torta di risotto bambini

torta di risotto bambini

for years i have been moulding risotto into various shapes, and serving slices of the resulting torta on buffets and summer party tables. i love to eat and serve risotto, and this allows us to enjoy it in a completely different, make-ahead kind of way.

these little rice babies are so adorable and perfect for a dinner party and especially for your vegetarian guests. if you know you’re having vegetarians over for dinner, make risotto a few nights before and do up some individuals. you can reheat them in just 20 minutes and serve a special dinner without any fuss.

feel free to experiment with vegetables too. rounds of roasted yellow and green courgettes or a fat slab of grilled eggplant would be divine in the bottom of the mould. and your risotto can change with the seasons as well.

torta di risotto bambini

torta di risotto bambini

1 pint little tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine
6 cups water or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
2 cups grated parmegiano reggiano
aged balsamic vinegar
white truffle oil

preheat oven to 450f. toss the little tomatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. roast on a parchment lined tray for 15-20 minutes, or until starting to colour and shrivel. set aside.

heat the water or stock to simmering. in a large pan, heat the 1/2 cup olive oil with half of the butter over medium heat. add the onion and garlic and cook stirring for 4 minutes. increase heat to high and add the mushrooms and some salt and pepper, stirring and cooking until mushrooms have released their water and have begun to colour, about 6 minutes. add the rice and stir to coat with the oil and butter. after drinking half the wine, re-measure, and pour it in the pan (you know you do this!) bring to a boil and stir until the liquid is almost gone. start adding hot water or stock to the pan, a couple of ladle-fuls at a time, stirring and cooking in typical risotto-making fashion. i taste throughout the process and stop adding water when the ice has some bite, and the rice is still rather soupy. it will thicken and cook further as it stands. add the cheese and remaining 2 tbsp. of butter. add a few drizzles of balsamic and some truffle oil. stir a few more times and then allow it to cool until the risotto has become less saucy and firmer. taste again and season as needed adding salt, pepper, or more truffle oil or balsamic or cheese.

line 6-8 single-serve vessels with plastic wrap and leave an overhang. i use ramekins, or stoneware timbale molds, or indian dahl bowls, whatever i have on hand. arrange the little tomatoes in the bottom, then spoon over the rice, right to the top. fold over the plastic, then chill until firm. overnight is best.

when ready to serve, preheat oven to 400f and line a baking pan with parchment. turn out the tortas and remove the plastic wrap. bake for 20 minutes, or until the little bambinis are hot and the bottom are sizzling and turning golden brown. serve hot with a nice salad, or some tomato sauce on the side.

Continue Reading

scrambled rice breakfast bowl

scrambled rice breakfast bowl

i’ve always thought there is a very good reason that a slice of cold pizza or a slab of leftover lasagna tastes so good for breakfast. i am a fan of fresh fruit and smoothies, or a good grain bowl, but i also love something savoury and comforting in the morning. let’s face it, after a sad breakup, or a night of heavy drinking, you know what you can do with your smoothie, know what i’m saying?

a lot of my recipes come about from the necessity of making something when there isn’t much in the fridge, or trying to use up what i have on hand and this scrambled egg/fried rice hybrid breakfast bowl made from leftover rice is no exception. my special brit friend is half japanese, and fills me in on all the sometimes weird (natto, anyone?) and wonderful things his family eats for breakfast. i was especially intrigued by the japanese rice and raw egg dish called tamago kake gohan, but…one thing i can’t seem to get past is the idea of eating raw eggs. so for this version of a rice breakfast bowl, the eggs are still stirred in at the end, but they go into very hot rice, resulting in a creamy, softly scrambled egg enveloping each grain of rice, almost like a sauce. sometimes i cook it a bit further to almost scramble the egg. either way you prepare it, it’s a protein-rich, slightly spicy and satisfying breakfast that everyone loves and takes only 15 minutes to make. for ease in the morning, chop up the vegetables the night before.

scrambled rice breakfast bowl

scrambled rice breakfast bowl

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small carrot, shredded
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 tsp. chinese 5-spice powder
2 cups cold cooked white or brown rice, any variety
1 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. sriracha hot sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. sesame seeds plus a few more for sprinkling
4 eggs, cracked into a bowl and lightly beaten
1/2 avocado, sliced

in a large non stick pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. when the oil is shimmering, add the carrot, red pepper, and celery. cook for 4 minutes, then sprinkle on the 5-spice powder and cook for 15 seconds or so, just until the spices are lightly toasted. increase heat to high. add the rice, and cook, turning and stirring for 3-4 minutes, or until hot and starting to get a bit crispy. stir in the tamari, sriracha, sesame oil, green onions, and sesame seeds, and mix well to coat the rice. remove pan from heat, and immediately add the beaten eggs, stirring to evenly distribute the eggs into the rice, and cook until the eggs are cooked through but still soft.

load rice into bowls and top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and the sliced avocado. serve right away.

Continue Reading

peanut butter sandwich cookies

peanut butter sandwich cookies

there really is something old-fashioned and comforting about peanut butter. when we’re adults, we may snack on peanuts with a cocktail or smear some unsweetened, natural peanut butter on a piece of toast. but thoughts of peanut butter sandwiches and cookies seem to evoke walks home from school to find lunch waiting for us, washed down with cold milk before heading back on our way.

i was inspired to make these cookies because of the amazing peanut butter cookies from mabel’s bakery in toronto. they are chewy and filled with a divine peanut butter fudge. these are a treat, and one goes a long way. perfect with something cold to drink, and a few minutes to remember a time before sugar was bad and eating a cookie was always the right thing to do.

peanut butter sandwich cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 cup roughly chopped, roasted and salted peanuts

simple fudge filling:

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp softened butter
pinch sea salt
2 cups sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream

in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. add the sugar and beat until light, about 4 minutes. add the honey and stir to combine. add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides and mixing well. stir together dry ingredients and peanuts. pulse to combine into a soft dough.

preheat oven to 350f. prepare two sheet pans by lining with silpats or parchment. use a 1 1/2″ scoop to portion out balls of cookie dough. roll each lightly into a ball and place 2 inches apart. bake for 15 minutes, switching tray position halfway through baking to ensure even browning. remove cookies to cooling racks and cool completely.

meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, toss in peanut butter and butter, and pulse a few times to combine. add the sea salt and the icing sugar, all at once, and pulse to combine. add the vanilla and cream. scrape down sides and pulse one more time to fully combine. scrape into bowl.

when cookies are cool, measure out a tablespoon of filling into your hand. roll to form a ball. place on the underside of one cookie, then top with another cookie and press lightly to spread the filling. repeat with remaining cookies. store in airtight container.

Continue Reading