Risotto is one of those things that I used to think that I could only get at restaurants- creamy, flavorful, potentially expensive if it includes seafood...until I learned how to make it! You can find arborio rice at a lot of grocery stores or online, and it pairs well with a lot of meats or veggies like steak, shrimp, or pumpkin, mushrooms, etc.! It also pairs well with flavors like truffle- thanks to OMG Gourmet for sending this White Truffle oil to try! I added some into my risotto and you can also drizzle some on top because a little goes a long way!
I'm currently doing a giveaway with them here, so check it out if you'd like to win your own bottle to try or try a new olive oil or balsamic vinegar!
Recipe (makes 4 large servings):
• 2 cups sliced mushrooms
• 1 minced shallot
• 1 tbsp butter
• 2+1 tbsp oil
• 2 1/2 cup arborio rice
• 1 cup white wine
• 5 cups chicken broth or water (make this vegetarian by using water and adding in more umami with a dash of soy sauce!)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2-1 cup grated parmesan
• 3 tbsp truffle oil (topping or mix in)
Heat the chicken broth or water (you will need it to be warm when adding it into the rice later).
Add butter and 2 tbsp of oil to your pot. When butter is melted, add mushrooms and sauté until softened and browned. Add shallots and sauté until caramelized. Add 1 tbsp of oil and the arborio rice. Add the white wine and stir until arborio rice has absorbed all the liquid.
Use a ladle or measuring cup to slowly add in the warmed chicken broth or water, adding about 1/2 cup and stirring the rice until liquid is absorbed before adding more chicken broth/water. Keep adding in chicken broth/water as the rice continues to cook, until you reach your desired consistency. The arborio rice will change color from opaque white to more transparent as it gets cooked and the texture will become more soft and creamy as you incorporate the liquid.
Once your rice is cooked, add salt and pepper to taste and then stir in grated parmesan cheese and truffle oil. You can also reserve some cheese and truffle oil for the topping.
I've found that I can make more of the risotto and it can reheat pretty well too if there's any leftovers! Just add your risotto to a saucepan or a microwaveable container and add a little bit of hot water. Microwave in intervals of a minute or slowly heat up the risotto in the saucepan, stirring and adding a few tablespoons of hot water at a time until your risotto softens up and loosens up again to get that creamy texture (volume of water will be different depending on the amount of risotto).
#sponsored The holidays may look different this year, but everyone can always do with a warm, comforting meal! I made these easy chicken enchiladas for my family with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from La Morena!
La Morena peppers are hand-selected and prepared, plus they're the highest quality peppers available, so you get a delicious smoky and spicy flavor even just opening the container up!
Recipe (4 servings)
-2 tbsp vegetable oil
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 cup chicken broth
-Fire roasted diced tomatoes (I used Hunt's)
-La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (I didn't use the whole can, but you can adjust to your own taste!)
-1/2 tsp cumin
-1 tsp dried oregano leaves
-2 tbsp sugar
-Salt and pepper to taste
-2 chicken breasts (either use cooked/rotisserie chicken to save time or poach/pan sear raw chicken breasts)
-Flour or corn tortillas (number will depend on the size of your container and the size of your tortillas; I used 5 large flour tortillas to fit a 9x7in pyrex dish)
=1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese for filling and topping
-Optional garnishes: scallion, cilantro, avocado, pickled red onion, cotija, lime
Sauté your onion in the vegetable oil. When tender, add the garlic and deglaze the pan with the chicken broth. Add in the tomatoes, chipotle peppers (to your spice level), cumin, oregano, sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes.
While simmering, shred your chicken breasts. To prep the tortillas, you can lightly pan fry or toast them for a few minutes, but make sure they're not too crisp as that will make them difficult to roll.
When the sauce is done simmering, use an immersion blender until it reaches your desired consistency.
Add a few tablespoons to the shredded chicken and then distribute chicken to each tortilla. Add some shredded cheese to each one, saving some extra for the topping. Roll each tortilla tightly. Add some enchilada sauce to the bottom of your oven-safe container and then line the enchiladas up. Top with more enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes until cheese on top is melted and bubbly. Garnish with herbs, avocado, etc., or serve with rice, refried beans, tomatoes or lettuce.
