Mushroom Barley Risotto

I had some leftover pearl barley and wanted to make something with it. I found a Mushroom Risotto recipe from the YouTuber, The Domestic Geek, that looked easy and perfect.

In general, it was very delicious and filling but I ended up cooking it for about 15 more minutes than the recipe called for. (I was waiting for more of the liquid to absorb) I also used vegetable broth because I could not find mushroom broth, but I bet the mushroom broth tastes better.

I pasted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups leeks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
  • 4 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • Oil
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add leeks and mushrooms. Cook until leeks have softened and the mushrooms begin to brown.
  3. Add garlic, thyme and barley. Cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  4. Add white wine to deglaze the pan. (Skip if not using)
  5. Add broth and stir.
  6. Cover saucepan and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until barley is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Add parmesan and parsley and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Advertisements

Frangipane Tart

My husband and I watched a lot of the Great British Bake-off when it was put on Netflix and it inspired me to try out some of the recipes! One dessert that looked really delicious was the frangipane tart, which is a French tart with almond filling (called frangipane) that typically includes pieces of fruit. The best part is that you can choose whatever fruit you like or whatever is seasonal without modifying the base recipe. The finished dessert also looks gorgeous!

The tart was actually easier than I expected but there are many different steps and took a long time to make overall. I chose to put blackberries in my tart, but any sort of berry or sliced stone fruit (like peaches or apricots) would work really well.

I followed this recipe from Food 52, since it had a lot of great pictures to guide me. I pasted the recipe below for convenience. The recipe also explains how to make several small tarts but I made one big tart.

 

Ingredients (Crust)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 9 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Instructions (Crust)

  1. In a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine.
  2. Add butter and pulse until butter is the size of small peas.
  3. Add yolk and pulse until evenly distributed.
  4. Add cold water and pulse until the dough starts to form.
  5. Lightly butter your tart pan. Gently press dough into the pan, making sure to evenly coat the bottom and sides. (You may have some leftover; use this to patch cracks in the crust later)
  6. Freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat your oven too 375 degrees F.
  8. Bake the tart shell until lightly golden brown. This took about 10-12 minutes for me. If the shell puffs up while baking, just use a spatula to gently push it down.
  9. Cool the shell while you prepare the filling.

Ingredients (Filling)

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds (blanched or unblanched)
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Your choice of fruit
  • Confectioner’s sugar, to finish

Instructions (Filling)

  1. In a food processor, add butter and sugar. Pulse until smooth.
  2. Add almonds and pulse until well combined.
  3. Add flour and cornstarch and pulse.
  4. Add egg and egg white and pulse.
  5. Add vanilla extract and salt. Pulse until just combined.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Spread the frangipane filling into the cool tart shell so it comes up just below the edge. (You may have leftover)
  8. Arrange your fruit how you like on top of the filling. (Make it pretty!)
  9. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake until crust and frangipane are golden, about 45-50 minutes.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.
  11. Dust with confectioner’s sugar right before serving.

 

Cooking update: Blue Apron again

I have to admit, I haven’t posted many recipes lately. It’s not because we haven’t been cooking; in fact, we’ve been cooking a lot more than usual! The reason is because we’ve started using Blue Apron again. That means we are cooking about 3 new recipes a week and for the remaining meals, we’re either eating out or cooking something familiar and easy.

We started Blue Apron again because we realized we were eating out almost every night of the week. My husband and I are both professionals, so sometimes we don’t end up getting home until about 7pm. The thought of going to the store after work to prepare a meal always seemed exhausting! Even on the weekends, we would get lazy about cooking. The other side effect is that our take-out meals were too big and I could feel it in our waistlines.

These are the main advantages I find:

  • We don’t spend as much time deciding what to cook. We choose the three meals for the week in advance and then just have to decide between those three meals.
  • We don’t have to go shopping for groceries; we can just get home from work and start cooking.
  • The meals are portion controlled so we don’t eat too much!
  • The recipes are a bit more interesting than we’d cook for ourselves and most of what we’ve made has been very tasty.

Of course, Blue Apron doesn’t work for everyone. It is definitely more pricey than buying groceries on your own (but cheaper than eating out like we were). I’ve also had a few minor issues with the shipments, like missing ingredients or damaged goods. However, in general, it’s been a very positive experience for us and I think we’ll continue to use it.

