Bruschetta is for summer.

I love bruschetta, any kind: tomato, mushroom, strawberry….yes strawberry. Let me tell you all about it.

You need simple ingredients you may already have.

  • Baguette (I used my homemade sourdough)
  • goat cheese (I like the plain goat cheese you can get in a 2 pack at costco) you could also use marscarpone cheese if you want it creamier and sweeter, I love the tang of goat cheese
  • strawberries, about 15
  • parchment paper (necessary)
  • basil (8 large leaves, slice thin)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Slice strawberries and place in a bowl, add the vinegar, maple syrup, and salt. Roast at 425 on parchment paper, again you must use parchment paper if you hope to get the strawberries off the pan, for 20 minutes. In the mean time, slice the bread. During the time the strawberries are roasting, I pop the bread in the oven to warm for about 5 minutes. While the bread is still warm use a butter knife and spread thin layers of goat cheese on the little toasts. Spoon the warm roasted strawberries onto the toasts. Garnish with basil. It is just so easy, and decadent, and summer in my mouth.

Kale Chips are my crack.

I love kale chips. They are easy to make, super satisfying, and also, like eating salad in chip form. Can. You. Believe. It. In the summer, I eat all the kale chips. I grow kale in my garden and it is my go to snack. Kale chips are easy and quick and only require a few minutes in the oven. On a hot day in Montana this is an important piece of information.

I harvest small kale leaves and make them into chips. If you have big kale leaves you can just cut them. I strip the kale off the stems and lay them on parchment paper. I spray them with avocado oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and brewers yeast then bake them at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Then, is less time that it takes to actually bake these babies, I eat them.

I make small batches because I don’t find that they keep the crisp crunch I love when I save them. If you make a big batch that’s great, but word of advice, do not put them in a plastic bag, you will be so disappointed when you reach for them later. Store them in a tupperware with a small paper towel at the bottom.

Thank me later.

Risotto for life.

I am a lover of risotto. It is one of my favorite things to make. I will admit, the first time I made it, I found it tedious and time consuming and I didn’t feel like it was worth it. Did you know that you can make risotto in between 16 and 20 minutes? Not the typical 30 minutes that recipes tell you? After I figured that out, I started making risotto a heck of a lot more. Now I am a risotto enthusiast. I feel like I could live without pasta easily if I could still have risotto and spaghetti squash. My two favorite types of risotto to make (and eat) are tied for first place: roasted red pepper and goat cheese risotto and mushroom parmesan. They are both equally delicious. Period.

Last night, I made a lovely mushroom risotto. I am not sure if I have said so but I don’t have a dishwasher. This makes me a cook who likes to use as few dishes as physically possible to meet the end goal. I currently typically cook for 2, and I make a one pot risotto. I have made it in as short a time at 16 minutes, however, it typically takes about 18.

Ingredients: (2 generous servings)
heaping 1/2 cup arbarro rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot or small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
10 or so mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cups broth
3/4 cup white wine ( I find it doesn’t really matter what kind)
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
salt and pepper

I started this blog to force myself to write down my recipes. I cook without recipes most of the time, but someday I would love to write a cookbook. In order to do this, I must write down my recipes, let me tell you, it is so hard for me. I eyeball most things, a pinch here, a “glug” (technical term) there, heaping cup, etc. I have people ask me for recipes, mostly for baked goods. I have to give loose suggestions for now, until I get everything written down just as I do it.

Back to the risotto. Mushroom risotto is comfort food, but if you make it like this, far healthier than it could be. I tend to pat myself on the back about that. I start with my butter and oil, melt those in the pot together on medium heat. I like to use a small dutch over style pot that I got as a wedding gift. I add the shallot or onion and saute until translucent, then I add the mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Once the mushrooms have softened I add the rice. its important to get the rice hot and toast it a little bit before you add any liquid. It takes 2-3 minutes. I do not heat the liquid that I add. I start with wine and add half the wine to deglaze the pan, about 1/4 cup. This is when the stirring begins. I work with my burner on medium heat the entire time I make the risotto. I dont stir constantly during the first 5 minutes, but during the 5-15 minutes timeframe I do. As the wine reduces, I add 1/4 cup of broth. Whenever I add liquid, I do it about a 1/4 cup at a time. You are adding more broth than wine. So I typically do wine, broth, broth, wine, broth, broth, wine, broth, broth. Got it? It doesn’t really matter… I add liquid about every 2 minutes.

Close to the end, about the 15 minute mark, I add the parsley, cheese, and salt and pepper. Over time I have come to be able to see when the risotto is done rather than timing it. After the 15 minute mark you are stirring constantly. As you move your spoon along the bottom of the pan and pull toward the side, the risotto is ready when the rice mixture comes away from the bottom and sticks to itself, then slowly slides back as the spoon moves away. ( you should be able to cleanly see the bottom of the pan, like the picture) Now, that seems vague but if you actually do this you will see, that this is the only way to describe it. This risotto is perfection but if you want to sprinkle some grated parm over the top, or chop some scallions, or other fresh herbs, its encouraged.

Someday soon I will post the red pepper and goat cheese recipe… once I figure out how much red pepper and goat cheese I put in it. 🙂

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