Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wildflowers' inspired Roasted Beet Risotto by Jerry Marrello

It's pretty rare that I have a guest post, but Jerry Marrello from Turning Stone Resort & Casino

( in upstate New York sent me a really great e-mail about ways he unwinds and cooks healthy. Jerry is inspired by the restaurants that they have at Turning Stone Resort and I was excited to read about a dish inspired by Chef Michael Zmigrodski (Wildflowers Restaurant).  I love beets. I'm not going to lie. He had me at the root vegetable.  Jerry sent over this great post and I'm excited to share it with you!

By the way Jerry, when I made it, it turned out beautiful!

Cook Your Own Valentine's Day Dinner and Make Wonderful Memories
by Jerry Marrello

Somehow, tradition got around to saying that the most romantic way to spend Valentine's Day is to go out to dinner at a nice restaurant and enjoy a delicious meal across from the most important person in your life. It is a good plan, other than the fact that every single other person in the world wants to do the same thing, creating a not so romantic atmosphere while you stress about finding parking and a table and waiting much too long for your food to arrive.

Have you ever considered daring to try something different? You might discover a more personal, more memorable, more romantic way to share the special day with your true love. This year, stay home, cook up something creative, turn down the lights, bring out the candles and enjoy a relaxed and romantic evening together. Make your plans ahead and decide whether you want to do all the cooking yourself and make it a surprise, or do some culinary exploration together.

If you are going to cook alone, you may want to stick with a special meal you know is tried and true. You won't have to worry that it won't turn out, and your valentine will be impressed by your skills. If you choose the route that is probably more fun, and decide to cook your Valentine's dinner together, try something new. As you experiment with new recipes, you will expand your culinary expertise and build something new to your relationship. If you are up for something new, why not try a suggestion from Chef Michael Zmigrodski, of the award-winning Wildflowers Restaurant, one of the top restaurants in New York.

An excellent choice for a colorful highlight on your menu is  Roasted Beet Risotto.
Try this DIY version of the Wildflowers Roasted Beet Risotto recipe.

3 medium beets
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups water
1 small white onion, chopped
olive oil
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 c. cashews chopped (optional)
salt and pepper
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the stems and greens, wrap the beets in foil, and place on middle rack of oven. Roast for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Check doneness with fork.  Once cooled, peel and chop the beets.
2. Bring stock and water to a simmer in a saucepan. Keep at a simmer.
In a separate pot, cook onion in oil in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring continuously for about a minute.
3. Stir in 1/2 cup stock and keep to a simmer. Stir the mixture until the stock as been absorbed.  Add the stock about 1/2 cup at a time, like previous step, stirring each time you add. Set aside leftover stock.
4.Stir in beets, salt, and pepper and cook, mixing, until heated through. (TIP: you can thin the mixture with the leftover stock, based on personal preference). Lastly, stir in Parmesan cheese.  Serve topped with chopped cashews (optional).
Make sure you give yourself enough time to get it ready. For a colorful and delicious side, make a mustard emulsion ( and serve with fresh crusty bread, champagne and your favorite indulgent dessert.

Remember, whether you cook alone to impress and pamper your sweetheart or you spend the evening cooking together to do it for each other and enjoy yourself. If things don't work out perfectly, don't stress about it. Enjoy yourself and the time you spend together, celebrating your love.

Thank you Jerry! Be sure to visit the resort folks! I know I'm temped! (

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