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Abrazos! xox Penny

Friday, December 16, 2011

Peace by Peace

Wednesday was an affirming day…that peaceful, lovely people do come with the territory. Everywhere I go, I seem to meet lovely people. A young gal, Jaysa, that I met on the street with her dog, Oscar Wilde, I saw later just by window gazing into a shop. Unbeknownst to me…the shop was hers! Then, there was the gal on the subway who said, “Sweetie, this is where you get off. Turn right at the top of the stairs and walk six blocks.” Next, the young man in a coffee shop, who I had seen earlier in the vet’s, helped me with some pet questions. He was quickly followed up by Leticia, who comes from Puebla, Mexico, and got so excited when I told her Mole Poblano is one of the most delicious creations ever. She promises to bring me some…”lo mas fresco y hecho a mano”.

I would also love the pot, spoon and hearth!!!

And, then, there is Sue. Sue owns a dry cleaners where I dropped off a rug. I went back yesterday to drop off some sweaters. She looked at me and said, “Momma, you look very tired. (Swell…that’s the comment I needed! Oh well.) You no getting any sleep, Momma?” Then, a few hours later, she calls me on the phone! “Momma, I take good care of your sweaters. You get rest, OK, Momma?" Lovely. Sue’s got my back and the clothes off it!

In Wednesday’s New York Times, in the "Dining" section, I saw a familiar face, Caterina Schenardi, who makes her pasta at her son’s restaurant, Gradisca. I ate there a couple of years ago when she was there and watched her make her famous “Venus’ Navel” tortellini. Really amazing story and really amazing pasta. Check it out here.

This is the last weekend before Christmas and Hanukkah. Many wish for peace on earth. I believe you create it, one person, one gesture at a time. To all those who have given me the peace of welcome, big hugs.

Here is a recipe I would fix if you could all come to dinner…warm and peaceful, comforting and welcoming! Happy Weekend!

Mushroom Risotto (adapted from Eat, Drink, Live)

4 cups veggie broth
2 ounces dried mushrooms (chanterelle, morel, shiitake or porcini*)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, mashed and minced
1 onion, minced
1 ½ cups risotto rice
1/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 3 ounces extra, shaved or grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put stock and dried mushrooms in a saucepan and let soak 10 minutes. Heat stock to simmer. Strain the mushrooms and return stock to saucepan to keep hot.

Melt the oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until softened but not browned. Add rice and stir until grains are coated with butter and oil.

Add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and mix well. When rice has absorbed the liquid, add another ladle of stock and stir well. Repeat with the remaining stock, cooking the risotto for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, chop mushrooms into smaller pieces.

Add the soaked mushrooms, white wine or vermouth, the remaining butter and the grated Parmesan to the risotto. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper and gently reheat for 2 minutes. Serve with extra shaved Parmesan over top. Serves 4 peacefully.

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