Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Springtime Medley Risotto

I realize the irony of posting "Springtime Medley Risotto" smack in the middle of winter when it's 7 degrees outside, but sometimes you just need to see the light at the end of the tunnel and in this instance I'm experiencing that through fresh asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon zest. I figure if I can't step outside and experience spring, I can whip up a batch of it in my kitchen.

When many people think of risotto they picture themselves tied to their stove for hours on end stirring and stirring and stirring... But, have no fear! It's not as difficult as they make you think it is. Sure, you need to stir when you add liquid, but it really isn't as time consuming as you may think.

When you order risotto in restaurants it usually comes smothered in Parmesan, which I never quite understood. The natural creaminess of the rice makes this dish stand on it's own, without the use of gratuitous cheese. The lemon zest adds tang and the sun-dried tomatoes an earthy taste and texture that will bring you back for more.

So, get out of your winter funk, crank your furnace up to 75, throw on your flip-flops, and experience a taste of spring!

Springtime Medley Risotto
Recipe from Jesse Miner for VegNews Magazine

6 cups vegetable stock
1 bunch asparagus, ends removed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
3 spring onions, greens removed and diced
5 green-garlic stacks, dark green removed, and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, and then diced
1 meyer lemon, zested, plus 1 tablespoon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to boil. Add asparagus and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender and bright green. Removewith strainer, run under cold water to halt cooking, drain, and set aside. Reserve stock in pan and reduce heat to simmer.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions, garlic, and salt and sauté for about 5 minutes,or until onions are translucent. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to lightly toast grains. Add white wine and stir every 1 to 2 minutes until wine is completely absorbed.

Pour 1/2 cup of hot stock over rice. Stir rice every 1 to 2 minutes until stock is completely absorbed. Repeat until rice is “al dente”with a thickened sauce. This should take approximately 30 to 35 minutes.

Turn off heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cooked asparagus pieces, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and juice,and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Healing Thoughts

This morning while I was climbing up a hill during my 60 minute spin class I had a revelation...And I use that word loosely, "revelation" that is. There were no angels that descended from the heavens, no bright light, and certainly no dramatic interludes that one associates with them. Okay, maybe it was more of a "lightbulb" moment.

My spin instructor asked us if we knew what our purpose in life was. Actually, she more or less demanded that we think about it for four days and then during Saturday's class she wants us to write it down while she reads them aloud.

My purpose in life? In four days? You'd think that was asking a lot, I mean in the grad scheme of things, but really, it isn't. I think we all know deep inside why we're here. What makes us tick, the things that inspire, persuade and motivate us to get out of bed each and every day.

The thing about this instructor is she always manages to say the right things to get you to think...I mean really think. She constantly reminds us that we are in charge, we have the ability to make the necessary changes in life that will inevitably point us in the right direction. She's right.

She tells us that we are in exactly the right place in our lives and that when we acknowledge it, a door will open, and opportunities will arise. She's right.

In her class we're instructed to leave all negativity at the door and surround ourselves with positive affirmations. This is something I practice daily. I didn't get where I am today with my RA by being negative. I didn't give up on myself...Never give up on yourself.

Surround yourself with positive people, those that inspire, and those whom you can inspire.

Inspire others.

That was it, "inspire others." That was my "a ha moment." I realized that sharing my experience with others not only gives inspiration, it is also a form of personal therapy. It motivates me, it inspires me, and it makes me realize my potential and how much I have to give...It heals me.

Healing others helps you heal yourself.

It doesn't have to be complicated. It can be something as simple as a smile, or a "Thank You" or holding the door for someone.

Move forward in life and be the light you need to see, be your own inspiration and the rest will fall into place.