Caramelized Onion, Roasted Butternut Squash, Spinach, Gouda & Chardonnay Risotto

Nothing like a glass of wine to ease one of a week full of stress. I like to drink wine, but I also like to cook with it, and if you are Drunk Kitchen then you like to drink while cooking – also fun, just take the precautionary safety measures when doing the latter. Instead of doing a Hannah Hart style of drunk kitchen I am just going to start a cooking with alcohol mini series with this being the first post. It will constitute recipes with alcohol (probably wine for dinners, hard liquors for baked goods, well wine works for that too) and drinking on the side – of course in moderation…

My stomach does somersaults when it has a good risotto. I mean what’s not to love about it – it’s decadent and you know what sometimes, more often than not, you just have to spoil yourself. This is top notch like ***** risotto and boy I am sure glad I have leftovers of it.

I was just thinking of making butternut risotto but once I got to the kitchen a different idea developed and I ended up with this awesome-ness.

Since you puree the butternut it gets a really nice and creamy texture – you wouldn’t even need to add the cheeses (vegan option), but I wanted the extra flavor dimension of the gouda.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. olive oil

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 clove/1 tsp. minced garlic

1 cup risotto

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup Chardonnay

3/4 cup roasted butternut squash

handful of spinach

1/4 cup gouda

1/8 cup parmesan

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel and cut butternut squash into thick slices (make sure to remove seeds and pulp where needed). Lay squash slices on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in large pan. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until golden/caramelized.

Add the risotto and toss for 1 minute, then pour in 1/2 cup of the broth. Make sure you are cooking on low-medium heat

Stir (always in the same direction) and wait until the broth is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup Chardonnay.

In a blender, blend 1/4 cup chardonnay, 1/4 cup broth and the butternut squash to make a puree.

Add the butternut squash puree to the risotto mixture. Stir in and add more broth if needed.

Continue to add broth and stir risotto until all the broth is gone. About 20 minutes – taste test your risotto to make sure it is sort to your liking. Once the risotto is cooked, add the spinach and stir in.

Once the spinach is cooked down, add the cheese and stir in until melted.

Remove from heat and cover with a clean towel for 3-5 minutes.

Plate and serve warm with more wine on the side…and the bottle on reserve

 

Cheers

n

 

To Parmesan & Herbs Focaccia Bread

Who doesn’t like bread? There is a worldwide understanding that bread is delicious. I’ve been wanting to make my own Focaccia for a while and today seemed like a good day to put my Kitchen-Aid’s dough hook to use.I dipped it with a bit of marinara sauce and it was like I had been transported back to Italy – bliss!

Ingredients:

1-1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt1/2 tsp white sugar

1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried basilfew shakes of crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 pinch ground black pepper

1-1/2 tsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.

When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Cheers

n

To Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

It’s March meaning green, rainbow-y Irish things are just gonna start flooding the internet. Including tons of recipes with the water of Ireland – aka Guinness

Perfectly drafted at the Guinness Factory

Such a festive time that I love because it gives me an excuse to bake. Now yesterday was Unofficial on my college campus which is always the first Friday in March to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day since the Official holiday always falls during spring break. Yesterday the campus scene was tons of people clad in green specially made Unofficial shirts with lots of decorative accessories like Leprechaun hats and green beads. It’s pretty much a monochromatic type of day, with the sole emphasis on green. Complete with the bars serving green beer and a bagpipe player providing us some great traditional tunes – what a treat.

So have some Irish cheer and wow people with these cupcakes that will have them speaking in Irish accents…maybe (:

I do know that I loathed Guinness until I went to the Guinness factory in Dublin and my world was changed –

 

The dark hue of the beer turned me off before, but after being sleep deprived from a 10 day back-packing trip through the lands of the cool accents (England, Scotland, Ireland), finishing my free Guinness in the Gravity Bar at the end of my factory tour felt like the greatest achievement in the world

and then that was quickly replaced with racing across Dublin (quite tipsy mind you) to Trinity College in hopes of seeing the Great Book of Celts and getting in for FREE because it was about to close! I call that success and my backpacking partner agrees whole-heartedly, we still double over with laughter when remembering our Irish shenanigans.

But you came here for a cupcake recipe, my bad. Start Delicious-ness NOW!

Recipe taken from Brown Eyed Baker, one of my favorite baking blogs

Ingredients:

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 40 minutes | Bake Time: 17 minutes

Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout (I used Draught and it worked great)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream (I replaced with a Very Vanilla Yoplait Yogurt)

Whiskey Ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

Baileys Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

(I went light on the frosting – halved what the recipe called for – next time I think I would do 1 1/2 cups butter, 4-4 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 4-5 Tbsp. Bailey’s – because I think the full recipe would be too much frosting)

1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped

note: (mine didn’t thicken up much until I put it in the cupcakes)

4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip, or an apple corer), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

These were splendid and a definite crowd pleaser – and they stayed moist (most important part about a cupcake)

Did I mention that I made these in the wee hours of the morning (1am and I am tots an 11pm bedtime get up at 6/7am kinda gal) I think I will only resort to late night baking when necessary – don’t want my roomies hating me for banging pots and pans around!

Cheers to a delightful March

n