#PayItForwardwithLM #WeCanWithLaMorena #VivaLaMorena
This holiday season, I'm trying to highlight local businesses in Boston! A lot of these businesses have online ordering and shipping/delivery for their products so you can #shoplocal and give some amazing gifts to friends and family! And even if they don't sell products, consider purchasing gift cards to your favorite local businesses and restaurants as well to support them!
Macarons from Maca
Spices from Curio Spice Co
Curio Spice Co. is a woman-owned spice company based in Cambridge, MA. They specialize in directly sourced, sustainably produced spices from around the world. They have gift sets, spice blends, even sets that come with cookbooks! Their storefront is currently closed, but they are open for pick-up or mail orders.
Instagram | Website
Tea Blends from The Té Spa
Coffee Subscriptions and Gift Cards to Local Coffeeshops
Salem‑based Jaho Coffee and Boston/Cambridge-based Pavement Coffeehouse both sell lots of specialty coffee and tea blends, as well as merch and coffee/tea accessories. Both coffeeshops offer coffee subscriptions and gift cards for your favorite caffeine‑lover!
Jaho: Instagram | Website
Pavement: Instagram | Website
Cupcakes from Small and Sweet Bake
Charcuterie Boards from Local Businesses
Check out local charcuterie businesses like BoardsByMo, TheCharcuterieMama, and GatherAndGraze to send your friends and family boards that are almost too beautiful to eat! While you might not be able to share these in person this year, sharing some charcuterie during a Zoom holiday dinner, wine night, or fun get-together just might be the new thing. Click on their social media and websites below to see more info about their pricing and delivery ranges!
BoardsByMo (Boston area): Instagram | Website
TheCharcuterieMama (Acton, MA and surrounding area): Instagram | Website
GatherAndGraze (South Shore): Instagram | Website
Granola from Golden Girl Granola
Caramels from McCrea's Candies
Cookbooks from Local Restaurants
I love to cook and bake, so I love a good cookbook! Even if I might not make all the recipes, I love looking at the beautiful photos and reading about the inspiration behind some of the dishes. Try your hand at making some of your favorite dishes by looking for cookbooks from Boston-area restaurants like Flour Bakery, Sofra, and Mei Mei. Another great list of Boston restaurant cookbooks from Eater here.
Flour: Instagram | Website | Cookbook
Sofra: Instagram| Website | Cookbook
Mei Mei: Instagram | Website | Cookbook
Tea from MEM Tea
Chocolates from Taza Chocolate
Taza Chocolate, based in Somerville, MA, specializes in stone-ground chocolate. They're offering samplers, gift sets, even virtual tasting kits so you can try new flavors with friends and family during the holidays.
Instagram | Website
Salt Sets from Duxbury Saltworks
Spirits and Cocktail Classes from Bully Boy Distillers
Bully Boy Distillers, based in Boston, is offering virtual cocktail classes Thursdays and Fridays, which are the perfect virtual group activity for a friend group or even for family! Learn how to make some of your favorite drinks straight from the experts. They also sell their spirits online and in stores around New England, such as whiskey, rum, vodka, etc.
Instagram | Website | Classes | Spirits
Jams from Bonnie's Jams
Hope you found some of these suggestions for gifts helpful! Let me know if you have a favorite or if you have other lovely small businesses in Boston for foodie gifts that you love!
I have been sharing tons of resources on my Instagram for the Black Lives Matter movement and ways in which you can support, through attending protests, donating to organizations, educating yourself, and supporting Black-owned businesses and restaurants. So I've created a list of Black-owned restaurants for those of us in the suburbs & a little farther out from Greater Boston to support! Restaurants marked with a (*) are currently open for takeout/delivery or have products being sold online/in other stores, but as restaurants are moving towards outdoor dining, please check out their websites/social media for any updates on openings!
I've focused on the Norfolk & Middlesex counties and the towns more local to myself because there are many lists for Boston proper going around already like this one by Nail the Cocktail. This is definitely by no means a comprehensive list because I wanted to get the information that I have out there so people can start supporting immediately, so please feel free to leave me any additional suburb/Greater Boston recommendations and I will update my post/share comments! (Italicized entries are new!)
I will also be adding my findings to bit.ly/BlackOwnedFood, which is crowdsourced, more comprehensive, and has many different lists sorted by state/city, so please check out that document as a resource.
You can also view all of the restaurants here in a Yelp bookmark collection.
Let's keep supporting the black community now more than ever before and keep it going!
