Seafood Saffron Risotto with Garlic Kale

Last night, my husband and I celebrated two major milestones: ten years since our first date and four years since our wedding day! It’s so crazy to think about all this time that has flown by since we first met. We sifted through old photos and videos last night ooh-ing and aah-ing over what BABIES we used to be! I feel like we were completely different people back then. Not necessarily in a good or bad way, just different. Age and parenthood has definitely changed us! 🙂

While we’re officially celebrating next week with a fancy schmancy tasting menu at Smyth, I decided to ring in our special occasion with a gourmet homemade meal. My blog recipes are usually all about quick & easy meals for people on the go, but sometimes it’s nice to slooow things down and get a little fancier. I’ve never cooked with scallops before and thought it would be fun to make a seafood risotto. I’ve made this amazing Mushroom Risotto from A Family Feast a million times (it’s delicious), but thought I’d switch things up a little bit and add more spice and flavor. So here is my gourmet anniversary concoction, a mish-mash of different recipes: a seafood saffron risotto with garlic kale. A pinch of saffron and a tiny bit of turmeric make all the difference for this delicious feast! Hope you try it for your next date night ❤

Ingredients (serves 2-3) 

The Rice

1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
3-4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan
A pinch of saffron
A pinch of turmeric
Salt and pepper, to taste (go easy on the salt)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

The Seafood

2 cloves of garlic, minced
18-20 medium-sized shrimp
1/2 pound bay scallops
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Garlic Kale

1 clove of garlic, minced
100 g baby kale
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Garnish

Lemon juice
Fresh basil
More cheese!

Recipe

The Rice: Heat the butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and fry for five minutes or so. Add the arborio rice and stir for an additional five minutes, or until the rice begins to turn golden. Stir in the white wine, a pinch of saffron, and a pinch of turmeric. Once the liquid begins to boil and the rice has absorbed the wine, stir in half a cup of chicken broth and stir constantly. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, add another half cup of broth. Continue to stir. Keep adding a little more broth (half cup at a time) and constantly stirring for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice has softened. If you like your risotto creamy, then add more broth. Once the rice is fully cooked but there’s still some liquid left, stir in the cheese, a little bit of salt and pepper, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The Seafood: Melt the butter on a frying pan on high heat. Once the butter is sizzling, add the minced garlic until they begin to turn golden. Add the lightly-salted shrimp and fry on each side for a few minutes until fully cooked. They should be nice and brown and coated with garlic. Add to the risotto. In the same pan, add some olive oil on high heat. Add the lightly-salted bay scallops (note that they should be washed and COMPLETELY dry before frying) and fry on each side for a minute or two. They should be a little golden on the outside. Add the scallops along with any remaining olive oil into the risotto mixture and stir together.

The Kale: Heat the olive oil on a frying pain on medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic until they begin to turn golden. Add the kale and stir just for a few minutes until wilted, but not soggy.

And you’re done! A labor of love, but such a lovely, impressive, and delicious meal. Plate your risotto with a generous helping of the kale and garnish with fresh basil, lemon juice, and as much cheese as you desire.

Just for fun – my hubby & I from our early dating years! 

Curating Our Annual Christmas Feast!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the Christmas cheer like crazy this year. I’m spending ten blissful days in Calgary, Canada with my parents and big brother where it’s actually a white Christmas, unlike the Midwest and East Coast this year. I can’t remember the last time I’ve spent so long at home with my family, so I’m making sure to soak up every minute lounging in front of the fireplace, enjoying my favorite homemade Bengali dishes, drinking wine in the evenings, and catching up on every Bollywood movie that I’ve missed this year. It’s been a crazy December (hence the massive delay in updating my blog), so this period of unwinding is pure BLISS! All that’s missing is the mister, who will be joining us right before NYE festivities 🙂

Anyways – on to the purpose of this post: food! Every year since my parents migrated to Canada, my brother and I curate and prepare a Christmas feast to give my mom a much-deserved break. We both love cooking, so it’s something we really look forward to every year, and spend the weeks leading up to Christmas perusing the interwebs for the most interesting recipes. We like to mix up the classics (mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc.) with some unique new additions. I’m excited to share this year’s menu, with links to the recipes for you guys to try on your own! The bread pudding was by far everyone’s favorite – highly recommend for an easy fall or winter dish. Absolutely delicious!

