Friday, April 9, 2010

Food Revolution: Salmon with Chickpea Ragu

A couple weeks ago my husband and I tuned in for the premiere of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. A show about food and nutrition? Of course I was interested! The images of five and six-year-old’s being served pizza for breakfast hasn’t left my mind. I’ll admit to enjoying a slice of leftover pizza occasionally on a Saturday morning, however I never follow it up with a lunch comprised of mystery meat, French fries, and flavored milk. I admire Mr. Oliver’s passion to change this community and am hopeful that we’ll see some results.

If you haven’t seen an episode yet, I’d encourage you to check it out. The show may raise your eyebrows about what children are being served to eat in the public school system, and what kind of food is being consumed at dinner tables across America.

On that note, I’d like to share with you a new salmon recipe I tried a few weeks ago. This is a healthy recipe that combines your protein and veggies in a one-plate presentation. We really enjoyed it, and it is definitely a dinner you can feel good about eating!

I'd like to send a huge congratulations to my friend, Sunny, who, at 38.5 weeks, delivered two healthy, beautiful baby boys on Wednesday!

Salmon with Chickpea Ragu
(From Ellie Krieger’s So Easy)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons, plus more for garnish
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(Kate added a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes)
4 (6 oz.) skinless salmon fillets

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the carrot, zucchini, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the carrots are firm-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stirring to incorporate completely. Add the chicken broth and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the liquid thickens slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and add 1 cup of the basil and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper (and crushed red pepper flakes, if using), and stir to incorporate. Cover to keep warm while you cook the salmon.

Preheat the broiler. Season the salmon with the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Broil the salmon for 8 to 10 minutes per inch thickness, turning once.

To serve, spoon 1 ½ cups of the chickpea ragu into a shallow bowl or rimmed plate. Top with a fillet of salmon and garnish with the ribbons of basil.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Foolin’ Here: Mushroom Risotto with Peas

While it’s April Fools Day, today was anything but foolish. We have temps in the high 70’s, bright sunny skies, and a sunset that just filled the sky with majestic pinks and purples. I love food, and I also love to be outside. Not the get down in the dirt kind of outside, but the sipping a glass of white wine while eating a Salmon Caesar Salad kind of outside. My husband and I dined alfresco this evening and even stopped at his favorite ice cream shop for a cone on their opening day. Today is also my dear friend “J”’s birthday, and I would like to wish her a fabulous day and a happy year ahead!

Yesterday was just as exciting when my new Giada cookbook came in the mail! My husband ordered Giada at Home off Amazon for me on Sunday evening. After paying the price for regular shipping, the cookbook made it to our house by the time I returned home from work yesterday! I flipped through it late last night and am already overwhelmed with which recipe to try first! In honor of her new book’s release this week, I’d like to provide you with one of my favorite recipes of hers. (Yes, I know, all of her recipes are my favorites!)

This risotto is from her first book, Everyday Italian. It is a deliciously hearty vegetarian risotto. The recipe makes a lot and can work as an accompaniment or an entrée. Risotto needs some TLC, so make sure you take your time when adding broth and stirring. You’ll be very satisfied with the end result! Your risotto will likely turn out darker than the one in the pictures. The porcini mushrooms I used were lighter than I’ve seen before, but my risotto usually turns out a medium-brown color. Enjoy!

Mushroom Risotto with Peas
(From Everyday Italian)
8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth (Kate uses vegetable broth)
½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
2/3 cup white wine
¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.