Sunday, August 31, 2008

Zucchini Risotto Pie with Rosemary and Marinara

  • 1 1/2 cups arboria rice
  • 2 tblns extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 3 cups gluten free marinara sauce
  • Fresh Rosemary sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 10-inch quiche dish or pie plate.

In a large stockpot filled with boiling salted water, boil rice for 8 minutes and drain well.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook - stirring until softened. Add zucchini, 2 tablespoons of the rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add rice, eggs, 1/2 cup of the cheese, and milk to the skillet; mix well to thoroughly combine. Transfer to pie plate. Bake, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, or until set and beginning to brown. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the marinara sauce and remaining rosemary to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

To serve, cut the pie into 6 equal pieces. Ladle equal portions of marinara onto each of 6 serving plates and top with a piece of pie. Serve at once, garnished with fresh rosemary sprigs, if desired.

(6 main-dish size servings, or 8 side-dish servings)

Note: This pie is yummy! The crunchiness of the parmesan and the lingering taste of rosemary just makes it sooo good!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bountiful Breads

These gorgeous rolls came home with me last night. They were straight out of the oven, steaming hot, when they went into the box. Pulled from a bakers oven just moments before, the aroma was intoxicating. Fresh baked bread... what on Earth could smell better??

Inside this box there are both hard and soft rolls. They were made in my Fundamentals of Baking class, as we were learning the 12 steps to yeast bread production. I'd post the recipes, however... I'm not yet proficient at converting to "baker's percentages" and these particular recipes made something like 9 lbs of dough a piece.

The rolls in the box were shaped by me, myself, and I. The round ones are shaped well, I have one half way decent double knot in there, and a couple flubs. =)

Regardless.... both my husband and my 10 year old son loved them. Adam took some to work, while Joshua nibbled on one as a bedtime snack. (Yes, there were more in the box before the boys got a hold of it!) Brenna, my gluten free daughter, took a whiff and said, "Smells good, but they are gluteny." She knows she can't have them, and she knows that Mama will make a yummy gluten free alternative just for her!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ian's Birthday Cupcakes

As I have mentioned, two of my three children have pretty severe food allergies. My little boy turned 3 yesterday and I wanted him to be able to have his cake... and eat it too. So, I made him cupcakes using a Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate cake mix. I've used this mix before and it's really very yummy. However, my fail safe recipe for buttercream calls for meringue powder. My little guy is severely allergic to eggs so that recipe would not be safe for him.

I scoured the internet looking for dairy and egg free recipes, but no one recipe seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. I decided to incorporate different ideas from different recipes and create me own. I have to say... it turned out really well. Everyone liked it!!

Allergen Free and Toddler Friendly Buttercream Frosting

3.5 Cups confectioners sugar
1 cup softened margarine*
1 tspn pure vanilla extract
2 tspn orange juice
2 tbspns cocoa**

Mix together in stand mixer until smooth.

* I used Mother's Kosher for Passover Margarine, since it contains no dairy OR soy
** I didn't happen to have any cocoa on hand, so I used Ian's "Toddler Health" chocolate (dairy free, soy free, nut free, egg free, rice based) supplement. That added a little bit of "health and wellness" to his sugary treat. =)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gosh, I'm so far behind!!

I have neglected my culinary blog, and for that... I apologize. Eventually I'll post pics from my final dinner class. It was awesome.... simply awesome. =) In the meantime, here's a cross-post from my other blog.

I started classes last week, once again. This semester I'm taking Fundamentals of Baking, Food Safety and Sanitation, and Professional Cooking 1.

In a quest to help our Mother Earth a bit more, I've recently decided to adapt a vegetarian lifestyle. At the time I'm writing this, I've been 100% "meat free" for 5 days. So, naturally... the first night of my professional cooking class was a bit awkward as I realized how much meat I'd have to be handling/cooking. Thankfully, there is a hard-core veggie in my class and our Chef allowed us to team up together, and will work with us to help create vegetarian friendly meals. Granted, we'll still have to learn to cook all the meats and we'll have to use stocks in some of our cooking, but it's awesome that he's willing to work with us. =)

Six professional chefs, from Egypt, are in my Safe-Serve class. They are going to be a big asset to the class, I think. Chef M and Chef S both said that typical Culinary students have a strong desire to refrain from eating *anything* after the first week of PC1 & Safe Serve classes. They are both right. I have no desire to eat anything.... but of course, my body is telling me that I must. So, for breakfast I had a vegan cookie and a glass of YurbaMate tea. I hope it lasts me all day... as I do not want to eat. Period.

I'm going to post this very same posting in my culinary blog....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Tonight was our graduation dinner. It was so much fun! There were 5 dishes and each team was assigned a component of the meal. My team made blackened tilapia with balsamic tomatoes.

We ate, we drank, we laughed... and we were all a bit sad that our time together was coming to an end. Chef McPeake taught me SO much, I'll be forever grateful. I plan to take additional classes at the Culinary Center, but now it's time for me to move on. I'll be starting in the Culinary Department at Johnson County Community College on the 16th of August. Goodness... I'm excited and nervous at the same time!