Mushroom Risotto in an Electric Pressure Cooker

Michelle took advantage of Amazon’s Prime Day and bought a Crock Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker. We took it for a spin last night and made risotto in less than 30 minutes, with only a few minutes of stirring time!

Lucious and creamy, this risotto went perfectly with roast chicken and zucchini.

Mushroom Risotto in an Electric Pressure Cooker

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons dry white wine
4 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (3 ounces)
1 whole sprig of rosemary and one sprig with leaves removed and chopped fine

In a 6-quart pressure cooker, melt 2 butter in sauté mode. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add rice and toast, stirring, to fully coat the rice grains in fat. Add wine and cook until just evaporated. Add 3 1/2 cups chicken broth; season with salt and pepper and the whole sprig of rosemary.

Secure lid. Set to risotto/rice setting or bring to high pressure. Maintain pressure and cook until rice is tender, 9 to 12 minutes.

While the rice cooks, sauté the mushrooms with a little butter to let them release their juices. Set aside.

Turn off pressure cooker, vent pressure and then remove lid. Stir in mushrooms with remaining 1 cup broth. Turn to sauté function and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until remaining liquid is absorbed. Stir in cheese. Stir in the chopped rosemary and serve immediately.

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Truffled Fries

There is something deeply satisfying about elevating a common dish with a couple of uncommon ingredients. Potatoes are an awesome palate to work from, especially when you’ve got a bottle of truffle oil and some parmesan cheese just waiting to be used.

The fries come out crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside with a flavor profile reminiscent of a top quality bistro or steakhouse.

Truffled Fries


2 russet potatoes
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon truffle oil
freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste (about 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Scrub and then slice potatoes into wedges. Place in a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl mix together the spices. Coat the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with spice mix. Toss again to coat completely.

Spread out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the fries over. Return to oven and cook 15 minutes more or until cooked through.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Toss with the truffle oil and parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Pickle Schnitzel

Pickle juice makes a wonderful brine for grilled chicken but I also love it with breaded cutlets, better known in my family as schnitzel. The soak in the pickle brine doesn’t make the chicken or pork taste like pickles, it adds a salty tang and leaves the meat super tender and juicy when pan fried. Just don’t soak it for too long (1 hour is sufficient) or it will get overly salty.

Chicken schnitzel

I mix my bread crumbs with an equal amount of cracker meal so that my schnitzel has a good crunch, especially when warmed up the next day for sandwiches. Who needs to go to a fast food restaurant anymore?

Pork schnitzel

I use boneless pork loin and the relatively short cooking time means that this low fat cut doesn’t get overcooked. I wait for the whole loin to go on sale and have the butcher cut it in 3/4 inch pieces for me.

2 large chicken breasts or boneless pork loin
1 cup pickle juice
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with one teaspoon olive oil
1 cup breadcrumbs (or in combination with cracker meal)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cover meat with plastic wrap and pound to about ¼ inch thickness. Place pounded meat in a zip top bag and pour pickle juice on top. Seal and toss in juice and refrigerate for 1 hour.

When the meat is ready, remove from pickle juice and dry well. Place the flour, egg beaten with a little olive oil and breadcrumbs/cracker meal each in separate shallow bowls. Season the flour with the salt and black pepper.

Coat each cutlet in flour and shake off excess. Then dip in the beaten egg before dredging in the breadcrumbs/cracker meal. Place on a wire rack in the refrigerator while the oil heats.

Bring about ½ inch oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat to 375 degrees F. Fry in oil about 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Blot on a paper towel and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Cheesy Tomato Pie

Summertime is tomato time. Michelle picked a couple of 5 gallon buckets full the other week and brought the ones she didn’t make into sauce to my house. My mouth began watering at the thought of making them into a pie. The combination of cheddar and parmesan gives you a very cheesy tomato pie that tastes like the best of the season.

