Crab Arancini with Cheez-Its!

I have been cooking with Giada’s Italy cookbook and today I tried the Crab Arancini.

Giada uses risotto mixed with crab, cheese and bread crumbs to make these delicious nuggets.  As I go through Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita cooking I try to get creative and come up with my own version of each recipe.  I remember as a kid learning from my grandmother, aunts and mom certain recipes where they did not have exact ingredients written down; they were just in their head and measuring was a handful or a pinch and then sometimes added as they went along. I learned to be creative in tasting as you cook so you know if you need to add anything to make the perfect dish.  I originally thought I would try to make these somewhat healthy as it has been a long time since I have had any grains but then thought I will improvise as I go just as my family does.  I had a box of Trader Joe’s Mushroom and Herb Risotto in my pantry so thought I would use that. There are items in the recipe that I did not have so improvised on those as well.  Here is my take.

Ingredients:

Prepare boxed risotto, take off stovetop and cool completely. Add in lemon zest, cheese, cream cheese, crab meat and mix thoroughly.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

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Prepare your breading station with beaten eggs, flour seasoned with salt and pepper and cheeze-its. Scoop out a tablespoon of risotto mixture and roll into a ball.  Dip in flour, then egg, then cheez-it mixture until you have used up all the mixture.  Cook in a frying pan with heated olive oil, turning to brown on all sides.

Homemade sauce:

(this was an experiment but proved to be pretty good.  You can increase the amounts to double this).  Mix all together and warm in microwave to serve over crab arancini.

Enjoy,

Love and Light

Jeanine on the Scene

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Lamb Bolognese

Happy Friday and welcome to another day with Giada’s Italy *Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita. I continue to utilize the recipes in this wonderful cookbook; adding my own versions to the recipes.  I used ground lamb and ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Both lamb and turkey are lower in fat but not losing any flavors.  By slow cooking in a dutch oven; the flavors are allowed to marry together and fill your home with delicious scents.This recipe makes 6 cups and yields 8 servings so you can use half for now and freeze the rest for later use.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 lb. ground lamb
  • 3/4 lb. ground turkey (90/10)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Calabrian chile paste
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 3 in. piece of Parmigiana-Reggiano rind
  • 1 8 oz. package of pappardelle pasta (see homemade pasta recipe under my favorite things!)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano

Heat a medium dutch oven and add the butter and half the olive oil until butter melts. Add carrot, onion, celery and 1/2 tsp salt and cook stirring frequently for about 6 minutes until the vegetables are soft.  Add the lamb and turkey and cook and break up into small pieces until meat is cooked through.  Add garlic, Hot Chili Peppers Crushed in jar, McCormick Culinary Ground Hot Red Pepper and tomato paste, cooking for a few minutes; stirring to cook down the tomato paste.

 

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Stir in the milk and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the milk evaporates.  Add the wine, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, cheese rind and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.  Reduce heat once it comes to a simmer, gently cooking for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Skim oil off surface.  Remove half the sauce into a container for later use. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze. Cook pasta in well salted boiling water cooking until al dente. Remove from water and toss the pasta with the herb butter.  To serve place pasta in a beautiful dish : CERAMICHE D’ARTE PARRINI – Italian Ceramic Art Pottery Serving Plate Dish Food Hand Painted Decorated Lemons Made in ITALY Tuscan add the sauce to the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and some fresh Italian Parsley.  Enjoy!

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

*Adapted from recipes from Giada’s Italy cookbook.

Dinner for One: Pan Roasted Clams

Its Giada Day!  I searched through the recipes looking for an easy weeknight dinner for one.  I love getting “Pot of clams” when I go to the Bluewater Grill and decided to give this a try.  Super simple, super easy and quick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. manila clams, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh flat leaf Italian Parsley
  • 1/8 cup (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 ciabatta roll

In a medium flat frying pan, heat pan on medium high heat.  Add clams and cover to cook, shaking the pan to distribute heat to open up clams for about 3 minutes.  Discard any clams that do not open.  Remove clams to a bowl, sprinkle with the parsley; leaving the juices in the pan.  Add butter, thyme, lemon and orange zest and red pepper to pan and cook on medium heat until butter is melted. Pour the sauce over the clams.  Add the ciabatta roll to the pan, moving it around to get the rest of the sauce for grilling bread until crispy.  Make sure to use the bread to soak up all the juices. So easy and delicious. Done in 20 minutes or less.20180905_201440.jpg

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

 

Quick & Easy Shrimp Cocktail

If you like spicy foods this ones for you.  The original recipe called for Calabrian Chile Paste.  I did not have this readily available in my pantry so made my own version by soaking chile pepper flakes in olive oil and a little Sriracha.  Spicy kick but balanced out in the end with lemon juice.  I used to carry the Tutto brand in my store in Northern CA but you can buy it online if you can not find it at your local market.  https://www.supermarketitaly.com/tutto-calabria-crushed-hot-chili-peppers-10-2oz/?gclid=CjwKCAjwns_bBRBCEiwA7AVGHjuflOkqASYdEYmDIwHfB9BuR5q9npifadg1aHN4V3Jp2idWXtroORoCuGUQAvD_BwE https://www.supermarketitaly.com/tutto-calabria-crushed-hot-chili-peppers-10-2oz/?

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-reggiano
  • 2 TBSP. Olive oil
  • 2 Tsp. Calabrian chile paste or 2 Tsp. chili peppers crushed and soaked in olive oil overnight, add 1 tsp. Sriracha and mix thoroughly
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined with tails intact (I used pre-cooked)
  • 1 TBSP. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP> chopped fresh basil or Thai basil

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In medium bowl whisk together chili paste, Parmigiano Reggiano, olive oil, lemon zest, dried oregano and salt.  Mix in shrimp and let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.  BBQ on medium heat until shrimp are pink but not overcooked.  This is a quick sear on both sides.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with lemon juice and basil.  Serve warm.  This can be a first course or mixed in with pasta for a main dish or topped on mixed greens sprinkled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a light lunch.

Enjoy!

Love and Light,
Jeanine on the Scene

Quick and Easy Apricot Mostarda

Ever heard of the name “Mostarda”? The translation in Italian is a sweet and savory fruit condiment.  Welcome Wednesday cooking with @Giada’sItaly cookbook.

Apricot Mostarda

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  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder (or red pepper flakes, crushed)
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 5 TBSP. sugar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 cups dried Turkish apricots, chopped

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot and salt.  Cook for 1 minute, or until the shallots are fragrant and soft. Stir in the mustard seeds and cumin powder and cook an additional minute.  Add the vinegar and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes.

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Whisk in the mustard and 1 cup of the chopped apricots.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often,  until the mixture has a jam like consistency.  Take off heat and stir in remaining 1 cup chopped apricots.  Cool completely and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.  Serve at room temperature.

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Add to your charcuterie platter, spread on crostini with cheese and salami or on a pork loin or lamb loin. Tangy, sweet, delizioso!!

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

(note: This and all the recipes from Giada’s Italy that I share have been modified by me)