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Posts Tagged ‘tarragon’

risotto

The short grains of Italian Arborio rice in risotto are like tiny sponges of flavor: their high starch content keeps them firm and creamy as they absorb chicken stock, white wine, olive oil, and essence of garlic and herbs. Most risottos are relatively simple, though time-intensive, and feature one or two ingredients, like asparagus in this case. The flavor-packed rice and cheese stand for themselves.

asparrisotto

Williams-Sonoma Asparagus Risotto
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 ¼ lb asparagus cut into 1 ½ inch segments
¾ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
salt/pepper
(1) Bring stock to a boil. Blanch asparagus for 2 minutes. Use slotted spoon, transfer to bowl and set aside.
(2) Add wine to stock and bring to a simmer. Keep hot.
(3) In large saucepan over med-low heat, warm olive oil and sauté onion about 8 mins. Add rice and stir until white spots appear, about 1 minute. Add a ladleful of liquid, simmer, and cook stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding liquid, a ladleful at a time, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 20-25 minutes.
(4) Add asparagus, parmesan, and chopped tarragon. Season with salt/pepper. Add lemon zest on top.

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shrimp1

These shrimp, leftover from a holiday cocktail platter, were crying out for creative employment. So shrimp bisque it was!  This preparation also made use of some leftover poaching liquid we had in the fridge – a mix of clam juice, white wine, herbs, pink peppercorns, leeks, and salmon juices. It all made for an incredibly flavorful soup that is light on the cream but no less tasty.

soupprep

Begin by sauteing a diced carrot, two celery ribs, a small onion, garlic and olive oil over medium heat, about 8 minutes. Then add a cup of dry white wine and a quarter cup of brandy while bringing the mixture to a boil. After a couple minutes, add 3 cups of clam juice, stock or poaching liquid and a cup of cream or milk. While stirring, add a quarter cup of rice, a can of tomato paste, fresh tarragon, and finely grated lemon peel before covering to simmer for 20 minutes.

makingbisqueWhen the rice is tender, puree the soup in batches using a traditional or immersion blender, as I did here. You can blend to your desired thickness/chunkiness. Then pour it back into a pot to simmer on the stove before serving. Garnish with some fresh shrimp.

bisque1

Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 1995.

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roastedpork

It’s amazing what you can do with a small kitchen and limited selection of cooking tools. This meal was “simple cooking” at its finest: savory, sophisticated flavors and a beautiful presentation.

Kudos to Bon Appétit for this delicious marinade. Last month I tried it with chicken breasts; it’s even better with pork tenderloin. In just two hours, the meat was well-infused with the essence of thyme, garlic, rosemary, and white wine. I seared the meat in a hot pan before topping with Dijon mustard and roasting in the oven for 30 minutes. The creamy mustard-tarragon sauce on top is sublime.

swisschard

The slightly tart and peppery flavor of swiss chard was a great complement to the pork. In this preparation, I separated the stalks from the leaves, blanching the leaves first and then cooking the stalks a little bit longer in boiling water. To finish, I sautéed the chard, diced tomatoes, and garlic in olive oil and lemon juice. (Since it was my first time cooking with swiss chard, I used Tom Colicchio’s recipe as a guide.)

twicebaked

Twice-baked potatoes are a family favorite, and even though I didn’t have a Cuisinart — much less a potato masher! — I was able to pull these off with a good ‘ole fork and spoon. I blended the potato with cream, lots of fresh parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. And topped, of course, with sharp Wisconsin cheddar. Yum.

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With the weather turning cooler and the leaves beginning to turn in New York City, this autumn menu is perfect for a Friday night dinner party.

The chicken breasts were marinated in fresh herbs and white wine for several hours before being pan-roasted and finished in the oven with Dijon mustard on top. The creamy, Dijon-tarragon sauce is a light and flavorful complement to the marinade. (Recipe)

On the side: a salad of bosc pear, toasted walnuts, crumbled gorgonzola cheese and a cider-lemon vinagrette. Also, oven-roasted baby yukon gold potatoes tossed with olive oil, sea salt and chopped rosemary.

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