Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bon appetit!

It is not my tendency to post recipes, as this is not my goal of my blog (though it is for others, and I love them for it), but I am SO HAPPY with the meal I just made, I want to share.

History: Somewhat long story short, my husband is now on a strict diet (and, by proxy, me too). To this end, I immediately went out and bought the American Heart Association's Low-fat, Low-cholesterol cookbook and have been cooking our evening meals from it ever since (we're in our third week). None of these recipes have steered me wrong. From salads and vegetarian casseroles to Philly cheesesteak pizza (yes, low-fat, low chol!), they've all been delicious. Pat thinks so, too.

Tonight's recipe is also from the cookbook, but I am so very proud of it for a couple of reasons:
1. It was my very first from-scratch risotto (a dish I love). I've done boxed before, but never the "real thing"
2. I got to use ingredients I rarely, if ever, use (have I ever cooked with leeks before?)
3. My husband was my sous chef, rinsing and drying and chopping and stirring :-)
4. It was delicious! Like from a restaurant!

I can't take credit; as I said, it wasn't my recipe, but alas, I will share it, because you will love it, too:

Seafood and Lemon Risotto (Pat's not supposed to eat shellfish, but small amounts don't effect him too bad)

Veg. oil spray
1 medium leek, sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup dry white wine
8 oz. scallops, rinsed and patted dry
8 oz. raw medium shrimp, rinsed and peeled
3 oz. fresh snow pea pods (this is one thing I might change next time, as the pods were really big...I would use a different veg. or chop them small)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (I used orange, because the store was out of red when I shopped)
3 tablespoons grated or shredded parmesan (I used fresh grated and it was delicious)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon zest
extra parmesan for garnish (optional)

Heat a medium sauce pan (because I didn't have a clean medium sauce pan, I used my big one, and I can't imagine using a smaller one) over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. Return pan to the heat and cook the leeks and garlic for 5 minutes, or until the leeks are tender.

Stir in the rice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally., Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour in the remaining 1/2 cup broth and the wine. Increase the heat to medium; cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly (a small amount of liquid will remain).

Add the scallops, shrimp, pea pods, and bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the liquid is almost absorbed, stirring constantly. (The rice should be just tender and slightly creamy.)

Stir in parmesan, basil, and lemon zest. Heat through. Serve immediately. Serve with additional parm.

The cook's tip (from the book): For proper consistency, carefully regulate the cooking temperature so the risotto boils lightly, not vigorously. If liquid is absorbed before rice is tender, add more liquid (your choice) a little at a time. If you choose a different rice, it will not be as creamy.

Servings: 4 (big portions, too)
Calories: 395
Total fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 106 mg
Sodium: 297 mg
Carbs: 54 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 26 g

And, if you've never made risotto before (as I hadn't) there's a sense of pride in it, like all the f***ing stirring was worth it in the end!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Goodness me!

I am a disloyal blogger. It has been since March 2nd that I posted here. Shame, shame on facebook for taking over my online social publication. My apologies, dear readers. I find myself today with nothing on my to-do list. My work to-do list, that is. My home to-do list is exceedingly out of control. But, lucky for you, I'm at work, not home.

As I may or may not have mentioned, I have a student teacher this semester (we'll call her N). It makes me feel entirely grown up. I teach every day, but teaching someone to teach is very different. I am no expert. I have many doubts about my abilities (I'm blogging during work hours, after all). But in seeing the progression of N's skills over the last 2 months, I am proud to say I have something to do with it. She is passionate and fun, and we get along pretty well. (Although, she is very much on the opposite end of the political spectrum, something rare in teaching, and I have found this influences both the way I view her [I'm only human] and the way she interacts with our colleagues. She has foot-in-mouthed herself more than once at the lunch table. :-).) Still, she is well-liked by most students and teachers. I think she will be a very good teacher indeed. Having her with me has reminded me how much I've grown in my own career. She will be 24 (she is 23 now) when she starts teaching next fall (pending a job...not an easy market, as we all well know). I was 21 when I started teaching. N and I are only 4 years apart in age, but it is amazing how much I see her as a "kid". She graduated HS in 2004, did college in 3 years (something we have in common), and entered the business world. Hated it. Went back to grad school to become a teacher. So, she's older than most student teachers, but her mannerisms are often so immature, I've made fun of her (don't worry; she can take it). She lives at home to save money, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, her mom makes her lunch every morning and she gets so excited to see what's in her bag each day. It's hilarious. Our age difference is just enough to make her part of a different time, as she was in high school when IMing and myspace and all these crazy things became popular. Her 24-year-old boyfriend (BF, as she calls him...seriously) broke up with her over facebook. Yeah. That's what I said. She says things like BTW, PS, JK; things that drive me insane from my students. Yet, she relates to them on a level I don't. Overall, it has been a good experience for us both, I think. For me, because I have been able to reflect on my own teaching methods and styles as I impart them to N, and, more importantly, because it has helped me in my never-ending quest to be more flexible and willing to relinquish control. So far, so good, as I'm sitting in my cubicle typing this as she teaches my class downstairs. Her class. Good for her. Really.

Thus, since speech is over (4 to state, 2 finalists, by the way!), and N has half my caseload, I find myself with no work to-do list. So, I blog. It's been awhile.

The most wonderful thing that has happened since I fell off the face of the blogworld is the birth of my best friend's baby boy. Little Evan came exactly 3 weeks early on Easter Sunday. I won't post pictures without her permission, but if you know who I'm talking about, go to her facebook page and check him out. He's ADORABLE. The poor guy had a bit of a rough delivery, plus the early arrival, so he (and mom) had to stay in the hospital for 6 days. Yuck. But he's doing absolutely splendidly now. I'm going over to visit again after school today. I need my Evan fix. I visited the day after he was born, and he had to spend most of my visit in his little incubating light box thing, but even with a mask over his eyes, I knew he was a handsome and wonderful boy. His movements, however, are most memorable. Every few minutes, he'd stretch his little arms and legs out as far as they'd go, as if thinking to himself, "where did my comfy bubble go?" Then, when I visited again two days later (still at the hospital), I finally got to hold him and cuddle him and stroke his lovely face and hands. He is too precious for words. I pretty much fell instantly in love with him. Easy to do, as his parents are so easy to love themselves. I am very excited to see him again after school. Great job, Kristin!

Other than that, nothing thrilling has happened that I can think of. I was able to take a trip over spring break to see Jen, my other BFF (taking a page from N's book there), and Les met me there, too. We had a great long weekend together of fun times. It's lovely to spend time with people you love so dearly, but rarely see, knowing you are able to pick up right where you left off. Now if only they'd both move back to MN...

I suppose I could find some work-related things to do now. I will try to be more diligent about the blogging. But that's what I keep saying about exercising, too...

Happy belated Earth Day!