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Archive for January, 2011

Friends, I realize that I haven’t posted in approximately two weeks.  And for that, I am deeply sorry.  But things have been happening in my life, and while they are blog-worthy, certainly, they also are the very things that are keeping me from hunkering down in front of my computer.  It’s a conundrum: the more you have to blog about, the less time you have to actually blog about it.

The thing is, last week I turned 25.  Actually, as of today, I have been officially a quarter of a century old for an entire week.  I guess 25 isn’t considered “old” to some people (those people are, without fail, older than 25 of course).  However, this is a big one for me.  I think it’s a big one for everyone.

I know the term “quarter-life crisis” is thrown around quite a bit by my peers (actually, there is a pretty extensive Wikipedia entry on the term here). I also know that everyone older than us scoffs at such a ridiculous idea: having a crisis at age 25? About what? What dress to wear to the bar that night?  What boy to date?  What vacation to blow all your money on?

But think about it, old people: us 25 year olds have graduated college (well jeez, most of us have, I hope), and we are now living the “adult” lives that we’ve been dreaming about and planning out for the past oh, 20 years.  It’s human nature to fantasize about the future; we all do it.  I think the crisis occurs when we realize that, at 25, we are not exactly living the life we imagined for ourselves.

I’m not saying that I’m unhappy with where I am now, because I’m not.  I’m very, very happy.  It’s just quite different from what past-me would’ve imagined.  But that’s okay.

Speaking of things that I have never imagined I’d be doing, I made a great dinner last night.  Let me just toot my own horn here for a sec, cause it was freaking awesome.  Never mind that H was the one who actually did most of the cooking because half way through my risotto preparation I chopped off an impressively large hunk of my finger (our new knives are actually sharp! It’s something we need to get used to).  The wound (which I am now further aggravating to type these very words to you–you’re welcome) was well worth it.

The star of the meal was not the gigantic Rib Eye steak that H picked out at the grocery store, much to my horror.  It was actually the side dish: baked mushroom risotto.

Now, don’t be scared.  I know risotto has a bad rep of being really hard to make and very time-consuming.  But this risotto is actually pretty easy.  Because you bake it, rather than stir it for 56 minutes straight.

Baked Mushroom Risotto

Adapted from a recipe found on thekitchn.com.

You’ll Need

1 packet (approx 3/4 of an oz.) of dried shiitake mushrooms

1/2 lb of crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced

2 cups boiling water

1/3 of a cup of Olive Oil

3 yellow onions (1 finely diced, 2 sliced for carmelizing)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large spring of Rosemary, finely chopped

1 cup of Arborio Rice (special Risotto rice)

1/2 cup of dry vermouth (or White Wine, or sherry even too)

2 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock)

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

 

To Do:

– preheat oven to 350. Rinse the dried mushrooms well and place in a bowl. Pour the 2 cups boiling water over mushrooms to reconstitute. Set aside.

– Heat a hearty drizzle of Olive Oil in a dutch oven (or oven-safe pot with a lid) over medium heat.  Add the diced onion and all garlic, saute until golden.

– Push the onions to the side of the pot and add sliced Crimini mushrooms (not the dried mushrooms.  Not yet). Turn burner up to medium-high heat. Let mushrooms cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes.  Once 5 minutes is up, flip mushrooms over and cook another 5 minutes without stirring.  You want a nice crust to develop on the bottom of the pan.

– Drain the dried mushrooms, saving liquid.  Add dried (now moist) mushrooms to the pot, along with the rosemary, stirring everything together.  Season with salt and pepper.

– Add the rice, continuing to stir.  Cook until rice starts to turn transparent, about 4-6 minutes.

– Crank up the heat and add the vermouth, the dried mushroom liquid, the stock, and the balsamic vinegar, making sure to scrap up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan as it de-glazes.

– Bring the mixture to a boil

– Cover pot and put it into the oven; bake for 30 minutes.

– While the rice is baking, carmelize the other 2 onions.  Heat equal parts EVOO and butter in a pan, add onion slices and saute over low heat until onions are dark brown.  Remember to salt liberally!  You can sprinkle some sugar on them too, to help along the carmelizing process.

– Serve risotto topped with carmelized onions.  Watch mushroom-loving boyfriend fall to the floor in paroxysms of joy upon eating.

So yes, it’s a lot of steps, and yes, we didn’t eat dinner until 9pm, and yes,I was mortally wounded, but still. It was worth it!  This would be a great, cozy Sunday dinner.

