Monday, August 30, 2010

Sorry, Julia. I Just Had to Try the Rice Balls.

If you follow my personal blog, Jojo's Joys, you already know about the trip to NY, my fascination and new found love of, the rice ball.   After seeing my post, Patti at Bramasole...To Yearn for the Sun, sent me her recipe and this weekend I set out to make Arancini di Riso.   First, the risotto had to simmer while I slowly added 10 cups of chicken broth.   While this took some time, stirring the risotto was a very soothing experience.   

After adding the parmesan cheese and peas, I put the risotto in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning I set up my assembly line of mozzarella and salami...

and flour, eggs and bread crumbs, I was ready to get started.  
But honestly, what good is food without friends, family and some celebration?  Luckily it was time for Wine Club so we headed to Rebecca Arillaga's for a fantastic evening of fun and fellowship.

We were so excited to have wine consultant, Bill Reynolds leading our wine tasting and our focus for the evening just happened to be some very interesting wines from Italy. 

Just look at the fabulous foods for our wine tasting and it wasn't long before the Italian music began and Rebecca helped us all loosen up a bit with her tango and the story of how the tango originated in the Italian immigrant neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. 

Steve was quite inquisitive about this particular wine. 

While Hassan looked mad that his glass was empty. 

Good friends, 

and plenty of 

Good times!  

So here's the recipe in case you want to make them. 

3 cups leftover cooked risotto con piselli
2 Tbsp minced  chives or basil
2 large egg yolks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 inch diced or shredded mozzarella or Fontina cheese
1/4 inch diced or minced genoa salami
flour for dredging
2 large egg beaten with a couple of tablespoons of  water
seasoned bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
tomato sauce is optional
In a large bowl, combine the risotto with the Parmesan, cream, herbs, and egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper. I use a medium ice cream scoop here. Scoop up the risotto mixture and pack it around a some cheese and salami to make a ball. Put the flour, egg wash, and bread crumbs in 3 separate bowls. Dredge the croquettes in the flour, dip in the egg wash, and roll in the bread crumbs. Chill thoroughly at least a few hours.
Pour oil into a tall deep fry pan or fryer.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Fry the rice balls in batches, without crowding, until they are evenly browned, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. Serve in a bowl of tomato sauce
Risotto con Piselli
6 tablespoons butter
1 1’2 large onions, finely diced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
10 cups chicken broth heated to a low simmer
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup or so heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
Melt butter and saute onions till soft. Add rice and cook 2-3 minutes till translucent. Add wine and simmer till absorbed. Start adding hot broth, one ladle at a time, allowing it to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. Swirl in butter and then heavy cream. Stir in parmesan cheese and then peas. For arancini, allow to cool and refrigerate till cold.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ratatouille page 503

We are at a family reunion at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. Last night was our turn to cook and we planned a dinner for 15. The menu was as follows;

kale on crostini
herb and garlic encrusted rack of lamb
roasted baby potatoes
Ethiopian black eye peas

We decided to take this opportunity to try JC recipe for ratatouille, page 503. The result was a sweet vegetable blend with a nice, rich sauce. It was time consuming. She recommends cooking the peppers and onions together and the zucchini and eggplant together. Then you peel and seed tomatoes before layering everything.

The only change I made to the original is that I used red peppers instead of green and I cubed them instead of slicing them. I feel certain that if red peppers were as widely available then as they are now, Julia would have preferred them, too.


Monday, July 12, 2010

In the beginning

In the beginning there was Mom and Mom was a cook. In fact my Mom created cooks, Karen, Beverly, Claudia and Adrienne. She gave us a food foundation including a desire to feed others, a passion for fresh ingredients and basic food preparation skills. She cooked in the style of her generation including roasted meats, creamed vegetables and Russian dressing. We gained food appreciation from her and then reinvented ourselves as the cooks that we are today.

Your recipes may differ from my families but your stories of learning to cook may be similar. A new challenge presents itself. Learning and sharing french cooking from an American cook, Julia Childs. Join us...cook one recipe each month from The Art of French Cooking Volume One for the remainder of 2010. Wear pearls and share your results.

Bon appetite!