the rainy kitchen

cooking through the rain in southeast alaska

Category: appetizers

arancini, fried yumminess!

The other night we had a little dinner party at our house and our friend Katie brought up Risotto she had made. Katie makes great Risotto and this was no exception, it was awesome and there was lots of it! Thank you, Katie! I have been wanting to make Arancini balls for quite some time, but I so rarely make Risotto, that I hadn’t gotten around to it. Good news for me: Katie left us with the leftover Risotto, the main ingredient for Arancini.

Arancini are fried balls of rice,  stuffed with whatever you like. They are so good and as it turns out, really fun to make!
Some people make it all from scratch, but I think leftover Risotto is the perfect thing to use for this.  I did a very basic stuffing, but next time I will experiment more. I am thinking blue cheese, mushrooms and caramelized onions. Mmmm.

Arancini

leftover Risotto. Apx 3 – 4 cups, cold
cheese, meats or veggies you’d like to use for the stuffing (I used mozzarella and peas)
2-3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 – 3 cups bread crumbs
canola oil or another oil that you can heat to a high temperature

Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Form the leftover Risotto into fairly good sized balls, using about a half a cup of rice for each ball. Push a hole into the middle with your thumb and shove in whatever you’d like to find in the middle of your fried goodness. Like I said above, I used mozzarella and peas, but you can use meat, more flavorful cheese, whatever you like. Once you’ve stuffed them and closed them back up into a nice ball,  place on cookie sheet.  I found that if my hands were wet when I rolled the balls, it was easier. Once you have made all the balls, put in the fridge for an hour or so.

Before you take the balls out of the fridge, get your breading goods together. I used three pasta bowls. One for flour, one for eggs (well whipped with a fork) and one for bread crumbs. Roll the balls through each in that order, letting the extra egg drip off before rolling in the bread crumbs. I stopped and cleaned off my hands a couple of times.

Use a deep pan to heat up your oil, you want it to be enough oil to easily cover the balls (I cooked 2 at a time), about 4 inches worth. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. When I fry things (which I don’t do very often) I like to let the oil strain off in a wooden bowl lined with paper towels, but you can get a plate or whatever and line it with paper towels. Once you’re all ready, put your first ball of goodness in the oil. I cooked them two at a time. After about 3 minutes, when they’re a nice golden brown, remove and put on the paper towel. Eat them while they’re still warm. You can serve them with marinara sauce or anything else you like! Just enjoy immediately. Fun and yummy!

 

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roasted figs with goat cheese, thyme and honey

Figs are still in the grocery stores. They are so yummy and there are endless things you can do with them. I have only started playing with figs in the kitchen over the past couple years. I have found a few recipes on line for roasting figs with goat cheese with a variety of other ingredients. I really like thyme with goat cheese and I generally have good honey on hand. So, the other night I made this appetizer to share with some friends coming for dinner. It was quick, easy and good.

Roasted Figs with Goat Cheese, Thyme and Honey

8-10 fresh figs
goat cheese
olive oil
good honey
fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse figs and cut off the tops. Slice an X in the top of the figs, going fairly deeply into the fig. Stuff each fig with a goat cheese (about a teaspoon’s worth in each fig). Drizzle olive oil into a baking dish. Put each stuffed fig in the dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the figs have started to get soft and juicy. Remove and transfer to a platter drizzled with honey. Drizzle more honey over the top of the figs and add more fresh thyme. Serve alone or with a sliced fresh baguette. If you serve with a baguette, the entire fig can be smeared across the bread. Otherwise, you can just pop the whole figs right in your mouth. One of the best parts of serving with bread is to use the bread to soak up the honey and the juices from the figs on the plate. YUM!

 

first fresh eggs!

In April, we got 6 baby chicks. The other day, we got our first little egg! It was just a bit smaller than a tablespoon in size and about the cutest egg I’ve ever seen. One of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh eggs is poached and plopped on a salad of fresh greens, especially arugula. It makes for a quick and easy lunch. YUM!


