Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bowla Granola

This is my most favorite breakfast as of late.  Get yourself a big old spoonful of Greek yogurt (it's just creamier and dreamier than other yogurt in my opinion), add some of your favorite granola to it (I used Nature Valley granola bars and just crumble them up), drizzle some good ol' local honey on top (eating local honey can help with seasonal allergies), add some raisins and your tree huggin' ass will be good and fueled for the next few hours!  And it's good to that tree huggin' ass of yours, will keep that thing firm.  So eat up! 

Monday, March 28, 2011


Every year or so, my mom and I try to take a mother/daughter vacation.  Mostly because I live 900 miles away from her, but am a total momma's girl, but also because we like each others company.  We've been to Vegas, where we saw the Cirque du Soleil show, The Beatles Love (a must see if you haven't seen it).  We ate at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and Wolfgang Puck's Spago.  We visited the Qua Spa where we enjoyed an Arctic Ice Room, which is sort of a steam room, except instead of steam, snow falls from above and it's.....well, freezing! We swam at the topless pool, though neither of us went topless, because we didn't have the balls, or shall I say, the fake tits, to bare our beauties.

We went to Chicago and saw the Blue Man Group (another must see - especially in the theater in Chicago), shopped the Magnificent Mile, though we couldn't afford to buy anything, ate at Smith and Wollensky's Steakhouse, and ate at our first Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao, which is like being served meat by the meat mafia, a meat cartel, if you will.

But usually, we go to Orlando, because as many of you know, my mom is addicted to the Happiest Place on Earth - Disneyworld.  She literally wants her ashes scattered all over the place when she dies (and yes, I am currently writing a book about doing that).  In Orlando, we've eaten at Emeril's Orlando, as well as his other restaurant, Tchoup Chop.  We've been to every Disney park (minus the water parks...we always eat too much to squeeze our bloated selves into bathing suits and mingle with thousands of other barely clothed tourists) and the Universal Studios parks.  We even braved Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, where we were both scared so shitless we literally left the park running and screaming!

Obviously, you see a theme developing.  We eat and we eat and we eat.  But luckily we go to places that require a TON of walking, so between eating, we hobble through the cities we're in so as to not have to buy bigger-sized clothing when we get home.  So here's the tale of our latest mother/daughter pornographood venture, in photos.  Pornographood photos.  Please make sure you look at these photos in private, as I can not be held responsible for any loud moans and groans, nor drooling you may experience.

 Cat Cora's Kouzzina, the Eco-tini on the right came with an Acai seed bracelet! I left my good camera in the car for this one.  The picture doesn't really do it justice, but there's grilled Greek cheese with lemon, oregano and capers at the top left and kalamata olives and two different types of olive oil, so fruity and tasty I could have done shots of it.

 Fisherman's Stew at Kouzzina - with clams, mussels, delicate, perfectly cooked fish and shrimp.  The broth is actually making me drool right now.  I seriously just closed my eyes and I could taste it.  It's the best I've ever had, made with Ouzo butter...OPA!!

The next day, we had reservations at the California Grill.  Above is what remains of the cheese board we had at the California Grill, I forgot to take a picture before we ate all the cheese.  But it came with the following cheeses: Seahive, Mt. Tam, Drunken Goat Cheese, Fromage de Affinois de Brebis, and Cambozola.  Then for accouterments (I just like saying that word, makes me feel so smart and French), there were candied macadamia nuts, pear jelly, honey with real honey comb, figs and olive bread.  I think my favorite was the Drunken Goat.

 Sourdough bread with sea salted butter.  Best idea ever - sea salted butter.  I would have been happy with just that!

 I can't look at this picture without licking my lips.
Beet Salad with Heirloom beets, fennel, citrus, spiced pecans, beet vinaigrette and goat cheese croutons.  Oh goat cheese croutons...where have you been all my life?

 A delicious take on Caesar Salad with anchovies and kalamata olives.

 Creamy Leek soup with lump crabmeat

 The Pornogra-PHOOD-iest of them all - Tuna 3 ways.  Poke (pronounced POH-keh, so don't go asking for tuna poke, or you'll look like an idiot), Tartare, and Tataki.  And that mound on the bottom left is a Spicy Kazan Roll with crab, shrimp, scallops, tuna and a fireball sauce.  This plate was orgasmic, to say the least.  

Chocolate martini nightcap

 The next night we went to Jiko, an African inspired restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  This was our starter of honey bread, which was heavenly and tamarind spiced butter.  It was like spreading pumpkin pie on was like dessert.  It was like heaven.  It was like effin amazing. But I couldn't get the song Biko, by Peter Gabriel, out of my head the entire time here. 

 This was the Taste of Africa appetizer with an assortment of dips, homemade Naan, papadums and pita.  My dad used to make us papadums when we were kids and we loved them, but we wore ourselves out on them.  I have fallen back in love with them again.  And the dips were amazing.  Some with such odd spices, it was hard to decide if I liked it or not.  But I kept eating it, so my guess is, I liked it.
Mitmita Spiced Ahi Tuna Tataki with hearts of palm salad, avocado, and peppadew-cilantro vinaigrette.  This was to die for. I could eat this every day.

 Maize-crusted wild sea bass with parsnips that were incredible and a tomato butter hollandaise. 

Grilled, Marinated Lamb Loin with chickpeas and chorizo, spiced swiss chard and apple cider reduction.  I love eating little lambs.  

 The next night we stopped at Le Cellier in Canada at Epcot.  They start you off with an assortment of breads, the pretzel bread being the most delicious.  Luckily for me, my mom found the recipe and tried it, so I will soon be sharing with you!

 If you ever go to this restaurant, order this soup.  It is the best tasting soup in the entire world.  It's Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup made with Moosehead Beer and bacon.  You will need to bring a change of panties after this one.  I'm not kidding. 

I wanted to try something new this time, so I went with the Open-Faced Canadian Cheesesteak Sandwich with sauteed onions and peppers and a Boursin cheese sauce, topped with arugula.  Though I kinda wished I had stuck to my regular...luckily my mom wasn't straying from what we know is the best thing here: 

Mushroom Filet Mignon with Wild Mushroom Risotto, finished with white truffle herb-butter.  And now that it's fresh in my mind and in my mouth, I think I know how to recreate this risotto.   Better yet, bring 2 pairs of panties.  You're going to need another pair after you eat this.

And finally, we finished our pornographood vacation at the Market Street Cafe in Celebration, Florida.  A place that holds a plaque with my grandmother's name on it, because she ate there so much.  And I know why.  They have the best grits in the entire universe.  But when I asked the waiter what type of grits they used, he said "Quaker".  I call Liar.  Quaker don't make no damn grits as good as these babies!  The swiss cheese omelet with mushrooms and spinach is really delicious too.
 And we had to finish our weekend with something healthy.  A creamy bowl of yogurt on top of cinnamon-y granola, with a perfectly ripened strawberry and sliced tomatoes, so ripe they tasted like a freakin' watermelon.  Ahhhh Florida, I love you and your fresh fruits! 

The best thing about this Pornographood vacation...I didn't gain a single pound, because we probably walked 10 miles a day.  I love you mom and your love of food, and your love for me, and your love of me, loving food.  Thanks again for an awesome trip!  We must do it again.  And to everyone else - go get a tissue and wipe the drool off your computer.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mater Salad

Since Spring is in the air, I can't stop thinking about fresh fruit and vegetables and grilling outside.  Goodbye fatty comfort foods, thank you for getting me through the dreadful winter months.  I'll see you again in November.  Try to not fatten me up so much next time.  I'm not a bear.  I do not sleep outdoors.  I don't need any extra fat.

Hello healthy, delicious, tastes like the Earth, food.  This year I plan on trying to grow my own tomatoes, green beans, squash, eggplant, green onion, lettuces, radishes and a few more herbs that I don't currently grow...basil and parsley.  Hell, I might even throw in a jalapeno to round it all out.  But I plan on growing these things in 5-gallon buckets this year.  No, it's not going to look pretty.  But it will be more manageable (I hope) and I will be able to grow totally organic veggies in my backyard.  I'll be sure to keep you updated on my progress.  Here's a great article on container gardening if you are interested in joining me on my adventure!

And here's a great recipe for a simple, Spring/Summer salad:

Get a container of ripe tomatoes, or pick the ones off your tomato bush (I used these multi-colored little heirloom tomatoes that I found) cut tomatoes in half or in quarters if large enough.  Dice up one shallot and add it to the tomatoes.  Drizzle olive oil and splash a little balsamic vinegar over the top, season with salt and pepper. Toss your salad.  Or stir it...I kinda had a hankerin' to say "Toss your salad" but it was totally unnecessary. 

Now eat those lovely little gifts that the Earth gave you! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Happy first day of Spring, everyone!

