Black Rice Risotto with Garlic and Parmesan

I was sitting here, trying to write a lesson plan when my mind kept reliving an incredible dish we had months ago, making it very difficult to focus on learning standards. So, instead I switched gears and decided to try and dissect what we ate from memory and remake it, hoping for the same outcome.

Risotto is not in my wheelhouse. I make it often enough but I use only one recipe, the one that allows me to leave the stove because let’s be real, no one has time to stand, stir and repeat. I took this recipe but used black rice with the addition of some cream, fresh parmesan and garlic at the end.

I’m not going to lie, it was pretty good. Rich and garlicky, probably best alongside a light main dish or a salad.

*recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Easy Risotto

Ingredients

5 cups simmering chicken stock, divided.

1½ cups black rice

1/4 cup white wine

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cups heavy cream

Minced fresh garlic, as much as you want.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the black rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, or a heavy bottomed stock pan. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente aka still a bit chewy.

Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the parm, wine, cream and your garlic and stir vigorously for 3 minutes. Taste for salt, add pepper for kicks.

Top with more parm and garlic (if you want to).

SummerTime

Are you all enjoying summer as much as me? I mean, all the soccer, warm weather, some fun little trips, dinners with friends and finally once again, the horse races. We have had some good wine, warm pool days, lazy river days, and even dark speakeasy drinks. It feels good to get back out and do things again.

We met my brother in Vegas awhile back for a few days. We found a really good deal at the Mandalay Bay and spent one day downtown and one day at the lazy river. There is a speakeasy in the basement of the Mob Museum. We found the password that we needed when we approached the side door. The little window opened and the bouncer asked “who told you that?” And Shawna replies “We ain’t snitchin’!” He says, “good, we don’t want any snitches in here.”

Once inside the cool air we settled down with a really good adult beverage.

Next up was the The Golden Tiki. We hit our reservation on the spot and luckily got three seats at the bar. Bar = video poker. Which I didn’t do too terrible at. This place is tucked into a strip mall in China Town and it’s SO unassuming. When you enter the small dark bar you leave the heat and cigarette smoke behind and enter into a rated R Disney meets a Margaritaville set in Tahiti. The menu is full of rum drinks, the bathroom wallpaper is naked women and the stall handles are phallic shaped. I mean even the fake parrot has a foul mouth, Jimmy Buffet would be proud.

Mai Tais on fire. If you are looking for something different to do in Vegas, I would swing by for a rum drink.

After a quick bite to eat, we hit Fremont for some music and Roulette. The next day we spent the day floating down the lazy river at Mandalay. It was a fun two-day getaway.

We have had fun and sun pool days.

And all of us girls were able to have playdates with friends that we haven’t seen in ages.

Shawna and I took a drive out to the desert, via the scenic route.

Is this a herd? A gang? I mean, Bison right? They were just following each other…. as a gang would…in Eastern San Diego, picture worthy but not mug shot worthy… luckily.

We hoped to wine taste on our way out there but it was a Wednesday and we weren’t in luck…Until we were.

In the mountains we came across Shadow Mountain Vineyards. Inside the tasting room we were greeted by Pamela, she stood behind an old wooden bar and asked us what we liked. This was the best wine tasting experience I have had in a long time. It turned out that Pamela and her husband were the winemakers and we got to chatting about good wine and pairings. Turns out that they used to own the first wine bar in Dana Point, small world.

Pam let us taste everything and I liked a lot of it, especially the rosé. We did not leave empty handed. The best part, it was still San Diego County. #drinklocal

We also learned that the cactus flower only blooms once a day and then it dies. Well, I think that is what Pam said but we did just finish a few tastings. Ha, you can google it and let me know if I am right.

Anyhow, here is the beautiful, once a day flower that Pam picked early that morning.

And it’s source.

AND FINALLY, where the turf meets the surf. I love the horse races and (knock on wood) I had a pretty good day.

Fun times, with more to come.

Plenty of Fun

The hours seem to go by slow but the years, they fly by.

Now we found ourselves at the end of the school year.

So long first and fourth grade.

We jumped right into summer break by visiting the trampoline park.

And then….no and then.

We went to the beach.

Which, let me tell you is so disappointing after Mexico, sigh. The water here is cold, I couldn’t find one person offering adult beverages, you guys, we are doing it wrong!

At least the pool water temp was better.

My baby K bear.

She may catch up to my tan soon.

We also went to the movie theaters for the first time in ages. We saw Spirit Untamed. It was good, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Popcorn, candy and some tears!

Last but not least, we put out a slippin’ slide.

Jess and I used to spend the majority of our summers making up dance routines on these things. However we never took it to the next level and used soap. (why Jess, why?)

Probably because we were too busy using tanning oil and Sun-In and working on our dance moves, ha ha.

If someone can provide video of us, I dare you!

It’s nice to gather with friends and family that we have missed so much. Almost as good as getting my hands on some great local wine. If you haven’t been to Edwards Vineyards in Ramona, you need to make it a priority.

It’s officially summer.

The mornings are overcast but the days are warm and sunny. Plenty of fun to come!