You know you've made it when your Asian mom says "Mmm...not too sweet" in approval! I made this carrot cake for my mom on Mother's Day and swapped the typical cream cheese frosting for chocolate ganache because she loves chocolate It's actually a delicious combo!
Carrot Cake with Chocolate Ganache
(Carrot Cake recipe modified from New York Times Cooking)
(note: the proportions are ~halved from the original recipe; I made 2 layers in separate spring-form tins that were each roughly 2 inches tall, but you can make thinner layers or just one larger cake)
Notes: Any extra ganache can be stored in the fridge, but just let it come to room temp before using (so it will soften). For this same reason, if you decide to store the cake in the fridge after decorating, let it come to room temp, otherwise the cold ganache can make it a little difficult to slice cleanly.
Coffee creamer is not just for coffee anymore!
I used Coconut Cloud Coconut Milk Creamer, which is 100% dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO, in my coffee, which gave it a nice creamy texture with just a light coconut flavor! The creamer is unsweetened, so you can always add more for more of that texture or flavor, and then adjust the sweetness to your liking.
Coconut Cloud also states that their creamer can used as a replacement for coconut milk in recipes! This is perfect for times like these when you might not always have fresh milk or coconut milk on hand, but if you are a big coffee drinker, you'll always have creamer to add to your coffee!
So I used Coconut Cloud Original Coconut Milk Creamer (they have other flavors too!) to make this refreshing Coconut Milk Pudding! It's reminiscent of panna cotta, but a bit lighter since it doesn't have heavy cream, so it's definitely healthier and you can easily make it vegan by substituting the gelatin with agar agar.
Coconut Cloud Coconut Milk Pudding (Serves 4)
1. Measure out 2 cups of hot water into a medium-sized, mixable container (I recommend something like a large measuring cup with a lip for easy pouring later on).
2. Add in the sugar, salt, gelatin, and stir to dissolve. Add in your Coconut Cloud coconut milk creamer one tablespoon at a time, making sure it is all combined and dissolved. At this point, you can taste it and sweeten it more to your liking or even add more creamer for more creamy texture or coconut flavor.
3. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet for easy transfer. Divide the mixture evenly among your ramekins and once cool to the touch, cover with plastic wrap or foil. Chill puddings for at least 6 hours in the fridge.
4. Serve in the ramekins or gently run a knife around the edge of the ramekin to loosen the pudding, then cover it with a plate and invert the pudding. You can serve the puddings with fresh fruit, honey, nuts, etc.
Check out my Instagram post here!
I'm so excited to be giving away one Jo Chef Professional Kitchen Torch! Read until the bottom to see the giveaway details!
The Jo Chef torch is super easy to use. It comes with really clear instructions and a nice free silicon pot holder too! You just take it off the stand and fill it with butane in the little hole at the bottom. Figuring out how to fill it with gas was the hardest part, and I recommend thoroughly reading the instructions for this part, but this will depend on the type/size/brand of butane that you use.
Once you have added the gas, you turn the red knob until you can hear the gas and then click the red button to ignite. You can turn the knob to change the intensity of the flame. This may take a little practice if you're not comfortable with fire, but it cooks things very quickly and efficiently. And you can easily refill the gas through the hole at the bottom as needed!
Once you get used to the flame, you can use the torch to easily brown brulees, sear meats, and roast veggies! I used mine to make this easy s'mores dip with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and graham crackers.
Simply layer crushed graham crackers on the bottom of your container (I used a glass ramekin). If you're going to be dipping graham crackers, you can skip this step! But I added them because I ended up dipping fruit!
Add chopped pieces of chocolate or chocolate chips. You can use the Jo Chef torch to lightly melt the chocolate.
Then, add a layer of marshmallows. I used mini ones just because they fit better, but regular sized would work as well. I used the Jo Chef torch to toast the marshmallows! (If you use mini, just make sure you don't hold the flame too close, otherwise, they toast very quickly and can burn!
You can easily spice up the flavors by adding in crushed candy canes (holiday vibes) some cinnamon (for a spicy hot chocolate vibe), or try using some caramel as well!
I'm so excited to be giving away one Jo Chef Professional Kitchen Torch (plus butane gas shipped separately)! Enter on my Instagram!
1 tag per Instagram comment = 1 entry; unlimited entries, but please no duplicate tags! (US residents only)
One of my favorite snacks (or meals, really) is a charcuterie platter. Charcuterie is a French word that refers to the meat products, like cured meats, sausages, salame, ham, etc. But charcuterie boards often include other items like cheeses, crackers, bread, spreads, nuts, pickles, fresh veggies, or fresh fruits.
