Repainting studio; trip to Olympia for Thanksgiving; three day Open Studios; friends from France visiting for a week; too exhausted now to do anything but cook. Friends from Maine coming for dinner tomorrow, December 21st.
So far I made chicken liver pate - sautee chicken livers in chicken fat with pulverized pistachio nuts and some black olives. Add some liquor (I used Russian pepper vodka because I couldn't drink it anyway). Put the stuff in the mini-blender. Then put the mixture in a small baking dish with high sides like a tiny souffle dish and place in tin with water and cook in oven 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. Take out and run a knife around sides; then turn over onto serving dish. Take additional ground pistachios and cover pate with thin sprinkling. Refrigerate for a while. Serve with toast or crackers. I made up this recipe but it's delicious.
Then I made mushroom risotto. Absolutely buy Italian Arborio rice for this dish. Sautee some garlic in generous portion of olive oil. Then add 1 1/2 or 2 cups of rice (depending on how many people). Sautee the rice in olive oil until evenly coated. Cook the rice in open pot by stirring slowly and adding liquid slowly. Liquid is home made chicken broth and white wine. Add slowly and alternately and keep stirring the whole time. I forgot to say that before you start the rice cook a lot of mushrooms - mixed esoteric varieties plus generous portion of shitakes. Take stems off shitakes and cut up and use stems and if shitakes are large, cut in half or quarters. Put mushrooms in open sautee frying pan with lots of butter and/or chicken fat and a little liquid and cook for about fifteen minutes. As rice cooks add salt and pepper to taste and a little saffron if you have it. When rice is about 7/8 done add mushrooms and mushroom liquid and continue cooking rice. If rice isn't done, add more wine. Keep cooking if serving immediately but if not, leave rice not quite cooked and heat up the next day and add some more wine.
Then I cut up four large anjou (dark red) pears into very thin slices. Since they are not quite ripe I made a mixture of pear liqueur and ginger syrup and poured over pears to soak over night. Ginger syrup is my new find - like maple syrup but tastes like ginger. Then tomorrow I'll bake the pears in a pie shell arranged like leaves. I make a mixture of one egg and about 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream beaten together and maybe add a little cardomon. If I have time I'll buy a second fruit tomorrow like a pomegranite or cranberries or maybe candied ginger and add this to the pie. Place the pears and other fruit in the pie crust (Marie Callendar's frozen crusts are great in supermarket) and pour cream mixture over it. Bake 425 for ten or fifteen minutes then lower to 350 for another 40-45 minutes.
Haven't picked main course yet. Email me with questions or add a comment.