Tomato Galette

This is a perfect dish to make when you have beautiful tomatoes begging to be used. Store bought pie crust makes it an easy weeknight meal and the addition of some golden caramelized onions can turn it into a weekend hit. Although you may not want to share, it’s that good!

INGREDIENTS

1 unbaked Pie Crust

1 (5oz) package of Boursin Garlic and Herbs Cheese

1 small yellow onion, sliced and caramelized

2 Large or 3 Medium Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Handful of torn or chiffonade basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 large egg with a drizzle of water, beaten

Preheat your oven 375 degrees.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, unroll the pie crust. Spread the Boursin cheese on the dough leaving about a 1 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle the onion over the cheese and then layer on your toms. Sprinkle with a healthy shower of salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and honey and then the basil.

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Gently fold the edges of the dough up over the tomatoes, repeating every two inches around the free formed pie. Brush the crust with the beaten egg wash.

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Pop into your heated oven and bake for *1 hour or until crust is golden.

* Don’t go too far, check at the 30 minute mark to make sure the crust isn’t burning,

Let cool for 5 minutes.

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Devour with a nice glass of wine.

A Little This a Little That

It’s been a week and a half since Averi’s transition from the crib and I have to say it’s gone very well. Let me follow that up with why. We made sure to do it when Shane would be home and that played a huge factor. When the girls are upset at night, me entering their room makes it worse, Shane walks in and they shut up. Monday he had to go back up to work. Bedtime wasn’t too bad but Averi did try to pull out all her tricks to avoid sleep and keep me coming in, luckily it was short lived.

She woke up crying at 1:30 in the morning just long enough to wake me. I lied awake and read for about two hours until finally drifting back to sleep only to have her wake up crying again at 4:00. She refused to nap this morning and spent an hour crying in her bedroom. I popped her on our bed with cartoons so I could shower and while I was doing so,  she took a hand full of her poop and painted our bed sheets and comforter with it.  This kid..sigh. I am not holding my breathe for a smooth bedtime tonight, but hopefully she will be too tired to fight me. I can hope.

This past Saturday we took the day to drive up to Julian. A little snow, some wine tasting and lunch. All the while I had Anthony Bourdain’s New Mexican Chili in the slow cooker.

There was snow and rain and ice and it was cold, I was not prepared. Having just been in Washington I thought I would be ok but that was a negative. I didn’t bring gloves or an umbrella and spent most of the time in damp clothes. The little town was busy and the weather was forcing everyone into all the restaurants and cafe’s. We finally found a place without a wait and we tucked into a corner booth for a mediocre lunch, but hey, at least we were dry.

 

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Once we have seen all we wanted we wandered down the way to Wynola and popped into julian Station. It’s a neat building that houses tasting rooms, a taco bar, a few video games, a pool table and entertainment space for live music. Something almost out of the wild West. Definitely worth stopping at if you are in the area. We will be back.

Heading home we drove through Ramona and stopped at one of our favorite wineries, Chuparosa. We caught up with the wine maker who just got back from Walla Walla and then let the kids run free.

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We had just enough time for one last stop. A winery none of us has been terribly fond of but it’s been years since we have tried their wine.  The tasting room was inside  a tin can, okay more like an airport hanger with paintings and statues of naked women dotting the property.

img_1034 The wine wasn’t as bad as we remembered however…we all ordered a wine flight of five wines, all red. They were all the same color, the Pinot was the same deep burgandy as the Zin. None of them had any real personality so we left empty handed. I think we all agreed we don’t need to go back.

The Bourdain chili recipe from his latest cookbook was really good, depths of flavors from roasted chili’s and beef. We enjoyed it with some red wine and a game with friends. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Thanksgiving and Homebound

We had a very nice and low key holiday. I don’t know why I say “low key” because there were 17 of us but since the kids were so entertained it felt, well calm.

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The girls had so much fun with their cousins, it’s too bad we don’t live closer.

No one went hungry. We had Brie en croute and plenty of snacks,  ham, turkey, all the side dishes and a plethora of desserts which I couldn’t even manage to eat until late that night.

I didn’t take any food pictures which is very odd and I have no excuses.

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We  woke up way too early the next morning to hit the road, home bound. We drove from 6:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night, went through five states and saw much of nothing but the girls did amazingly well considering. A good book doesn’t hurt either.

imageWe stopped for the night in Bishop, Ca. Luckily there was a Holiday Inn express with one room left that suited our needs. Once we were checked in we headed to a small Italian place for a decent pizza and then to bed so we could do it all over again But since we went so far the first day, the second day was much shorter. We pulled into San Diego by lunchtime.

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Wine About It

We spent most of the day wandering from winery to winery. Downtown Walla Walla is basically one after the other, the only problem  is deciding which ones to skip. You could easily wine taste for days just downtown.

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We started the trip with a list of wineries we haven’t been to so we could try some new wines.  Some were great, some too expensive and a few just amazing.

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K Vitners, also known as Charles Smith has  very good wine, especially their Syrah’s.

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We headed to the airport to try a few new ones and revisit an old favorite.

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Of course we had to pop into Sleight of Hands since we are members.