Poached Egg on Fresh Arugula

Mix a couple handfuls of fresh arugula with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, good olive oil and white wine vinegar. Poach your egg. While it’s still warm, add it to the salad and dust with a bit of salt and pepper. Cut it open and enjoy with sparkling water.

How to Poach and Egg

Simmer a few inches of water in a pot. Add a few splashes of white vinegar (this helps hold the egg together when you put it in). Crack your egg open into a small dish. This will make it a lot easier to put in the water. You can do it directly from the shell but I think it’s a lot harder. Once the water is simmering, take a spoon or spatula and create a whirlpool in the water. Gently place the egg in the center. The spinning should help the egg stay together. If it still separates, you can use your spoon to push the whites gently back toward the yoke. The egg will take anywhere from 3-5 minutes to poach, depending on the size. I think this tiny one actually took about 2 minutes, but most eggs are bigger! To tell if it’s done, you can use a slotted spoon to take it out and gently touch the top (you can also do this in the water with your spoon). You want a bit of a jiggle, and you want the whites to be white, not transparent. Poached eggs are good on so many thing and as our chickens lay more we’ll be making them in many ways in The Rainy Kitchen. Stay tuned!

a simple fig appetizer

Figs are in season. YUM! Figs are delicious and so good for you. I also love that they happen to be totally beautiful, both inside and out. Lately I have taken to keeping frozen puff pastry on hand (store bought) which makes putting together a quick galette hors d’oeuvres no problem. This is what I’ve been doing with the figs. It’s simple to make and quite yummy (and very pretty if I do say).

Fig and Goat Cheese Galette

1 store bought puff pastry
6 ripe figs
10 0z goat cheese
fresh thyme
1 small onion
2 tbs Grand Marnier
.5 tsp garam masala mix
butter
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 375. Take the puff pastry out of the freezer and follow directions for thawing. While the pastry is thawing, thinly slice the onion and put it in a pan to caramelize with a bit of butter. Meanwhile, put the goat cheese in a bowl. Add Grand Marnier, 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, and the Garam Masala. Mix together. Use a rolling pin to stretch out the thawed pastry just a bit. Put it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and use a fork to poke holes all around it. Put the goat cheese mixture in the middle and spread it out evenly with your fingers, leaving about an inch around the edges to fold over later. Slice the figs and lay the slices evenly over the goat cheese. Lay the caramelized onions around the whole thing. Fold over the edges gently and brush with egg white. Put in the oven for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the figs get a nice color to them, and the pastry is golden around the edges. You can remove mid way and brush with more egg white if you’d like. Let cool and add sprigs of fresh thyme. Slice into wedges before serving (this is extra easy if you use a pizza cutter).

an easy and elegant appetizer

We are back in Juneau after a fantastic trip! We were very lucky and came home to a sunny weekend, which prompted some yard time with friends. While we were in Idaho, at our friend Robin’s house, she made a delicious appetizer that I wanted to make for our friends, so she sent along the recipe. Please note, she got this recipe from Williams-Sanoma. I thought it was too good not to share. Thanks Robin for making it for us!

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Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

1 dozen ripe Roma tomatoes
5-6 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1 log goat cheese
Salt and pepper
Fresh Thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Quarter and toss tomatoes with some olive oil and salt and pepper.  Foil line a cookie sheet and place a rack on top, lay the tomatoes on it and roast for an hour and a half. Slice garlic and ad to 1/2 cup of olive oil. Fry garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and gently toss with the roasted tomatoes. Let sit at room temp until ready to serve.

Slice a log of goat cheese into half inch slices with dental floss (thinner will crumble). Lay on a platter and drizzle with half a cup of olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and a bunch of fresh thyme. Cover and let sit at room temp until ready to serve.

For serving, slice a good baguette into 1/4 inch slices. Enjoy!

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