Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Review & Recipe

As you all have witnessed I am a cookbook slut. I can't get me enough of cookbooks. I buy the damn things every chance I get. I've run out of shelf space for all my cookbooks. We are tripping on them. JR is threatening to toss some of them out. I, of course, got all librarian on his ass by saying; "I don't weed the cookbook range".

Recently, as most of you know, I acquired 24 new ones. New to me at least. Among the gems are few clunkers. One such clunker is titled, "Meatless Cooking: Celebrity Style", copyright 1975. The some contributors to this cookbook are pretty interesting. And, when I say interesting I mean "never have stepped foot in a kitchen". Such as:

  • Macaroni and Cheese by Nancy and Ronald Reagan. Why is it that I just can't visualize Nancy in the kitchen making a big ole pot of mac and cheese?
  • Buttermilk Soup with Oat Cakes by Victor Borge (pleeease!) and
  • Soybean Casserole by Rodney Dangerfield. Was Rodney a vegetarian? This just seemed highly unlikely to me.
Not one of the recipes in this cookbook would I even try let alone pass on to you all. JR and the Boy have to suffer through some tremendous flops to get to the good ones that I pass down. None in this cookbook will I even inflict on them. Hey, maybe that should be the title of a cookbook, "Don't try these at home". I'm just looking out for the masses.

I will pass on one that is so good it should be a sin. (Matt-man, it is not a sin. It has no meat. Just looking out for you buddy.) I got this off a box of Fantastic World Foods - Arborio Rice that I picked up on a manager's special. I buy my arborio rice in the bulk bins but kept the box just for this recipe.

As you all know I'm not real good at following recipes exactly and refuse to buy ingredients that I wouldn't normally have around the house or run to the store if I've run out of something. For instance, the mushrooms, shallot and cream in this recipe.

Fantastic Tuscan Mushroom Risotto

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
5 cups vegetable broth (use chicken if you roll that way)
1/2 cup porcini mushrooms (use any ole kind you have or none like I did last night)
1 cup white mushrooms (see above)
2 Tbsp shallots, chopped (any onion will do)
1/4 cup butter (recipe calls for unsalted, are they kidding? Use regular)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup white wine (so I added a little extra, sue me. I could have drank the last couple of tablespoons)
1/4 cup heavy cream (no cream last night but I did use some non-fat evaporated milk. Worked great and saved tons of calories)
1 cup Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese, grated (word of caution, don't skimp on the cheese. Unless you don't like cheese. You don't like cheese? What's wrong with you?)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (skip the salt; it is already in the butter)
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped (I used dried and a tad bit more than a Tbsp. Okay, like a small palm full more.)

  1. On medium heat in a large pan combine butter, garlic, shallots, mushrooms and arborio rice.
  2. Heat for about 2 minutes, stirring well.
  3. Add white wine and let simmer on low for 2 minutes.
  4. With lid off, add broth and cream and let simmer on low until liquid is absorbed, approximately 25 minutes, stirring regularly. You can leave this alone to do other things or what I did which was sit on my butt and drink red wine. It only needs a good stir about every 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add cheese of choice and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and grated cheese. Makes about 4 healthy servings. Healthy nothing, this makes like about 10 servings at our house. JR and I will be having this for lunch and I make chowder out of the left overs.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.



  1. Tessa and I were just talking about looking for a risotto recipe to try out!!! Sounds delish.......

  2. You're right, I don't think Ron and Nancy spent much time making down home meals but I could be wrong. Once again, your recipe looks great... meatless and all.

  3. I think I can see Nancy making mac and cheese, but definitely not Hilary.

  4. I really have a soft spot for older and even elderly cookbooks. I've acquired most of mine from library booksales (Personally, I believe librarians to be among the most highly intelligent of people).
    I like your risotto recipe; since I have a penchant for altering ingredients, I will attempt to replace the cream with yoghurt when I try it!

  5. Keli: When you try the yogurt let me know how it goes. I was thinking of silken tofu myself but didn't have any defrosted.

  6. Okay, please tell this small (tiny) town farm girl what arborio rice is? Is it a white rice, our Wal Mart, Safeway, local tiny food town grocery and Kroger do not have bulk items.

    Do I look for the word ARBORIO. Maybe you could do a post on this rice? (I would assume it is gluten free :) being it is rice.)

    I have copied the recipe and will plan on making it with Jasmin rice (? would that work?)


  7. Yum! Do you make notes in your cookbooks? Mine are filled with little notations in the margins. Ingredients that I've substituted, cooking times that work better and the famous note of all "NEVER MAKE THIS AGAIN! IT'S GROSS!" I figure if I ever lose it or pass it on, I'll be saving someone a night of hell.

  8. Love this look into your recent cookbook haul. And I think the mac-and-cheese recipe is because Ronald Reagan consistently said it was his favorite dish. Despite Nancy's attempts to spruce him up, he really and truly was a sort of downhome type -- that's what I've read, anyway.

  9. This sounds like my kind of comfort food - hey I'm finally getting around to weeding through the cookbooks - interested? Email me.

  10. I can promise you that any attempt by me to make this will end up with my daughter and I at the local pizza parlor

  11. The name of the cookbook--Meatless Cooking: Celebrity Style--makes me laugh really hard. For some reason.