Sunday, September 29, 2013

apples etc.

I've had apples on the brain the past few days. Daniel and I made plans to go visit some friends who recently moved from San Francisco to Auburn in a few weeks and I've been thinking that we may be forced to go check out Apple Hill. I've never been apple picking; nor have I ever eaten a cider donut. Given that life is short, I figure I should probably try to remedy this situation sooner rather than later. I also need an excuse to make this cake ASAP and I think that having a big pile of freshly picked apples around would definitely help with that. 

So yes, I spent a good portion of the weekend daydreaming about fruit. But I also started a new book, drank a delicious Manhattan (a drink I always associate with fall), made a farro dish I was quite pleased with, finally saw Argo, and took several naps. All in all, quite satisfactory. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

everyday life

Today marks the first day of the fall quarter and the start of my second year of law school. My first class (Accounting- sure to be bloody) is in a few hours. In the meanwhile, I've been checking things off of my to-do list: dropping off dry cleaning, writing thank-you notes, grocery shopping, scrubbing my kitchen, etc. I have always been a person who likes structure, so getting my house in order always gives me a sense of well-being.

I am aware that all of this makes me sound very exciting.

But sometimes it's the little things that elevate everyday life. A long run in the crisp fall air. A new book from the library. An outdoor lunch with friends. An exquisite pair of shoes. The last cherry tomatoes of summer.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

still summer

I know that technically we entered fall a few days ago but in these parts, it's still summer. While I love fall and am actually looking forward to the start of classes on Thursday, there's part of me that wants to cling to the last few days of freedom. I've gotten used to drinking my morning coffee and bed while reading novels and now I'm feeling a tinge of self-indulgent sadness that soon this will be a ritual of the past.

Anyway, tonight Daniel is making a rare trip down to Stanford (I usually drive up to his place in Marin) and I'm using my free time to cook him dinner. While I was driving around running errands earlier today, I was toying with various options in my head. I spent the weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and after a few days of such light fare as fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, hushpuppies, macaroni & cheese, ribs, pulled pork AND chopped pork, and shrimp & grits, I was hoping to make something slightly lighter.

Cut to the ingredients above.* I settled on meyer lemon risotto, to accompany scallops and roasted asparagus (not pictured. Raw scallops are not terribly photogenic). While risotto isn't exactly diet food, the lemon adds a brightness that balances some of the richness.

Now I'm going to go pour myself a 5 o'clock aperitif and finish off the last of this marvelous book. Back soon, I hope.

Meyer Lemon Risotto
Makes 4 main-course servings
6 cups chicken broth
3 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots
2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp fresh meyer lemon juice
4 tsp grated lemon peel

Bring broth to simmer in a large pot over medium heat- reduce head and cover to keep warm. Melt half of the butter with the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add shallots and saute for 5 minutes. Add rice and stir for 1 minute. Add wine and stir for another 30 seconds then add 1 1/2 cups of the broth, stirring until absorbed completely. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently. This should take about 30-35 minutes. Add cheese and remainder of butter, then parsley, lemon juice and peel. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with an extra sprinkling of parsley.

*Apologies for the regrettably blurry photo. My dorm kitchen is low on natural light. Life is so hard.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

power lunch

Earlier today, my mom sent me this article from the New York Times. I scoffed and then rushed off to make a carrot and avocado salad for myself- the article reminded me how much I love this combination (which I first saw here a while back). I made a few changes inspired by the ABC recipe, adding a dollop of Greek yogurt with a bit of cumin, coriander, cinnamon and lemon juice swirled in and sprinkling some toasted pumpkin seeds on top (essential crunch). While I was the only lady present, it was still a great power lunch. 
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