Monthly Archives: September 2011

Porcini Red Wine Risotto

If you’re not from here I’d like you to know that  San Francisco gets its Summer weather the last week in September or in early October. We’re in it now, so are wearing skirts with no tights, but the sun is going down as if it’s Fall. It is always an odd tim

e of year for me because the light is changing and I expect a chill in the air, just like when I was little in NY.

This time of year (no matter what the weather) always makes me want to have war

m, satisfying rice or pasta dishes. The other day I decided to break out my stand by risotto recipe. It’s fairly simple, and oh-so-satisfying.

Just a note, I don’t eat cheese, so the only dairy product in this recipe is butter: I can’t seem to remove it completely from my repertoire. There’s just no replacement for the flavor and

creaminess butter brings to rice. But, if you’d like to make this completely vegan, replace the butter with Olive Oil, it works just fine.


  • 4 Bouillion Cubes (I use Porcini cubes, but you can use whatever type you like)
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 bag Dried Porcini Mushrooms
  • 1 cup Red Wine (or enough to fully cover the Dried Porcini Mushrooms)
  • 3 tbsps Butter
  • 2 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Cups Arborio Rice
  • 4 Fresh Sage Leaves, minced (or 1/4 tsp Dried Sage)
  • Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper to taste

Make the Stock:

  • Heat the Bouillion and the water in a large saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, making sure all the cubes dissolve completely.Lower to a simmer and stir occasionally until it is time to add the liquid to the rice.

I love Porcini mushrooms. When I discovered this boullion, I just about fell over in glee. It is amazing how strongly the mushroom flavors comes through. In general, I’m more of a chicken stock kind of girl, and I do not care for veggie stock. It usually tastes way too much like celery for my liking. But these cubes make it possible to have the best of a non-meat based boullion and a well flavored broth all in one.

Soak the Dried Porcini

  • Pour the cup of red wine into a small saucepan.
  • Add the Porcini mushrooms, making sure there is enough wine to completely submerge them.Bring the wine to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Keep simmering for about fifteen minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.Pour the wine and mushrooms through a sieve or strainer, making sure to capture all of the liquid in a bowl beneath the strainer.
  • Chop mushrooms coarsely and set aside.Startthe Rice:

Again, Porcini is my favorite. Any chance I have to add them to a dish, I take it. The dried ones are usually what I have on hand, and they work well.

In San Francisco, there is a whole mushroom booth at the giant Ferry Building farmer’s market. We’re lucky enough to get frozen fresh Porcini there. It costs an arm and a leg, but the flavor is so intense you don’t need to use that much, so a bag lasted me for a good six months in the freezer.

The red wine makes the depth of the earthy flavors shine through. If you can afford to use a higher quality cup of wine here, you’ll taste the difference.

Start the Rice:

  • Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
  • Add butter and allow to melt, then add the Olive Oil.• Lower heat to medium-low and add the minced garlic.
  • Saute garlic until almost opaque.• Add rice, stirring to cover all the grains in the butter/oil mixture

Quite simply, you are trying to get the rice to cook slowly so that it will toast somewhat in the beginning and then take its time absorbing all of the lovely stock and wine you are going to add to it.Take your time here, and if it seems things are starting to stick or burn, lower the heat and relax. If you like a glass of wine, now’s a good time to grab one, as you get ready to stir for a bit.

Cook the Rice:

  • Using a 1/2 cup measure, add 1/2 cup of stock to the rice pot, stirring constantly.
  • As soon as the stock has been completely absorbed, add another 1/2 cup and stir until absorbed.
  • Alternating 1/2 cup of stock and wine, continue adding liquid and stirring to absorb until all the liquid has been added.
  • The rice should be soft and ready to eat once all the liquid has been incorporated.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and add the sage, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the rice.

This is the most time consuming step, but again, just take it slow and don’t worry, you’ll be eating soon enough.

Make sure that all of the liquid gets absorbed before you make a move to add more. It’s tough to wait, I know I’ve rushed it before and regretted it after the fact. The rice needs time to soak it all up before it takes another breath and is ready to drink up some more.

It’ll be well worth your effort (and the number of pans you’ll have to clean). It’s a great Fall dish, especially if you live somewhere where the weather has actually started to shift to coolness.

Enjoy and eat up!




Posted in food, Food Photography, gluten free, rice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Make the Chutney

On a warm San Francisco Sunday we decided it was necessary to get some of our nice late Summer fruits canned up for the coming Fall. The chutney I ended up with is sweet and tangy, with a nice hint of sage, which is perfect with roast, especially pork.

It’s a very simple recipe, and the way I did it, required little more than measuring (sort of), chopping and boiling down the fruits.
Herewith, the recipe.
Hope you enjoy it.

