Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ramblings & Risotto

Hey all... today's post is a little all over the place.

But that's okay, because typically I'm usually a little all over the place.

First order of business: Super-fab photos.

The "official" race pics from the marathon have been posted online. Let me tell you, there were some beauties.

Let's try to pretend that running a marathon in soaking wet clothes and shoes is super-duper-fun. 

"Are we finished yet? I've been running for a looooooong time." No, Sara. You're just at mile 15.

Towards the end, silently wishing I was the man who is already finished on the sidewalk. "Why can't that be me?!?!?"

Pull out a fake smile for the finish.

There's the real emotion....... utter exhaustion. Why do people do this to themselves? Oh yes, "for fun."

So there ya go. You can see that I was soaking wet the entire race, which was loads of fun now that I look back on it. It's still hard to believe that was just a week ago.

I attempted my 2nd run post-marathon today, 5 miles. I felt pretty good until the 3-mile marker when it turned into a death march. When will my legs feel normal again?!?

Second order of business: The Saturday Saga.

So... I've lived in the Bean Town for about 10 months now. By now, most people would have established relationships with family doctors, dentists, and eye doctors, right?

Well I'm sorta different, and haven't done any of those things. I always seem to make things work. I just don't get sick!

Well, there's one little problem. I wear contacts. I had a year's supply issued to me in February 2010. Well, it's now May 2011. So I've been wearing my contacts for a bit longer than the 1-month recommendation. 

This week I realized I was wearing my LAST PAIR of contacts. Like the last pair. None left after the ones that were in my eyeballs. So I told myself I would schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. Stat. 

Also, my only pair of glasses are currently living with my friend Kristi in Michigan. I might have left them there when we visited in February. Whoops.

So Friday night, my right contact was starting to feel sorta janky. I just figured it was allergies or something. Until I went to go clean them and I realized it was ripped in half. I guess that's why it hurt so much. And then I realized, "OH NO!!!! I have no other contacts!! I can't see anything!! My life is so tragic." (Not.) And of course I had never quite gotten around to scheduling that eye appointment.

My Business Man and I tried to figure out what to do. It was late Friday night. (aka 9:30pm, which is late for us.) We had to be in Dayton the next day by 1pm to celebrate his brother's college graduation. And I couldn't see. 

We thought about driving 2 hours north to Michigan and back to get my glasses, but my friend Kristi wasn't even home and didn't have access to a car either. (Long story.) We finally decided to just wait til morning and see if we could schedule an appointment somewhere last minute.

We got an appointment alright. But not in the Bean Town. At a Wal-mart 40 minutes from the Bean Town. At least it was on our way down to Dayton! 

I couldn't read this when I took the pic... but when I left I could! Yay for good eyesight.

Haha... so we made our way down I-75 with a pitstop for an eye exam and a new pair of contacts. Praise the Lord that Wal-mart had an opening, or I don't know what I would have done.

Trying to entertain myself in the car when I couldn't read any of the road signs. Or even see what type of cars drove by.

Lesson learned: Don't wait until the last minute to get new contacts. It is hard to do things when you cannot see. Plus you get a headache. 

Third order of business: Risotto.

If you haven't ever had risotto, you're missing out. I first made risotto on Easter as a side dish to accompany the main entree, lemon-baked chicken.

I don't think anyone really cared about the chicken. It was all about the risotto.

Risotto is a rice dish that is cooked low & slow, requiring constant stirring as you add small amounts of chicken stock. The result is a super-creamy dish that doesn't have any cream. (Crazy!) I did add a bit of cream cheese and some Parmesan cheese, but that's it for the creamy-cheese factor. 

This risotto also has lots of spring vegetables, including asparagus, peas, and leeks. A bit of lemon zest makes it the perfect dish for spring. (So hurry up and make it before the heat of summer gets here!)

I added some flaked salmon to make it more of a 'main dish' tonight for just the two of us. Because when there's risotto, there's no need for anything else.

You start by sauteeing some onions and leeks. Yum.

Then, add the Arborio rice. (Regular rice won't work! You must find Arborio.)

Then, you gradually add in chicken stock, stirring the whole time, waiting for it to be absorbed. Once it's absorbed, you add a bit more. And so on and so on. (Did I mention it's a lengthy process? But so so worth it.) 

Double duty! Asparagus in the front, risotto in the back.

About half-way through, you add the asparagus and peas. Also, some salt, pepper, and lemon zest. The citrus is so refreshing!

And then when it's finished, you stir in cream cheese, Parmesan, and fresh chives. Oh man.

And your stove might look like it has endured a children's food fight. But that's ok.

Pea explosion!

Because you end up with this: delicious, creamy, risotto.

Asparagus & Salmon Risotto

  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp. butter
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, chopped (white & green parts)
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (ends discarded)
  • 1 sm. package frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest, (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 4-oz. cream cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 8-oz. baked salmon, flaked


In medium saucepan, heat chicken broth until simmering. Keep warm while preparing risotto.

In large saute pan, cook onions and leeks in olive oil and butter about 5-7 minutes until tender. Add the rice and stir to coat well with oil & butter, and cook about 1 minute. Add about 1 cup chicken broth, and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the broth has been absorbed. Continue to add chicken broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for it to be absorbed before adding more.

Meanwhile, cook asparagus in boiling water 4-5 minutes until crisp-tender. (This could also be done ahead of time.) Drain, and rinse with cold water.

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, add the asparagus and peas. Stir in the lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking and adding broth, stirring constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm. It should take about 30 minutes total.

When the risotto is done, remove the pan from the heat. Mix in cream cheese, Parmesan and fresh chives until the cheeses are melted and the risotto is creamy. Gently stir in salmon pieces. Enjoy!

Slightly adapted from: Annie's Eats

And I'm off! I found college track & field on TV and they're running the 5km... guess what I'm watching. My Business Man is so excited to watch people run millions of laps for fun.  


D_Win said...

Way to go running the marathon! You guys should do the Disney marathon with Nate and Catherine and I! So, I might have done that same thing with my contacts and run out and then had to go to Walmart vision center as well for an "emergency". Luck for me, and everyone on the roads, I had a pair of old glasses that allowed me to get around.

Running Girl said...

Love the marathon pictures! Super cute.

And, I'm a risotto addict. Love, love, love the stuff. :-)

pawsitivelife said...

Im not going to lie, your marathon pictures scare me a bit (im running my first one in 6 months!) the weather better be good. Also Im so glad Im not the only one who makes a mess in the kitchen while cooking

Sara said...

@Dustin-- I would LOVE to run disney!! I've been looking at the schedule and seeing if I can make it work. I can only take 3 days off each year and already have to use 1 for a friend's wedding.

@Running Girl--I know!! Risotto is so good. I have visions of a creamy mushroom risotto, but my Business Man hates mushrooms... I might have to try it anyway.

@pawsitive life-- Haha... don't be scared! It was fun, for the most part. It was my first as well. As soon as I crossed the line I swore I'd never do it again, but I'm already trying to plan out my next race.

ambernpayne said...

After my crazy cooking adventure on Sunday, I'm becoming much more confident in my cooking skills! I believe I should try my hand at risotto sometime soon! :)

Simply Yours Designs: Cute Blog Designs