Monday, May 28, 2012

Lobster Risotto

Hip, hip hooray I am in another MarxFoods contest, this one is the Integrale Gauntlet and the winner gets $200 in credit with MarxFoods so if you were me and I were you you would know that they have good stuff and then you would know that I would want to win. Its a public vote and the top ten bloggers move on to the next round.
We were sent 1000 grams of rice, Riso Vignola, Integrale Rice to be exact and with this box of rice we need to make three separate dishes for the contest (provided we go all the way). 
Lobster risotto is what I came up with for my savory entry. 
Are you ever faced with having that extra lobster just lying around and you just don't know what to do with it? Make lobster risotto. I chopped up a bit and folded it in and saved some big chunks to put on top  and to mix in while eating - I wouldn't want the delicate lobster to get tough from too much heat!
The beauty of cooking is you can do whatever you want. If you want to put queso fresco, creme fraiche and cotija cheese in with your lobster risotto (like I did) then go right ahead and do it - there are no rules.
Basil tastes delicious so why not put in some basil too, I like to cook with color and experiment with flavors.
Tobiko tastes great too, so why not make a plate with tobiko, the colors are beautiful and the sweet and briny crunch of the roe will make a nice addition.

Lobster Risotto

2 cups Integrale Rice
1 small onion
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2-3 cups chicken broth (use as necessary)
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 tablespoon cotija cheese
1 tablespoon queso fresco
1 cooked lobster - chopped
2 tablespoon tobiko roe
basil for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste


Toast rice in hot pan until slightly golden then add onion and butter and sauté until soft. Slowly add broth stirring constantly to activate starch, 15 minutes into it ( or as rice becomes al dente) add cheeses and some of the chopped lobster. Test for taste - plate and add more lobster, basil and tobiko on finished plate.

This was a winner and it should stay on that track so PLEASE vote for me ChezWhat? Lobster Risotto.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Do it yourself Appetizers *

When you go to just about any sit-down chain restaurant, you’re almost guaranteed to hear this question from your server: Would you like any appetizers? If you haven’t caught on by now, the server’s job is to not only sell you more food, but to make your dining experience as outstanding as possible, and interesting and tasty appetizers can really set the mood.

The trouble is, though, that most of the chains serve up some of the very same appetizers: mozzarella sticks, potato skins, chicken wings, etc. It seems that if you want a little variety when it comes to your antipasto these days, you have to do it yourself. Thankfully, there are quite literally hundreds of quick, easy and delectable finger food concoctions accessible to even the novice chef to help make your in-home dining experience outstanding. There are plenty of great appetizer recipes available at and below you’ll find one terrific and effortless recipe that we love inspired by Ricardo..

Most chains (if you’re lucky) serve breadsticks gratis. Barring a few exceptions, these breadsticks are virtually the same anywhere you go. Many restaurants share the same suppliers. The next time you cook pasta at home, why not try this very simple and easy recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato and Garlic Bread Sticks. Chances are you already have most of these ingredients in the cupboard:

What You’ll Need:

  • Baking sheet
  • Non-stick cooking spray


  • 1 package of refrigerated breadstick dough
  • 3-4 roasted garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2-3 tbsp of sun-dried tomato jam
  • 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven specified temperature on the package of dough (generally 350° F, but follow the package’s directions)
  2. Lay the breadstick dough out on a cutting board and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper
  3. Spread the mashed garlic and sun-dried tomato jam across the dough.
  4. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top
  5. Spray the baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Separate the pre-cut dough and place them a few inches apart on the baking sheet. Again, be sure to simply follow the directions outlined on the dough’s packaging for proper spacing.
  6. Bake in oven according to package directions.
And presto! With only minutes of prep and a few household ingredients, you have a tasty appetizer that your family and friends will love. Good luck finding a chain restaurant that will serve up such a unique, yet simple, starter to your meal.

*I was compensated for this post

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Roof-Top Burgers

See the Freedom Tower?
Some of you may know and some of you may not know so now all of you can know that I live in New York City - Manhattan to be precise and with that comes a lot of advantages and a lot of disadvantages. I won't even go into all the perks to living here but I will dive right into the non-perks. Non perk number one is I don't have a yard and without a yard that could make grilling outdoors a challenge. 

