Saturday, March 6, 2010

What's for dinner tonight Mom?

Glad you asked. A little back story first. Most of you know how much of a FOODIE I am. A lot of my blogs are about food. What I've made (remember the Wonky Bread?), or what I've eaten. I love food. I love thinking about it, cooking it, shopping for it, and dreaming up dinner dishes. Some are good and some are bad (Beer Meatloaf anyone?) I am the type of person who gets almost embarrassingly excited when I come across a decent produce section of a super market and trust me, here in J-Hell, that is hard to come by!

I recently finished (this afternoon exactly) a book entitled 'Lunch in Paris - A Love Story, with Recipes' by Elizabeth Bard.

It's an interesting story of an American woman who moves to Paris and marries her French boyfriend (who's not at all the typical movie version of a French Man - he's a tap dancing engineer with the unlikely name of Gwendal), her adjustment to the culture and the long process of discovering who she is. Each monumental instance in her life is told through food and the gathering and appreciation of friends and family. There are many a story told in her book about the Parisian markets, the Bistro's, Cafés, Butchers and Fishmongers.

This book was right up my alley!

Unfortunately (or not, depending on how you look at it) it really makes me want to cook! In fact, during one chapter in her book, she went on to explain a recipe for Truite en Papillote, basically Trout with Cherry Tomatoes Baked in Foil.
If you know me AT ALL you all know how much I am NOT a seafood person. A lot of French cooking involves Seafood and I just have had no inclination or desire to make it. But this recipe sounded delish in her book as she was writing about it and then after reading the instructions on how to make it, made it sound so simple!

With all that being said, I had no fish in my house. Truthfully, I don't think I was quite ready for that step anyhow. But, I will say that this trout dish will more than likely be my first fish recipe that I will make.

Which brings me to dinner tonight. I had watched a few days ago, an episode of Everyday Italian on the Food Network. The episode she was doing was about comfort food. One of the recipes was 'Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto".

Here's a shot from the 'Everyday Italian' Website of her Risotto:

 I LOVE Risotto!  I buried that recipe idea in the back of my head for the next trip to the Commissary, where I purchased all the ingredients I would need.

Cassie was my Sous Chef for tonight. It was an excellent opportunity for some Mommy-Daughter bonding and the bonus is, we didn't die from eating it!

Basically this recipe starts with simmering a Vanilla Bean that's been scraped of it's 'beans' in 4 cups of Vegetable Broth. If you love the smell of delicious cooking filling your house, you will LOVE this!!! The only adjustment I had to make to this recipe was adding almost 2 more cups of vegetable broth to my Risotto. You want it to have a little bit of an Al Dente bite to it but mine was wanting to be crunchy and that was simpily not acceptable!

Here's the recipe bellow and a picture of tonight's dinner:


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large vanilla bean
  • 3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (from 1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chives. Serve

I hope you are brave enough to try it. Although, I do have to warn you - I almost took a finger off trying to peel that damn Butternut Squash. I also think Cassie will be sporting a very nice bruise on her foot tomorrow after it decided to make a jump for it off my counters. Ye be warned!

Bon Appétit!

1 comment:

  1. Yummy! This sounds good but you know me, I'm not cook, so do you think I could handle this? You inspire me - I love food too! I love to think about it and eat it but that is where our similarities end. I hate trying to think up dinner dishes, I hate grocery shopping and I hate cooking. Can I hire you?