Red Wine Olive Risotto

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So, I went to Costco the other day after a workout. Bad idea. I was impulsively adding things to the cart and somehow ended up with a 5lb jar of kalamata olives in there. Apparently I was craving something salty delicious? Needless to say, now I’m struggling to get through this huge jar of olives before my husband starts harassing me about how much space it takes up in our fridge. That’s valuable real estate right there, people.

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Fortunately, I bookmarked this risotto recipe months ago so while hunting down olive recipes, it popped up. You know me and my risottos. (Really, it’s just an excuse to crack open a bottle – or box – of wine.) This risotto was fantastic. I know that Sues waxed poetic about how you either love or hate olives. I obviously fall into the love column. But my husband? He’s rather indifferent. He doesn’t mind them mixed in things but can’t just stand to eat them or if they overpower a dish. So this risotto was for me. Not him. And I paired it with roasted chicken and steamed green beans and it was perfection.

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Red Wine Olive Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2-4 1/2 C chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 1/2 C arborio rice
  • 1 C dry red wine, like merlot or cabernet
  • 1 C pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 C parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 large basil leaves, chiffonade for garnsih

Instructions:

1) Start by putting your chicken or vegetable broth into a small saucepan and bringing to a boil. Then lower heat to a simmer and keep broth hot.

2) In the meantime, melt the butter into a medium or large size saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s melted, add in the chopped onion and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add in minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

3) Now add the arborio rice and cook for about 2 minutes, until grains are translucent-looking.

4) Pour in the cup of dry red wine and stir a bit, until the rice absorbs all the wine.

5) Begin adding in the chicken or vegetable broth, half a cup at a time. After every addition, stir until rice absorbs broth. Then add another 1/2 C. You don’t have to stir constantly, but make sure you’re keeping your eye on the rice, stirring occasionally, and adding more liquid when needed. When the rice is nice and tender, but still firm, you can stop adding broth.

6) Then fold in the chopped kalamata olives and stir for about 1 minute. And stir in the parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil.

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Date Night

Last night, Jodus and I made our way into the city for a much needed date night – after me ditching him for a week for sunshine, we needed some quality time together doing something fun.

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We got into the city around 3pm and had the munchies so we stopped in at Pike Place Brewery for a pint of beer (stout for me, ipa for him) and a side of nachos that were amazing and almost spoiled our appetite for dinner but was totally worth it.

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We walked the streets of the city a bit, pleasantly surprised with the Christmas lights already donned on trees lining the streets. We did a little shopping – I scored a couple pairs of boots and my first ever pair of skinny jeans. It was actually kind of epic because we so rarely go shopping.

For dinner, we went to Purple, a swanky wine bar with a delicious looking menu. We saddled up at the bar since the wait for a table was over an hour. It actually worked out in our favor because the bartender was fabulous and we could easily bend her ear about the wines we were tasting.

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We started with flights of red wine – I selected the “A What From Where” flight that was very strange.

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Husband selected the “Spain” flight and definitely liked a couple.

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He liked the last one so much that we ended up ordering a bottle to go with our dinner.

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For dinner, I ordered the Gorgonzola and Pancetta pasta. It was very rich and amazing and makes me want to put walnuts in my pasta dishes.

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Huz ordered the Radicchio Pizza. He actually didn’t care for the flavor, no fault of the kitchen, so we switched.

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We finished off our meals by indulging in an Amaretto Flourless Chocolate Torte that was extremely decadent and I polished off most of the dish myself.

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Sufficiently stuffed to the gills, we slowly made our way back towards the ferry terminal. We had a little time to kill so we swung into fado for a drink and it just so happened to be 80’s night so now I have Tainted Love stuck in my head.

 

Super Simple Sangria

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Yesterday, we had a BBQ at our home. We invited friends, family, and coworkers and had about 35 fabulous people show up bearing food, wine, and ready for a good time.

It was the kind of party where you are so busy making memories that you don’t think about photographing them.

It was the kind of party where you are having such a good time that you forget to eat.

It was the kind of party where your glass is always full and there is a smile plastered on your face.

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Super Simple Sangria

2 bottles of cheap red wine (I used Covey Run $4.99 Cab Sauv and Merlot)
1 2-L ginger ale
2 oranges, sliced
2 limes, sliced
3 lemons, sliced
4 cups ice, more as necessary

A couple hours prior to serving, gently squeeze sliced fruit in large carafe or punch bowl. Add red wine, stir and let set.

