Dinner Party

I had a small din­ner par­ty on Sat­ur­day night. It suc­cess­ful­ly broke in my new­ly refin­ished table. I served a Lemon, Leek and Mush­room Risot­to with Red Onion and Goat Cheese Pas­tries and Baked Apples for dessert. Wines served were Trim­bach Alsa­cian Gewurtz­tramein­er, Cay­mus Conun­drum and Wood­bridge Pinot Gri­gio. I real­ly liked the risot­to, I’m going to have to make it with fish in the future. The recipes came from this book, which turned out to be an awe­some sur­prise Christ­mas gift from my mom. Recipes past the jump.

Lemon, Leek and Mush­room Risot­to


8 ounces trimmed leeks
8 ounces crem­i­ni mush­rooms
2 table­spoons olive oil
3 gar­lic cloves, crushed
6 table­spoons (¾ stick) but­ter
1 large onion, rough­ly chopped
scant 1 ¾ cups Arbo­rio rice
5 cups hot veg­etable stock
grat­ed zest and juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup fresh­ly grat­ed Parme­san cheese
¼ cup mixed chopped fresh chives and flat-leaf pars­ley
salt and fresh­ly ground black pep­per
lemon wedges and sprigs of flat-leaf pars­ley to serve

Serves: 4

1. Wash the leeks well. Slice in half length­wise and rough­ly chop. Wipe the mush­rooms with paper tow­els and rough­ly chop.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the gar­lic for 1 minute tak­ing care not to burn it. Add the leeks, mush­rooms and plen­ty of sea­son­ing and cook over medi­um heat for about 10 min­utes, or until soft­ened and browned. Remove the mix­ture from the pan and set aside.

3. Add 2 table­spoons of the but­ter to the pan and cook the onion over medi­um heat for about 5 min­utes, until gold­en and soft.

4. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add a ladle­ful of stock to the pan and cook gen­tly, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly, until all the liq­uid is absorbed.

5. Gen­tly stir in more liq­uid as each ladle­ful is absorbed, this should take 20–25 min­utes in all. The risot­to will turn thick and creamy, and the rice should be ten­der but not sticky or gluey.

6. Just before serv­ing, stir in the leeks, mush­rooms, remain­ing but­ter, grat­ed lemon zest and 3 table­spoons of the juice, half the Parme­san and the herbs. Adjust the sea­son­ing and serve, sprin­kled with the remain­ing Parme­san and the herbs. Serve with lemon wedges and sprigs of flat-leaf pars­ley.

Red Onion and Goat Cheese Pas­tries


1 table­spoon olive oil
1 ½ cups red onions, sliced
2 table­spoons fresh thyme or 2 tea­spoons dried plus a few fresh thyme sprigs, to gar­nish (option­al)
1 table­spoon bal­sam­ic vine­gar
1-pound pack­et ready-rolled puff pas­try
½ cup goat cheese, cubed
1 egg, beat­en
salt and fresh­ly ground black pep­per
mixed green sal­ad leaves to serve

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based fry­ing pan, add the onions and fry over gen­tly heat for 10 min­utes or until soft­ened, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly to pre­vent them brown­ing. Add the thyme, sea­son­ing and bal­sam­ic vine­gar, and cook for 5 min­utes more. Remove the from the heat and leave to cool.

2. Pre­heat the oven to 425°F. Unroll the pas­try and using a 6-inch plate as a guide, cut four rounds. Place the pas­try rounds on a damp­ened bak­ing sheet and, using the point of a knife, score a bor­der, ¾ inch inside the edge of each round.

3. At this point I usu­al­ly spread the bot­tom of the rounds with pesto, before adding the rest of the fill­ing. Appar­ent­ly you can use tape­nade as well.

4. Divide the onions among the pas­try rounds and top with the goat cheese. Brush the edge of each round with beat­en egg and bake for 25–30 min­utes until gold­en. Gar­nish with thyme, if using, before serv­ing with sal­ad leaves.

Baked Apples

Core 4 cook­ing apples and stuff with a mix­ture of dark brown sug­ar, dried fruits, and nuts. Score the skin around the apple to keep them from burst­ing. Put them in a bak­ing dish with a lit­tle water.

Top with a pat of but­ter, and bake for around 40 min­utes or until soft. Serve with vanil­la ice cream and driz­zle with a small amount of hon­ey.

6 Replies

  • Sounds VERY yum­my 🙂 I will have to try out that risot­to recipe.

    Anoth­er way to make the apples is in a slow cooker/crock pot. I used to do this every so often. basi­cal­ly the same recipe, except in the slow cook­er for a few hours.

    Speak­ing of food, did you notice @ the WSM how corn must be now in sea­son? I got 12 ears for $2.00 (the guy tried to sell me a bag that was almost as wide as my armspan for $5.00, but I just don’t know what I’d do with that much corn. It was great though. I love ohio corn. I served mine up topped with sour cream and chili pow­der. mmm…

  • Nah I wasn’t pay­ing any atten­tion to the corn. I’ve had so much corn on the cob this sum­mer I’m about wore out. That sounds tasty though.

  • Ah, but corn on the cob up to now has been out of sea­son stuff, now is when it’s the best. Well worth stuff­ing your face with 😉

  • um, are you the same guy that risks total gas­troin­testi­nal col­lapse by graz­ing at your work­place vend­ing machine?

    and that which should be knee high by july should be in high sea­son now…which means it should taste espe­cial­ly good. watch for road­side stands — that is where you will often get the best corn.

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