Saturday, March 9, 2013

Don't beat yourself up!

Ladies, why are there days we feel so inadequate? Or that we are just being lazy? Haven't done a thing all day?

I had this moment today. Thinking about how I haven't done anything of real value or worth - I'm in sweatpants for goodness sakes! How can anyone do anything worthy while still wearing sweats?! =]

So, for those of you reading, when you've spent the day inside doing nothing oh except for... laundry, kitchen cleaning, bathroom cleaning, vacuuming floors, coloring hair, showering, rides back and forth to various things for your kid(s), brushed your pets, prepared dinner menus and grocery lists, a little pinning, a little blogging, and some craft time. Some bible studying and retreat planning, a nice phone call with someone you love, and a nap...

And you haven't even had dinner yet - you're doing just fine.

Do not beat yourself up. It's all fine.

You're not lazy.

Most of my day has been in this little space. It's okay. 
Go get 'em, tiger! Rawr!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Risotto - don't be scared!

Risotto is one of those things that I had to learn. I mean Gordon Ramsey is always yelling at people because of bad risotto... it was a personal challenge!

It can be scary, but mostly it's just time consuming.

Here are the things you need for basic risotto and below I will post a few variations and add-ins.

A bit of olive oil and butter
1 onion, diced
minced garlic, to taste
1 cup of Arborio rice
5 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
1/4 cup white wine, optional
1/4 c (or so) of fresh parmesan cheese, grated

Heat the chicken stock in a small sauce pan. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat down to simmer. In the meantime, chop your onion. In a large skillet, heat over medium heat, the olive oil and butter. Once the pan is hot, add the onion and cook until it's translucent and tender. This should take about 10 minutes. We don't want the onions to brown, we just want them tender. Add the garlic, if you choose to have garlic, for about a minute. We never want garlic to get brown, we just want it to become aromatic and not raw. =]

After two additions of liquid
Add the rice into the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir the rice around so it's coated in the oil and just beginning to get toasty and nice. If you're using wine, add the wine now and stir until it's all absorbed. If not, just skip this step and move onto the next one. Add one cup of the warm chicken stock into the skillet with the rice and stir it constantly until the stock is all absorbed. Once it's absorbed, add another cup and constantly stir until it's all absorbed. Continue to add the stock, one cup at a time, until you use all the stock and it's all been absorbed.  Add the salt and pepper, mix. Taste the rice and see if it's done. It should be firm, but cooked through and not at all "crunchy" and the rice should be creamy. This process will take quite a bit of time, stay dedicated to it. It's a lot of time stirring, but it's so worth it. It will take no less than 20 minutes, but may take even longer. Add the cheese, mix it in until it's all melty and good.

Here's the thing with risotto, it's going to create its own creaminess. If you desire a creamier rice, use a little more stock or water. It will continue to absorb until you find your happy place.

Just about anything can be added to risotto. In this particular picture, I added peas. My plan was to do a nice pea puree, but I wasn't feeling well, so I just added peas and called it a day. I was fine with that. =]

Almost any vegetable can be added to risotto. Asparagus, pureed roasted squash, peas, leeks, mushrooms, artichokes, etc... We can try anything! When cooking risotto with veggies, add the veggies at the beginning with the onions. The rest of the steps are the same.

Finally, meat. Yes, you can have meat with risotto. Bacon is my favorite! All the steps are the same, except you cook the bacon first, remove it to a plate, drain some of the grease but leave enough in the pan to do the onions and garlic with only a small addition of oil needed.

Also, say you have some left over chicken or turkey, add that in at the cheese step and cook until it's heated through. You can also saute or broil some shrimp and add that - the options are endless! Be brave, try something new! =]