Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winter Blah Humbug

I just ate a wonderful dinner.  Perhaps all foodies are this way...I feel compelled, since I ate alone, to share the wonderfulness of it with someone.  So here I am posting it on the World Wide Web.  I am sure no one really cares what I had for dinner.  Although it is a meal that busts a few myths, so perhaps that will intrigue to read on.  Or maybe, like me, you just love a good menu.

Braised Lamb Neck in Moroccan Spices with Pecorino and Fennel Risotto...lamb necks are surprisingly tasty and cheap.  You can get 100% grass-fed lamb almost anywhere.  Yum.  It sits overnight in a dry rub of cinnamon, ginger, clove, cayenne, black pepper, and coriander.  The risotto says cozy on a cold winter night. It is creamy and gooey with the sweetness of anise and the sharpness of pecorino.  Both plates got licked clean!

Okay, clearly the first myth is that Buddhist nuns are vegetarian.  I admire and respect the philosophy of being vegetarian.  I get it.  I've done it.  It doesn't work for my body.  To be honest, rather than people being vegetarian or vegan or omnivores or flexitarians or whatever, I would rather see people looking deeply into their food and making conscious choices.  Since I eat meat, I try to eat bigger animals which means less lives taken.  I don't eat what I call "One Life One Bite" such as shrimp or "One Life One Meal" such as lobster.  I also like to inquire after the animals' living conditions and diet.  I won't eat animals from feed lots or animals who eat GMOs.  I would love to buy meat only from farmers I know.  I hope one day that is a reality.

Second myth...people who live alone eat cold cereal and pints of ice cream for dinner.  Please cook a nice meal for yourself if you live alone.  Share some with a neighbor.  Invite over a colleague.  Deliver food to an elderberry.  It is such an act of kindness to make something special and nourishing...even if you're the only one at the table.  I made homemade chicken stock for the braise and risotto.  I marinated the lamb overnight.  I cooked it for 2 hours.  I stood at the stove and stirred risotto until it was perfectly cooked and creamy.  The secret ingredient to my delicious dinner?  L-O-V-E.  You are what you eat.

Third myth...risotto is hard to make.  Not.  This hearty and satisfying dish is simple and weeknight-friendly.  What a delight to stand in your kitchen, listen to some nice music, and stir a pot of Italian magic.  Please try it.

Fourth myth...you can substitute boxed chicken broth for homemade.  No and double no.  Some time ago, I put my foot down and said, "No more processed broth."  I also said no more store bought mayonnaise, but that wasn't in my dinner and is not topical, but it is delicious and I hope you'll try it.  Can you boil water?  You can make chicken stock.  It freezes well.  It is liquid gold.  Do yourself a favor and make some this weekend.

Well, I guess that's all I wanted to say.  I hope you are sitting down to a delicious meal, whether alone or with family and friends.  What a joy to commune around the table.  It sure helped beat my winter blahs today.  Let's promise each other to slow down, get into the kitchen, and eat with care.

Here is my meal prayer by the way, in case you are looking for one:  Thank you farmers, thank you lamb, thank you chicken, thank you workers.  May this food become my enlightened body, speech, and mind.  And, one day, may all beings have chemical free food.  ENJOY!

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