My sister Jamie got me a subscription to Everyday Food Magazine one year. Is there anything more exciting than getting a magazine in the mail? Filled with pretty pictures of food and new ideas, what joy. I tried out many recipes by them including making my version of their chicken pot pie seen on the cover of the magazine. Many times though, I found their flavours a little flat. Good, easy to make but something was missing. Still, I cherish these magazines and turn to them for inspiration all the time.
Inspired to give Everyday Food another chance, I made their Creamy Orzo with Porcini, Buttermilk Baked Chicken and tried to make their Fall Salad with Maple Vinaigrette but I changed the recipe so much it would not be fair to comment on it, although my version was very delicious!
For my test kitchen I am going to focus on the orzo recipe. I choose it because I am working up the guts to make my own homemade risotto and the way they make this orzo is similar in many ways. The end product looked creamy and delicious and very much like risotto so I was inspired me to try it all the more. The recipe calls for porcini mushrooms but I could only find a dried mix of wild mushrooms and they worked just fine. Do not forget to soak them in 2 cups of hot water ahead of time!
First, you saute onion in butter for five minutes. I used shallots instead, we prefer them. Then you add the orzo which is rice-shaped pasta and toast it in a large pan for five minutes until it goes golden.
Woah! OMG, I thought I was screwed at this point when I added the strained mushroom liquid and additional water, so much liquid! Thank goodness my Giant T-Fal Frying Pan is, well, giant! This is probably better to make in a braising pan. This is where the similarities with making risotto ended, when you make risotto you slowly but surely add the liquid. For the orzo, you just dump it all in. I really did not believe that within 15 minutes all that broth and liquid would be gone…
But it did disappear and the orzo got very creamy and beautiful. At the end I added the Parmesan and the freshly chopped parsley and served it with the chicken:
My husband loved the Buttermilk Baked Chicken, I found it quite dull but then I am not the biggest fan of chicken. Leftovers would be great in salads, wraps and sandwiches.
My husband and I loved the orzo! LOVED it! It needed a lot of additional seasoning and I think if it was made with all mushroom broth it would be even better. Honestly though, I will be making this again. The only change I would make is the amount I make, this made a ton of orzo and it does not reheat well at all, I could barely eat it. Next time I will make half the amount and eat it all up right away. I give this recipe four out of five wooden spoons.
All in all, I will admit that I am impressed. I made three recipes I have never made before at the same time and they were pretty darn good and I managed to do so without too much chaos in the kitchen. Impressive!
Everyday Food, I will be watching you!