Cheddar Vegetable Pie

IMG_5518Mom used to make a cheese noodle pie that was so incredibly good, but when looked at through today’s lenses, makes me think that perhaps it was a little too good, too much starch, and too much fat.  It was a great pie to take along to a potluck, a lunch en route, or for a weekend family dinner.  This recipe appeals to me for exactly the reasons that I loved Mom’s pie.  Everything is in it, just add a salad or some raw vegetables, and we’re good to go.

The pastry is just a simple short-crust, and the filling has a few staples, but there is room for experimentation (in other words – what you have on hand).  Make the pastry ahead of time, so it can rest in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.  Continue reading

Baked Mushroom Risotto

IMG_1170Here it is the beginning of spring and I’m baking a mushroom risotto.  It’s still cold out, although if the sun’s shining while working out in the garden it’s wonderful to feel the heat!  I think that as long as the weather still has us cooking indoors, we can still enjoy a hearty repast.  This dish can be served as a main course, with a few vegetables on the side, or a big crunchy salad.  It also serves well accompanying pork or beef.  I try to serve meat as a component of the meal, not the star attraction.  I think it keeps meals more balanced.  Continue reading

Risotto with Shrimp & Peas

IMG_2653Risotto is not a finicky dish to make.  Picture yourself in a large Italian farmhouse kitchen, with a big apron tied firmly around your middle.  Put a couple of pins in your hair to keep things neat.  The stove has been on most of the day while you’re making bread.  You have a large pot on the back burner with fresh chicken stock, never wasting anything that you’ve either grown or carefully purchased in the market.  Family members have come and gone, chatting as they go about their chores.  During this time you’ve been sautéing onions, adding rice and then slowly have added spoonfuls of the chicken stock with a few splashes of wine, while you stir and talk.  When the family gathers round, you add in some grated hard cheese, and maybe some tender vegetables with a knob of butter.  Without paying too much attention, you’ve created a beautiful glossy dish of risotto, warm and creamy, one of the best comfort foods.

This is a social dish – prepare your ingredients before hand, and enjoy a glass of wine while you cook and visit.  Don’t let it be pretentious.  When it’s ready, serve it simply.  The rest of the meal can be served after. Continue reading