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Delicious Cauliflower Risotto

Jan
29

A real risotto is a rice dish cooked in a creamy broth that is developed by the constant stirring of the rice, which allows it to release starch. The most common type of rice used in risotto is arborio rice, which is a nice plump short-grained variety with a good amount of starch. But what if you’re trying to cut some of the starch out of your diet because you don’t want to turn into a nice plump variety yourself? Ha. I’ve been on a kick lately with veggie substitutes, and have fallen deeply in love with cauliflower risotto.

With a lot of cheese. Because I’m not a die hard health nut. (But you knew that. My deep love affair with butter won’t allow it.)

Cauliflower has this odd and amazing capacity to look just like rice. Check it out–roughly chop half a head of fresh cauliflower.
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Stick it in the food processor, and in no time it goes from this–
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–to this.
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Be careful not to over-process it. You want it to look like short-grained rice, not mashed potatoes.

Arborio rice fakery:
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Toast it in a large skillet on high heat for a couple of minutes with some minced garlic and olive oil.
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Add one cube of chicken bouillon along with 1/4 cup milk and 1 cup of water. (The milk substitutes for the starch, making the creamy consistency.) The chicken bouillon cube, by the way, will provide all the seasoning that you need, so no additional salt and pepper is required.
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Simmer on medium-low heat until it thickens.
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Add cheeses. Lots of cheeses.
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Stir in chives.
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It’s ready to eat at this point, but I’m usually working on other components of the meal and will transfer it to a casserole dish to be reheated in the oven just before serving.
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This is so much like rice risotto, it’s unreal. I served it topped with shrimp for Morgan’s birthday dinner. Everyone at the table kept saying, “I can’t believe this isn’t rice!” And everybody loved it. It’s a strange phenomenon, but it doesn’t even really taste like cauliflower. It tastes like….rice risotto.

I’ve been making it about once a week lately and can’t get enough of it. Here are the recipe details:

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How to make Cauliflower Risotto:

1/2 head fresh cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 cup milk
1 cup water
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
chives

Pulse the roughly chopped cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles short-grained rice. (Don’t over-do it!) Heat olive oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add the cauliflower and minced garlic. Lightly toast over high heat for a few minutes. Turn heat to medium-low. Add the bouillon cube, milk, and water, stirring to dissolve the bouillon. Simmer until the mixture reduces and thickens. Stir in the cheeses. Sprinkle in chives. Serve immediately, or transfer to a casserole dish to reheat just before serving.

I know that’s a lot of cheese. You can cut back on the amount of cheese if you want to. If you’re crazy.
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I sure wouldn’t!

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Iced Orange Rolls

Jan
6

I had a box and a half of oranges recently, so I’ve been making a lot out of oranges. I made pints and pints of orange marmalade, juiced quite a few oranges, and then started baking with them. These iced orange rolls are easy–and have been a big hit. I gave pans of them as gifts during the holidays as well as making them at home a few times. If you want an easy, delicious–and fast!–recipe that looks like you spent a lot more time on it, and you’ve got some fresh oranges on hand, this is for you! It’s a basic biscuit recipe, with some special twists.

Note: You can, of course, replace the fresh orange juice with store-bought.

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How to make Iced Orange Rolls:

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup butter, softened
buttermilk
1 medium orange, for juice and zesting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
ground cloves

Place self-rising flour in a medium-size bowl. Cut in butter. Add buttermilk until you have a nice biscuit dough–not too moist, not too dry.
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Roll dough out on a floured surface to a rectangle about 6 inches by 12 inches. (I was making two pans at a time when I was taking these pictures.)
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Zest the orange with a grater. (You can skip the zesting, but it’s great additional flavor.) Cut the orange in half and squeeze out several tablespoons of juice into a small bowl. Remove any seeds.
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Mix the 1/4 cup softened butter into the juice along with some zest then spread over the rolled biscuit dough. Sprinkle the granulated sugar across the top. (You could use brown sugar instead.)
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Roll the dough up, length-wise, and seal edges.
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Wrap the dough and chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes for easier slicing.
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Slice the dough into 8 to 10 spiral rolls.
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Place in a greased pan.
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Bake at 450 about 10 minutes or until nicely browned.
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Cool, then ice. To make the icing, mix powdered sugar, more orange juice, zest, and a sprinkle of ground cloves until you have a drizzling consistency.
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Drizzle lavishly.
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These are so amazingly delicious, packed with fresh, bright orange flavor, and crazy simple to make–which is why I’ve made it repeatedly. I thought I was going to get tired of all these oranges, but now I hate to run out!

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