Tomato and Sausage Risotto

IMG_1555Lately, I’ve found myself having to think extensively about what my biggest weakness is. (Seriously though, job interviewers, don’t you want to hear about how great I am in a less roundabout way?) After running through procrastination and all those conventional flaws, I began to realize that giving my all on everything, something I’d always viewed as a positive, might actually be my biggest weakness.

The first risotto dish I ever made wasn’t that great (read: it was actually pretty terrible). I became obsessed with getting every grain of rice translucent and coated in oil, which is basically impossible. Some grains of rice toasted and we ended up eating what felt like risotto mixed with corn flakes, like some misguided contemporary take on the breakfast for dinner theme.

Part of the beauty of risotto is that with simple ingredients, patience, and not too much effort, you can create a rich and delicious dish. The details aren’t important – at the end, all the separate components have melded together, giving risotto its creamy texture and complex flavors.

I used to psych myself out by breaking down tasks into such little pieces to the point that I myself was on the verge of a breakdown. Part of me continues to cling on to the details because they just seem so important, but lately, I’ve been learning to not become entangled in every little nuance and instead keep moving forward, one risotto recipe at a time.

(P.S. This is my fourth risotto recipe! For more risotto recipes, check out asparagus risotto verde, chicken risotto with caramelized onions, and mushroom risotto.)

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Stress Eating

mmmm caramelized onions :)

Boston is finally beautiful. The sun is shining, the sky is clear and brilliant blue, the air is pleasantly cool, the flowers are blooming…

…and I’m stuck inside, studying like a demon.

Welcome to finals week, truly a week from hell. Tufts, you tease, you give us balmy 70 degree days, and then you give us three papers and five midterms all due in the next five days.

But I’m coping. Kind of. Enter productive procrastination, which is where I raid my pantry and fridge and throw together something delicious. The elaborateness of the dish usually directly correlates to stress level. To be fair, it was pretty therapeutic. I got to shred chicken with maybe a little too much enthusiasm, and blankly stir some chicken broth into the rice while my brain went on a much-needed vacation.

One hour later, I ended up with at least six servings of risotto. I might have gone just a little overboard, but at least I’m set for the next three days. Basically ready-made meals, combined with the sleep deprivation, could give me 18 more hours to finish everything I have to do before school ends. That’s a silver lining, right?

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Asparagus Risotto Verde

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This recipe definitely falls into the category of “things you never thought you could make in a college kitchen.”

Two cutting boards, three pots, and one blender later, we had a beautiful pot of verdantly green, fresh-flavored risotto. Despite all the cleanup that looms as I write this post, the risotto was totally worth it. The rice was chewy and the puréed asparagus stems were a) a great way to use those unwanted stalks and b) an absolutely delicious sauce that made the risotto even gooier. This risotto literally tastes like springtime in a dish. It’s fresh, light, and yet still has a heartiness to it, reminiscent of winter.

Speaking of winter, I wish someone would tell the New England weather it’s time for spring, and the snow needs to stop already. I have my cute sundresses all lined up in the closet, just waiting to be worn.

But for now, it’s boots, chunky sweaters, and curses hurled into the frigid wind as we wait, patiently, for the day we can unearth our shorts and sandals.

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Freedom! & Mushrooms

I could probably count the number of hours I’ve slept in this past week on one hand. It’s been a week of papers and tests and craziness, but it’s finally, finally over!

So a couple of weeks ago, it was my friend AGlase’s birthday. My friends and I went all-out with a fancy dinner party. In some ways, this meal was the calm before the storm. It started with a flurry – a 5-page paper due the Friday after her birthday. It then escalated into a hurricane made up of two midterms and two papers, keeping me busy until last night when I clicked ‘send’ on the final paper.

But honestly, despite the slightly alarming fact that my body actually doesn’t know when meal time and sleep time is anymore, it was a memorable week, in a frenzied way. There were days when I holed up in my room and wrote like a fiend, others when we had group study sessions that were…special in their own way. There was a surprising amount of laughter in there, even if it bordered on maniacal.

I’m glad it’s over now, and I’m looking forward to a weekend of real sleep instead of fitful, twenty-minute naps. I’m looking forward to breaking out the pie tin and baking pumpkin pie using real pumpkins! Now excuse me while I go crash and pass out for twenty hours.  Continue reading