Chicken Noodle Risotto

Chicken and Celery Orzo Risotto

I have been craving chicken noodle soup lately. The warmer and brighter weather makes a giant bowl of soup seem less appealing than if we were still stuck in the thick greyness of winter.  I used chicken I had cooked in the crock pot before shredding and then freezing in 2 cup portions. I am rarely this organized, but I’ve been putting in more of an effort lately and I’m surprised how helpful little things like this can be when you think you’ve run out of groceries and feel too lazy to walk to the grocery store. If you don’t happen to have leftover shredded chicken either buy a rotisserie chicken or poach 2 chicken breasts in stock and white wine or vermouth if you have some lying around. Orzo is my favourite type of pasta, its chewy bite is a perfect substitute for arborio rice in this recipe. I like to throw in a Parmesan rind or 2 I have some in my freezer, just fish them out of the risotto before serving.

chicken noodle risotto:

1 cup of orzo

1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

3 stalks of celery, sliced into thin half moons

2 cloves of garlic, minced (with some salt on the cutting board to avoid sticking)

2 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (I prefer vegetable stock as it gives the taste of the celery more resonance)

About 2 cups of leftover chicken, shredded

Juice and zest of half a lemon

Kosher salt, to taste

Several vigorous gratings of Parmesan

Fresh oregano, thyme, or parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Dried chili flakes, to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan  over medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic, and celery and a generous pinch of salt until softened before stirring in the orzo. Stir the orzo until coated in the onion mixture.

2. Add the vegetable stock all at once and allow it to come to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook the orzo in the stock, continuing with the stirring, for about 15 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed.

3. Stir in the chicken, lemon juice and zest, Parmesan, and salt to taste. Serve in shallow bowls with more Parmesan, fresh herbs of your choice, and a generous sprinkling of dried red chilies.

This song is just like floating.

Casino Versus Japan – Marilyn Set Me Free

 

 

French Toast Grilled Cheese

This French toast grilled cheese sandwich is the miraculous result of two entirely mundane ingredients; the whitest, most nutritionally devoid bread you can find and a block or ball of pizza mozzarella. An ideal serving situation: coming in from a long run in the rain, showering and getting into pyjamas, putting on some music, and making this most perfect of perfect comfort foods for dinner. Essentially this grilled cheese sandwich is savoury French toast stuffed with oozing mozzarella, do not even think of using bocconcini or top-quality cheese here, the blandness of the cheese is paramount to the end result of this recipe (the same goes for the bread, head straight to the Wonder Bread when purchasing this ingredient.) I first came across this recipe in Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Bites cookbook; I have altered the recipe only slightly as I feel strongly that this grilled cheese sandwich is nearly impossible to improve upon.  I suppose that you could embellish the oozing filling if you wanted too, Nigella’s recipe suggests the addition of chopped red chilis and I imagine a tomato and basil chutney wouldn’t be amiss either, but I love the purity of the mozzarella on its own. I like to use Grana Padano cheese in the four coating because of its slightly sweet taste, but you could also use Piave Vecchio or an aged Asiago if you can find it.

french toast grilled cheese:

(This makes 4 small sandwiches.)

8 pieces of white bread (preferably Wonder Bread or other similar type)

About half of a ball or block of pizza mozzarella, cut into thick slices and then strips

1/3 cup of milk

1/4 cup of flour

2 Tbsp. finely ground Grana Padano cheese

1 egg, whisked lightly with a fork

2 Tbsp. canola oil or light olive oil

1. Line up 3 shallow bowls or plates and fill them in order: milk, flour and cheese, and the egg.

2. Cut the crusts off of the bread and line up the mozzarella cheese strips on 4 slices of the bread, leaving about a half an inch of bread around the perimeter. Place the remaining pieces of bread on top, forming 4 small sandwiches.

3. Squish the overhanging bread together to seal the cheese inside, the bread probably won’t stick together completely but once all the sandwiches have been dredged in the milk, flour, and eggs they’ll become fully sealed.

4. In a large frying pan begin heating the oil over medium heat while you dredge the sandwiches. Working quickly dip the sandwiches on both sides into the milk, then the flour and cheese mixture, and finally the egg. Place the grilled cheese sandwiches in the hot oil and cook for a few moments each side or until the bread has browned evenly. Eat the French toast grilled cheese as is, being careful not to burn yourself when biting into the perfectly melted mozzarella cheese.

The word “lush” is how I would immediately describe Casino Versus Japan’s music, the complex layering creating a synaesthesia effect (at least if you listen to to it while wearing headphones.) I didn’t listen to headphones when making these sandwiches but I remain as enamoured as ever of Casino Versus Japan’s musical efforts.  The album Go Hawaii is one of my favourites because it’s both cheerful and creepy at the same time, it oscillates between camp and something dark.

Casino Versus Japan – Late for School