Scallop and Parmesan Risotto with Shitake, Oyster and Baby Bella Mushrooms

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Risotto requires mothering and a watchful eye more than almost any other dish in the world. You stir, pour, stir, pour – wash, rinse, repeat. On a busy night after work, I usually don’t want to put in the effort for anything really complex. However, every now and then you have to go all out. This version of “all out” utilizes ingredients I tend to have on hand: lemon, chicken broth, butter, white wine, and Parmesan cheese. How about going “mostly out,” then.

Luckily for us living in the northeast, scallops are relatively inexpensive this time of year, and Whole Foods carries packs of mixed mushrooms so you aren’t stuck buying a bunch of each kind for a recipe.

So I bought and I stirred, and I poured, and I stirred some more until I got a bowl full of absolute majesty. A word of advice, since this is a very active recipe, I would suggest getting everything prepped and ready before you start cooking the risotto. Therefore, when you’re at the end of the recipe cooking mushrooms, scallops AND still stirring the risotto, you’re not feeling overwhelmed.

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Chili Balsamic Glazed Shrimp with Pasta and Arugula

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After all these seafood-heavy posts, it feels like this is RG’s own personal version of shark week. It’s not my fault that everywhere I turn lately, there’s a glut of affordable, quality seafood in our neighborhood and that might have a lot to do with it. For today’s dish, I wanted to try and do something a little Thai inspired. We don’t eat nearly as much Thai food as I would like due to Davis’ and I’s food allergies, so this is something I want to try and change in our personal kitchen.

Let me warn you, the pictures might look like there is heat in this dish… and well yeah, there is. We love our food spicy and this dish had me sweating. Homemade chili oil tends to do that; you could even follow steps 1 & 2 of this dish for a fiery oil base to cook most anything, if you wanted.

While they might not pack too much heat, my love of red peppers is second to none, so I include them everywhere I can. I think this dish is a bit of a mish mash between sweet and spicy, but it’s one that I can’t wait to make again.

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Cedar Smoked Bass with Broccoli Rabe & Chard

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After watching a somewhat disappointing Barcelona football match, Davis and I made our way on an errand run where we inadvertently ended up with way more amazing striped bass than we expected from a great local grocery. $40 will apparently buy you quite a lot of fish. I’m not really at that level of super ballerdom in my life, so we had to share the maritime bounty. At this point, I had no other recourse other than to call up a couple of friends for an impromptu get together. Really, you don’t want my problems.

For Christmas, my auntie had given me some cedar grilling papers and I’ve been waiting for the perfect chance to use them. It’s not exactly outdoor grilling weather, so we went with the oven after soaking the papers in water and wine. The papers provide such a subtle flavor that they need to be paired with a mild fish, and the rest of the meal should also be kept simple and bright as to not over power the flavor.

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Apple Ginger Muffins

Apple Ginger Muffins

I do not get full-blown sick very often, usually around once a year or so. Since I’m not a huge fan of taking medication, I try to beat any oncoming illness, the way my gramma would; as soon as I get the telltale sneeze, cough, or sniffle, I hit the hay earlier than usual and try to drown it in fluids. Broth, OJ, tea, water – the works – and before you know it, the impending sickness seems to go away before it hits full force. Unfortunately, our schedule lately hasn’t really allowed for any such nursing, so here I am on the couch with a blanket, thick socks and chamomile. My record 2 year healthiness streak is shattered.

Luckily for me, I had made muffins for breakfast this week and therefore, don’t have to make anything for breakfast/lunch and we don’t have to order in or leave the house. Huzzah! Double luckily, they’re freaking delicious. Hopefully after a big broth dinner, I think I might just be able to turn the curve on this thing.

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Chicago-style Baked Polenta

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Pizza and I have a bit of a history together. One of my first jobs as a teenager was in a big chain pizza restaurant, and I grew up making homemade thin crust pizzas with my dad. I had no concept of deep dish anything really. Even more so, that it could be such a varied dish. The weather this past February was brutal; it was so windy and cold tights became a necessity, and my mind inevitably went to Chicago.

The last time we were in Chicago, Davis and I were attending the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2011. We found the city in the middle of a heat wave so intense my pasty self turned lobster red, even sitting in the shade. I enjoyed hearing Beach House’s set as I lay down like a grassland lion and napped under an umbrella in the harsh sun. We got to see some old friends and see all the landmarks from one of my top five all time favorite movies – High Fidelity. Even despite injuring my foot on a 4 mile run and Michael Bay cutting off most of the city due to filming Transformers 3, I had a fantastic time.

Upon our return, I even took virtual real estate tours of available rentals to try and imagine a life where we lived there. It wasn’t a bad life, but I have moved on to imaginary real estate tours of other areas of fine nature when a little downtime leads me into a geographical daydream.

Culinarily, I fell in love with the vegetable, meat and sauce-laden pile of deliciousness that is the Chicago Deep-Dish style pizza. Things are finally starting to move beyond the freezing temperatures we saw earlier in the year, but hopefully this dish can warm up your day.