Just prior to serving, stir in ginger ale and ice.

Serves two Hortin’s.

Haha…

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Mushroom Stroganoff

While digging around for ideas for meatless dishes, I ran across this recipe for Mushroom Stroganoff.

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I have a thing for stroganoff. I think it goes hand in hand with the thing I have for sour cream. Maybe. And whenever I think about stroganoff, I think about my mommy – she’s made me a lot of stroganoff in her time! I’ve never actually had a ton of success with it on my own; I think it is because I always buy cheap meat so it’s tough and chewy, not melt in your mouth delicious.

But stroganoff without meat? Now that, I can do!

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 pound baby bello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 Tbls soy sauce
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 8 ounces dried egg noodles
Directions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring broth, wine, soy sauce, and Worcestershire to a boil and reduce by half.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  3. At the same time, melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring until caramelized. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are limp and browned. 
  4. Add reduced broth mixture to onions and mushrooms.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, stir together the yogurt or sour cream; then blend into the mushrooms. Return the skillet to the burner, and continue cooking over low heat, just until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked egg noodles.

I love it when recipes are easy and delicious.

Start with the chopping…

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Can I have a mushroom, please?

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Yes, she likes mushrooms. And spinach. And onion. She’s weird.

Start a small saucepan with the broth, wine and sauces to start reducing down.

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Caramelize the onions.

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Oh lordy, heaven!

And add the mushrooms. Cook down until they are nice and tender.

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Add the sauce and yogurt, stir up really well, heat through if necessary.

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Serve over a bed of egg noodles. (I used quinoa noodles so they are obnoxiously yellow.)

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Oh, dear. This was delicious.

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I’m giving Mom a run for her money!

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This was soooo yummy. Must. Make. Again. ASAP. You too. Go, make this! Now!

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HUZ IN THE KITCH: Italian Chicken with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

So, if you’ve been following Leah’s blog for awhile, you should know that we’re regulars at our local Costco.  We swing by there almost every Friday afternoon/evening (you don’t want to be there around mid-day on a Saturday).  We pick up staples such as: eggs, bananas, spinach, onions, frozen veggies, etc.  Every now and then we get something fun and exciting.  On one of our more recent trips to Costco, we were given something fun and exciting for FREE!

The very first edition of “Smart Cooking – The Costco Way”

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That’s right. Now Costco has published a recipe book that utilizes only their products. I was skeptical at first, but they actually have some rather intriguing recipes.  Leah went through the book and flagged a bunch of recipes she wanted to try and recommended that I give this one a shot:

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Italian Chicken with
Mushroom Marsala Sauce
Cardile Brothers/Giorgio Fresh/
Monterey Mushrooms

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
halves (about 6 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound small fresh white and/
or crimini mushrooms, sliced
(about 6 cups)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup Marsala or red wine
1 cup chicken broth

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Lightly coat both sides of chicken with flour.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet. Add mushrooms and onions; cook and stir until tender, about 7 minutes.

Stir in Marsala and chicken broth. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer, covered, until no pink remains in the center, 10-12 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 170°F. Makes 4 servings.

This dish was really simple (even for me).  For the most part, I stuck right to the recipe only deviating by reducing the chicken breasts to two (because we didn’t need any leftovers) and substituting some leftover rice for the pasta.

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Oh yeah, I also added an India Pale Ale (also purchased at Costco), but that was for the cook.  What can I say, I’m a bit of a lush.

The prep work was quick and painless.

089101   Get ready for something else fun and exciting….

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I’m pretty sure that this was my first time filleting a chicken breast. Can you believe it?  I didn’t do a good job filleting it into two equal halves, though.  I ended up with one big piece and two smaller ones.

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A quick dash of salt and pepper and a flour coating…..and into the pan they went.096 098 099 100

Cooked about 2 minutes on each side until they were golden, then removed them from the pan and tossed in the onions and mushrooms.

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After the onions became translucent and the mushrooms cooked down a bit, I added 1 cup of red wine (our favorite boxed wine isn’t available at Costco, sadly) and another 1 cup of chicken broth.  I then returned the chicken to the pan, covered it, and let it cook for about 10 minutes.  Before serving, I used our new digital meat thermometer to verify that the center of the chicken was over 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Mmmmmmmm.  Dinner also featured some green beans which were conveniently nuked in a steam bag (gotta get your greens in too).  

