Tag Archives: dinner

shrimp risotto with peas

My life is crazy. Let me just put that out there. Since I finished medical school almost ten years ago, I have worked full time (and sometimes way more than full time). Almost 6-1/2 years ago, my daughter was born. And then three years after that, my son was born. And I still work full time, because I love what I do. My husband works a lot, too, because he loves what he does. My daughter is in kindergarten, and my son is in preschool. Both kids just started swim practice – this week, in fact – and that activity now takes up a good hour in the evening twice a week.

shrimp

So, my point? It’s really hard to make time to cook. Really, really hard. I have found some tools that help me survive these crazy work weeks. One of them is my husband, who shares in all the household and parenting responsibilities equally — but you can’t have him. A couple of other tools that I rely on are my slow cooker – an ancient appliance that was a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law and looks like it might be straight out of the 1960s – and my electric pressure cooker, a Cuisinart.

Earlier this week, during one of those usual crazy days, I decided to utilize my pressure cooker to make a risotto. It’s so simple and straightforward, and I can have a risotto prepped in no time. Thankfully, I like risotto. The pressure cooker is good for other things too, but the fact that I could make risotto in the pressure cooker was a bit of a surprise for me. Hence, this post.

shrimp

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As I mentioned in my last post, we have this great little fish market in my neighborhood. I stopped by on the way home from work and picked up some fresh St. Augustine shrimp. Everything else I had on hand. Turned out to be a perfect – and quick – weeknight meal, with plenty of leftovers for the next night.

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For the wine for this meal (both for cooking and for drinking), I opened a 2005 Franciscan Chardonnay from Napa. This chardonnay is a lighter, crisper style than one might think of in a traditional chardonnay. It worked well with this dish, but I probably would have preferred a sauvignon blanc or a riesling given the hint of spiciness in the shrimp from the crushed red pepper.

franciscan chardonnay

Shrimp Risotto with Peas

(Adapted from Bon Appetit; Directions are for using an electric pressure cooker. You can always use your traditional risotto recipe if you don’t have a pressure cooker.)
Ingredients for Shrimp

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

3/4 pound shrimp

1/2 cup dry white wine

Ingredients for Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 to 3/4 cup finely chopped onion or shallot

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon kosher salt

5 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 cup frozen peas (more or less)

Preparation

In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Add shrimp and saute for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp begin to turn pink. Add 1/2 cup white wine and simmer until shrimp are done, another 2-3 minutes. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon and set aside. Pour cooking liquid into bowl and reserve.

In the pressure cooker, place 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon butter and the chopped onion or shallot, and saute for 2 or 3 minutes until the onion/shallot is translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add in the arborio rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is opaque (about 3-4 minutes). Add the wine and salt and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Add 4-1/2 cups chicken stock, stir, and set the pressure cooker to high pressure and cook for 6 minutes. When the 6 minutes is up, use the quick release to release the steam in the pressure cooker. Open the lid carefully.

To risotto, add in 1/4 cup of reserved shrimp cooking liquid and the last 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Stir until absorbed. Add in the shrimp and peas. Serve immediately.

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simple sunday dinner

Sometimes I just crave a simple dinner, and Sunday was one of those days. After browsing through cookbooks and my latest food magazines, I just couldn’t get motivated to prep something creative and exciting. The fact that I had caught a cold over the weekend wasn’t helping matters, of course. It’s very hard to imagine cooking something fabulous when you can’t even smell it, you know?

brussels

With the warm weather we had yesterday – sunshine, low 70s – it seemed the perfect evening to use the grill. My husband made a quick trip to the grocery, and he came home with two steaks, a bag of Brussels sprouts, and potatoes.

fingerling potatoes

fingerling potatoes

The kids ate early, and during their bathtime, I prepped veggies and brought the steaks up to room temperature. The steaks were seasoned with olive oil,  Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and then grilled to about medium.  While the fingerling potatoes roasted in the oven, I sauteed the  Brussels sprouts in olive oil and seasoned them with Kosher salt and a dash of balsamic vinegar at the end.

steak dinner

Served with an easy-drinking glass of 2005 Marietta cabernet sauvignon, it was a perfect simple Sunday dinner.

(Note: the last photo illustrates what bad lighting does to an otherwise decent photo of good food. )

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a grits revelation

Being from the south, I know grits. And I like grits. [Side note: I feel like I should throw in a Ya’ll or two here, but I’ll resist.]

Anyhoo…I’ve never actually made grits. I confess that in the distant past, I have microwaved a package of instant grits for my kids, but only once or twice. A long time ago. Before I turned over this new culinary leaf.
creamy grits with pulled pork
Grits have become very popular it seems. I’ve seen lots of recipes for creamy grits, and I’ve seen them show up more frequently on restaurant menus. The best brand according to all the hype is Anson Mills. For my first try at making grits, I really wanted to make the Anson Mills variety, but none of the local markets here carry them. I was able to find a brand in the local Fresh Market called Charleston’s Own, so I decided to go with those. What the heck.

Given that it was a work-day, I put a pork shoulder in the slow cooker (following this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens) first thing in the morning, and I worked on the grits when I came home. For the creamy grits, I semi-followed this recipe from Gourmet magazine. [Another side note:  I really, really, really miss that magazine.]
pulled pork with creamy stone ground grits
And these grits were the best grits I’ve ever eaten. The pulled pork was juicy and had some heat to it at the finish, and the creaminess of the grits was the perfect counterbalance to that heat. My husband — who told me just as I was serving it up, “You know, I don’t really like grits,” — really enjoyed the entire dish, grits included.

Never, ever again will I tear open and microwave a package of instant grits. I’m a stone-ground grits convert.

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