plate by Christian Tortu.
Serves 4 to 6

FOR PESTO

2 cups arugula leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt and pepper

In food processor, combine arugula, garlic, walnuts and lemon juice and pulse 8-10 times or until coarsely chopped. With processor running, slowly add olive oil in a stream and process until smooth. Remove from processor and stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

More of Carolyne's recipes on our Entertaining section soon.




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