16 May 2020

Some thoughts and a Recipe



As I begin to assess these months, I begin to wonder how I will look back on this lockdown?
Found distraction.
Found moments of creativity.
We unstuck this window!
Then there were the emotions. In the beginning, there was fear, but as time passed I grew frustrated being home, especially when our summer came too soon and there was no hiking.
I stepped away from French, reading, and normal studies that enrich life.
But fortunately, a few weeks into this my sister needed help with her third grader's schooling. Through Facetime, phone calls, and texting, I am managing to teach my niece. We were a homeschooling family, so this is somewhat natural, except for a silly curriculum never set up for online, nor homeschooling. However despite the silliness encountered, we improvise and have fun! Homeschooling my daughter was a blessing, and it I think it would be okay for me to say, that it has helped her through this time. It is something we know how to do. Keep busy. Experience the boredom. Distraction can lead to learning and creativity. So I imagine these days will enrich her young life too and a window to possibilities. My sister says that she loves school now. 

Here is a recipe that I adapted during this time. My husband loves it, but he loves rice.
 Mine is quick and assumes some foods are already made. It uses ingredients that are more easily found or are less expensive than say fresh parmesan. This recipe is inspired by the cookbook author Mimi Thorisson’s Asparagus Risotto. I adapted mine to leftover rice in the refrigerator and items we have during this slow economic time. Mimi Thorisson said, “There is truly nothing better than on a rainy spring Monday than a risotto like this and a good bottle of wine. Enjoy.” I would have to agree about risotto! Even with this less expensive, quick version that substitutes a few fresh ingredients for store bought! If you don’t eat meat, I would suggest add vegetables of your choice. The mild taste of this made me feel like I was back in the Dolomites. I think that next time, I will make it with fresh mushrooms. I used sliced (juliened) French Green beans in a can.


Quick French Green Bean Risotto with Rotisserie Chicken (Made from leftovers) It is probably on the table in under 40 minutes, if you have everything.) I cook on a gas stove and I use a wok.

Ingredients:
The chicken from the breasts of a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
4 cups of already cooked Long Grained Rice (or the fancier ones for risotto) (I already had four cups of cooked rice leftover from when I made two cups of dry rice.) 
½ cup of a good white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
2 cups of homemade (frozen) chicken broth (unfrozen is fine too)
A can of well-drained French Green Beans (You could use more, or fresh if they were cooked longer than al dente in my opinion.) 
¼ of a large yellow onion (OR 1 smaller onion OR ½ of a medium onion).
2 small cloves of crushed garlic or 1 regular size clove. (cloves are the smaller parts of the bulb. It gives a slight hint of garlic.)
3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil (2 to saute and 2 to add later)
2 Tablespoons Butter
3 oz. Kraft Parmesan Cheese (weighed)
You can give it a prettier color by adding a bit of paprika if you are like me, and can’t taste it. There are fancier ways too, like saffron.

Tools that I use: garlic crusher, a scale, wok (I use my wok all the time. I can move things to sides to not overcook things, and it is deep, so less food falls on the stove.

French Green Bean Chicken Risotto
Sautee ¼ of a large yellow onion finely chopped with 2 small cloves of crushed garlic from a garlic crusher in two tablespoons of olive oil. 
Next, add the four cups of already cooked rice. Mix and coat every grain. Then add 2 tablespoons of butter, allow it to melt and then coat all the rice by mixing it well. 
Add ½ of good white Sauvignon Blanc wine. Coat all the rice. 
Add the 2 cups of frozen homemade chicken broth. Let it melt and reheat. 
Slowly add and mix in gradually 3 ounces of Kraft Parmesan Cheese that you weighed. 
Add one can of well-drained French green beans and the breast meat of a freshly roasted chicken. (I like this kind of chicken because it pulls apart and looks rustic). 
Heat to serving temperature again. 
Add one more tablespoon of olive oil or two before serving mixing it in well. 
Salt and Pepper to taste and Garnish for serving.
If I had walnuts, I would have crushed some for the top. Also, pieces of chopped green onions from the garden look pretty. (I wouldn’t buy them, they are too expensive for garnish.). Finally, you can't go wrong with fresh parmesan on top if you have it. 
This makes a lot! There is probably enough for 4 to 6 people, unless you have big eaters, growing boys, or men in the house. My husband had it for several meals. 
I have made it twice now and once with 16oz of fresh mushrooms instead of greenbeans.
I enjoyed it more! I saute the mushrooms with the onions and the garlic and leave out the french style green beans.

