Spelt Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

Spelt Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

My dinner options for Wednesday were very slim. I had already used the “egg” option on Tuesday night with Mini Goat Cheese, Bacon and Leek Quiches. I was contemplating the grilled cheese cop-out since I need to be out the door and on the ice for 7pm.

This box of Spelt grains in my cupboard was calling to me for sometime. I have never cooked Spelt or even made a Spelt Risotto. I did know that the grains could be cooked in the same method of risotto.

I had all the ingredients for a risotto and decided to tackle it in the short time frame.

I love cooking Risotto. And I think I have pretty much mastered the process. 😉 Risotto is a great change-up from rice or pasta.

I found that the Spelt grains were much more forgiving than Arborio rice. I could actually walk away from the stove which is something you shouldn’t do. And I used a little more stock than when I cook a regular risotto. I tasted the texture of the spelt  a lot through the last part of the cooking process.

If I had planned better I would have used sage instead of the herbs listed in the recipe below; it tasted fantastic with that combination. It was a hit with the family. And an awesome vegetarian option especially since it is high in protein.

I recently hosted a birthday dinner for my friend Emma. The Menu’s theme for the Dinner Party was Spring even though the weather was NOT. I made an awesome Risotto with Roasted Shrimp, Peas and Edamame.

Birthday Dinner Pictures below:

Appetizer: Marinated Salmon Rollup

Appetizer: Marinated Salmon Roll-up

Appetizer: Brie, Figs and Pear

Appetizer: Brie, Figs and Pear

Asparagus Salad

Asparagus Salad

Risotto with Shrimp, Peas, and Edamame

Risotto with Shrimp, Peas, and Edamame

Dessert: Homemade Lemon Sorbet with Maple Syrup Blueberries

Dessert: Homemade Lemon Sorbet with Maple Syrup Blueberries

Always check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush  to see my daily dinners photos.

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Ricardo’s Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

Today is the last day of March and the weather is not very Spring-like in Ontario. It actually snowed today in southern Ontario. It is hard to believe that Easter is this weekend. There are those key main ingredients when I think of an Easter dinner: Ham, turkey or leg of lamb are the traditional choices.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was approach by Ricardo’s team to review a recipe from the Easter category on my website. The Ricardo’s Cuisine website has an enormous selection of recipes for any occasion and daily dinners, plus the level of difficulty ranges from very quick easy to more elaborate and technical recipes.

Ricardo’s Cuisine has 139 Delicious Easter Dinner & Dessert Recipes which offers many unique choices for a complete Easter dinner. Ricardo’s Cuisine has also made it easy with an Easter Meal Planner that includes Ricardo’s Favorite Easter Menu.

There were so many recipes to choose from the Easter section alone. There are some very Canadian and Québécois recipes such as Daniel Vézina’s Maple Sugar Pie which include lots of maple syrup. ❤  I wanted to attempt the Bell Pepper and Asparagus Tart and the Cream of Asparagus Soup with Parmesan and Poached Eggs. But in this short time frame, and I wanted to choose a recipe that would be Dinner Tonight for the 5 o’clock rush.

I chose to review Maple-Glazed Drumsticks which is a simple non-traditional Easter recipe.

I think the recipe for the Maple-Glazed Drumsticks is very simple and cost-effective for a large Easter gathering or would be great for any occasion such as a potluck or buffet. This recipe could easily be adapted for wings and would be awesome in the heat of summer on the bbq (still on foiled-lined baking tray or disposable foil tray).

I marinated the chicken legs overnight and I basted them twice during the cooking process. The flavour was a great combination of sweet and tangy. The legs were sticky and the kids enjoyed them and asked for seconds. I served the Maple-Glazed Drumsticks with Basmati Rice with mixture of melted butter and coconut oil and sweet corn.

Now I want to tackle the Maple Pull-Apart Bread Recipe because the kids favourite ‘big name grocery store’ maple bread is always out of stock and this would be a great replacement. 😉

Ricardo’s Maple-Glazed Drumsticks Recipe

Prep Time 15 min Cooking Time 45 min Serves 4
Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

My Dinner Plate of Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

Mise En Place

Marinated Chicken Legs

Marinated Chicken Legs

  • 12 chicken drumsticks, with the skin*
  • ½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup
  • ½ cup (125 ml) chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

In a glass dish or in a resealable plastic bag, combine all the ingredients except for the drumsticks. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drumsticks and coat well with the marinade. Cover the dish or seal the bag. Refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.

Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 200 °C (400 °F). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Drain and reserve the drumsticks marinade for basting. Spread the drumsticks on the baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Brush the drumsticks with the marinade several times during cooking.

Finish cooking under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the drumsticks are golden brown. Serve with rice or roasted potatoes and a green vegetable.

Ricardo's Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

My Dinner Plate of Ricardo’s Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

*For a deeper flavour, you can, using the tip of a knife or kitchen shears, make three or four incisions lengthwise in each drumstick before marinating.

The 5 o’clock rush has not been compensated by Ricardo Cuisine for writing this post and all opinions shared are my own.

Always check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush  to see my daily dinners photos.

Friday Feature: Weekday Wrap Up

Time for the 5 o’clock rush Weekday Wrap Up

It is a cold and snowy in Canada today. For some great recipes to warm your bellies check out the Food Bloggers of Canada’s Soups & Stews Recipe Roundup Part 1.

