Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Meyer Lemon Risotto

This recipe is inspired by two things: a big bag of Meyer lemons straight from her Berkley garden that the wife of one of Ed’s business colleagues brought me when we met for a recent conference in Las Vegas, and second, a dinner Ed and I had at 808, a restaurant in Caesar’s Palace during that same trip. At 808, a Pacific seafood – Asian fusion restaurant, we had rock shrimp risotto with orange licorice froth for an appetizer. As we often do, we split the appetizer, though in this case I could have easily eaten the whole serving. The risotto was light and appeared cheese-less though certainly contained butter as well as olive oil. Though I have yet to crack the orange froth bit, upon returning home I made the following dish.

This dish can be made either with or without shrimp. This serves 6 generously (or 8 smaller servings with ~10 additional shrimp). If you are not planning to use all of the risotto, cook and add shrimp only for servings that will be eaten immediately. I often halve the recipe.

In a medium sized heavy sauce pan over medium high heat, melt:

2 T butter (I often omit or add additional olive oil in place of some/all butter)
2 T olive oil


4 medium shallots, finely chopped  (or 1/3 c onion, finely chopped onion + 1 t garlic, finely chopped)

Cook stirring for about 2 - 3 minutes, until the shallots are wilted and semi-transparent. Add:

2 c uncooked Arborio rice

and stir well using a wooden spoon to combine the rice and shallots and coat the rice.

BEGIN to add

6 ½ c chicken or vegetable broth which has been heated to the boiling point

about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition until the broth has been mostly absorbed by the rice. Continue to add broth, stirring, until the rice is tender but firm, al dente, about 20 minutes. If shrimp are to be used, start cooking* them when all but 3/4 cup of the water has been added to the rice. Remove from heat and add:

4 T freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice and pulp (about 2 lemons)
Zest from 2-3 Meyer lemons

Stir well and serve immediately on warm plates, or if shrimp are to be used add some/all risotto to wok with the shrimp and toss to mix shrimp evenly. Alternatively, serve shrimp beside the risotto. Top with

Finely chopped fresh parsley.

*TO COOK SHRIMP:  In a large wok over medium high heat melt:

1 T butter (I often omit or add additional olive oil in place of some/all butter)
1 T olive oil

When butter and oil are hot add:

30 (about 5 per person) 21-25 count shrimp, shells but not tails removed

Cook, stirring, until shrimp are pink on both sides, about 3 minutes,  then add:

1 T freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice and pulp (about 1 lemon)

Continue cooking, stirring constantly until shrimp are firm and form "c" shaapes (about 4-5 minutes total cooking time).

Remove shrimp from pan and continue cooking juice until it is reduced and thick.  Pour over the shrimp.

Reviewed 5/29/2015

Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie

“When life deals you lemons, make lemonade”…but when a friend gives you Meyer lemons and tells you making lemonade with them would be a waste, what do you do? During a recent conference in Las Vegas the wife of one of Ed’s business colleagues gave me a big bag of Meyer lemons straight from her Berkley garden. After Las Vegas, we visited my Mom who likes pie, so coincidentally on 3/14 I tried to make my first lemon meringue pie. It came out pretty well except I didn’t “stir/whisk continuously” and when I returned from doing another step I found the milk mixture on the stove beginning to form a huge lump. Fortunately vigorous whisking solved this problem, but the lesson learned and reflected in the instructions below is to get all ingredients ready before starting to make the filling.

Also I made only a half recipe of Pie Crust and while this covered the pie plate shell it did not allow for a “pinched edge crust” --- probably not necessary, but if this finish is desired, make two thirds of a crust recipe. Alternatively make full recipe and refrigerate/freeze reminder for future use.

Note: When we returned home, inspired by a dinner in Las Vegas, I tried Meyer Lemon Risotto. While the pie was very tasty, I am going to use the rest of the lemons, making this dish.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

MAKE PIE CRUST:  Line a 9” inch pie plate with crust and finish top edge neatly (half recipe) or crimp edges (two thirds recipe). Line pastry shell with buttered (crust side) aluminum foil and weight foil with pie weights, rice or a tightly fitting heavy pan. Bake in pre-heated 400 degree F oven for ten minutes. Remove foil and weights, prick several holes in bottom of the crust with a fork and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.