On my instagram, you can see my new kitchen island. It is made from an older piece that I had, with the butcher block from the island that I had.  I didn't want to destroy the top of the older piece, so we figured out a way to use some bolts to attach the top over the other. We stained the top in a beautiful walnut. It looks rustic, and French, and I'm enjoying it.
You can always fine me on Instagram















18 comments:

  1. I've been creative here too in the lockdown.
    My husband got stuck in Finland, so I've been here in Spain with my son.
    The risotto sounds lovely!
    Thank you for the recipe.
    I just made mushroom risotto two days ago and added some small scrimps!
    It was good too.
    Nice to try something you have never cooked before.

    Stay safe!

    Hugs,
    Susanna

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    1. Thank you, Susanna. I hope you are not apart too much longer!. Scrimps sounds like a great edition to risotto! It really can be a creative dish! xoxo Su

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  2. Hi Su,
    The recipe sounds yummy and I am heading over to IG to see your new island. Glad you can help your niece out during these trying times with school projects. Have a great weekend.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Thank you, I am happy that I can. She is single and working from home, and it's a challenge. It's a challenge for a lot of people right now! xoxo Su

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  3. Homeschooling is something I had hoped my grands and their parents would enjoy. They don't. It is sad and unfortunate. One grand does his lessons; sometimes he and his teacher are the only ones who show up for Google classroom. The other grand is growing increasingly frustrated and upset. It's a matter of prayer. How good that you have been able to help your niece. Why parents think that they have to stick with the school curriculum makes me wonder. Homeschool can be so.much.more.

    I must go peek in on you at Instagram. As you know, I have mostly given it up. It was taking too much of my time.

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    1. That's too bad, Vee, in regards to your grandkids. xoxo Su

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  4. I follow several bloggers who have always homeschooled and admired the job they are doing, with much less time than a traditional school. Perhaps more will join their ranks now. I'm sure it has been confusing and stressful for those new to the concept to be thrown instantly into it. It's wonderful that you could be a part of teaching your niece. I have never made risotto, it's always scared me that I would scorch our entire dinner! But I love to order it out and yours sounds delicious and comforting.

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    1. Well, mine, since the rice is cooked ahead of time, you can't scorch it. LOL. That's my secret.
      I know what you mean. I love homeschooling my daughter. I also forgot that my daughter homeschooled with another niece when my daughter was little and my niece was in high school. They do learn faster, and it does take less time, and you know where the problem areas are when they occur. Have a wonderful weekend. xoxo Su

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    2. Lovely kitchen photo. Oh... this sounds good. I hate to cook but found something very similar at Trader Joes that is off the chart delish. Always look forward to your posts. Fear Not and be blessed.

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    3. Thank you, Tonita. Trader Joe's has a lot of great things, though I have not been in weeks. I think the last time that I tried to do that there was a line. I won't do it, because it is silly to stand in line to go shopping. But I'm okay now, I just needed something to do. xoxo Su

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  5. Learning at home is tough when the curriculum isn't designed for it. I saw it firsthand with my kids' college classes. They got through it, but I really hope that next semester they're back in class. your island is gorgeous. I just went over to Instagram for a peek. Stay safe!

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    1. I agree on that. My daughter said the same with her college. She had taken online college classes at university before and those were okay, but when they put the courses that were not designed with that in mind... Hopefully, all the classes are back to normal next semester. Thank you about the island.

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  6. Hello Su,
    It is good to catch up with you. I always enjoy your photos and seeing what you are up too. :-) How is your garden?
    Thank you for the recipe, it sounds yummy.
    Carla

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    1. Hi, Carla. The garden is fine. I might get a few bunches of grapes this year! That will be neat. I do most of the gardening in my stories on Instagram. Just little video snippets of the garden, arrangements, bread, food, sometimes house project. Mostly, I don't save them. xoxo Su

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  7. I feel for all of the students right now trying to learn their school work online. It's just not the same as being in the classroom. The recipe looks so good and I would love to make this sometime for dinner. Take care and be well.

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    1. The classes that were set up for online originally are great. DD has had one or two each semester, but when they switched everything to online, it was navigation, and some other issues. She homeschooled and thrives in either setting. We feel sorry for people not use to this! Stay well. Last year summer was very late here, and this year it is early, I never thought I would be grateful for this heat. xoxo Su

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  8. This recipe sounds divine, Su. I'm going to give it a try when I get settled in my own place. Thanks! Hugs, Nancy

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    1. Thank you. It really is. If you like pie, then double the filling like my mom. But, I am happy with just a tart. It is satisfying and less calories to me. It is not very sweet, but I don't like things too sweet. It seems something that I would buy it Northern Italy for a treat. I hope all is coming along well! xoxo Su

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Thank you for visiting and leaving kind messages. Have a beautiful day! xoxo Su