My Low-Fat Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup with Crab and Goat Cheese is one of the soups in the Recipe Roundup.

And the American Thanksgiving is in 12 days the next blog post of Thanksgiving tips and tricks is up.

My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner

Follow my Instagram feed for more daily dinner pictures at the5oclockrush.

Have a great weekend

Chef Kim

Bonus: A little trick How to easily peel a Mango 😉

Weekday Wrap Up

Weekday Wrap Up and A Kitchen Cheat Sheet

It has very busy at the 5 o’clock rush

The American Thanksgiving is just 20 days away and I will be posting our recent Thanksgiving dinner recipes as well as tips and tricks. Check out the first Thanksgiving post for My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner

I have also been engaging with other food bloggers through Food Bloggers of Canada Facebook page.

One of the food blogs that I follow, Un Assaggio of food, wine, & marriage  today posted this awesome Kitchen Cheat Sheet.

I recommend that everyone print it out, laminate it and hanging it in your kitchen. It will be especially useful during the busy holiday season.

Have a great weekend…….looks like fall is here which means winter is around the corner. 😛

More daily dinner tonight pictures follow the5oclockrush on Instagram.

Weekday Wrap Up

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My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving in Canada has been over for weeks. We are already gearing up for Christmas. Yikes!

Thanksgiving in the United States is 21 days away. I will be posting my tips and tricks that I used this past Thanksgiving.

First up, My Best Mashed Potatoes.

My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner

Serves 6 to 8
Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Mise en Place

Unpeeled and Unsliced Potatoes

Unpeeled and Unsliced Potatoes

  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes per person, unpeeled, unsliced well-scrubbed*
  • ¼ cup salted butter**
  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Chives (optional)
  • Additional pat of butter (optional)

Place your unpeeled, unsliced and well-scrubbed potatoes in a large pot and add cold water to an inch above the potatoes. Season the cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Using a sharp knife, check doneness, the knife should easily go through the potato at the 30 minute mark, larger potatoes will take about 45 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, place the butter, the half-and-half, the salt and the ground white pepper in a microwavable measuring cup. Heat the mixture in microwave for 3-5 minutes until butter is completely melted or warm through.

The reason I add salt to the butter/cream mixture so it dissolves and can be evenly distributed into the mashed potatoes. Heating the butter/cream mixture is an old restaurant trick to prevent a ‘gluey’ mess of mashed potatoes, hot liquids to hot. Just like making gravy for avoiding a lumpy gravy. 😉

Reserve 1-2 cups of potato water for gravy. Drain the potatoes.

I don’t peel or slice my potatoes before cooking them. Unpeeled and unsliced potatoes will absorb less water while being boiled. Taking the peels off after cooking is quicker and easier. This is another trick to avoid a gluey, watery mash and helps to absorb the dairy. And why do that extra step! 😉

UPDATE: I started off with an inexpensive ricer from IKEA, which is no longer available. This is the version available now Potato press – IKEA  I’m presently using this version Potato ricer white – KUHN RIKON SWITZERLAND which I found at a great price at WINNERS/Homesense in Canada (TJMAXX/Homegoods in US)

Rice the potatoes while they are still hot into a stainless steel mixing bowl. I recommend using a potato ricer, or food mill, place the unpeeled potato into the ricer and use those biceps and push the potato through. Then open up the ricer and presto there is the potato skin only. Remove skin and place another potato in the ricer. Sometimes larger potatoes will have to be sliced to fit in the ricer.

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Add the freshly grated nutmeg to the butter and cream mixture. Add the hot butter, and half-and-half mixture to the hot potatoes gently stirring with a spatula to incorporate. The potatoes will seem soupy at first but will gradually absorb the liquid and turn into a creamy mixture.

Taste your potatoes and add up to another teaspoon of salt if needed.

Make a Bain-marie with a pot and the stainless steel bowl. Place the pot on the back of the stove over gently simmering water to keep warm while making gravy and craving turkey.

Mashed Potatoes in Stainless Steel Bowl for Bain-Marie

Mashed Potatoes in Stainless Steel Bowl for Bain-Marie

Keep warm in bain-marie until dinner. I serve my thanksgiving dinner from the kitchen to cut down on dishes later. But you can certainly spoon the mashed potatoes into your serving dish and top with optional finely chopped chives and additional gloss of butter.

* As with the size of turkey to roast, I calculate the amount of potatoes to cook by how much each person will eat and how much leftovers I would like. I count on each person eating approx. 1 lb. of turkey and 2 potatoes each.

** I only purchase salted butter, and knowing this I cut down the additional salt I add to my dishes or recipes. If you are using unsalted butter, please taste and adjust accordingly. Really you should always being tasting as you cook.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Additional Tips:

Mashed potatoes is part of Thanksgiving dinner you can make in advance of serving. The best way to reheat mashed potatoes that have been refrigerated is to place them in a low oven, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Mashed potatoes that have reheated are drier and the cream and butter components might separate. Heat up some more half-and-half or milk to bring them back to their creaminess.

Using a stand mixer or hand-held beaters, is an alternative method to achieve mashed potatoes. I personally wouldn’t recommend these methods. I find that this over-mixes the potatoes. And you have taken all these measures to avoid gluey potatoes. So just be very careful!

If you like a little tanginess in your mashed potatoes substitute some or all of the half-and-half with cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt.