About Me

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Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bright Threads and Comfort Food

My friend Alison posted recently about running into an old friend whom Heaven had put into her life during a difficult time when she was young. I commented,

My sister gave me a birthday card, years ago, about life being like a quilt, that there were bright patches and dark patches but when you stepped back and looked at it, it was a masterpiece.

True, though I think it is more like a tapestry, and that we weave bright threads into one another’s lives.

That card is one small casualty of numerous moves. [If I am not the Queen of New Beginnings, I am ~ at the very least ~ the Duchess of Do-Overs.] If I still had that card, I would frame it.

I tried the creamy corn crockpot risotto over the weekend. Thought I had found a work-around in a bottle of sparkling grape juice, only to find that I could not pry off the top when it came time to add it to the rice sautéing in the pan. So it will go to the kids for New Years. Their hands are younger and stronger than mine.

Would some clever inventor or importer please help me find a nice assortment of wine-quality juices that have not been fermented? I had a friend who served his mission in Germany, and he said there were many wonderful varieties available there. I like the complexity that wine brings to a dish; I also want to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy. [And I would prefer screw-top lids.]

I put in a sploosh of black truffle oil instead, and it was tasty, but of course much earthier than the recipe as written. I also substituted frozen corn for fresh. Call me a Philistine if you will, but the charms of corn cut off the cob are wasted on me; that, and it’s long past the season for fresh corn.

I nuked the corn, ever so slightly, when there were still ice crystals in the bag after it had been out of the freezer for an hour, and only used half as much as the recipe called for; this is risotto, after all, not cornsotto. Plus I was using the small crockpot, not my feed-the-tribe one.

I didn’t have fresh Parmesan, so I substituted Asiago. Again, smokier and richer than what was called for, and probably half again as much as the recipe required. I don’t keep cayenne around, so I substituted sweet Hungarian paprika, which has an actual flavor, unlike the stuff I grew up with, which is merely pretty on top of deviled eggs. I did think to take the cream out of the fridge twenty minutes before I was supposed to add it.

This is the original recipe. And here are my observations. I am not enthusiastic about rice made in the crockpot; it seems to lose integrity. I did not quite end up with rice mush. So nice try, but next time I will slave over the stove and end up with individual grains of rice and a silkier result. I do like the way these ingredients play together, and I think I will be more brave about tossing additions into my risottos from here on out. And I might actually use a bit less cheese. I know, I know; that is the blackest heresy in this family!

I have finally bitten the bullet and added The Panopticon to my Bloglines. He has won me over with Dolores, a sheeply version of Mae West, and her pet ball of sock yarn, Harry. Dolores recently campaigned as the Fibertarian Party’s candidate for President. Dolores occasionally needs to have her mouth rinsed out with sheepdip. Or Tabasco. [No, she’d probably like that.]

If you’re looking for budget-friendly Christmas ideas, here’s a link.

Yesterday was one of those days when I was ready to gnaw off a foot to make my escape. I kept running out of things to do, or the supplies to do the tasks at hand. I scanned all the fax confirmations while I was relieving switchboard at lunch. But another great ride home on the train.

I came home and made my version of a tuna melt, grating a nice bit of Asiago into the tuna jollop and toasting the sandwich in a dab of real butter in my cast-iron skillet. I have enough filling for lunch today, but I’ll have to toast the bread in the toaster at work and then make the sandwich and nuke it in the microwave. Won’t be quite as tasty as last night’s dinner but probably a good deal healthier.

Poinsettias by the elevators on my floor at work.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

You eat some of the strangest foods but at least you are trying to be adventerous.