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Peppercorn Infused Double Chocolate Cupcakes

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People don’t care what you do, they care why you do it.” Simon Sinek

I am a TED talks addict. I watch at least one a day, sometimes more. It’s something I think about a lot actually. I started writing Roxie Ginger because I really just wanted to commit to a project, but I also legitimately love going into a kitchen with a random set of ingredients and pushing myself to be creative. However, I have to admit, I’m not much of a baker. I don’t like rigorous recipes much, and baking requires an eye for exact precision. Therefore, I’m making a push to bake more…a lot more. That said, I can’t go too crazy with my new-found baking obsession, since I am also not of the constitution to just throw calorie caution to the wind – but what is a Super Bowl/Golden Globes/Grammys/Oscar party without a little sweetness?

A friend from work had introduced me to the world’s most delicious black peppercorn infused chocolates from a chocolatier whose name nobody seems to be able to recall, which is truly such a shame. I wanted to replicate that flavor in some capacity here. They came out subtle but tasty. The pepper comes through just enough to cut the sweetness of these rich cupcakes.

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Mustard Roasted Potatoes with Smoked Salmon & a Poached Egg

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Brunch – is there another word that evokes such delectable promise? Technically, it’s different from its lesser-known and more-awkwardly-pronounced first cousin “brinner,” by only by the time of day in which it is eaten. Still, I think we’d all agree that brunch is an event all of its own. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking on brinner by any stretch of the imagination. Cholesterol be damned, I love eggs.

This is something I thought of when, in typical Roxie Ginger fashion, I had several ingredients that didn’t seem to go together and needed to figure out a way to make them mesh. Davis being the outspoken mustard hater that he is, it’s hard to sneak the condiment in. Topping that off with smoked salmon – another less than lauded ingredient in our house – and I figured this one would be a tough sell. Luckily though, we had company over for an impromptu movie night and this turned to be a quick, hearty winning dish. Maybe I’m a bigger brinner fan than I thought.

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Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel with Chicken Sausage

Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel with Chicken Sausage

We’re no stranger to roasted vegetables here at Roxie Ginger, but it’s fun to see the different combinations that can come together and taste amazing. Carrots and dill never seemed to make much sense to me once upon a time, and what do you know – they sing together in perfect harmony.

On a grocery run this week, we found a really interesting sounding package of chicken sausage stuffed with spinach and gruyere and decided to give it a shot. I head scratched for a bit to think of what would be a good accompaniment. For me, sausage always matches with potatoes, but catching in the corner of my eye was a pretty head cauliflower and I thought, “well don’t you look interesting.”

This is a really simple recipe good for a busy night. While individual ingredient tastes wonderful on its own, but the combination of all three goes together like bread and butter. Or cauliflower and fennel and chicken sausage. Whatever you prefer.

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Smoked Duck Teriyaki

Smoked Duck Teryiyaki

One cuisine type that I’m really looking forward to trying more frequently in 2013 is Asian-inspired food. It’s often pretty healthy for you, and radically diverse depending on which regions you are looking to pull ideas from, but I’ve always found it a bit intimidating. Furthermore, I learned to cook and get a feel for flavors with my grandmother. We didn’t cook or really eat a whole lot of non-American or German foods, and it is always difficult to cook things when you don’t necessarily have a full understanding of the taste you are trying to replicate. Especially when you realize that General Tso’s Chicken takeout doesn’t exactly qualify as “authentic Chinese dining.”

It hasn’t been until the past few years that I’ve ventured out to try and eat more adventurously with foods from that particular portion of the world. I now want to try and re-create some of these flavors at home. There has been some trial and error, as with all things (my Pho recipe is a work in progress). I felt really fortunate to have stumbled upon this gem after buying smoked duck for another dish when inspiration struck.

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Becherovka and Fizz (and Happy New Year!!)

Becherovka and Fizz

Happy New Year! I gladly welcome you, 2013. I’ve been trying to come up with my resolutions, and I’m really drawing a blank. I have an intense love of resolutions, but now that I’m writing about these, ideas are coming in droves. 3 seems like a good solid number, so let’s cull the masses of inspiration and narrow it down. What do you say?

  1. After the holiday glut of decadent eating and drinking, I figure most of us (except the very disciplined of us, of course) want to cleanse the palate and generally try to live a little healthier. I could definitely go that route after my week-long holiday back home. Therefore, I resolve to run 4 races this year. One every 3 months, so I always have one to be working toward.
  2. In the vein of cleansing my palate, preparing my lunch during the weekdays to avoid spending the outrageous amounts on midtown lunches. Saving myself 1 day for a bagel, each week.
  3. Since starting Roxie Ginger back in July, I’ve come to enjoy writing and working on improving it. My goal is to write something – maybe not an entire post, and maybe not even something that I will share with anybody else – but write something every day.

Are there any that I might be missing? What are some of yours?

Now that that is settled, let me come back to the task at hand, introducing you (or maybe not!?) to a new drink we discovered on New Year’s Eve. A few years ago a friend of mine brought back a bottle of Becherovka from a trip to Prague. An herbal, spiced liqueur, it wasn’t love at first taste, but it was intriguing enough to keep me coming back.

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