Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Pea and Shitake Orange Risotto

One of the best consequences of writing this blog for about 11 years is the number of fellow food bloggers I’ve met in real life and online. In my very early days of food blogging, I encountered Jamie Schler’s lovely blog, Life’s a Feast. I always loved to see what she was baking each time I visited, and I was inspired by her adventures with macarons. We visited each other’s sites and got to know one another through blog posts and comments. I’m so proud to now be blogging about her first cookbook, Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet. Congratulations to Jamie! Because she’s a native of Florida, it’s fitting that she’s brought us a collection of recipes focused on oranges. Of course, she now lives in France and notes in the book that she wanted these recipes to be very usable no matter where the reader resides. The ingredients used are all common enough to be found just about anywhere. And, the variety of recipes includes sweet and savory, starters and mains, and sauces and relishes. I’ve been having fun trying some things from the book while citrus season is upon us. The first recipe I tried was the Orange, Date, and Pecan Muffins. They are deliciously sweetened with chopped dates, honey, and maple syrup and no refined sugar. Chestnut flour is called for, but there is a note that all-purpose can be substituted. As luck would have it, I had some chestnut flour among my stash of various flours and grains and was delighted to use it. I’ll be turning back to this recipe often. There’s an intriguing recipe in the first chapter for Orange Avocado Salad Dressing or Dip. You begin by making a homemade mayonnaise and then add mashed avocado, orange and lime juice, chipotle powder, and cilantro. It sounds perfect for dipping fresh vegetables or using as a sauce for seafood or mixing into salad greens, and I’d like to always have a bowl of it in my refrigerator. The Savory Orange, Onion, and Olive Focaccia also caught my eye. What a great combination of flavors for a savory bread. And, the sweets all sound irresistible. There’s a Glazed Blood Orange Yogurt Loaf Cake, the Orange Panna Cotta with Orange Compote, and Orange Curd Tartlets in a Coconut Pastry Crust that also appear on the book cover. Despite all the cravings of my sweet tooth, the next dish I made was the Pea and Shitake Orange Risotto. 

To start, the shitakes were sauteed in butter and olive oil and then glazed with some orange juice before being removed from the pan and set aside. Next, minced onion was sauteed before the Arborio rice was added and toasted. I used a homemade vegetable stock, and I actually enjoy the process of making risotto. I remember the first time I ever made risotto and how I was re-reading the recipe as I cooked and stirred and watched the clock closely to check the timing. It seems so easy now. You don’t really need to check the clock at all. You can see when the rice has absorbed the stock, and you add more. And, you keep stirring. But, you can stir with one hand and sip wine with the other. For this risotto, after the rice was cooked, more orange juice was added and incorporated. Then, frozen peas were added with the cooked shitakes. I added lots of chopped parsley from my garden. I served it with some roasted shrimp on top. 

The orange flavor with the shitakes and peas was a fantastic combination. I’m so happy to have some of this leftover risotto in my freezer. I’m planning to make arancini stuffed with fresh mozzarella. For even more decadence, those little crispy arancini would be great with the Orange Avocado Dip. Then, I’m going to have to stock up on blood oranges before the season ends. I have more cooking with citrus to do.

I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program. 
Blogging tips