Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Asparagus Truffle Risotto

I've been making a lot of risotto recently, so when I received ShopRite's private label risotto in my recent shipment of products to try from ShopRite as a member of their new blog panel, I was ready. I love the combination of a bit of truffle oil in my risotto, so I decided to combine with some fresh asparagus. You can use just about any vegetable in risotto. If i did this again, I might even add a bit of sweet corn, as well. I used La Tournagelle Infused Black truffle oil, which is a bit expensive, but a little goes a long way. It's certainly less pricy than buying actual truffles, that's for sure. I was impressed with the high quality of the ShopRite arborio rice in the private label risotto. It had just the right consistency for a perfect risotto.

Sasha's Truffle-Asparagus Risotto
2 cups of arborio risotto rice
4 T of olive oil (I used the ShopRite private label olive oil, once again)
3 cloves of fresh garlic
1 onion, diced
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, chopped, ends discarded
4 sprigs of thyme
1 cup of white cooking wine
4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 T of truffle oil
1/3 of a cup of grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the risotto, saute the asparagus, onion, diced garlic and thyme for about 5 minutes over medium heat, using two tablespoons of the olive oil. In another saute pan, add the arborio risotto rice to the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and coat well.  Add the white wine and cook over medium high hear for a few minutes.  Add the asparagus/onion mix and the truffle oil. Then add the chicken stock, one cup at a time, and continue heating over medium high heat, allowing the liquid to reduce. When each cup is reduced, then add the next cup of the chicken stock. Once all of the chicken stock is reduced, the risotto should look expanded and cooked al dente. Then stir in the grated parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: ShopRite, NYC Food & Wine Festival and Tyler Florence

I'm very excited that I am going to be part of the ShopRite blog panel. It is such a great opportunity that my blog was chosen and I look forward to tasting, cooking with and reviewing many new private label ShopRite products. This weekend, I had a great dinner meeting the other panelists at Abe & Arthurs in the meat packing district for dinner. Brad and I also had a great time on Saturday tasting all of the samplings at the NYC Food & Wine Festival that ShopRite co-sponsored.

At dinner with the ShopRite folks, we got to meet Tyler Florence from the Food Network, who signed copies of his new book. Below the photographs, I included some videos that I took (or Brad took) using the FlipCam handheld video cam that the ShopRite folks gave each of the bloggers. I hope to get better at using it so I can take some videos of cooking as well.  Another note - the whiskey sour pickles from Brooklyn Brine were amazing and can be ordered online (I plan to do so right away).


Monday, October 11, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Sports-Themed Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

The Yankees are back in the playoffs to defend their world championship, so I decided it was time for some sports-themed cupcakes. I made a batch of orange chocolate chip cupcakes, one of my favorite flavors and decided to decorate half of them as baseballs and basketballs (with a Yankees cupcake thrown in for good measure). The other half of the cupcakes were decorated with a Harry Potter theme, and will be the subject of a future post. To decorate the cupcakes, I used white sprinkles and orange nonpareils from New York Cake, my favorite baking supply store that were leftover from my previous adventure making sushi cupcakes.  Then, I added the lines using sparkly Wilton icings.

I am partial to the baseball, since that is my favorite sport and I was quite happy with how that one came out. But the non-pareils really created the perfect texture for the basketball.

Sasha's Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
makes 15 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
grated zest of one large orange
1 1/2 cups of skim milk
2/3 of a cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To prepare the cupcakes, combine the salt, baking powder and flour in a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and the sugar in your stand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, for about three minutes. Add the eggs and orange zest and beat to combine. Then alternatively add the milk and the dry ingredients and mix in the mixer until smooth. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl and add a teaspoon of flour to coat the chips (this keeps them suspended in the cupcake mixture so they don't sink to the bottom). Sitr in the chips gently.

Divide into a silicon cupcake tray, using a tablespoon (first put in cupcake liners), filling each about 3/4 full. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 for about 25 minutes, until done (test with a toothpick).

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. To make the frosting, beat the butter and confectioner's sugar until smooth for several minutes on high speed in your mixer.

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