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And luckily two of the wineries we are always hoping to visit but are always closed were open.

Va Piano was a great experience. Not only did they have playmates for the girls,

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we met the winemaker. He gave us a taste of his Rose out of the barrel and although it wont be ready for months is was already delicious, all of his wines were five star.

We got to visit the cellar and witness the aftermath of a wedding proposal.

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Hard to follow that but we still tried. Dusted Valley had some above decent wines and a large lot for the girls to run around.

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We have done some pretty good damage in the wine department.

Pumpkin Patching

We managed to visit three different pumpkin patches this year. I don’t think this is something anyone needs to do, but the kids had fun.

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We took a day to check out the Ramona pumpkin patch. We also tried the famous cinnamon roll at the Ramona cafe…way overrated and then on to a few new wineries.

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Averi had her first ever pony ride, you can tell from her face that it was exhilarating.

We painted pumpkins before school and then met Kaili for her Halloween parade.

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After a mediocre dinner and a total meltdown from Averi, the girls were ready for some Trick or Treating.

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Momma lasted about an hour and a half and then I was ready to get the girls to bed.

I think we successfully nailed October this year!

 

 

Bolognese + Garlic Cream Sauce

You know what marriage is? it’s bumping into the same person in your kitchen day after day and not killing them. Also known as true love.

The other night I made a recipe that I got over a year ago with a wine shipment. Dunham cellars in Walla Walla, one of our favorites in town.  Most of the recipes we received from them looked good, but this one I knew I was going to make, I just needed an excuse.

The recipe read like it was a  Bolognese meets Alfredo sauce, where is the fault in that?  My first step after reading a recipe, any recipe is to pick it apart. Most of the time I will counter it with multiple other “similar” recipes and come up with my own ending.

The results were pretty fantastic. Sausage and garlic can do no wrong, just make sure you get an Italian sausage in casing that has fennel, otherwise you’re wasting your time with this dish. I am not sure what my final measurements were so I will give you the original recipe. Do as you wish but don’t leave out the sausage or the red peppers, trust me.

Oh, and for some reason the original recipe is named “Tagliatelle Bolognese”. I am not sure if the person who submitted this recipe couldn’t find Tagliatelle and just grabbed the nearest fettuccine and “forgot” to tell us, or they  just didn’t know. But the two are different. With that, it really won’t matter what you use, although if you can find fresh Tagliatelle than by all means use that. I couldn’t, well I didn’t want to drive down to Little Italy, so I used fresh Fettuccine that I found at Sprouts.

Happy cooking!

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Ingredients

Meat sauce

3 oz. ground beef (crumbled into ½” pieces)
• 3 oz. Italian sausage (crumbled into ½” pieces)
• 1/8 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
• 12 oz. Plum tomatoes (seeded, drained, chopped)
• 1 Tablespoon parsley, minced
• 1 ½ teaspoons garlic, minced
• 3 Tablespoons roasted red pepper (cut into ¼” strips)
• ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• Fresh ground black pepper
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1 lb. Fettuccine
• Parmesan, finely shredded
• Fresh parsley, chopped

Garlic Cream sauce

• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 cube butter
• 1 pint whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Fresh ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:
Meat sauce: Preheat 12” sauté pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle salt over the bottom of the pan to aid in browning and prevent meat from sticking. Add ground
beef and sausage a little at a time. Meat should sizzle and smoke. Let meat brown on one side then stir. Cook to medium rare and drain off excess fat. Add all other
ingredients except olive oil. Simmer uncovered about 30 minutes until thickened. Stir in olive oil and set aside.

Cream sauce: Heat butter in a heavy gauge sauce pan until melted. Add minced garlic and simmer on low heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper. Let
simmer for 45 minutes until reduced in volume by 10%, stirring often.

Heat meat sauce, then add the cream sauce and heat until it bubbles and reduces. Cook pasta, drain and add to the sauce, thoroughly coating noodles. SERVE IMMEDIATELY. Garnish with shredded parmesan and parsley.

*recipe from Dunham Cellars

Easter

Kaili woke up eager and ready to see if the Easter bunny had left anything for her. Averi decided to sleep in….of course.

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Once Averi woke up and we were able to get some real food into the girls, we let them see what was hiding outside.

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The grass was wet and cold, Averi didn’t want much to do with it. Kaili didn’t care and managed to gather all of the eggs on her own. Averi found a couple on dry land but put them in sissy’s basket.

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We had brunch plans with friends so while the girls ate their weight in candy, I made my way to the kitchen and stayed there the next few hours.

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I made a grapefruit yogurt cake and a tomato tart.

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Luckily we weren’t going far. We walked over the pack n play, the kids toys, our food and we tucked in for a nice day with neighbor friends.

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We had quite the spread, baked donuts, savory scones, tomato tart, eggs Benedict casserole and fresh fruit all washed down with mimosas and good wine.

Averi napped in her pack n play for hours while we played in the backyard.

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We talked and drank the day away, nibbling on cheese as the sun started to set.

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Reminding us that tomorrow was Monday and we should probably bid adieu. The girls knocked out after a long day and we sat down for all the great Sunday night TV.

It was a very nice Easter!