Orange, Fig and Sage Chutney

3 to 4 pounds Oranges, sliced into 8 pieces each
1 lb granulated Sugar
1 basket Figs (about 14 figs), sliced in half
3 sprigs Sage, minced1/4 cup Lemon juiceRind of 1/2 Orange
2 cups water, or enough to cover

Make the Chutney:
Put all the ingredients into a large, heavy bottomed pan, making sure there is enough water to cover the fruit.
Set over a medium heat and bring to a boil.
Once the mixture boils, lower the heat to a simmer and stir regularly to keep it from sticking to the pan.
While you are stirring, press down on the orange pieces to release the juice.
As soon as you are satisfied with the texture of your chutney (meaning it will be chunky, good for spreading on meats!), turn off the heat making sure that your jars/lids are ready to be filled.

Boil your jars and lids while the fruit is bubbling away in the other pan .
Take a large wide pan, fill with water, enough to submerge the jars and lids, and place on the heat to boil.
Once the water has boiled, lower to a simmer and keep the jars in the water for five minutes.
When the chutney is ready, remove each jar and lid one by one onto aclean cloth, right side up, to keep them as sterile as possible.

Fill your jars and  seal them:
Ladle chutney into each jar, filling up to the bottom of the neck of the jar, leaving headspace for the sealing to go well.
Wipe down the top of the jar to make sure nothing is sticky on the outside, so that you can seal the jars, and they can be opened again.
Put the lid on and close it as tightly as you can.
Turn the jars upside down and leave to cool. This will seal the jars.
some people re-boil the filled jars, but I opt not to. if you want to, this is the time to do it!

Posted in chutney, figs, homemade jam, orange marmalade, sage | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Scones on a Sunday

I maybe gluten-free, but my daughter, Ms Iz, certainly is not. She is very good about eating my versions of baked goods and pastas. But, every now and then, she wants the real deal.

Her request this weekend was for some “gluten-full” scones, please. I happily made them for her.

I’ve used the NY Times recipe for Tea Scones for years. I wonder, too, if this is Gran Fran’s scone recipe of choice. It’s a nice recipe, very simple and when you take your time with it, the results are great. Very fluffy and satisfying.

Ms Iz loves lemon curd on her scones, and not too much butter. As you can see below, I made half a batch with chocolate chips. These were well received, but the orignal ones went over big.

So, get your paper, a cup of tea and some berries and settle in with these wonderful scones.

Click on this link to the NY Times online to get the recipe.


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The Jam Continues On

My friend and I did some more canning this past weekend. Ms. S is a lovely lady from Minnesota with a grandma in Iowa who taught her about all things preserved. I am not much of a measurer (ala Gran Fran), Ms. S measures everything to a T.

Needless to say, our jam session was interesting, what with me just chucking all sorts of stuff in my pot, and her making sure to follow her grandma’s instructions to the letter. Of course, Ms. S ended up with a lovely and perfect batch of strawberry jam, which was perfectly set and tasted great.

I ended up with more of a chunky sauce, best to accompany meats. It’s not that mine tastes bad, on the contrary, it tastes great. But, it’s really hard to classify it. The ingredients are simple enough: oranges, figs, sugar, water, pectin, sage and cinnamon. The end result is really flavorful, just not necessarily for spreading on one’s toast.

Mostly, I’m here to boast about how I used my first jar. By spreading it over a pork loin, that was placed atop carrots and new potatoes for roasting.  The jam melted into a wonderful sauce. It coated all the veggies and gave the pork a really nice sheen, not to mention the contrast of the sweet orange flavor with the meat.

The greatest part about working with Ms. S, was how we each approached our projects with such different attitudes. We acknowledged that though each of us had her own way, we could totally see the benefit to each of our methods. It’s nice to find someone who is different from you, but who gets you so completely.

The recipe that follows is just for the pork loin. I want to refine the chutney recipe a bit more before I post it officially, so, for now, I will recommend that you use a nice orange marmalade instead.

Pork Loin, Carrots and Potatoes with Orange Jam


  • 2 pounds Pork Loin
  • 8-10 New or Fingerling Potatoes cut into quarters
  • 2 large Carrots, cut into 1/4 inch chunks
  • 3 sprigs fresh Sage, chopped coarsley
  • 1/4 cup Orange Marmalade
  • Oil for searing the meat
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place a heavy-bottomed non-reactive oven proof pan on the stove over medium-high heat. When it is heated well, add olive oil to coat the bottom.
  • Put the pork loin in the hot pan and sear on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  • Once the meat is seared, pick it up with tongs and put the potatoes and carrots beneath in the pan, then put the pork on top of the veggies.
  • Spread the marmalade, jam or whatever saucy goodness you are using over the meat, making sure to coat it thoroughly. It’s also nice to get some of it on the veggies, so they get a little crispy and sweet while they cook.
  • Sprinkle sage over the pork and add some salt and pepper.
  • Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and cook for approximately 25 minutes.

Posted in carrots, chutney, orange marmalade, pork loin, potatoes, roasted veggies, sage | 1 Comment