Holy balls in Tahiti there’s been a lot of alcohol and sweets on the blog. And in my mouth.
I suppose that’s all part and parcel of the holidays though, right? Too much sugar, too much booze, too much family.
…Maybe that’s why there IS so much sugar and so much booze. We need it just to get through the day!
I’m just kidding of course. I love my family. And they love me. In excess of twenty pounds or not.
I guess I’m not all that much different from anybody else come this time of year. Despite the fact that I like to think I’m a special flower. I indulge a bit too much this way or that and promise myself that once it’s all over, it’s clean eating and drinking all around. The fact that when it’s all over happens to be month of January – the new year – has no bearing on how I view fitness or health or wellness. I talked about this last December. I’m really not a resolutions kinda gal.
I figure, if you’re going to do something – like, seriously do something – you don’t need an arbitrary date to make a change. You simply make. the. change. You be the change bitches! Live intentionally and all that B.S.
You know what I mean?
Last year I made 6 goals, rather than resolutions. Did I live up to them?
1. To source one ingredient, on a weekly basis, that is entirely seasonal, organic and local. If it’s meat or dairy, pastured or sustainably wild caught as well.
Check! Though that could be because I decided moving to Toronto was pretty much the worst decision ever and I hightailed it back to the West coast, started accessing farmer’s markets again, live around the corner from Granville Island and signed up for a weekly CSA. No matter; Best decision ever.
2. To blog about it (and podcast! stay tuned!). This includes finding it, preparing it, cooking it and ultimately….. eating it (the best part).
I often get asked how I come up with new recipes week after week. This is how I do it. I choose an ingredient that I can source locally in season and then I develop a recipe to highlight its best qualities. Either that or I have a surplus of something from the CSA and I need to get rid of it before it starts growing fuzz and developing strange colours way in the back of the crisper.
If I try to come up with a recipe all willy-nilly by just being “inspired” by the market, I’ll get overwhelmed and just end up eating bread. Lots of it.
The podcast started out great – one episode a week for a whopping 9 weeks. And then I realized I can’t run my business, maintain my food blog, brainstorm restaurant ideas, see my friends and family more often than once per millennia AND plan, record, edit, and publish a podcast all at the same time. So we’re between seasons right now but I hope to bring it back when I have like, 5 minutes.
3. To breathe more. I’ve literally scheduled this into my iCal so I can literally make space to breathe and be still. I don’t do that enough these days.
Yes and no. I’m conscious of my lack of breath and I try to make the time but I haven’t been as successful with this as I’d hoped. I’m saying “No” a lot more though to potential opportunities for awesomeness so I have time to breathe. Obviously not enough though.
4. Canning. More canning. And preserving. This way I can pick up a crap ton of whatever I find and have reserves of it on hand for when I need it in the future, saving me the dreaded 7 hour trip across town.
I sure as holy heck did! Until I moved back to the coast, started canning copious amounts of blueberry butter and bourbon soaked cherries and then found out: You aren’t supposed to can on a ceramic/glass stove top. Fuck. That put an end to that in about 30 seconds (actually, I finished off my round of cherries before I turned the stove off so it put an end to it in about an hour and a half).
5. ….I feel like I should have a fifth one to round everything out nicely but I can’t think of one! At least nothing food related. Can I make a goal to make Joseph Gordon Levitt my boyfriend? Is that too creepy?
He’s totally my boyfriend.
Okay, he’s not. Damn it.
But I DID heed the advice of Kirsten and added a fifth selection to my list: Spend a bit of time thinking about and planning for the coming week (do this each Monday morning! With lists Meghan!) Or visit the library and find a new book to read (no library but I’ve read a ton this year). Or hug kittens or puppies (always.). Or try a new cocktail. Uh, hello. Have you seen my blog the past 6 months?
Okay. So I did fairly well, all things considered. And now I’m thinking about this year. Starting with the healthy living crap and all that.
Which is why today is a savory recipe. Crispy Brussel Sprout & Sauteed Mushroom Risotto.
Warning: This isn’t “healthy” in the sense that it’s gluten-free or dairy-free or … Hang on.
It IS gluten free!? WTF? I just Googled it and arborio rice is in fact, gluten free. Mama WHAT! Okay so that just amped up the healthy! Woot! And the dairy is minimal. There’s also a butt load of fresh, seasonal veggies in there and homemade chicken stock (you can sub decent pastured chicken stock from the store if you must) which fights off colds and flus and the clap.
So while you’re inhaling way too many Cinnamon Sweet Potato Cookies or Cranberry Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and drinking way too many Apple Whiskey Sours or Gin and Tonics, remember: Eat your vegetables, too. Because they’re healthy and nobody wants Gonorrhea.
Crispy Brussel Sprout & Sauteed Mushroom Risotto with Walnut Dust
Yield 4 servings
- 1/2 Lb Shiitake Mushrooms, wiped with a clean towel & roughly chopped.
- 1/2 Lb Oyster Mushrooms, wiped with a clean towel, stems removed & rougly chopped.
- 1/2 Lb Brown Button Mushrooms, wiped with a clean towel & roughly chopped.
- 1 Package of Enoki Mushrooms (optional), bottoms lopped off.
- 2 C Brussel Sprouts, cleaned, icky outside parts discarded and cut in half.
- 2 Shallots, thinly sliced.
- 2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced.
- 2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
- A Couple Sprigs Fresh Rosemary or Thyme.
- 1 C Walnut Halves or skinned Hazelnuts.
- 1.5 Cups Arborio Rice.
- 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine.
- 5-6 Cups Chicken or Veggie Stock, heated.
- 1 Cup Asiago Cheese, grated.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- On a medium heat, drizzle a glug or two of olive oil into a large, deep frying pan. Once hot and shimmering but not smoking, toss in the prepared brussel sprouts. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and stir well. Cook brussel sprouts until crispy, golden on the outside and fork tender on the inside. Approx 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- As they cook, toss the nuts onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden. You should be able to smell them when they're done, approx 12 - 15 minutes. Shake often to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool, chop roughly.
- Melt butter in the same pan and add shallots and garlic, stir well. Covering with lid and allow 5-10 mins to become translucent.
- Then stir in Shitake, Oyster and Button mushrooms and Rosemary. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushroom/shallot mixture has got some decent colour on it. Remove whatever is left of the rosemary sprigs.
- Add rice, stirring constantly until grains become transluscent on the outside, approximately 2 mins.
- Add wine, allowing for absorption by the rice and evaporation of the alcohol.
- Next, ladle in enough stock to just cover the rice mixture and let simmer, stirring fairly regularly to avoid burning and encourage creaminess. Continue adding further ladles of stock as it gets absorbed, again only as much as is needed to cover the rice.
- This will continue for roughly 30 mins, or until rice mixture is creamy and has reached the desired texture. You want it to be soft but still hold it's shape and not be mushy.
- Remove from heat and toss in the cooked mushrooms and brussel sprouts. Fold cheese into the finished dish and stir well. Taste, add more salt and pepper if necessary. Sprinkle with a few Enoki mushrooms and toasted nuts.
There is a bit of prep for this with respect to the mushrooms and brussel sprouts but once that's finished, it makes it very easy for the risotto to come together. Don't be put off by the love and time this takes - enjoy being around veggies for a change!If you really want to amp up this bad boy - and I know a lot of people are gonna turn up their noses at me now - drizzle the finished dish with a bit of white truffle oil.
Do you make New Years resolutions or goals? How have you lived up to yours this year? What are you inhaling right now? Are you getting veggies? What about STIs? TMI? Yep. What are you loving right now? Really not enjoying? Tell me about your life – spill it!