Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mushroom risotto

Here's my standard mushroom risotto recipe.

tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2-4 shallots (if you don't have shallots, substitute yellow onion)
8 oz fresh shiitake, crimini, porcini, or whatever, mushrooms, or 2-3oz dried (you can use more mushrooms if you're as fond of them as I am)
1/2 cup dry white or red wine - whatever you'd drink with the meal
4 1/2 cups chicken, turkey, or beef broth (again, match to your main dish)
2 cups arborio rice
3-4 oz grated parmesan, romano, or asiago (to taste)

Heat broth over low-medium heat until steaming to simmering. Chop garlic and shallots very fine (I cheat and use the food processor).  Chop mushrooms coarsely.  Heat olive oil over medium heat; add garlic and shallots, and mushrooms if using fresh.  Cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms are brown, 2-4 minutes. Add wine, and dry mushrooms if you are using them, and simmer for 2-4 more minutes until wine is somewhat reduced. Add rice and one cup of the hot broth, stirring constantly.  Continue to stir constantly, adding broth when the previous broth has been completely absorbed, continuing until rice is al dente.  If you run out of broth, heat water and use that.  When rice is done (approx 30 minutes), remove from heat and stir in cheese.  Serve.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fine Mesh Salt Smoking Basket

So, I wanted to try smoking my own sea salt.  Admittedly, I only have my grill to smoke foods, so I knew I wouldn't get as concentrated of smoke flavor as I would if I had my dream electric smoker, but hey. The bigger problem, and one that I could not find anything to fix,was something to put the salt into.  Most of the recipes I found said to put the salt in a pie plate.  I wanted something that would allow the smoke to permeate throughout the salt, as well as something that I could use to grill small things in the future.  So... I decided to design one.

First, I procured a piece of very, very fine stainless steel mesh.  This particular mesh is a filter mesh; it's 80 Mesh / 177 Micron Screen (very very fine). The sea salt I'm using will sit in here without a problem; you could put table salt in this and it wouldn't go through.  The edges are pretty sharp, however, so first:

I use a ruler to fold the edges over.  I actually fold them twice over, so that the raw edge is completely covered 

Now I use a wet erase marker and the ruler to mark two inches in, to make the folds for the sides.

I fold along the ruler, making the corners into triangles.

And here is the fully folded box.

I still need something to hold the corners together and down; I've decided to hand-rivet the corners with brass rivets.  It'll be safe for food, but soft enough I can do the riveting by hand.  First I'll have to make holes for the rivets.

I use a 1/16th inch punch to mark where to make the individual holes.  The punch isn't strong enough to do all the holes at once (and probably won't be terribly good at punching paper after this...)

I punch through at the indentations.

Here I put the rivet thru the holes in one corner, and prepare to set it with a hand-riveting set.

The completed box!

Here's the box on the grill, with the wood smoking away.

And here's the salt added.  None of it fell through at all!

A couple of hours later, the completed salt (still hot).  The box obviously looks used/smoked, but it worked like a champ.