Category: wine

Warm Up (Mushroom Risotto with Thyme and Cheddar)

It’s that time of year again, Montreal! You know, that season that isn’t quite a season? For those of you who don’t live here, let me fill you in. We’ve had the kind of days that’ve started off in cozy sweaters and boots, and have ended off in shorts and flip flops. We’ve seen the kind of weeks that have offered us weather reminiscent of Melbourne – rain, sun, frost and heat all within 24 hours.

One certainty in all of this is that Autumn has officially arrived! The general drop in temps has offered us a much needed break after our wildly humid summer, so we can put our hair down and lace our boots up. Because, let’s face it – the best part of fall is the fashion… Oh, and of course, the other best part is the comfort food!

So, without further adieu, I present to you the rich, the tasty, the creamy mushroom risotto! Inspired by a deliciously rich dish that I recently ate at a small resto (in the suburbs, who’d have imagined!?) I decided to create my very own version.

It does take some time to make, but don’t let that stop you – it’s totally and completely worth it.
Now go get cooking!

Mushroom Risotto with Thyme and Cheddar

what you’ll need
1 cup white wine
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 cup arborio rice
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp chopped marinated garlic
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmiggiano cheese
1 cup water + more as needed

how to do it
Sautee mushrooms and green onions in oil in a medium saucepan. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring rice and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat and stir. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until rice absorbs the liquid. Slowly add in one cup wine. Simmer and stir until absorbed. Add one cup of stock at a time, waiting until absorbed before each addition, and constantly stirring. (Note – If rice is not fully cooked – tender, but not crunchy – after three cups of stock, continue the process with water or wine.) Once rice is tender, stir in mushroom mixture, garlic and thyme. Fold in cheeses. Sprinkle a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper into the mixture. Serve immediately, sprinkled with extra cheese if desired.

The Omnivore’s Delight

I. Cooked. Meat.

After eight years of dragging my feet along the omnivore’s bandwagon – picking at bacon crumbs, sipping chicken broth, dipping my potatoes in gravy and pretending that I didn’t know that my favorite cheeses contained rennet  – I’ve finally hopped back onboard. I am officially a full-fledged meat eater.

Well, almost.

I decided that if I was going to begin eating meat, that I would eat actual meat – none of this poultry nonsense. I have no interest in feathered clucking creatures that cook up dry and boring.
My first choice sin? None other than the ethically controversial, ridiculously expensive, perfectly tender, succulently juicy milk-fed veal. Drenched in a mushroom, shallot and white wine sauce, served alongside cheesy asparagus spears and complimented beautifully by a spinach and sunflower seed salad with a sweet balsamic vinagrette, I may have just cooked the best meal of all time.

Go on now, stop drooling and make it for yourself tonight! Novices, don’t be intimidated – you’ll soon discover that cooking veal is fast and easy, and the final product looks (and smells) ridiculously impressive.

Veal in white wine sauce with mushrooms and shallots
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need
2 to 3 tbsp butter  
4 small veal cutlets, tenderized
1 bunch shallots, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 package mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp crushed garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup cooking cream
1 tsp cornstarch

how to do it
In a large frying pan (preferably a deep one), on med-high heat, brown 1tbsp butter. Sear veal cutlets, for about a minute on each side. (Add more butter between cutlets if needed). 
Set cutlets aside. 
In the same pan, add one more tbsp butter. 
Sautee mushrooms and shallots. When they start to reduce, add white wine. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until the sauce is reduced by about half. 
Whisk corn starch into cream. Slowly pour into mixture. Continue stirring with a wooden or silicone spoon. Add veal cutlets to mixture and simmer for a few minutes, until sauce begins to thicken.

Presto! A fancy Italian meal, in your very own kitchen, in less than 15 minutes.