Risotto Milanese… ala Christi

May 2, 2011

by Christi Borden

As promised, this is my version of Risotto Milanese or Milan-style. What makes it Milan-style? I believe it is the addition of Saffron and cheese but perhaps someone wiser than me can answer that question. Regardless, this is my version and I stand by it.

  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 2 Shallots (finely chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, (minced)
  • 1 Cup Abrorio Rice (there is no substitute)
  • 5 Cups Chicken Stock (homemade is best but Swanson’s will do)
  • 1/2 Bottle Dry Italian White Wine (again, use a quality that you would drink. If it is not good enough to drink, it is not good enough to cook with).
  • Pinch of Saffron (expensive but worth it)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated, not the sawdust stuff in the green bottle)
  • 1 TBS Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

First, Combine stock and wine in a microwave container and heat for 5 minutes. The secret to successful Risotto is adding heated liquids to the rice as you go along instead of shocking the rice with cold liquids and not fully releasing the starches that make this dish so deliciously smooth and delightful.

Second, heat oil over medium/high and saute garlic and shallots for 1 minute (careful not to burn garlic). Add dry rice and saffron, and stir for about 30 seconds to warm and to coat with oil.

Now, the magic of risotto begins: Add enough liquid to cover rice by about 1/2 inch, and constantly stir over medium heat until liquid is almost gone. Continue adding more liquid and stirring mixture until rice is al dente (gives slightly when biting but almost cooked through) and creamy. This takes about 20 minutes or so.

Helpful Hint: I stir about every minute so grab a book and the glass of chilled wine and hunker down. If you walk way and do not stir properly, you will not be happy with the results and may burn your rice. Believe me, the results are worth the effort here.

After rice has reached the perfect consistency, remove from heat and add cheese, butter and salt (check for this as the cheese, butter and stock all add salt so it may not be necessary) and fresh black pepper to taste.

There, your Risotto is done and is the perfect dish to serve as you would pasta or potatoes. I sometimes add baby bello mushrooms to this dish but it will change the color and flavor to create a delicious but less delicate side.

E squisito!

I hope you enjoy this as it has become a family favorite!

Christi’s 100 Clove Garlic Chicken Recipe

April 27, 2011

Garlic is a Gift for the Soul!

by Christi Borden

By request from my friends, I am happy to share one of my kids favorite recipes. Okay, before you start gasping, this is delicious and the garlic is very mild when prepared according to the recipe. This was adapted from a recipe from The Stinking Rose Restaurant in San Fran… go there if you ever get the chance.


  • 10 to 12 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 5 cups Chicken Stock (homemade is best but Swanson’s is next to best thing)
  • 1/2 bottle of good dry white Italian Wine (Rule of Thumb is do not cook with it if you would not drink it:)
  • 40 to 100 or more peeled garlic cloves (easy when purchased in pre-peeled pack).
  • 1/2 to 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • 3 TBS Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt/Fresh Ground Black Pepper

First, lightly salt and pepper chicken and brown in heated oil in a large flat skillet. Remove from heat when golden brown on both sides but not cooked. Add garlic to oil and constantly stir for about 5 minutes to coat with oil and lightly brown/roast garlic cloves. Pay special attention not to brown or burn garlic. Add rosemary and chicken back to pan and cover chicken with broth and wine. Lower heat so that it bubbles gently, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

Remove chicken to plate, raise temperature and cook broth/wine mixture for 10 minutes on High to reduce. Place reduction into blender and very carefully blend garlic/broth mixture. Use caution when blending hot liquids – use the toggle switch to turn on very briefly and then allow pressure to be released through lid so that you are not scalded by this mixture under pressure.

Return to pan after thoroughly blended, add cream to taste, cook gently on medium until thoroughly blended and thickened. Return chicken to sauce and you are done! I serve this with Risotto Milanese (will share that one next) and a fresh salad or green vegetable. Your family will love it and you will not have to worry about Vampires for weeks!


Who cares? It is that yummy!

Films and Fashion… How deeply do they affect us?

January 4, 2011

by Christi Borden

Sunday evening I got the chance to see the Coen brother’s version of True Grit. Well done! It was a terrific film and homage to both the original and the book by Charles Portis. (Now at number 6 on the NY Times Paperback Trade  Fiction list and well worth a read).

But in seeing the new version, I was taken back to my childhood when my Grandfather (a huge Duke fan) took me to see this and every other John Wayne Movie as well as numerous re-runs on television. (Yes, boys and girls, this was before Cable, Netflix and videos …).

One of things I remembered most was wanting to be Kim Darby, who originally played Mattie Ross. She was tough, cool, sassy, cute and really gave those “honery” adults a lesson or two. The fact that she was 20 and playing a 14-year-old only speaks to the gullibility of my youth but in my mind… we were kindred spirits.

As a middle class kid growing up in the Panhandle town of Plainview, Texas, the only way I could be like Kim or Mattie was through my feeble attempts at fashion. My poor mom had to hunt and scour through catalogs at J. C. Penny’s, Sear’s and Anthony’s to find the hottest ticket item for girls at that time…

Gauchos! (No, not the South American cowboy variety.) I am referring to that terrific western wear fusion between pants and a skirt. Nobody looked as cool in a pair of Gauchos as Kim did and I and every other young girl had to be just like her… a trend was born.