 (Photo from Google images)

I was at the grocery store last week looking for a delicious tomato to buy for the cookout we were having.  I know, I know, it's not exactly tomato season, but my hopes were to find a good looking, red, ripe, tomato that would be the perfect hamburger topper.  I had my choice of three types of tomatoes. 

Choice #1: A regular looking, though unripe, tomato from Mexico.
Choice #2: An extremely red, tomato on a vine from New Zealand.
Choice #3: An "ugly ripe" tomato from the U.S.

So I thought to myself..., "Self...which tomato will you choose?  Will you go with a tomato from a country attached to ours, but one that may have been driven thousands of miles from California?  Or will you go for the tomato from New Zealand.  You've always wanted to go to New Zealand.  Maybe this tomato will taste like New Zealand.  I bet New Zealand tastes good.  I bet it tastes as beautiful as New Zealand is.  I bet once you taste it, you will find yourself picking up 2 more jobs to purchase your plane ticket to New Zealand." 

But then my Self got the best of itself and asked, " ripe could that tomato really be?  Coming all the way from New Zealand.  The flight alone must be 17 hours, or maybe they ship them over, which could take who KNOWS how long.  Then those little tomatoes would have to take a boat ride or a truck ride to get to good old Memphis, TN.  I think your best bet would be to steer very clear of the New Zealand tomatoes."

And then I looked at the "ugly ripe", yep, that's what it said, right on the side with a nice little sticker.  No regard for the little guy's feelings.  Poor thing.  And he was ugly as he could be, but he smelled like a tomato and he was the color red a tomato should be, and so I bought him, and he was delicious.

I'm not going to go on a BUY AMERICAN rant, because I don't always necessarily believe that.  With food, however, BUY LOCAL and if you can't buy local, buy as close to local as you can.  Because I don't know if you've watched Food Inc., (Here's a trailer, and no, it won't turn you into a open up that pretty little mind of yours and learn about what you are putting into your body), but there's some pretty nasty stuff (for lack of a better term) out there going into our food.  And I don't know about you, but I love food.  And I want to eat it in its truest form, because I'm a bitch like that, and I deserve it.  And you do too.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Poultry and Pharmaceuticals

I'm writing this after having eaten a Lortab for Crepitus, so bear with me.  Crepitus is a painful son of a bitch that is affecting my right foot right now.  It is the strangest feeling and sound inside my body I've ever experienced.  I can literally put my foot to my ear (yes, I'm flexible) and hear what sounds like a creaky old door opening and closing whenever I move my toe.  It feels like I am stretching a rubber band that might possibly break when I walk.  It hurts like hell.  I wish death upon Crepitus so that I can get back to my "beautiful beach booty" workouts before Hangout Festival. that I'm sure I've gotten you all good and's a dish you can't screw up and it tastes great every time.  I originally got this recipe from Melissa d'Arabian after watching The Next Food Network Star, and I have to tell you, watching her win with this one made my mouth absolutely water. In fact, my stomach is growling right now, like there is a Crepitus eater trapped inside.  Ok, back on track...since that episode, I've adapted the recipe to my everyday kitchen supplies and my tastebuds.  You can change the types of veggies.  You can use a little wine to deglaze the pan, you can add in different herbs.  No matter what you do, you will get it right and you will have a tasty dinner.  

Here's What You Need:
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced in half crossways (butterflied, cut all the way through) which will give you...say it with me...4 thin chicken breasts. 
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- Sliced mushrooms (enough to top 4 chicken breasts - you be the judge here, take control, damn it)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 lemons, juiced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Here's What You Do With That Stuff:
Get a pan with oil nice and hot at medium heat.  Season the chicken with salt, pepper and the dried thyme.  Dredge the chicken in the flour (which I always season with salt and pepper, just to add more flavor).  Add the chicken to the sizzling oil (if you don't hear the sizzle, it's not hot enough, do it again and pay attention next time!)  Cook the chicken about 3 minutes per side until it's cooked.  Set the chicken aside to rest.  You can cover it with foil at this point, but that always seems to make mine soggy, so I don't.

To your now chicken-less skillet, add in the onion the mushrooms and the fresh thyme and cook until the mushrooms and the onions are tender.  Turn your heat up to high and add in your chicken broth and lemon juice to deglaze.  Reduce this sauce stirring as to not burn anything.  Once you have it to the consistency you want it, take the pan off the heat and whisk in the butter.  Add salt and pepper and pour the sauce over the chicken breasts.  I always serve it on a bed of wilted spinach or fresh arugula.  And there you have it.  Healthy, quick and delicious.  Now go make it.  I'm going to figure out a way to kill Crepitus.  

Monday, March 14, 2011


Google Images Photo

I was feeling nostalgic the other day, missing my grandfather who recently passed away.  And I walked by the processed meat section in the grocery store and grabbed myself some Braunschweiger (which, you should know spell checker corrects that word to Schwarzenegger...and that makes sense, as he's also a livery sausage type). Braunschweiger is a liver sausage, for those of you who don't know. 

Anyways, when I was a little girl, I remember sitting on the couch with my grandpa eating Braunschweiger and mustard sandwiches (he might have put onions on his, but I'm pretty sure that would have been too much of a strange thing in one place at that time in my life.)  But you should know that I LOVED them.  I couldn't get enough.   

So the other day, I toasted up a good slice of Italian bread, schmeared me on a good thick layer of Braunschweiger, poured a little mustard over the top, took a bite, chewed it up, swallowed it, got a displeased look on my face and threw the rest of my sandwich in the trash.

I miss you grandpa, but I don't miss Braunschweiger!  

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kale Yeah!

Here is a must try pesto recipe.  It is delicious on bread, crackers, cheese, grilled mushrooms, dirty underwear, will pretty much make everything taste better.  Please try this will be SO happy you did.

Here's what you need:
1 bunch of kale
1/2 cup toasted almonds
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 - 1/2 cup of olive oil (use the good stuff)
The juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper

Here's what to do:
Heat up a skillet on medium heat.  Add in the almonds and keep tossing them around to lightly toast them.  Get out your food processor.  Add in 1/2 of the kale, the almonds, the garlic, the Parmesan, the lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon, and the olive oil.  Chop those babies up until it looks like this:

Add in Salt and Pepper to taste.  Serve it on whatever you like.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Reading This Will Make You Fat ~ Happy Fat Tuesday!!!

Happy Fat Tuesday!!  This is the most fattening meal I think I cook.  Let me think about that for a second.  Besides making ice cream, yes, this is probably the most fattening thing I make.  And that makes it OH SO GOOD!  This is serious comfort food.  Don't even think about doing anything after you eat this.  In fact, you might as well just put on your PJ's pants (which I commonly refer to as my "Fat Boy Pants") now, because reading this will make you fat.

This dish is something I call Baked Steak...even though you never actually bake the steak.  I suppose you could, but I think it would make the coating on the meat soggy.  And I like my meat like I like my men...crunchy, crusty and gone in 3 minutes.  *Smile*  But it's very reminiscent of Country Fried Steak, it whatever you want. 
Here's the recipe:
1 package of cube steak, 4 steaks (I don't know why, but simply saying the word cube steak makes me cringe a little...say it with me....CYOUUUUUB me the willies).
1 cup of flour for coating the steak, seasoned generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne if you want a little kick
A heaping pile of butter...not really, but almost 1/2 a stick.
1/4 cup of flour
1 1/2 (or more) cups of milk
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable Oil

Here's What You Do With That Stuff:
Coat the bottom of a pan with oil, you want enough to fry the steaks, but not have them bathing in oil.  So maybe about 1/8 or 1/4 inch of oil.  Turn on the heat to medium.  Get the oil really hot before adding the steak so you get a nice crust, otherwise, you will have a soggy, oily crust. Coat the steaks on both sides with the seasoned flour.  Cook until nicely browned on both sides, (I go about 4 minutes/side).  Place steaks on a plate while you make the gravy.

To Make The Gravy:
The bottom of your pan should have lots of brown bits.  To these brown bits, add in 1/2 stick of butter and 1/4 cup of flour.  Stirring to pick up all the brownie goodness in that pan of yours.  Cook until the flour is a light brown.  You must cook your flour so that your gravy doesn't taste like glue.  I will show you how to do this if you'd like...ahem...Cracker Barrel.  Add in your milk and whisk like a lunatic so that you get out all the lumps.  Turn the heat down to low and either love your gravy consistency, or add milk to it to thin it out.  This is a preference thing.  I like my gravy a little more on the thin side.  Taste it and you will probably have to add salt and pepper.  The more pepper, the better, in my opinion.  Add the steaks back into the gravy, just to coat them.  Serve with Mashed Potatoes and any other carb you'd like to round out this totally debilitating meal.  Don't forget to mix the two together in some bites...this is my preferred way of eating it! 

You can get people to do things for you for this meal.  I have witnessed this first hand.  It's like magic.  Really.... fattening....magic.  Here's to you, Jay!    

Now, ya'll who practice Lent, enjoy your Lenten season...let me know if you make it out alive.  I will be living fat, like I always do, because that's just how this bitch rolls!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Goat Balls

This is a delicious salad that will make you happy!

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1 Lemon
1/4 cup of good olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a small jar (I use an old artichoke hearts jar).  Add in your olive oil and your salt and pepper, put a lid on it and shake it like a crazy person.  Put some arugula into a bowl and drizzle the vinaigrette over the arugula, tossing it around until coated, but not over-coated.

Goat Cheese Ball:
Cut out a circle of goat cheese, or mold some cheese into a ball and flatten it out like a burger.  Roll it in breadcrumbs and saute it in olive oil until browned (about 2 minutes per side).  Add your ball to your greens and eat up.    

Doesn't get much easier than that people!  And now you can say you've had goat balls.  If that's the kind of thing you want people to know.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Dip Your Chip in my Dip...Dip.

Minus a couple of things, I have just about every kitchen appliance and utensil imaginable.  So when my grandma called me a couple of months ago asking if I would like her to buy me a mandolin, I was stoked (Thanks Grandma)!   Not this kind of mandolin...(although, by all means Grandma...if you want to buy me one of these, I'd be more than happy to have it!)  This type: 
The kind that comes with warnings about cutting off your fingers.  The kind that bites.  The kind that makes the most amazing homemade potato chips ever eaten by man or bitch.

There seems to be a big debate on whether or not to soak the potato slices after thinly slicing them.  Some say removing the starch makes for a crispier chip.  So I made them both ways.  Did someone say experiment?  I used a pot and filled it with 1/2 vegetable oil and 1/2 canola oil (but only because I ran out of vegetable oil and bought canola to replace's better for you too).  I wanted to use peanut oil, but at $20 a pop, I decided against it for my first experiment.

I cut my first Idaho (no, you da ho) potato and soaked the slices in cold water for half an hour.  Then I cut my second Idaho and added them, about 10 at a time, to the oil which was a piping 350 degrees.

Once they browned up a bit, I drained them on a paper bag and salted them with kosher salt.  Then made the other batches of unsoaked potatoes.  This is the end result of the unsoaked chips: 

Next, I took the chips that were soaking in cold water and dried them off completely.  You DO NOT want to put wet chips in hot oil.  You will set your kitchen on fire.  Trust me, I've set many a kitchen on fire (and backyards and houses and myself and...well, I'm kind of a pyro).  If you don't believe me, ask my mom!  Once your chips are totally the same as above.  Add them to your 350 degree oil in small batches until they're browned up, drain on a paper bag and salt with kosher salt.  Here's what they should look like:

Both types were delicious.  There was no difference in taste or crunch.  The color was the only difference.  They are so much better than any bagged chip you can buy, except they don't last nearly as long, because they are so much tastier.  And there's 3 ingredients.  Potatoes. Oil. Salt.  And if you already have oil and salt, which most of you should, you only spend about $2 on potatoes and that's less than any bag of good potato chip out there.  It's a chip off the ol' block.  (I couldn't resist the obvious cliche).

The title of this blog goes out to 2 Skinnee J's and all their hilarity!!


Thursday, March 03, 2011

X-Rated Stir Fry

Can we agree to agree on one thing?  Stir fry is some sexy food.  It's so colorful, tasty, spicy, sizzlin' hot.  It's full of differing flavors that come at you from all don't know whether to chew it, french kiss it, or call the cops on it for harassment.  And it's so pretty.  My particular stir fry reminded me of a Christmas tree.  The white rice symbolized the glowing white bulbs.  The green onion, jalapeno, cilantro and snap peas, were the actual tree and the red pepper and mushrooms...the ornaments.  Then you have the beef.  Mmm...the beef.  The beef is like the presents, the prize for being good boys and girls this year.

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 inch piece of peeled ginger, minced
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp (or more if you want the X-rated version) of crushed red pepper

Whisk all these ingredients together and add thinly sliced beef to the marinade.  I used sirloin.  And here's a quick tip:  If you cut your meat while it's still slightly frozen, it's easier to thinly slice.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour or four.