 

Nice little Thursday dinner

If this is my quarter-life crisis, I think I’ll survive.  I’ll be fat, make no question of that.  But I’ll survive.

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Remember when like last week I blogged about the snowpocalypse (I can’t tell you how hard that is to spell for me, by the way).  Well, I hate to dwell on one subject, but this week I feel compelled to blog about the REAL APOCALYPSE.  Because all signs point to the fact that it is actually happening.

It’s the birds, people.  This whole bird thing is freaking. Me. Out. Have you heard about this story?  8 million birds just fell out of the sky on New Years Eve in East Tumbleweed, the mid-west, DEAD as doornails. No one knows why.  All we know is that they died from “massive trauma” that made their insides explode.  Or something.  You can tell I’ve been paying close attention to the details of this story that is scaring me so terribly.  Obviously.

(Note: it was more like 4,000 birds, and in Idaho.  Whatever.)

But it doesn’t stop there.  Reports were soon coming in that a trillion (or, 30,00, same diff) fish abruptly died in a river nearby.  AND!  In the few days after the mysterious mass demise of those Idahoian (Idahese?) birds, reports surfaced that the same thing was happening in other states. Same birds. Other kinds of fish.  Just straight up dying.  For no apparent reason.

Cue Twilight Zone music here.

Now, in case you haven’t noticed yet, I am a teesny bit prone to panicking and having crazy anxiety in situations that might not warrant such intense feelings (i.e. bringing a dish to my office potluck. I cried in the grocery store.  True story).  BUT.  This is, I feel, a perfectly good time to start panicking.  I would be cool as a cucumber if it was just those birds in Idaho that randomly ate it.  However, the increasingly bizarre similar events that also happened push me into crazy freak out mode.

On the other hand, I kinda like when eerie things happen.  I get a little thrill along with my fear/anxiety/planning on where I am going to wait out the alien invasion.  Why?  I don’t know, I’m probably just a weirdo.  But I also think that the world as-is is pretty freaking boring, so anything like this, which spices it up and makes us question what exactly is really going on here, is kinda fun.  And terrifying!

I’m not saying I am a conspiracy theorist, or a loony “IT’S THE END!” kind of person.  I am generally an 85% practical, pragmatic gal (although H might put that percentage a bit lower).  But this is really, really, super weird.  It also doesn’t help that below every single news story about these events on the internet are hordes of psychotic commentators telling us to repent, for Jesus Christ is coming, the end is nigh.  That, and/or aliens.  Oh also, I learned from reading those comments that the government is trying to kill all of us.   Thank you for enlightening me, whack-job internet commentators!

My reading of these comments (and actually, even some of the articles from more questionable sources) goes something like this:

– First couple of sentences: Ha!  These people are CRAZY!  The world isn’t ending! Science has a perfectly logical explanation for this!

– Middle of the article/comment list: Hm.  That guy actually has a point.  Why just one species of bird? What did they hit?  Why is this happening everywhere? WHAT ABOUT THE FISH, HM?

End of article/comment list: Holy god in heaven.  Those birds ran into an invisible alien spaceship that was commissioned by our government to enslave us all, thereby giving all power to the Chinese.  There was, somehow, a super-secret ray gun involved. Also, the bible said this would happen!  If the word ends before I can throw myself a truly ridiculous wedding, I will be SO. PISSED.

This might actually be a genetic thing.  My parents, who are generally reasonable people, have recently let all us kids know that the world is in fact ending in 2012, and that we are all required to convene at our cabin the middle of the woods in upstate New York on D-Day (I think it’s in December) in order to remain breathing and non-radioactive (among other things).  I personally think my parents might be watching a few too many Nostradamus/Mayan Calender/Armageddon shows on the History Channel, but okay.  To each their own.

Because it seems like a very human response to envision your own (and all of mankind’s) demise.  Why do you think all those “end of the world” movies are so popular?  Why do you think people ate up TV shows like Flash Forward and V and Walking Dead?  The greatest fear of people is, of course, the unknown.  And what is more unknown than the future?  So by assigning terrible events that are obviously going to happen, maybe people make themselves feel better.

I remain on the fence.  I’m not yet stock-piling water and canned goods in my basement (I don’t even have a basement, actually), but I’m also not immune to all the doom-sayers and their crazy talk.  I have an overactive imagination and I’m prone to assuming the worst, but I also have to have some hope for the future, or else I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.  It’s a fine line between being paranoid and being prepared. Let’s hope I can remain on the right side.

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