Polish Stuffed Cabbage (Gołąbki)

I grew up in a Polish family and one dish my mom always made was gołąbki (pronounced like goWUMPkee), or stuffed cabbages. They are a huge comfort food for me, but they are both labor and time intensive. (At least 2-3 hours to prepare and cook) My mom would surprisingly make them for weekday dinners! However, I save them for the weekend and make a big batch. (Plus, they reheat great as leftovers)

My mom made them with minced meat and rice filling and a tomato sauce on top, but there are other variations. For example, for Wigilia (Polish Christmas Eve), my aunt makes a vegetarian variation with mushroom and rice filling. However, I much prefer the tomato and meat version!

See the recipe below. My recipe is mostly from my mother, but I’ve also taken inspiration from other Polish recipes I’ve found. You can also cook these in a deep pan if you want but I find it comes out best in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1/2 lb ground beef & pork mix (like meatball mix or just ground beef)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (from 1 cup dry rice)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Boil the cabbage in a large pot of water until it is soft, about 5-10 minutes. Take out and allow it to cool.
  3. In a frying pan, heat up a small drizzle of oil or a small pat of butter. Fry the ground meat and onion until browned.
  4. In a bowl, mix the cooked rice, ground meat, onion, egg and salt and pepper. Feel free to add more seasoning if you want to taste.
  5. After the cabbage has cooled, peel off the cabbage leaves.
  6. Grease a baking dish and cover the bottom with the outermost leaves.
  7. Put a small amount of meat and rice mixture into the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold two opposite sides toward the center and roll up from the bottom to create a small cabbage roll.
  8. Put each cabbage roll into the baking dish, creating tight rows of side-by-side rolls.
  9. Pour the tomato sauce over the rolls. You want the liquid to fill about halfway up the dish. Add some vegetable broth or water if you need more liquid
  10. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  11. Serve each roll with a bit of tomato sauce on top.

Basic Waffles

I recently obtained a waffle iron and of course, the first thing I wanted to do was find a solid waffle recipe! Luckily, I found this easy recipe from Martha Stewart. I would trust pretty much any recipe from Martha Stewart because her stuff is always amazing! It was much easier than most of the other recipes I was looking at, too, and I tend to have most of the ingredients on hand on a normal day.

The waffles turned out really well! They are thin, crispy waffles instead of fluffy, Belgian-like waffles. However, they have a great flavor and are not overly sweet. The batter seems thin when you first make it, but the waffles turned out perfect in the end. Two thumbs up!

I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience. We served them with maple syrup and strawberry jam.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Prepare your waffle iron according to its instructions.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.
  4. Gently whisk the milk and eggs into the flour mixture until combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Gently whisk in the butter.
  6. If desired, spray your waffle iron with cooking spray. Cook waffles according to waffle iron instruction. (Typically 2-3 minutes, until deep brown and crisp)

 

Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Apples, Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts

I love watching the Domestic Geek on YouTube and recently she posted a video outlining 3 easy recipes that only use one sheet pan. I thought all of them looked delicious, but I especially wanted to try the pork chop one. I’m happy to say it was incredibly easy to make and super tasty! It was so good, my husband literally licked some off his plate. I think the combination of ingredients is perfect; you can’t go wrong with some squash, Brussel sprouts and apples. A nice and satisfying (and easy!) dish to make.

This recipe (and the other two) can be found on this blog post. I’ve pasted it below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops, center loin cut
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp grainy or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (I used a little extra)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 apple, diced (I used honeycrisp)
  • 2 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 1 cup Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, mustard, thyme, garlic, oil and some salt and pepper.
  2. Put pork chops into a large plastic zipper bag. Pour glaze into the bag and evenly spread it all over all the pork.
  3. Put the bag into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 10 minutes. A few hours or overnight would be better.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the apple, squash and Brussel sprouts.
  5. Season the mix with salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil. Toss to combine.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the squash mix onto it.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven. Push the squash mix to one half of the pan and place the pork chops on the other half of the pan.
  10. Pour the remaining glaze over the squash mix and toss to evenly coat it.
  11. Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until pork is cooked through.

Italian Meatloaf with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Green Beans

This was another Hello Fresh recipe that I enjoyed and it was easy and quick to put together. The recipe also included mash potatoes but you can prepare them however you like. My husband and I enjoyed it, even though I don’t usually like meatloaf. I think the sun-dried tomatoes made it taste different enough that I liked it.

I don’t think there is an online version of the recipe so I’ve pasted it below for convenience. This recipe is meant for 2 people, but you can adjust it for the size of your family.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 8-10 oz ground beef
  • 6 oz green beans
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, soak break in chicken stock, then break up the bread with your hands.
  2. Add beef, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot, garlic, rosemary and a large pinch of salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix with hands until combined.
  3. Form two oval loaves from the meat and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.
  4. Mix a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper with the green beans.
  5. With 15 minutes left of cooking, add the green beans to the baking sheet around the meatloaves.