When I was in Paris over the summer with my friend, we made a lot of charcuterie boards as our meals. It allowed us to snack and eat as much or as little as we wanted to (like if we were still adjusting to the time difference), it gave us a chance to taste local ingredients and produce at fairly cheap prices, and it was easy, as fancy as we wanted, and good for any time of the day. Plus, it paired well with a glass of wine for dinner! (See 3 of our boards below- and yes, you can make them on a simple dinner plate too!)
So charcuterie brings lots of memories and fun times to mind for me and I love putting together boards for get-togethers with friends, as appetizers for dinner with family, and any occasion, really! So I was super excited when Citterio reached out to me about being an ambassador, and of course, I had to make a charcuterie board with their delicious salame! They sent me their Genoa Salame, Sopressata Salame, and Napoli Salame to try.
I get that charcuterie boards can be intimidating to put together (some people make them huge and they look amazing), but really, it's about gathering yummy snacks and fresh ingredients. It's generally a simple preparation to let the amazing ingredients shine, but here are some tips:
Tips on preparing charcuterie boards:
Pre-slice your cheese before your guests get there
Have a variety of textures on your board
Hope these tips are helpful and hope you enjoy making your own charcuterie boards!
Check out my Instagram post here!
Partnered with Gorton's Seafood to feature their new Natural Catch Grilled Salmon, which is 100% sustainably wild-caught, char-grilled, and free of any artificial and GMO ingredients. It doesn't take too long to cook, so it's perfect for weekday dinners, meal prep, or really, any occasion!
I paired it with this adorable pumpkin-shaped pasta that I found at Marshalls (serious fall vibes) just in time for World Pasta Day! I'll take any excuse to eat more pasta :)
Salmon Alfredo Pasta
Boil your pasta in salted water. The petit pumpkins pasta takes 6-8 minutes to cook, but check your pasta for cooking instructions! Drain your pasta and set aside. In a saucepan, saute your mushrooms in oil (optional: add garlic and diced onion and saute). Then add bell peppers and alfredo sauce. When the alfredo sauce is heated all the way through, add your pasta and stir to combine. Take the salmon out of the oven.
Serve by cutting up the salmon and combining it with the pasta, or serve the salmon with the pasta on the side.
Check out my Instagram post here!
This weekend, I tried FreshZen Foods' products for the first time! They are based in Boston and they make the only plant-based Asian pesto on the market. I love supporting local businesses, so I was stoked to give their products a try, but I was a little confused by the "Asian pesto" name. Essentially, just like pesto, their sauces are almost like a thin paste and can be used on their own, in marinades, etc., but it doesn't have the typical ingredients of pesto- hence, the Asian flair with ginger, scallion, and garlic. The ginger scallion sauce (although I never thought of it as pesto) is actually a sauce I grew up with; it's found commonly in Cantonese cooking and served with steamed fish or roasted meats, but Cantonese cooking also just uses ginger and scallions often in dishes, so this sauce is super versatile for Asian cooking!
The Ginger Scallion sauce is perfect to cut down on prep/chopping time (say if you don't want to chop up all that ginger or scallions yourself), easy to use, and great to keep on hand for quick recipes!
FreshZen is actually expanding to being sold at Whole Foods (check them out in Beverly, MA!) and they also hold cooking classes at the Kitchen at Boston Public Market!
My stir fry recipe (serves 2, depending on how much rice or noodles):
1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
1/2 white onion
8 oz mushrooms (about 8)
14oz extra firm tofu (1 package)
3 tbsp FreshZen
6 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
Cut veggies into strips/thin slices and cube your tofu into bite-sized pieces. Heat your pan on medium. Add 2 tbsp oil, the FreshZen, the onion, and saute. Add in the tofu, making sure the tofu gets pan-fried and browned on each side. Add in the mushrooms, soy sauce, and honey. Make sure everything is combined and cook until the mushrooms soften. Add in the bell peppers and cook until they soften to your liking. You can cover the pan to speed this process up.
Serve over rice or noodles. If you use noodles, you can boil them beforehand and add them in when you add in the soy sauce to make sure they get combined in the sauce.
Other options because stir fry is super versatile and forgiving:
Recipe also posted on Instagram here.