Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Creative Kitchen

Inspired by the idea that I seem to make the same stuff over and over for dinner, I ventured forth this past week and tried two new recipes.
I've always wanted to try my hand at making risotto (a creamy Italian rice dish). I found the arborio rice on sale in the grocery this week and that was all the motivation I need to move beyond thought and into action. I felt like a gourmet as I looked into my basket and saw arborio rice, olive oil, onion, and chicken broth. Now, I must admit, this sat on my counter for about a week until I had the time (and nerve) to give it a try. I followed the basic directions for risotto on the side of the rice container but then took creative license as I added parmesan cheese and chopped broccoli. The end result was FULL of FLAVOR and quite good and resulted in a recipe that I plan to make again.
My other culinary adventure was inspired by three small steaks I had in the fridge, the fact that our grill is out of propane, and our local grocery's meat counter. I knew I somehow wanted to make some sort of a "stuffed" steak out of the steaks I had. Emily and I checked out the meat counter and read what they put into their grillers and we chose and Italian griller. Once again, I felt just like Rachel Ray or Julia Child as I selected fresh Italian sausage, fresh mozzerella cheese, and bacon from the meat counter. I took the steaks and butterflied and pounded them thin. I made a stuffing mix of Italian sausage,Italian breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, parm cheese, and an egg. I spread this inside the steaks, added two thick slices of mozzerella cheese, folded it over and wrapped two slices of thick bacon around it. Seared it on olive oil and finished it in the oven for 20 minutes. They were INCREDIBLE! Full of flavor and I was amazed how for not alot of money, those three little steaks turned into something very substantial.
I did learn a few lessons from all of this. Fresh mozzerella is so much better and flavorful than the pre-grated bags. The same thing was true with the bacon and the sausage. I've always shopped very, very frugally and I'm reaching a point where I still have to be cost-conscious but at the same time, I was good flavor in my meals. By using small amounts I can still stretch the dollars without giving up the flavor.
What a conincidence, my counsin, Gretchen did a post on a vegetarian version of risotto today too!!

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