Thinking back, my wardrobe seems to have been influenced by Film/TV a few other times in my life  and not always in a flattering way:

Saturday Night Fever – Lycra bodysuit, wrap skirt and platforms. Hey, at least I had the body for it then and could dance!

Grease  – Candies pumps and leather.. yeah, we all thought we were Olivia Newton John and some of us were even foolish enough to try to carry off her hair.

Annie Hall  – Boyish vests, ties, baggie pants, loafers and hats. My mom’s favorite because almost everything came from garage sales and resale shops.

Dynasty – Hey, I loved the big shoulder pads, bigger hair and way out there jewelry. I am a Texan, after all.

Urban Cowboy – Need I say more? You know you fell for it, too.

Can you add to this list? Think back to when a film or television show’s influence actually transformed you into a fashion plate or victim.

My only complaint about the new version of True Grit is that the Wardrobe Designer missed a wonderful opportunity to nod at the fond memories of all the women who, like me, wanted to be “the coolest girl in the world.” Who knows, maybe Gauchos would be making another comeback.

Top Restaurant Cities in US Named by Esquire… Surprised by Houston?

January 4, 2011

by Christi Borden

Houston, TX - # 7 Top Restaurant City in US

Esquire magazine has just published their list of top food cities in the United States and Houston .. Yes, Houston…came in at number 7. Does that surprise you? If you knew Houston, it shouldn’t?

As the 5th largest city in the US, Houston is probably one of the more diverse cities in our nation and offers so many different nationalities, cultures, and amazing cuisines  that it truly can compete with the finest gastronomic epicenters of the Globe. And the experts agree…

As an avid Foodie, I am particularly thrilled about this recognition. We Houstonians are used to being at or near the Top of many lists and they have not always been positive: Fattest City, Worst Traffic, Longest Commute, Least Attractive, Least Walkable City, etc. There has been such a negative bias against H-Town that it is so sweet to have positive recognition. In fact, as one of the top areas that people are chosing to relocate…Like it or not, it is getting pretty hard to ignore us any longer.  

What type of epicurean experience awaits you when you visit here? First and foremost, you will have to narrow your focus because it would take a lifetime to try them all. The ethnic make up and geographic location of this Port city are truly reflected by the choices available to the lucky diner. We have the most amazing: Steakhouses, Barbeque Joints, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, Soul Food, Cajun, Creole, Seafood, Middle Eastern, Russian, Latin American, Catalan, Indian … Well, you get the idea. You want it… we have it and it is divine.

I have to make a special mention about my favorite… which is Mexican – made authentic and delicious due to our close proximity to the origin of this amazing cuisine. There are so many variations that fall into the basic description of “Mexican Food”, you may need the help of a local to find the one that appeals most to you. I am personally a fan of what is commonly known as  “Tex-Mex”, which tends to be “spicier” and “cheesier” (my word and I am sticking with it) than the South of the Border variety. Pure heaven on earth…

If I am given the choice of one last meal to enjoy prior to departing this sweet earth, I can tell you it will probably be a steaming platter of Grilled Chicken Breasts smothered in a fire-hot Habanero Cheese Sauce at El Jarrito’s Mexican Restaurant in Katy, TX … along with a frozen pitcher of the best Margaritas in the City.

How about you? Any favorites you wish to share? The world is finally watching and for that, we in Houston thank you, Esquire Magazine!

FYI: The  article list goes follows and you can read the entire article here.

1. New York

2. Chicago .

3. San Francisco

4. New Orleans

5. Los Angeles

6. Las Vegas

7. Houston

8. Washington, D.C.

9. Boston

10. Seattle

I welcome you to comment your thoughts and to subscribe to TheBordenReport.

Where is your Favorite Place in the World?

January 2, 2011

Your passport to a truly global real estate experience

One of my favorite things to do is travel and luckily throughout my husband’s career, we have been able to see much of the World.

As a consequence, I am often asked to name my favorite place. Frankly, this is a lot like being asked to name your favorite child. You love each one in their own way and for different reasons. But today is a day for introspection so I will give it a go… I would love to know if you agree with me or can help me see the error of my ways.

Here is my list of My Favorite place(s) so far:

Beauty: Country – New Zealand, North and South Islands and Alaska
Beauty: City – Prague and Paris
Food: Italy, hands down favorite … Hong Kong, Thailand and anywhere in Southern Louisiana
Ancient Ruins: Ephesus, Turkey, Rome and Athens (in that order)
History: Italy, Greece and Egypt
Walking Accessibility: Rome and San Francisco, CA
Friendliest Locals: Costa Rica and Indonesia
Adventure: South Africa and Zimbabwe (at least back when it was safe to visit)
Exotic: China
Most Resilient People: Russia and Hungary
Comfortable/Easy for first-time travelers: Germany and England
Relaxing: Home:).

All time favorite city that I wish to return to the second I leave: Rome!

This is just my list and I know it differs from yours. With luck, this list will continue to grow and change as I change.

Where is your favorite place in the world and why?