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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Drunken Rabbit and Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Continuing two of our resolutions, to eat healthy, and to get some items out of the freezer, I decided to pull out a rabbit ! My favorite way to prepare rabbit is very simple. I put it in the crockpot with 2 large, sliced onions, 6 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and some powdered mushrooms. Then, pour an entire bottle of white wine over it, and cook on low 6-7 hours. Remove it from the crock pot, let it cool, and pull the meat from the bones. You need to be very careful, as the rabbit bones are quite small. I put the rabbit meat in a small sauce pan with some of the broth from the crockpot, put a lid on it and simmer while you prepare the quinoa.

Quinoa is a grain that you can substitute for rice, but it has protein so it is better for you. The texture is actually more like couscous. I have to admit, when I cooked this, it looked a little like Malt-o-Meal, but it tasted wonderful !

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

4 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 cup quinoa
4 1/2 cups stock **use leftover broth from cooking rabbit, and supplement with chicken stock to bring up to 4 1/2 cups
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 pound fresh spinach, stems removed (optional)

Put stock in a sauce pan and keep warm while you work. In a very large saute pan, melt butter. Saute scallions and garlic until translucent.
Add quinoa and stir through until it starts to brown. Add 1/2 cup of stock to quinoa and stir until absorbed. Continue to add stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it is absorbed before adding more. Add mushrooms when this process is about half way through. After the last addition of stock, add spinach. This process should take 20-25 minutes. You will need to stir constantly to make sure your risotto is creamy. When you have finished, stir in the parmesan, and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with rabbit on top of the quinoa.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Chicago Foodie Tour

We have been trying, since the first of the year, to eat healthy. We took a break from this to go on a foodie tour of Chicago last weekend, hosted by our dear friends, JT and Soraya. We are not your typical tourists, we didn't want to see the Sears Tower, or Wrigley Field (although that probably wasn't an option in February anyway). When we first landed, we went to the Swedish bakery for breakfast. We loaded up on enough pastries to last the weekend. Most notable for me was a small marzipan frog, filled with raspberry creme. If it was any larger it would have sent me into a sugar coma, but the combination of the marzipan, raspberry, spongecake and chocolate was perfect. We also had danish, almond horns, small almond cakes and I can't even remember what else, all of it glorious !

Lunch was a place called Hot Doug's, where we stood in line for the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience duck fat french fries, and a rattle snake hot dog with a dijon mayonnaise and cranberry wensleydale cheese. I realize it sounds strange, but the talent of the staff at Hot Doug's is creating the perfect flavor profile for these gourmet dogs, and it was truly amazing. And, of course, we also had to sample the classic Chicago dog.

After all of that, we had a pesto pizza, Chicago style, of course ! We went to a place called Edwardo's, and they did something really interesting with the pesto. They added some extra olive oil so it was more like a dipping sauce. They served some thin baked pizza crust (like a cracker) as an appetizer before hand, and we ate so much of it we almost couldn't eat the pizza ! The pizza was thick, cheesy and perfect with more of this yummy pesto on top.

The next day, we headed to three Floyds Brewery, not only to sample some of the best beer in the US, but to try one of the best burgers I have ever had. Three Floyds uses the grain left over from the brewing process to feed the cattle used for the beef in their hamburgers. We ordered ours rare, with goat cheese, and it was served on a pretzel bun. Ray also had his first taste of bone marrow, which was served on crostini with a pickled grape. We were quickly headed to a food coma.

We toured and shopped, working our way to a late dinner in Greektown. The name of the restaurant was Pegasus, and we ordered one of everything on the menu, I think ! Not really, but we had an excellent sampling, and I won't remember all of the names. But look for some Greek recipes to start showing up in the blog !

WHEW ! And there was one more really stellar meal. We went to a very special restaurant, Anthony's in Hammond IN, where JT and Soraya got engaged, and had their wedding reception. We had caprese salad, bruschetta, and some broiled mushrooms that WILL be recreated here. Ray and Soraya both had a blackened steak and mushroom risotto that was delicious, JT had a seafood pasta and I had a chicken fra diavolo, and no one was able to finish the very generous portions. We had to leave our leftovers, so our hosts had lovely lunches all week long. And, we also had desserts, bananas foster and a triple berry sorbet.

I cannot say enough about our wonderful trip and our awesome hosts, and can't wait to do it again. We didn't even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to offer.