Sunday turned out to be a "best" day. "Best" because Shug and I started the day with a cup of coffee with our friends from McCall, Idaho that had trekked to SLC for some sushi, a Schwinn, and haunted houses. After that we met up for brunch at Oasis Cafe with one of my bestests - 11, her lil' sis, and 11's most excellent BF. We had amazing food and even better conversation. I always forget how much I like my friends when I'm in school!
The day was lovely, so Shug and I took Punky Rubester on a walk and were famished when we got back home. I had a butternut squash lying around along with some white wine that needed drinking. This is the dinner we got out of it! We had the risotto with some fresh greens, steamed broccoli, and crusty french bread for dipping...
Butternut Squash Risotto Serves 4 Ingredients: One 2 lb. butternut squash, cut in half and cleaned out 3 T extra virgin olive oil one yellow onion, peeled and diced 1 cup arborio rice 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, warming in saucepan 1/2 white wine 1 t rubbed dry sage 1/2 t rubbed saffron threads 1/2 cup shredded parmesean or asiago cheese (we like the asiago!) salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and plop the cleaned squash face down on a cookie sheet prepped with 1 T of the extra virgin olive oil. Let that bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or when the skin is easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool a little.
In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the remainder of the olive oil. Add the diced onion and saute until translucent. Add the rubbed sage and saffron, cook for one minute and then add your rice. Saute until the grains become translucent, as well. Then start scooping your butternut squash out and into the pan. Mush it around so it's well incorporated.
Deglaze the pan with the 1/2 cup white wine. Be sure to pour yourself a glass, too, because some serious stirring is about to go down. Add 1/2 cup of hot stock and stirstirstir until it's absorbed. Keep this up until all the stock is gonzo. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add the shredded cheese. Stir some more!
Serve in bowls with another grinding of pepper, a squidge of olive oil, and some cheese sprinkled on top. Your should be finished with your glass of wine, so get a refill and enjoy!
A few days ago, I mentioned that Shug and I had been enjoying the PBS series, "Frontier House." It was so good, I thought it deserved more than just a quick mention, so here we go.
The show was filmed in 2001 and took three families to Montana to live in "Frontier Valley," a place complete with cabins and animals a la 1883. The families were not allowed to bring ANY modern comforts, including makeup, facewash, tampons, pain killers, antibiotics, toilet paper...you get the idea. Oh, and they had to live this way for 5 months! This wasn't like a camping trip where you "rough it" for a week and then get to go home and take a shower...You roughed it for a week and then you got to rough it for four months and three weeks more!
The families had to build their own cabins, learn how to care for livestock, and cook on a wood-burning stove. The gals had to wear corsets and the guys suspenders...but the corsets pretty much got tossed after the first few hours. It was interesting to see the element of competition between the families and how many families "cheated" during their stay just to get by.
The reason I loved this series so much wasn't because of it's historical accuracy or attention to detail, it was the transformation we get to see in the families...especially the kids! When questioned about what the kids had learned on this experiment, one of the little boys said that he'd "discovered imagination." How sad is that? Many of the individuals interviewed after the project were so disheartened at the excess and extravagance of 21st century life.
I really sympathized with their sadness when they had to leave the 1883. They had grown stronger as families and in their own sense of self. It was also intersting to compare the women's responses to the men's upon leaving the valley. Evey man was brought to tears when asked about their experience and if they would miss the lifestyle of an 1883 man. The women, on the other hand, were elated that they were leaving! The drudgery of "women's work" on the frontier was enough for them to yearn for modern-day life. The only exception was the two teenage girls, who refused to dress or act the "part" of an 1883 woman. They had involved themselves in "men's" work and were also brought to tears at the thought of leaving.
It made me wish for a simpler time...Yes, me, a feminist, wished for a time where the only things I needed to preoccupy myself with was caring for my animals, splitting wood, and spending time with my family...Dude, marriage has seriously messed with my brain.
This isn't the first time I've posted about NieNie...and it probably won't be the last!
Around two weeks ago Stephanie Nielson, from the NieNie Dialogues fame, was a guest on Oprah. Since my school schedule is directly antagonistic to my Oprah consumption, I missed the show and there is a veritable interweb-wasteland of Oprah show clips, but, alas, not the show in it's entirety.
The few snippets I was able to view drew me to tears. This woman, this lovely, imaginative, devout, super-mom was struggling with her injuries sustained in a plane crash a little over a year ago. Her gratitude and outlook for the good things in her life left me feeling like a spoiled, ungrateful brat.
She is an amazing woman and her strength is unparalleled. So read her blog lots and click on it tons, because in the smallest, teesiest way, I feel like I'm helping her and her family through this difficult time.
Yes, this can happen. Just go with it. On our standard American diet weekends, we have been trying to keep the fare a little less "jolting" to our systems. I think it was my non-raw weekend that kicked me into a horrible cold all of last week! I even had to stay home from work! That never happens to me! Boo.
Well, luckily I was feeling better by Saturday to whip up some dinner to eat while watching Frontier House. Which, BTW, is an amazing series! Watch it and you'll be so glad/sad you live in the 21st century! Glad because we have tampons, sad because we don't even know who our neighbors are these days...
So this was a little pizza salad Shug and I have been grubbing on for quite some time...Try it, you'll get addicted!
Acorn Squash Pizza Serves 4...or 2 depending on how grumbly your tummy is... Ingredients: One big ready-made pizza crust, Shug likes Boboli OR one gluten-free pizza crust mix Tomato or pasta sauce, about 2 cups 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup shredded of thinly sliced manchego cheese 4 T., sliced sun-dried tomatoes, we liked the packed in olive oil kind 4 cups mixed spring greens 1 acorn squash, cut in half and cleaned out extra virgin olive oil one fresh lemon salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare your GF pizza mix according to the directions and let it rise if necessary. Cut the acorn squash into 1/2 inch half-moons and throw them on a cookie sheet that has been squirted with some of the extra virgin olive oil. Add some salt pepper and toss well, making sure all the pieces are well-coated. Place in the oven for about 20-30 minutes and get started on your pizza!
Throw the prepared crust or spread out your GF pizza dough and apply the tomato sauce liberally. Leave about an inch of room for a part of the pie you can grab on the outside edge. Sprinkle on the mozzarella and manchego evenly. Then add the sun-dried tomatoes on top. Add a little squirt of olive oil, salt and pepper. Put in the oven with the acorn squash and let it bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is all melty and perfect!
When you can easily pierce the acorn squash slices with a fork, they are done. Remove from the oven and working quickly, take a spoon and separate the rind from the flesh. Your pizza should be finished by now so remove from the oven and throw the half-moons all over the pie. Cut the pie into desired pieces and plate them, then throw the greens on top of all the servings...be generous! Dress with a squirt of olive oil and lemon juice and a tad more salt and pepper. Try not to eat the whole pie.
I know that whatever the genre or storyline you choose, I'm going to be supremely entertained from the opening scene to the final credits. You can make a dark subject pretty darn funny and fulfilling.
Inglorious Basterds was just such a movie. Really graphic violence that included scalping, skin carving, baseball bat beating, and swiss-cheese bullet-holing was actually really necessary for the ultimate Nazi-killing escapade. Entire families being likened to "rats" and being exterminated as such was crucial to the awesome payback at the end of the movie. Women were strong and vengeful, even if they had to show their painted toes...we all are quite aware of Quentin's foot fetish by now, right?
Now, this movie was not the oeuvre everyone was saying it would be...I mean, Pulp Fiction can only happen once. But this was a really fun, straightforward story about really sticking it to the bad guy...and sometimes, that's really all you need.