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This dinner wouldn’t win any beauty contests, but it was quick, easy, and turned out pretty good.  I don’t know if I’d be that excited to make it again, though.  It didn’t have anything that made it memorable.  It definitely could’ve used a healthy dose of garlic and something else to spice it up a bit, I think.

Maybe I’ll choose something a little more challenging the next time I’m manning the kitchen. Hmmmm…

Dining Out: Mor Mor Bistro

Every Friday night, Mor Mor Bistro hosts Flight School.

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Every Friday at the MorMor Bar, Dorian will be offering 4 great pours of hand selected wines with information and discussion on each. Cost is just $15 per person and includes a great platter of different dishes to sample with your wine flight.

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This past Friday, Jodus and I tried it out for the first time.

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I had actually never been to Mor Mor before but have been wanting to try it out. I even subscribed to their newsletter without even trying them because I had that much faith in their ability to live up to my expectations. It’s in Poulsbo which is my favorite town in Kitsap County so it had to be good, right?

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The atmosphere of the bistro was romantic.

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And the live musicians that came in definitely added to that mood.

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For Flight School, we saddled up to the bar and were immediately presented with 4 wine glasses each and a little card with what each wine was. (This proved to be very helpful later on!)

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The bartender walked up through each wine right away. He was incredibly knowledgeable on each of the wines, their wineries, the owners of the wineries and what made each wine so special.

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I was hoping that the whole evening would be more interactive like them giving us one wine at a time and going through and talking about what flavors we should be pulling out, much like a wine tasting but this was not that. By the time I got to the third and fourth wines, I had forgotten the notes he had mentioned about them.

The third wine did turn out to be our favorite of the night, we weren’t duly impressed with the other selections.

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I would probably purchase this wine if I saw it at Central.

To accompany our wines, we were given a tasting plate.

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Found on the plate: a small bowl of mixed nuts, half of an avocado filled with a balsamic reduction, olive tapenade, some sort of a unorthodox peach salsa, a cheese similar to brie, a couple of crostini’s, shredded pork topped with lightly picked vegetables, and a couple pieces of crusty bread.

Everything tasted delicious but my one complaint would be that i would have liked to have more bread and crostini to put all the fabulous bites on! Half way through, we were just eating bites of avocado and tapenade with no vehicle other than an fork.

All in all, we enjoyed the experience and can see ourselves coming back for more. For $30 for the both of us, the price is definitely right for us. This would also make a really fun Girls Night Out, assuming I had girlfriends to go out with.

Which I don’t.

Not Portuguese Chicken

Lunch date at Sushi Yama with boy went well except for the fact that they were swamped when we first arrived and it took us forever to get water and two girls sat down next to us that were extremely chatty and annoying.

Anyway, here our our plates that we shared.

We split these 50/50:

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And I had one of each of these:

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And he ate this one on his own!

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Then we went to go look at wedding bands for him and then I headed back to work!

Ok, on to dinner!

Portuguese Chicken

Taken from All Recipes… I was quickly informed by a Portugal native that this is not at all a Portuguese dish. But whatever. It still tasted yum.

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 bone-in 2 boneless filleted chicken breast halves, with skin
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, or as needed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup half & half
Directions
  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and cook until nicely browned on both sides. Pour in chicken stock and white wine, using enough chicken stock so that the chicken pieces are covered halfway to two thirds by liquid. Add whole garlic cloves. Reduce heat to medium-low, sprinkle flour over the top of the contents of the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  2. When chicken is cooked through, remove to a dish, and keep warm. Boil the liquid in the skillet until it is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. Whisk cream into the reduced liquid, breaking up the garlic cloves as much as you can. Return chicken to the pan, and heat through.

 

Jodus was a good photographer… until he got distracted by Scrabble while things were cooking.

And things got touch and go there for awhile. Had to improvise with the sauce. But it still turned out well!

2 chicken breasts, filleted.

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Blurry garlic.

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For laughs.

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Butter

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Chicken in buttah

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Add ze vino

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Add ze broth

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Add ze garlic

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Top with flour

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Vino for us… boy size + girl size

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And this is where we got distracted and there are no more pictures of the dinner process.

le sigh

Plated with basmati:

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Peas with agave + buttah + walnuts

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There is no such thing as portion control with veggies.

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Chicken was divine. Reminded me of me mum’s Farmhouse Chicken which is even more divine.

Scrabble + “Accidental Husband”

-L4L-