Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lazy Day Risotto

Yesterday was one of my favorite kind of days--a lazy, lounge around the house day with an outing at night.  Once the busy weekend at work was over, all I wanted to do was relax, catch up on some of my favorite TV shows, and hang out with my boyfriend--which is what I did! After a day of pure nothingness, I made risotto with tomatoes, kale, and a bit of roasted garlic chicken sausage for dinner.  This was a total experiment because risotto is a fairly new ingredient in my kitchen cabinet and one that I'm always excited to use!

To start out, I chopped up half of a large onion and 2 large cloves of garlic, then threw them in a pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. 

Next, I ripped the kale off the stem, gave it a coarse chop, and tossed it into a pot of water to blanch. I waited until the water had been boiling for about 6 minutes until removing it.

I then added 2 seeded and diced tomatoes to about 2 cups of broth and put that in a pot to heat up. While the kale was blanching I poured in 2 cups of Arborio Risotto Rice and mixed it in the pan with the onions, garlic and oil, until it was fully coated.
Once all the ingredients had their rightful place on the stove, I added in about 1/3 cup of white wine. I used Pinot Grigio because that's what I had and what I like to drink, however any other dry white wine would probably work just as well! It's important to remember to add the wine at the beginning so that it has enough time to cook out all of the alcohol. Once the wine was mostly absorbed. I added in the hot broth and tomatoes, about half a cup at a time, and continued to do so until the risotto was tender and had a creamy consistency.  
While the risotto was cooking away, I threw on two links of roasted garlic chicken sausage into a lightly greased pan until both sides were crisp and golden brown. 
(I apologize for not having a photo. Things became a little hectic due to my boyfriend thinking there was not going to be enough for us, so I had to double the recipe at this point and wait for the new batch to catch up!)

After tasting the risotto to decide on texture and flavor, both batches were ready to combine and in went the kale and diced chicken sausage!

At this point, I decided to add a little bit of half & half and about a tablespoon of butter.  Oh the fatty goodness! I also sprinkled in some salt, pepper, and a bit of a homemade seasoning mixture.

This was not a necessary step, however I was a bit too eager in adding the final ingredients and felt my risotto needed an extra minute or two of cooking.  I was out of broth which is why I opted for the half & half.  

Finally... my Kale and Tomato Risotto with Diced Chicken Sausage!
 Yes, it tasted as good as it looks!

 My boyfriend and I both enjoyed this delicious meal, however our tummies were still requesting something sweet, so off to Terrapin we went for some dessert and drinks!

Terrapin has to be one of my sister Kim and my favorite restaurants in Dutchess County.  When she comes down to visit she always suggests we go there. I'm sure there is at least one post within her blog, The Simple Little Treat's archive as evidence!

Once seated, it didn't take us long to decide on which desserts we should indulge in!  The hard part however, was deciding on which two we should pick, rather than the three or four we had our eyes on. In the end, their Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake and Ice cream Sandwich with Ronnybrook Vanilla Ice cream were the winners!
Chocolate always wins, however I did have my eye on their Tiramisu and Warm Seasonal Berry Cake! 

The boyfriend paired our desserts with two pints of their
IPA, while I treated my taste buds to a glass of Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Noir from Brotherhood Winery, which I really enjoyed. 
Do you think we enjoyed them? I'd say so!

We then ended the night the way our day began by catching up on one of our favorite gore filled shows....

And boy, was this episode a doozy!  Rick lost it and the Governor was out for blood!

Are you a fan of The Walking Dead? If not, what are some of your favorite TV shows? 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homemade Pizza with a Greek Yogurt Crust

One of my all time favorite foods has got to be P-I-Z-Z-A! I love all kinds of ooey, gooey, cheesy pizza and the more toppings the better, in my opinion! 
On this chilly Tuesday, I decided to warm up the house and make some homemade pizza.  So, I scrolled through my "Yummy Food" board on Pinterest and found this amazingly easy recipe for pizza dough. The best part of this recipe is that I made my own dough in about 5 minutes, all while using only two ingredients!
-1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
-1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
I also sprinkled in some garlic powder to enhance the garlic aspect of my White Pizza with Kale, Tomato & Garlic, even though the recipe on Pinterest didn't call for any.  When making this dough, feel free to add any type of seasoning or herbs you want!

When you have the ingredients mixed well enough to hold some sort of shape dump it onto a WELL floured cutting board and scrape out any bits still left in the bowl. Once you have everything on the floured cutting board, dust a little flour on top of the dough and your hands and knead for 3-5 minutes.  

Beware: Combining the yogurt and flour will be a messy process.
 If the dough continues to stick to your hands while kneading, rinse them off, dry them, and dust more flour on your hands and the board.

The dough should end up looking something like this:

Eventually, this will become stretchy enough to start forming your pizza. I found it slightly difficult to stretch by hand so I suggest using a rolling pin to roll it out--but make sure you flour it!

Before you start rolling out the dough, flour your board again so it wont stick.  Believe me, I learned this the hard way. 

Once I had my oddly shaped pizza flattened out I moved it onto a lightly floured pan and began spreading some garlic oil all over! 
 Of course this is not necessary if you plan on making a regular pizza with tomato sauce, but I had some left over ricotta cheese from the stuffed shells I made for dinner the night before.

As a kid my mother always chose white pies with broccoli and garlic whenever we had a pizza night. The kale on this pizza kind of resembles broccoli.  My boyfriend and I always get tomato and broccoli on any pizza we order, so I kind of combined the two styles!

After coating the dough with garlic oil, I spread a mixture of Ricotta, shredded Parmesan cheese, a little Goat cheese, some S&P (salt and pepper) and more garlic powder onto the dough. 
A classic 'white pizza' has Ricotta and Mozzarella, but I used it all up the night before, so I improvised with whatever cheese was in my fridge!

I then mixed the shredded kale in the remaining oil and placed it on the pizza, along with some thinly sliced tomato!

Now, it's oven time! I threw it into a 325 degree oven and let it cook until the bottom and crust was a crispy golden brown, which took about 12-15 minutes.  

Ta-da! How delicious does that look!

I think the best part about this dough recipe is that it is able to withstand the "pizza boner" test, also known as a slice of pizza that is able to stand out straight when held at the crust, despite the amount of toppings! 

What toppings do you like to load on your pizza?!