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  1. Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts from the Food Network: We replaced the hazelnuts with leftover toasted pecans from the chocolate pecan pie. Still delicious!
  2. Roast Chicken with Cumin, Honey and Orange from NY Times Cooking: I still think Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken is the best roast chicken of ALL time, but I’m so glad we experimented and tried something fusion this year! The combination of cumin, honey and orange was fingerlickin’ delicious and we couldn’t stop trying the gravy! Basted this baby every ten minutes for a total of four times. So juicy.
  3. Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Martha Stewart: We added extra butter, grated emmental, and topped with parsley. A+.
  4. Orange-Scented Cranberry Sauce from Martha Stewart: Can’t go wrong with a classic cranberry sauce!
  5. Caramelized Butternut Squash, Kale & Gruyere Bread Pudding: This was hands down the family favorite from the entire Christmas meal! My coworker brought this in for Workgiving, and I just had to try it for our Christmas feast. We replaced the gruyere with emmental cheese, but stuck to the recipe otherwise. Definitely repeating this for Thanksgiving next year.
  6. Chocolate Pecan Pie from NY Times Cooking: We cheated with the crust and brought it from the store, but so what? Still a fantastic end to a fantastic meal!

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The chefs! If you have any questions about any of these recipes, don’t hesitate to give me a shout. In the meantime, follow me on Instagram @mrsgcg or Facebook for more foodventures. xo!  

Five Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts

Happy almost Thanksgiving, all! I am so excited for the upcoming week – only 2.5 days of work, followed by some major R&R and eating to my heart’s content with all sorts of amazing comfort food. Thanksgiving. is. the. best. We’ll be celebrating with my husband’s family this year and have been trying to brainstorm a unique, non-traditional side dish that we can bring. After doing some research, and taste testing (in the form of my office’s “Worksgiving” last week), I thought it would be fun to put together a quick list of the five non-traditional Thanksgiving sides and desserts you can bring to your Friendsgiving, Worksgiving, or family Thanksgiving. These are all very Thanksgiving appropriate, just a little different from your standard mashed potatoes and green bean casseroles. Enjoy, and let me know if there’s anything else you would want to add to this list!

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  1. Bacon Parmesan Stuffed MushroomsSource: Center Cut Cook. I’ve made these ridiculously easy but decadent stuffed mushrooms a few times now, and they’re always such a hit. I brought them in for my company’s Worksgiving last week, and everyone was raving about them and asking me for the recipe. I love these mushrooms because they can be made in less than an hour and satisfies even the pickiest eater. I mean, how can you go wrong with cream cheese, parmesan, and bacon? You really can’t! I like to get a little heavy handed with the red chilli pepper flakes for an extra kick that people just can’t get enough of. Foolproof for any Thanksgiving potluck.
  2. Butternut Squash, Kale, Gruyere Bread Pudding. Source: The Gourmet Monster. My coworker made this kick ass bread pudding with butternut squash, kale, and gruyere last week and I can’t stop thinking about it! The ingredients are perfect for fall, but the dish is unique enough to make sure that no one else will be bringing the same thing to your Thanksgiving potluck. Every bite was so delicious, creamy and packed with wholesome flavors–we’re strongly considering making this for our family Thanksgiving!
  3. Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese and Apple Cider Glaze. Source: Whitney Bond. This was another dish that a coworker brought in for Worksgiving, and I’m completely obsessed. Whitney Bond’s recipe calls for blue cheese, but you can easily replace it with goat cheese (because why would you ever pick blue cheese over goat cheese?!). The apple cider glaze perfectly enhances the already pretty-perfect salty and sweet mixture of bacon and dates. So yum, and great for appetizers before digging into all that turkey!
  4. Pear Butterscotch Pie. Source: Epicurious. Instead of your standard pecan or pumpkin pie, why not surprise your guests with a pear butterscotch pie? My girlfriends and I tried this recipe yesterday while we were snowed in, and it was absolutely delicious. I’m not much of a baker (I hate having to be precise with my ingredients), but this recipe was really easy and we loved the way the flavors turned out. Not too sweet, but the combination of pears and brown sugar was just delightful.
  5. Molten Chocolate Cake with Caramel Filling. Source: Food & Wine. I always was convinced that there should be more chocolate desserts incorporated into Thanksgiving meals. I mean, chocolate is NOT just for Valentine’s Day, am I right?! This is hands down my favorite dessert recipe for entertaining guests. People are obsessed with the gooey warm, melt in your mouth deliciousness of this molten chocolate cake, and the sea salt + caramel mixture elevates this dish into something more elegant than your standard chocolate cake. Perfect for pleasing those who are sick of pumpkin pie. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.