I keep it chained up - New York City - its a jungle out there.
I have embraced that challenge and I grill on my roof top. I have been doing this for years now but last September the wonderfull people at Char-Broil asked me to be a Char-Broil All-Star and with that I received a fantastic Grill(that I have to keep locked so that no one steals the tank) and my rooftop experience has improved dramatically. I used to use a little portable propane grill or little charcoal grills and while those did the job they didn't get as hot or offer as much cooking surface so I had to do things in batches. Now with my InfraRed Quantum I am in grilling nirvana.

The stairs
Ok, you are wondering, whats the whole process like because you just walk outside to your deck or yard or whatever and you grill then you walk right back inside and Bob's your Uncle. Well I don't do too much different than that except I walk up two flights of stairs, I live on the 5th floor and the grill is on the roof of my 6 story building. What does that mean in everyday terms? Right above me is one more floor with apartments but above that is the roof, so I am not too far away.

Grind it twice
Where I cook it isn't nearly as important as what I am cooking, though. I am a labor intensive sort of guy when it comes to cooking, I like the process so it would only seem natural that I would grind my own meat for burgers, now wouldn't it. I get some chuck and I chop it up, I toss on some Memphis rub and I toss in a scallion and some garlic cloves then I run it through the grinder twice.

Burgers are like little soldiers they like to be uniform
Making the patties is just as crucial as everything else, I want them all to be the same so I use a ring mold and some plastic wrap to make sure that each and every little burger is just like the burger before it and just like the burger after. When all the burgers I am going to make are made then I press them down just a tiny little bit so that they will go from edge to edge of the bun.

Cant beat the view
All thats left now is to put them on the hottest part of your grill and take in the scenery.

Its like Margaritaville up here
Sometimes I cart the whole shebang upstairs and we enjoy them at the patio table but most often I just come back inside and we eat them at the kitchen table.

Hard to find a better burger - thats all I have to say! There you have it - grilling on a roof-top.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Healthy Probiotic Rich Yogurt Dessert *

 Bacteria have the unfortunate reputation of only causing disease. While there may be some truth to this, there is such a thing as ‘good’ bacteria. As a matter of fact, there’s a growing body of evidence which shows that certain kinds of live bacteria in foods can treat or even prevent many illnesses. For example, it’s commonly known that women that eat yogurt regularly are less likely to suffer from yeast infection. Consuming yogurt, which contains the bacteria already present in the digestive system, can help to maintain the healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, and aid in warding off upset stomachs, headaches, and even anxiety. You’ll find this ‘good’ bacterium in many different kinds of yogurt, often labeled probiotic.

Most of us are of the mind that if it’s good for you, it probably doesn’t taste very good. If you have children, you probably face this problem day in and day out. A child (and some adults, for that matter) doesn’t care or understand that putting a healthy amount of yogurt into the diet can help to ease lactose intolerance, reduce the negative effects of taking antibiotics, and even help ward off eczema. For those stubborn eaters in your life, there’s wide variety delicious yogurt recipes that not only provide the benefits of probiotics, but are enjoyable to eat.

Rather than ice cream for dessert, try this simple Yogurt Sundae. It’s sure to be a hit with kid and adult alike:

What You’ll Need:

  • Microwave
  • Microwave safe bowls
  • Sundae dish or serving bowl


  • 1/4 cup of frozen berries
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 3 tbsp low-fat milk or cream
  • 1 8 ounce container of vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chopped nuts (optional)


  1. If berries are frozen, put berries in microwave safe bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Microwave until thawed.
  2. Put the chocolate chips and margarine in a microwave safe bowl and cook until melted. Use a fork to stir until smooth and creamy, and then stir in the milk or cream until incorporated. Set aside.
  3. Heap the yogurt into the sundae dish or bowl. Spoon fruit over top.
  4. Pour on the chocolate sauce and then sprinkle with nuts.
Simply multiply the ingredients of this recipe to make more servings, and in less than 10 minutes, you have a delicious dessert. The best part is that your family probably won’t know that it’s healthy for them.

*I received compensation for this post

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