baby bella risotto

August 12th, 2019 · 12 Comments

Almost two years ago, I posted a recipe for mushroom risotto.  It was absolutely delicious, except for one small problem: it was impossible to photograph.  (Check out the post — the only good photo I could get was of the grated parmesan cheese).

But with fall right around the corner, I couldn’t resist trying again — especially with my beautiful Noritake dishes!  And sure enough, throw risotto in a gorgeous bowl and under some great natural light, and the photos don’t turn out half bad.

I used Noritake’s ColorWave place setting in green for this dish, and I love the square pattern.  Lately I’ve been partial to more modern-feeling designs, and I love that this one is timeless but still so contemporary and chic.  For my scallop dish, I mixed two patterns (the brown and white), and I did the same thing here — the bowl is from the Kealia collection, and it pairs perfectly with the ColorWave plates. 

And remember, if this (or any other!) pattern catches your eye, use the coupon code SUGARLAWS for 10% off the merchandise in your cart on the Noritake website!

Baby Bella Risotto

4 cups vegetable stock (substitute chicken stock if desired)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups short-grain brown rice
1 shallot, minced
1/2 leek, white portion only, sliced
1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
1 cup grated Parmesan

Over medium heat, toast rice in olive oil, stirring constantly until all the rice is coated.  Toast for 1 minute, or until grains are aromatic.  Add 1 cup of vegetable stock, the leek and shallot, and turn the heat down to a simmer.

Over the next thirty minutes, stir the risotto frequently and add more stock every time the liquid doesn’t cover the rice.  Add the mushrooms after about 20 minutes.  Taste the rice for doneness — they’re done when they’re soft and fully cooked, but not mushy.  When the rice is done cooking, remove from heat, stir in the butter and parmesan, and serve.

Serves 4.

Tags: food · main dishes · sponsored

recipe: perfect roast chicken

August 9th, 2019 · 3 Comments


Once a year, everyone thinks about roasting a turkey — but what about the other 52 weeks? 

I love turkey, don’t get me wrong.  It’s delicious, it’s impressive, and it’s actually pretty darn healthy.  But you know how often you’re going to buy and roast an 18-pound turkey?  Once a year.  Exactly that much.

But the same techniques can be used on smaller birds, and they’re just as delicious!  (Ok, maybe not “just as” delicious, but also very delicious!) A perfect roast chicken only takes an hour and a half, and it’s SO much better than the boneless, skinless chicken breasts you buy at the store. 

My secret trick?  Start the chicken upside down!  That way, as you cook, all the delicious moist juices run over the breast and not just into the bottom of the pan.  An added bonus?  No basting!  Easy, simple and super delicious.


Perfect Roast Chicken


1 5-6 pound roasting chicken
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Wash the chicken and dry it with paper towels.  Rub olive oil under the skin gently with your hands, and then over the skin.  Season the entire chicken with garlic powder, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Place the chicken in a roasting pan upside down (breast side down) and cook for about 60 minutes.  After 60 minutes, flip the chicken over so that the breasts are facing up, and cook for an additional 30 minutes until the breast temperature is 180 degrees and the thigh is 190 degrees. 

Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before cutting into it.  Serve in large portions with a simple side salad or roasted vegetables. 


Tags: food · main dishes

Farro with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

August 5th, 2019 · 22 Comments


This is really my sister’s recipe, although I give myself a little credit for helping.  Actually, though, it’s probably really Heidi Swanson’s recipe, since it’s sort of a cross between two recipes that she put up on her amazing blog — Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash, and  Hazlenut and Chard Ravioli Salad.  Both, I’m sure, are delicious on their own, and we loved this hodgepodge of the two.

I had never made farro before, and it was nutty and delicious with a great texture (and healthy!).  If you don’t have access to farro, quinoa would be a great substitute, or even whole wheat pasta.  Shockingly, I had also never cooked swiss chard before!  I know that I’ve seen it at the farmer’s market on plenty of trips, though,  so I will definitely be experimenting with it again.

I had a little bit of an internal debate over whether to tag this as a “main dish” or as a “side dish.”  I would eat this as a vegetarian meal, certainly, but it could also be served as a side.  So I’m putting it in both categories to avoid waking up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, thinking to myself, “it should have been a main course…”  There are only so many times that can happen, you know?


Farro with Butternut Squash
and Swiss Chard

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fleur de sel (or coarse sea salt)
1 bunch swiss chard, washed and cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped coarsely
2 cups butternut squash pieces (we used the kind that comes sliced from the store)
zest of one lemon
2 cups farro
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1. In a large stock pot, heat farro, salt and stock to a simmer. Stir every few minutes for 35-40 min, or until farro is nearly cooked (still slightly crunchy, with some stock remaining to be absorbed).
2. While farro is cooking, in a large saute pan, cook olive oil, onions and garlic until translucent.
3. Add hazlenuts and toast rapidly, about 2 minutes on medium heat. Remove from heat.
4. After 35 minutes, add butternut squash, lemon zest, and onion/hazlenut mixture to the farro. Simmer 10 minutes. Add swiss chard, simmer five additional minutes or until farro is fully cooked and all the stock has been absorbed. Remove from heat and serve!

Serves 8 as a side, 4-6 as a main course.

Tags: food · main dishes · side dishes