laraswersky

Zucchini Risotto with Sun Dried Tomatoes

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2009 at 8:09 am

Zucchini Risotto with Sun Dried Tomatoes (Weight Watchers Cookbook)

  • 3 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 shallots, chopped
  • 4 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/3 cup Arborio Rice
  • 16 sun dried tomato halves (not oil packed), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped marjoram, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley, to garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the stock and tomato juice; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer

In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat the oil.  Saute the shallots until soft, about 2 minutes.  Add the zucchini and wine; cook until the zucchini is softened, about 5 minutes longer.  Add the rice; cook, stirring, about 1 minute.

Add 1 cup of the stock mixture, the sun dried tomatoes, parsley and marjoram; cook, stirring until the liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the stock is absorbed before adding more, until the rice is just tender.  The total cooking time should be about 25-30 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and pepper; serve at once, garnished with parsley.

 

This was my second foray into risotto.  The first was over the summer when I found a recipe for fresh herb risotto in the New York Times.  The recipe haunted me for weeks because of the line, “simmer the rice as you add the stock.  Not too slowly and not to quickly.”  WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! I got over it in the end and made a risotto that was just slightly more gummy than you may want it to be, but tasty nonetheless.

Tonight’s adventure in italian cooking went well.  As I’ve mentioned, I love Weight Watchers recipes.  They are the reason I started cooking and caring about what I was eating when I was on a diet.  I didn’t want to live on salad and grilled chicken, so instead I made baked ziti, chili, and mac and cheese the way that they told me.  Their recipes are incredibly easy to follow, even going to far as to say how long things should cook for, which is a Godsend for a beginning cook.  This recipe was definitely not an exception.  The risotto came out really well and was incredibly filling (I’m actually stuffed right now after one normal size serving spoonful).  I think the zucchini gave the dish the substance that wouldn’t be there with just plain rice.

I followed this recipe pretty carefully (as I do when making risotto since it kind of scares me).  The only thing I did differently was I used chicken broth instead of vegetable because my sad, pathetic grocery store didn’t have low sodium vegetable stock, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t matter.  The one part of this recipe that threw me off was how little broth they include.  When I made risotto the first time I had broth left over and I was sure I was doing something wrong.  This time I ran out of broth like 10 minutes into the cooking process and I was sure I was doing something wrong.  I just kept stirring it until it was tender (which actually took about 35 minutes), and hoped for the best.  It was definitely stickier than I think risotto should be, but tasted good and filled me up, as I said.

Here’s a picture of my plate (like the parsely garnish?):

IMG_1643

More Wednesday!

Peanut Butter Cookies

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2009 at 4:53 am

Peanut Butter Cookies (The Joy of Cooking)

* Joy of Cooking recipes are written out in an easy to follow format.  I’m not going to change it into the more complicated version.

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease or line 2 cookie sheets.

Whisk together: 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Beat in a large bowl until well blended: 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar.

Beat in: 1 large egg, 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Stir in the flour mixture until blended.  Shape into 1-inch balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.  Press flat with a fork.  Bake, one sheet at a time, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool.

 

I’m really into cookies these days and have been wanting to try these peanut butter ones for a few weeks.  I find cookies to be really easy and comforting to make since I’ve been helping my mom do it since I was a kid (and by helping, I of course mean watching).  Cookies are always the same, you mix the flour in one bowl, the sugar, butter and eggs in another, add in the good stuff (in this case PB) and bake.  So easy!

The one complication really was measuring the peanut butter, but luckily I knew the trick.  You fill a measuring cup with water to the 1 cup line.  Then you add peanut butter to the desired place (in this case to the 2 cup line).  The thing that I wasn’t expecting was just how much one cup of peanut butter really is.  Wow.  I literally used like a whole jar of peanut butter.  I was pretty sure it was going to be too much, but I think it was ok.

The cookies came out really well.  It was funny because the cookies got smaller as I made them.  The recipe says it is supposed to make 60 1 1/2 inch cookies.  I’m not really sure how that is possible.  I guess I can’t really visualise inches the way that I thought I could.  I think at the end the cookies were 1 1/2 inch, which is a lot smaller than I anticipated.  They taste good though, which is definitely all that matters.

So after the chocolate oatmeal bar fiasco from Joy of Cooking, the book redeemed itself with these cookies.  Good work, JOC!

Linguine Fra Diavolo and Chocolate Oat Bars

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2009 at 2:11 am

Last night was an adventure in cooking.  I made Fra Diavolo tomato sauce and then ev and I made chocolate oat bars from out of the Joy of Cooking.  The evening had its ups and downs.  The ups involved the linguine, the downs involved the dessert. 

First of all, I love weight watchers recipes.  They’re simple to make and always taste good.  Also, they don’t use a lot of substitutions like sweeter instead of sugar or egg beaters instead of eggs, they just use less of the stuff thats bad for you.  The Fra Diavolo sauce was incredibly easy to make and tasted really good.  There wasn’t any real conflict.  The recipe said let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes until the flavors and blended and the sauce is thick, and after 20 minutes the flavors were blended and the sauce was thick.  The only substitution that I made was I used dried parsley instead of fresh parsley because my parsley plant is just not surviving.  I’m not clear on the difference between fresh herbs and dried.  But at the end of the day, I don’t think it mattered, it was a wonderful, one pot sauce.

The dessert was where we ran into trouble.  I’m not sure exactly what went wrong, but I know that this is the least successful thing I have ever made from scratch.  Either we accidentally put too much salt in with the flour (totally possible since we only have a salt grinder) or it is in fact possible for nuts do go bad.  My mom taught me to keep nuts in the freezer to keep them longer.  My question is: how long? The bottom line is, I knew I had walnuts in my freezer, I didn’t know when they were from, but I figured it wouldn’t matter because freezing things makes them last forever, right? Not so much.  The finished bars were insanely salty and just had a very strange/bad after taste.  I was really unimpressed with the finished product.  Ev said he’s going to try them tonight since they’ve been in the fridge all day, but frankly I think we’re going to have the throw them away and buy some new walnuts (or salt that is already ground).

I’ll post recipes later, but I’m at work and the books were too heavy to bring with me.

see ya!