Monday, April 25, 2016

Making Crispy Arancini At Home from Mushroom Risotto

So now that you have some "leftover" risotto, the best dish to make is some crispy arancini! Arancini is essentially crispy fried balls of rice with some oozy cheese inside. Not only is it incredibly delicious but it smells great too. It probably is best to make risotto the day before and then turn the risotto into arancini; otherwise it would take a long time to prep and eat dinner. You could also make everything in one go, but you would have to ensure that the risotto is cooled completely (lay it flat on a pan) before using.


  • 2 cups risotto
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano (grated)
  • 1 cup panko crumbs (more for rolling)
  • Cubes of Provolone, mozzarella (or similar) 


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Creamy Shiitake Mushroom Risotto at Home

shiitake mushroom risotto topped with pecorino romano

Dan and I seem to have a penchant towards cooking more Italian food when we invite friends over for dinner or just for ourselves. We love making homemade pasta, but somedays I find myself just wanting a scoop of mushroom risotto, topped with a shaving of pecorino romano for dinner. So, of course the best thing is to make risotto at home!

I typically buy all the ingredients we need from the Italian Centre that we have here in Edmonton. There are two different types of rice that you can purchase for making risotto - superfino arborio rice or carnaroli rice. In terms of taste, the carnaroli rice seems to taste better but honestly both are just as tasty. One of my favourite ways to make risotto is with fresh shiitake mushrooms - which you can purchase fresh at the Italian Centre! You can also use dried mushrooms for this recipe instead; just remember to rehydrate them for about 30 minutes in some water before cooking with it. The key to making good risotto is to keep the chicken stock warm as you cook. 

  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter (1 tbsp initially another to finish)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (diced)
  • 5-6 shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups of white wine
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp cream (or milk)
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano (grated)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hand-rolling noodles

A pile of hand-rolled and hand-cut noodles sitting on a bamboo cutting board.

Thanks for all your questions and feedback on my last post on making ramen noodles from scratch.

One of the questions that was asked was: "What if we don't have a pasta roller, can we still make noodles?" 


This post is going to be about a hand-rolling technique. I came across this during my attempts at making Soba Noodles (coming in a later post). Soba noodle making involves a series of complicated kneading, folds, and rolling which I won't be covering in this post.

Instead of a pasta rolling machine you'll need a rolling pin and a sharp knife (preferably one with a flat edge like a cleaver).

Follow the recipe for creating the dough for ramen (ver. 8) up to dividing your dough into 4 portions. The size of the portion I'm working with is about the size of a closed fist.
  1. Using a rolling pin and starting from the middle of the ball, roll out in both directions (e.g. middle upwards, middle downwards).
    A rolling pin pressed against a flattened disc of dough.
  2. Keep going until you can wrap the dough around the rolling pin about 1   1/2 times (it should definitely overlap) and you see a "tongue".
    The ends of a flattened dough wrapped around a rolling pin but only slightly overlapping.
    This dough overlaps but not enough! Keep going!
    Noodle dough wrapped completely around a rolling pin with enough dough sticking out from under the rolling pin.
    Roll from middle out until you can wrap around your rolling pin and the dough sticks out like a tongue.
  3. The next step is to roll the rolling pin across while the dough is still wrapped around the rolling pin.
    Ramen noodle dough wrapped around the rolling pin a few times.
  4. When you reach the edge or end of your surface, don't roll it back, instead drag the rolling pin back to the starting edge. If you roll back in the other direction your dough will unravel. It's more efficient to roll only in one direction instead of back and forth.
  5. Keep doing this until you have the desired thinness (keep in mind that the noodle will double in thickness when it's cooked). Using your hand, roll up the dough.Ramen noodle dough rolled up resting on a floured surface.
  6. With your sharpest flattest knife start slicing discs from the rolled up dough.Slightly tilt your knife so that the disc is separated from the roll.

    Close-up of knife about to slice through rolled up ramen noodle dough. The rolled up ramen noodle dough has a spiral of flour.
    A pile of sliced spiral discs of rolled up ramen dough.
  7.  Using your hands, unravel the discs of noodles into a pile.
    A pile of hand cut ramen noodle dough.
There you have it, hand-rolled, hand-cut ramen noodles without a pasta roller. Once you get used to the technique, it doesn't take a significant longer amount of time (about 5-8 minutes more) than using the roller. The pasta roller is definitely more efficient compared to hand rolling but I've (secretly) tested this on Lillian and she didn't notice the difference (in taste or texture) until I confessed.

As mentioned at the beginning, I came across this technique while trying to make soba noodles. I will continue to use this occasionally to practice my rolling technique for our pastas and ramen so that my soba noodle making skills will get better. One of the aspects that I'm working on is to maintain a uniformed rectangular shaped dough throughout the entire rolling process. In other words, the "tongue" should not be a pointed, it should be flat and as wide as the rest of the dough. This will prevent weird indentations in your dough.

Keep your questions coming!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Macaron Day 2016 & Recipe for Peanut Butter Macarons

Today is the day! Every March 20 is Macaron Day and today is the day where I get to reflect a bit about how I got here in this blogging and macaron journey. Last year for Macaron Day 2015 I reflected on "Why I Started Blogging". In other years I shared a macaron recipe such as my Passion Fruit Macaron Recipe and Chai Macaron Recipe

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Carving Potato Mushrooms

potato mushrooms in a bowl

Aren't these mushroom shaped potatoes the cutest? A few weeks ago, EarthFresh Foods sent me some of their potatoes to try. I received their organic yellow baby potatoes in the mail (yes! potatoes by mail!). For a little over a week, I couldn't quite figure out what to do with them. Then one Saturday morning, inspiration hit! Admittedly I was also craving brunch food items and was starting to get hungry. 
EarthFresh Foods organic yellow potatoes

These mushroom looking potatoes can be created from any type of baby potatoes and would be perfect for a quick breakfast or as a side dish for dinner. 
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