Traditionally, this pie uses a cup of mayonnaise and is baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. I wanted to reduce the calories without affecting the taste, so I used half Greek yogurt and half mayonnaise. It also has the bonus of upping the protein, as well. I find that yogurt can separate with baking, so I lowered the temp and increased the time to compensate. I also added 1 tablespoon corn starch to make sure the pie isn’t runny.

Cheesy Tomato Pie

1 frozen pie shell lightly browned

3-4 medium, peeled tomatoes cut into wedges
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 generous cup cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Put tomato wedges in a bowl. Sprinkle with herbs, flour, corn starch and salt and pepper. In another bowl, stir together the mayo, yogurt and cheeses until combined. Pour out the tomatoes and herbs in an even layer into the pie shell. Spread the cheese sauce over tomatoes. Bake for 45 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before eating. Trust me, you need to wait for two important reasons – 1) you’ll keep from burning your mouth and 2) the interior will come together with the short wait.

Scarborough Fair Rub for Chicken

I soaked 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters overnight in a rosemary buttermilk brine:
2.5 quarts of buttermilk
4 tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons kosher salt.

The next day I put on a dry rub that harkens back to that 16th century English folk tune – as the main ingredients are sage, rosemary and thyme. The parsley is added as a final step while the meat rests.

I grilled my chicken over indirect heat for about an hour. The chicken can also be roasted in the oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour.

Scarborough Fair Chicken Rub

2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground sage
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over both sides of the chicken. Store any unused in an airtight container.

Grill or roast the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Sprinkle on the parsley after the meat comes off the fire, while it rests for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Pecan Shortnin’ Bread

I’ve been told that the difference between shortnin’ bread and shortbread is the sugar. Typical shortbread uses fine, white sugar. Shortnin’ bread uses brown sugar. I decided to make my shortnin’ bread with pecans. Sort of like pecan sandies but richer.

And, if you’re anything like me, you are now humming, “Mama’s little baby loves shortnin’, shortnin’ Mama’s little baby loves shortnin’ bread.”

1 cup packed brown sugar
4 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup pecans, minced
1 lb unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper or a light spray of oil.

Place the brown sugar in the bowl of the mixer and break up any lumps with your fingers. Blend into the sugar the flour and salt. Add in the minced pecans. Add the softened butter to the flour sugar mix and blend until you have a smooth dough.

On a pieces of parchment paper on a worksurface, turn out the dough. Press with your hands create a rectangle 1/2 inch thick. If dough is too soft, place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Cut into shapes and lay each piece on the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Or, press directly onto the prepared pan and using a sharp knife, score the dough into squares.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool on racks for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Focaccia with a Beer Assist

I’m watching World Cup Soccer Round of 16 games today and I’m also craving yeasty, salty, rosemary-ie focaccia bread. I worked out the time needed and, so, started the dough after the France-Argentina game to allow for the first rise. It was ready to spread it in the pan right before the Portugal-Uruguay game began. I let it rise through the first half and then baked it during half time.

By using beer, I got a very light texture even with higher gluten bread flour plus an added flavor boost of yeasty goodness. I went with a wheat beer from Blue Moon.

Focaccia with a Beer Assist

2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 package)
1 12 ounce bottle of beer (wheat beer, if possible)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a dough hook, add 2 cups bread flour, sugar, 1 tablespoon rosemary, and yeast. Warm beer in the microwave to 120 to 125 degrees F. Add the beer to the stand mixer and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to medium, mix until combined.

Add in the all-purpose flour, ¼ cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Switch the mixer to medium high, and knead for 10 minutes.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat the dough. Cover and allow to rise in a warm room until doubled in size, about 1 hour. I use the oven with the oven light turned on.

Lightly oil a rimmed baking pan. For an optional, added crunch, sprinkle on a little corn meal or semolina flour. Transfer the dough to the pan, pulling to cover the entire pan. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425.

Press your fingers into the dough making holes across the entire loaf. Brush with remaining oil, sprinkle with remaining rosemary and the coarse salt. Bake until golden brown and it sounds hollow to the tap, about 15 minutes.