Sunday in the kitchen with Aura

September 8, 2008

Broiled Salmon and Butternut Squash Risotto

Broiled Salmon and Butternut Squash Risotto

Peach pie a la made with blackberry balsamic syrup

Peach pie a la mode with blackberry balsamic syrup

It’s Peach – O- Rama, kids!  After work on Saturday I went to Metropolitan Market to get a case of peaches.

These smelled the yummiest!

These smelled the yummiest!

I used all of the peaches to make the filling for two pies.  I think my teenager and I (who was unexpectedly hanging around the house this weekend) ate two or three peaches while peeling and slicing, so it was just shy of a whole case that went to pie.

Into the giant bowl of peach slices I added 1 cup each of sugar, brown sugar and 1/2 cup of cornstarch.  I like cinnamon, so I added a big handfull.

I feel no shame intelling you that I bought frozen pie shells.  For the tops I used the refrigerated sheets of crust.  Yup. I am lazy.  This is news to you?

After 15 minutes or so, the sugar will have macerated the fruit and your peaches will be glossy and delicious.  Using a slotted spoon, pile the peaches high into the defrosted shell.

Beat one egg and a splash of half & half (or heavy cream) and brush lightly over the top crust.  Use a sharp knife to make vent holes.  Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the top.

Bake for 15 minutes at 375° then cover edges of crust with foil (unless you have some old pie shields sitting in the bottom of a kitchen drawer) and cook an additional hour (or until crust is golden brown and delicious.

A smart person puts a foil covered cookie sheet under the pie while baking.

Blackberry Balsamic Syrup:

macerate approx. 1 pint berries with 1/2 cup sugar

add a good glug of balsamic vinegar

simmer for an hour


add more sugar or vinegar to taste and simmer to further reduce if desired

A shameful secret!

Until this weekend I have never made risotto.  I just never tried.  I mentioned it at the salon and a client offered to fax me what he called the best risotto recipe in the world and I agreed to give it a try.  I did make some changes to the recipe (you know me) but I was glad to have some ratios and measurements to use.

The first thing I realized is that I would need chicken stock, so I set to making that on Saturday.

I boiled up a brine for the chicken:

half gallon apple cider

half gallon water

1 bay leaf

handful of peppercorns

cup of kosher salt

soak chicken in brine overnight

discard brine and place chicken in stock pot

fill body cavity with one onion (quartered), a few garlic cloves and a handful of parsley

pour a few inches of apple cider in the bottom of the pot

sprinkle bird with smoked paprika

place more onion, garlic and parsley around the bird

cover and roast until meat is falling off the bone

When the meat is cool enough to handle, pull it off the bone and save for a later meal.

place skin and carcass back in the pot and add more cider and water plus a few sprigs of rosemary to cover

simmer until the carcass is clean and the bones break easily

strain out solids and discard

place liquid in fridge overnight

scrape off fat and discard

Place stock in pot on stove and add two packs of frozen butternut squash and bring to bubble and leave on simmer.

Melt a half a stick of butter in large skillet (I hear there are actual risotto pans, but as this was my first time, I didn’t have one!) over medium heat

add one mined onion and sweat until translucent and beginning to brown

add a splash of olive oil and 2 cups arborio rice

cook until rice is almost completely translucent (will still be white in the center)

add a tablespoon each of fresh minced sage and rosemary

add a half cup of dry white wine (or if you are like me and there is no white in the house, use rose) and stir until absorbed

get used to stirring

add stock one ladle at a time and stir until the liquid is absorbed

keep at this until the rice is tender

it will take about a half an hour and about 4-6 cups of stock

when it’s tender and ready, add a half cup of grated Parmesan, 2 tablespoons of butter and serve when creamy

Simple grilled salmon

place cast iron skillet under broiler set on high

sprinkle salmon fillet lightly with True Lime, kosher salt and sugar

spray with garlic juice

let sit at room temperature until no granulation can be seen (should be glossy)

place skin side down in hot skillet and return to broiler

salmon is done when it flakes apart easily

This was a great opportunity to show my kid why we have fresh herbs growing in our kitchen window.  She was none too thrilled with how long it took to make the risotto, but was very appreciative of it once it was done.


8 Responses to “Sunday in the kitchen with Aura”

  1. Kim Thompson Says:

    OMG! This food looks AWESOME. Perhaps you ought to consider being a restaurant person!

  2. Aura Mae Says:

    @Kim: You have lost your mind! I know from many close friends and family just how hard it is to make a living in the restaurant industry. I will just cook fabulous meals for my family (and occasionally friends), thank you very much! Now, if I could just get a liquor license for the salon, we would be great!

  3. Kjersti Says:

    You out did yourself on this one. I have always wanted to make risotto. That looks so yummy. The photos of the peaches are so amazing that I can almost taste them. I have not had a good peach in 4 years. They just don’t taste good in HI.

    I have had enough papayas and mangos to really dislike them now.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Kim Thompson Says:

    Lost my mind? Well that’s nothing new, LOL.

    Yeah, it’s a tough industry, so just serve the food at the salon (food and looking fab).

    Although you’re right you need the liquor license. That’s critical.

    Well for me.

  5. Aura Mae Says:

    @Kjersti: can you make a papaya pie? 🙂

  6. Kjersti Says:

    Hmm…I am not sure. I will have to research that one.

  7. Abbyknitz Says:

    I love risotto, and butternut squash. Will try the recipe with vegetable broth (I don’t eat chicken). BTW, the easiest foolproof way to make risotto is in a pressure cooker.

  8. […] 10-12 pound turkey from Tacoma Boys (just four of us for dinner) and will be prepping it with an apple cider brine recipe I used on a chicken earlier this year that was delicious.  I will be making a compound butter with bacon & herbs […]

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