While crust is baking, separate:

4 eggs

into yolks and whites; put yolks in medium size (2-3 cups) bowl and whisk until fluffy; put whites in mixing bowl to later whip for meringue.

Remove and save zest from:

2-3 Meyer lemons

and then squeeze juice (approximately 1/3 c) into a small dish. Remove seeds and add pulp to dish.

MAKE MEYER LEMON FILLING: In a heavy sauce pan whisk together:

1 c sugar
5 T cornstarch

Gradually whisk in

1 c water
1/2 c milk

Cook milk mixture over moderate heat, whisking, until it comes to a boil. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the milk mixture into yolks and whisk yolk mixture into the rest of the milk mixture. Simmer mixture, whisking constantly for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in lemon juice and zest.

MAKE MERINGUE: In another bowl with an electric mixer beat egg whites to which has been added:

1/4 t cream of tartar

until they hold soft peaks. Add in a slow stream:

1/2 c sugar

and continue beating until meringue just holds stiff peaks.

Pour filling into pastry shell and spread meringue on top, covering filling completely and sealing it to pastry. Draw meringue up into peaks and bake pie in middle of preheated 350 degree F oven until meringue is golden, about 15 minutes.

Chill and serve.

Reviewed 6/17/2017

Sesame Ginger Grilled Scallops

Serves 2

This recipe came together when I found the first spring onions of the season and dry scallops on special. I have made this many times since often using the variations given below. The key word here is "dry" - "dry scallops" are scallops that have not been soaked in phosphates  which cause them to absorb water and loose flavor; soaking in phosphates tends to make the scallops "look better" to some consumers and prevents them from losing water hence weight, hence market profits. Dry scallops are occasionally, but not usually, advertised as such; you will probably need to ask the fish monger if the scallops are "dry"/unsoaked.

These are especially good served on a bed of Sauteed Bok Choy and/or with fresh Asparagus


Dry scallops (about 1/2 to 2/3 pound total)
for no more than 30 minutes in:

2 T soy sauce/tamari
1 T sesame oil
1 T fresh ginger, minced

(Optional) Brush

3 large scallions cut in half lengthwise or 6 thin scallion with:

1 t olive oil
1/2 t sesame oil

Heat grill to high. (Or set oven to broil)

NOTE: Scallops can also be cooked under the broiler (3-4 minutes on a side depending on size).*

Put scallops on two wooden (previously soaked in water) or metal skewers and coat with a glaze of:

2 t  lime juice
2 t  maple syrup

Put scallops and onions on grill; cook on high to sear both sides of scallops and then reduce heat to medium. Cook scallops ~3 minutes a side, basting with glaze. Cook onions until wilted but not charred. Remove from heat.

(Optional) Roll scallops while still on skewer in:

Toasted sesame seeds


In lieu of scallops, use white flat fish such as flounder or sole. Marinate fish and add glaze/lime juice just before cooking. Use the broiler method, cooking 3-4 minutes on a side depending on thickness. Sprinkle with sesame seeds when done.


In lieu of scallops, uses ~6 21-25 count shrimp per person. Marinate shrimp and add maple syrup but no lime juice.  Grill ~2 1/2 minutes per side on hot grill.

* April 2013:  After cooking Grilled Scallops with Parsnip-Fennel Puree, I've decided the hot cast iron griddle on a grille or stove is the best way to cook scallops.  Follow the recipe above but when it comes to cooking forget the skewers, heat the griddle to hot, add olive oil to coat and heat, then add the drained (and slightly dried) marinated scallops.

Scallops served with Sauteed Bok Choy  and Grilled Scallions.

Reviewed 7/9/2017

Red Flannel Hash

This is a recipe from childhood when (leftover) roast beef was a much more common occurrence. Though technically “red flannel hash” is usually made with leftover corned beef, my Mom (and I) use roast beef. Though most recipes also call for milk or cream as well as butter or lard and cook the hash stovetop in a frying pan, I remember the baked version given below. Moogie usually serves this with ketchup. Servings of this hash topped with a poached egg are especially good for Sunday breakfast/brunch.

This can certainly be made in a food processor. The most “authentic” version is made using an old-fashioned meat grinder. Although I remember this made with canned beets (in a glass jar), fresh beets are my current choice. Since this is made from leftover meat the amounts of other ingredients will need to be adjusted proportionally based on the amount of meat.