Now here's the part that takes time.  It's like foreplay.  You have to spend time with it and give it some love before you get to eat it up!  You have to pick your meat and veggies and then slice them all how you want to eat them.  Here's mine: Sirloin Steak, Mushrooms, Red Bell Pepper, Green Onion, Ginger, Garlic, Jalapeno, Snap Peas, and Cilantro.  Once you get everyone in one place and chopped up in the shape and size you like, you're ready to turn up the heat!  Take your meat out of the marinade (giggity) and dry it off.  You don't want steamed meat.  You want fried meat!  Stir fried meat!  

Get a wok.  You don't have to use one, but you'll be a lot happier if you do.  Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of Sesame Oil and again, if you want the X-rated version, add in some Fire Oil.  Put this on high heat until it's just about to smoke (If you set your kitchen on fire, that's your own damn fault, don't sue me, I have nothing to give, unless a '98 Chevy Cavalier is something you're dying to have).  First add in your meat in small batches.  Don't overcrowd the wok or you'll steam the food.  Cook the meat for literally 1 minute and put it on a plate to the side.  Finish off all the meat in this fashion.

Next, cook the main veggies (you may have to add more vegetable oil for these next steps).  Mushrooms, Pepper and Snap Peas...if you use broccoli, put that in now, if you use carrots, same.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring often.  Then add in your aromatics.  Yep, I went all Food Network-y on ya with that term.  Aromatics = Your smelly good things.  Your ginger, garlic, green onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.  Cook for 1 minute and add the beef back in.  Cook for another minute.  This all happens really quick and you're working with high heat and smokin' hot oil...BE CAREFUL.  You need to perfect your octopus cooking moves for this one.  You need to SEEM like you have eight arms, but with the smoothness of merely having two.

Finally, take 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water and mix together.  Add this at the very end stirring like an octopus to thicken any juices that form and to get all the tasty bits off the bottom of the wok.  Serve over noodles or rice or just eat the meat and veggies.  There's no wrong way.

This dish will make you want to chew your burps.  I mean it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

My Risotto's Totally Shroomin' Dude

I'm trying to expand my food knowledge, along with my palate.  So I've been scoping out odd and frightening foods whenever I am out and about.  While in East Memphis at the Fresh Market the other day, my eyes were drawn to a package of wild mushrooms.  The package consisted of French Horn, Chanterelle and Enokitake mushrooms.  Now I admit, mushrooms are a food that scare me.  I usually stick to the trusty old white button mushroom.  I have steered clear of portabellas ever since I decided to eat my first portabella sandwich, after a night of way too many Samuel's Adams Honey Porter beers during my WVU days.

Mushrooms, in general, are just weird.  They're a fungus.  I mean, it's kinda like, "Hey guys, wanna try the new Ringworm Wrap? I hear it's Awwwwwwesooooome!"  I kid.  But seriously, they are like cheese.  And I love cheese, but cheese can be scary.  It's stinky, its got mold on it.  But we eat it and love it.  But every once in a while, someone cuts the literal cheese and people go running!  Mushrooms, for me, are in the same boat, or should I say the same pile of poo??

Anyway, I dropped all my food fears on this one and went for it.  Of course the first thing that came to my mind was risotto, seeing as how it's been WAY too long since my last visit to Epcot's Le Cellier in Canada.  You have to call months in advance to eat there...probably because they have the best mushroom risotto I've ever eaten, not to mention delicious steaks! 

Here's what I did:
I simmered about 5 cups of chicken broth (you want to have warm broth).  I wiped off any dirt on the mushrooms and chopped them up.  Chopped up a shallot and 3 cloves of garlic and I sauteed these items in olive oil (about 2 tbsp's) and butter (2 tbsp's) in a large pot on medium heat.  Once everyone in the pot was soft and happy, I added 1 cup of Arborio Rice (you can't use Uncle Ben's when making Risotto.  Here's why) and stirred it around for about 2 minutes to cover each grain with olive oil, and butter and get it nice and toasty.  I then added in a cup of white wine.  Stir the wine and rice until there's almost no liquid left.  Then add in chicken cup at a time, stirring in the broth until it's almost gone, then add in the next cup.  This process takes about 25 minutes.  And the only way to really know when it's done (at least for me) is to try it.  It'll be really creamy!  When you get it to your desired consistency (I like mine with a little bite - al dente, per say) you're ready to add in a cup of Parmesan cheese, some chopped up thyme (about a tablespoon) and another pat of butter.

Now..... eat it VERY quickly, so that no one else gets any, because you aren't going to want to share!  And Fresh Market, WVU, Cook's Illustrated, Le Cellier and Epcot...I'll be awaiting my checks in the mail for the plugs!