Monday, September 28, 2009

You Know it's Autumn When...

I love living in Washington because we get to experience all four distinct seasons... and every time the next season rolls around its exciting and I'm ready for the change. One of my favorite seasonal transitions is from summer to autumn. I love the crispness in the air, the orange and red leaves, and the feeling that it's a new beginning... a little tingle I still get, even though I no longer have a 'first day of school.' Mostly, I love finally eating warm and cozy comfort foods and snuggling up for the start of Grey's Anatomy.

I know it's fall when Amanda whips out her very best recipes. That girl was made for autumn cookin'. For the series premier of Grey's, she was in full force, welcoming fall with open arms and an amazing fall meal premier.

To start the season out right, we had wild mushroom risotto- creamy and flavorful, with sautéed chanterelles, shitakes, button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and shallots, a splash of truffle oil, and ooey gooey melted parmesan.

Along with the risotto, Amanda made an amazing roasted pepper and tomato soup, garlic Gouda crostinis, fall apple and walnut salad with bleu cheese and yogurt dressing, and lots of red wine. After dinner, we snuggled up on the couch with hot, fresh baked huckleberry apple crumble, and the season premier of Grey's Anatomy.

I know it's fall when I start looking forward to Thursdays at the beginning of the week.

Wild Mushroom Risotto
(Adapted from Anthony Bourdain and Gourmet Magazine)

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 lb fresh wild mushrooms (chanterelles, shitakes, button, oyster) trimmed and chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
A splash of white truffle oil
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring broth to a simmer in a large pot and keep warm

Heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy saucepan (we use a wok…works for everything!) over medium-high heat until, then sauté mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Cook shallots in 2 tablespoons butter in same saucepan, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking, 16 to 18 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining tablespoon butter, sautéed mushrooms, truffle oil to taste, cheese, salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
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