I spent the other night lying in bed eating Buffalo wings and watching Toddlers in Tiaras. That is either the surest sign of a work trip involving a hotel stay or the symptoms of a stroke.
It was my second trip to Atlanta in as many months. In addition to my work travels, since I have seen you all last I:
Celebrated a beautiful bride-to-be in NYC
Catered my first big party. For real strangers
Made a quilt
Made a wedding cake
Went to a gorgeous wedding in Portland, ME
Said farewell to some great friends that I will miss terribly until I get to visit my favorite place in November.
Celebrated the birth of a brand new baby girl whom I already love to pieces
Hung out with the littlest, who came home from her mountain adventure for a visit
Celebrated two years of a bestie’s good health
Celebrated the first birthday of one of my very favorite people…
I’m tired. But oh I missed you so. I haven’t been cooking much. Little stuff, light stuff, quick stuff mostly. And I haven’t been blogging much, though I do have at least three posts started and abandoned. And I do think about blogging all the time. Sometimes guiltily because I don’t have time. Sometimes wistfully because I wish I had time, and sometimes with a little bit of dread because in the moments that I did have I couldn’t think of anything to say. Because to say I had NO time would be a lie. I had enough time to read a couple books, and to watch season one of Homeland, and to lie around and enjoy my new apartment. But I was busy, and I am exhausted, and I am very much looking forward to a little bit of “free” time I have coming up. Only a job to worry about for a couple of weeks! What am I going to do with all that time? I actually have HOLD written in my day planner, so that I wouldn’t forget and book something for myself to do next weekend. Because I will be sitting around, and doing some projects, and hanging some curtains, and enjoying all the summer foods (it’s summer! I’ve only been to the farmer’s market TWICE!) and remembering how to cook. I have one more fun weekend this weekend in NYC celebrating my amazing Momma and her birthday and then a couple weeks of blissful nothing. I can’t wait.
But I didn’t starve myself over the last couple of months. I did eat. Most recently I ate lobster. Lots of lobster. I ate lobster mac and cheese with my people in Portsmouth, then I came home and ate lobster rolls with my family to celebrate my dad’s birthday.
And there was leftover lobster. LEFTOVER LOBSTER! I don’t think I have ever experienced such a thing. So I made risotto…
It took me about a week to move. Not to pack and move and unpack, but to actually move. I had movers come and move my furniture and some of my packed boxes one day, but there was a bunch of smaller stuff that didn’t really fit in boxes or hadn’t made it into one yet, and I figured it wasn’t so much and I could easily do it myself. I didn’t think I was in a huge rush to get out of my last apartment (I ended up being wrong about that, but I still had a couple extra days, which is definitely lucky) so I figured it wouldn’t be a huge deal. But oh my god I was wrong. I have SO MUCH CRAP. On the last night of the move I was essentially just walking back and forth between the two apartments (I only moved down the block) with a milk crate and one of those huge IKEA bags, filling them up in the old place and emptying them in the new place…repeat over and over and over (25 times, to be exact. I moved to a fourth floor walk-up. I did 75 flights of stairs that night. I know because I counted through the pain.) The last trip was the freezer. I filled the IKEA bag with pulled pork, chicken tinga, lobster stock, chicken pieces, parmesan rinds and whatever else was in there, and I tried to pick up the bag. I immediately purged a lot. The lobster stock, the parmesan rinds, and one (of the four or so) bags of pulled pork made the cut. Long story short (ha!) I had lobster stock in my new freezer. And lobster meat in my fridge. It was meant to be.
I wanted to make it a little summery and lighter, if that is possible with risotto, so I thought I would add some fresh corn, since it has made an early appearance this year. I am very glad I did. It added texture, crunch and sweetness and I really loved how it turned out.
I’ve posted about risotto before. It gets a bad rap. It is not nearly as picky or difficult or time consuming as people insist it is. You definitely have to pay attention, it certainly isn’t a hands off meal, but you don’t have to stay absolutely chained to the stove for an hour stirring until your arm feels like it is going to fall off. I say a half hour, maybe 40 minutes of frequent stirring. You can certainly walk away to pour yourself a glass of wine (and you definitely should do this) or change the channel on the tv or put on music or use the facilities and it will still be great. I think. I mean, I really enjoy it and I do all of those things. Perhaps if I had risotto that made by someone who literally never walked away from the stove and stirred constantly I would realize the error of my ways, but I don’t think so. Maybe I’ll try it that way sometime so I can compare, but probably not. I am perfectly happy with my way.
One trick, and I think I mentioned this before, is that I also warm the wine before I add it to the rice. Risotto recipes call for warming the broth to a simmer so that when you add it to the hot rice the protein (?) in the rice doesn’t seize up and not let the liquid absorb into the grains, but it doesn’t usually call for you to heat the wine, which doesn’t make sense, since the wine is likely cold from the fridge and you add it first, when I would imagine the rice is most likely to seize. So I throw the wine in a pyrex measuring cup and stick in in the warm broth to heat up a little before I add it. Another note – I don’t like seafood and cheese together in general, so I do not add cheese to my lobster risotto at all. I am not sure how the experts would feel about this, but I feel pretty good about it. You should feel free to do whatever you’d like.
Lest you think I have been eating only cereal for months, let me ease your fears…
Burrata on olive oil toast with roasted tomatoes, basil oil and balsamic drizzle.
Homemade Ranch (I will be talking about this in the future, because I pretty much only like salads with ranch dressing. Because I am an eight-year old.)
So see….there you go. I’ve been eating, and taking pictures and thinking about blogging…my failure was in the execution. But I’m back! And it’s B&G’s three-year blogiversary! Happy Birthday B&G.
And now I am off to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Let’s Go Mets.
Lobster Risotto (serves 4 – or one for dinner and a couple lunches…)
3 tbl olive oil
6 tbl unsalted butter, divided
1 onion, diced
2 small shallots, diced
1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups lobster stock
Kernals from 3 ears of good fresh corn
1 – 1 1/2 cups lobster meat
minced chives for garnish
Heat the lobster stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat to a simmer. Pour the wine in a heat proof glass measuring cup and place it in the stock to warm.
Melt 1- 1 1/2 tbl of the butter in a saute pan over medium heat, and saute the corn kernals until bright and starting to brown, season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and three tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a high sided saute pan or dutch oven. When the butter has melted, add the onions and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the rice and stir, coating the rice with oil and butter, and cook until the rice just begins to brown.
Add the wine to the rice, and stirring frequently, cook until the wine is absorbed. When you drag the spoon through the rice, it should hold it’s place, the liquid should not seep in to fill space. Begin adding the warm stock, about 1/2 – 2/3 cup at a time, and cook stirring frequently until each additon is absorbed by the rice before adding more. Start testing the rice for doneness after about the fifth or sixth addition of stock. When the rice is cooked through but retains a slight bite on your teeth, add your last 1/2 cup of stock, the remaining butter, corn and lobster meat and remove from the heat. Stir to combine and melt the butter, and plate, sprinkling generously with minced chives.