Chop or grind:

1 ½ pounds cold (cooked) roast beef (about 3 cups)


1 pound cooked potatoes, diced (about 2 cups)

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 pound boiled beets, diced (about 2 cups)

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix well and place in a large shallow baking dish that has been greased with

Butter/olive oil

Bake at 350 degrees F about 30 minutes until it is well heated through and top is a bit crusty.  Top with:

Poached egg/person (optional).

Reviewed 5/7/17

Mushroom Risotto

This recipe is adapted from Judith Barrett’s "Risotto Ai Funghi" found in her From an Italian Garden cookbook. I love to make this or Lobster Mushroom and Leek Risotto when I am visiting Alex and Dan in Portland. The variety of wild mushrooms available in the Portland Farmer's Market makes this a very special dish. [I find this makes 6 generous servings. I often halve, simplifying and reducing amount of mushrooms as noted for a simple dinner main dish for 2-3.]


1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms [I often omit]

in a glass measuring cup with ½ cup boiling water and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Drain and rise well removing any grit or dirt. Strain the soaking liquid through a double thickness of cheesecloth and reserve. [If there is only a little grit in the bottom of the cup, I pour off liquid carefully to leave residue in the bottom of the cup.]


4 T butter [I use 2 T olive oil]

in a medium sized skillet over medium high heat. Add the porcini and:

1 large garlic clove, finely minced or pressed

2 pounds wild mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps and stems coarsely chopped [if  I'm not making this for a special occasion I sometimes use only 1 pound ( 8 oz for 2) mushrooms and trim but don't remove stems completely]

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook stirring for about 7 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Set aside.

In a heavy four quart sauce-pan, melt:

3 T butter [I  omit]
2 T olive oil [I use 3 T or a combination  of 1 1/2 T olive oil and 1 1/2 T white truffle oil]


½ c chopped sweet onion

and cook stirring until it begins to soften. Add:

2 c uncooked Arborio rice

and stir well using a wooden spoon to combine. Add

½ c dry white wine

all at once and cook, stirring, until wine is mostly absorbed by the rice, about a minute or two.

BEGIN to add

6 ½ c hot chicken or vegetable broth

ABOUT 3/4 CUP AT A TIME, stirring well after each addition until the broth has been mostly absorbed by the rice. Continue to add broth, stirring, until the rice is tender but firm, al dente, about 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat, stir in one last addition of broth, the mushrooms,

½ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese [if using truffle oil, I omit the cheese]

2 T chopped fresh parsley [if using truffle oil and no cheese, I often use 2 T chopped fresh sage instead]

and stir until the cheese melts and is incorporated into the rice.  Serve immediately.

VARIATION (NOV 2011): Mushroom Risotto with Winter Squash and Sage

Before starting the risotto:

Cut in half, peel, and cut in 3/4 inch cubes:

1 medium butternut squash


2 t olive oil in a baking dish

Add the squash and toss with the oil. Place in preheated 425 degree F oven and roast for approximately 30 minutes, shaking the pan and/or tossing the squash with the oil every 10 minutes, or until squash is tender.

While the squash is cooking make the risotto but

Omit the Parmesan cheese and parsley and finish the risotto with:

2 t white truffle oil

Toss the squash cubes  with

 1 T chopped fresh sage

See also: Winter Squash with Sage Risotto

Place a serving of squash on top of each serving of risotto.

VARIATION (SPRING 2012) Mushroom Risotto with Pea Tendrils

While squash and sage are a great winter addition to this risotto, ramps and especially pea tendrils are a perfect spring accompaniment.  When making risotto with pea tendrils, use parsley (optional) but no sage. For recipes see: Ramps - Spring Greens - Pea Tendrils

Reviewed 5/29/2017

Sauteed Bok Choy

2 servings, expand as needed


2 t olive oil or sesame oil (heat first)

1-2 cloves minced garlic

1 t minced ginger

2 spring onions/4 scallions (optional) white part only, thinly sliced (reserve green part)

When garlic is golden and onion wilted, add:

2 baby bok choy, thinly sliced

green part of onion/scallions, sliced diagonally in 3/4 inch pieces

Cook until bok choy is barely wilted.

Good served with Sesame Ginger Grilled Scallops


Sprinkle with:

2 t toasted sesame seeds

Reviewed 8/24/2017