Moving Madness, Made Manageable.

uhaul

And.. now we move.

Moving is not a strange thing in my world. In fact, I cannot remember when I was last tied to somewhere, anywhere for more than a year or two… My mom and I joke that I have gypsy blood. This loosely translates to growing up as an “Army Brat”. My brother and I moved all of the time with my father (although I had a 2 year head start on my travels). I’ve lived everywhere from the Midwest, to the Southern US, the Pacific Northwest, and even Germany. Now we are settled in Arizona, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still move! Many of these relocations were done in cars, so I saw a lot of the country: we drove through, and experienced, as many states as we could. Also, having family in Canada was a plus for a wild child like me; getting into mischief was my M.O. All of that lends itself to my comfort in ALWAYS moving, Lease is up? Lets move!! Weather is abysmal?? Off we go!!!

Not so much the case anymore.

Now, I have my kiddos, and a husband. And while once upon a time I would have cringed at the idea of all that adultish-ness, I have come to love it. HOWEVER!!! Given the chance to move? I relish it. At the first inclination of moving I am OFF! Boxes found, labeled, taped, packed, and BAM!! Ready or not! Where are my new house keys??

But now I am doing this with children! Very different! We have a 3-year-old, and an (almost) 12-year-old, and they find no joy in moving. They pack their boxes (hahaha! who are we kidding?) pack their boxes with the intent of a fresh-ish start within another 4 walls. One day, in time, I can only hope they will come to understand the joy of new walls, new carpet, new smells…hopefully?

For now, I concern myself with district lines, new friends, and of course, FOOD.

Of all of the things I remember in all of my childhood moves, its how much fast food and junk we got to eat. My parents were never huge into the healthful and nutritive foods as I grew up.More often than not, when we were on a moving mission, we ate from the holy trinity of fast food: McD’s, Wendy’s & Taco Bell.

Not the fate for my children. I’m sure at LEAST one of them would argue that I am “ruining their liiiiveesss” by opting out of fast, fried food and choosing fast, fresh food, but that’s a preteen for you. Fresh is delicious. Fresh can also be super fast. I like both during moving because fresh food gives you an insane amount of energy. Take this dinner for instance:

723b

Its simple and tasty, fast and fresh. And it looks as amazing as it smells. Portobello mushrooms stuffed with pesto, spinach and tomatoes, drizzled balsamic and a loving pinch of mozzarella. Yum. Honestly, most of the work comes in cleaning out the mushroom. Worth it!! This baby takes a whole 10 minutes to prep, another 10 (or so, depending on quantity) to cook at 375, and tastes heavenly. If you’re a cheesy person (ha) like me, throw in a baked parmesan cheese ring or 3…and you have dinner on the go. I lay a bed of baby spinach under it, to catch all of those wonderful juices and have a mini salad at the *end* of the meal. How new world of me… How new house of me! And it took less time than the dinner rush drive-thru line at any of the (un) holy trinity joints. Enjoy feeding on the move and not skipping out on yums.

Advertisements

Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto

More mushrooms. I think its called “immersion therapy”. The more I expose mushrooms to my kitchen, the more I can appreciate them for more than the funny looking fungus that they are.  Every time I chop up mushrooms I remember making mushroom duxelles and cream of mushroom soup at my alma mater, Arizona Culinary Institute. I have some incredibly fond memories from school, though almost none as dear to me as getting grief from Chef Wolf about my loathe of mushrooms, tarragon and putting ketchup on everything. I’ve never had an instructor who was so damn approachable and REAL! Have you ever sang songs from the South Park movie with your teacher while roasted peppers over a flame? Have you ever quoted Team America or Anchorman with someone teaching you how to fabricate fish? I have. And to top it all off, I even got to sing Phantom of the Opera songs with Laz at minimal annoyance to Chef Wolf. He always told me he would convert me to mushroom dish acceptance and a love of tarragon. He accomplished 50% of that statement. I still hate tarragon.

Risotto is something I really enjoy making. Scratch that- I love making it. Some people find massages or hiking to be their main go to for relaxing. I make risotto. There is just something about slowly stirring the arborio rice with hot stock and watching it release its starchy goodness to become a dish barely resembling rice. Arborio rice is an Italian short-grain rice. It is grown in the Po Valley and gets its name from the town Arborio in the region. The Po Valley is also known for raising fruits, sugar beets and livestock.  We are fans of this area of Italy, yes? Yes.

Cooking the rice takes longer than the mushrooms, but for the sake of not drying out the risotto, I make the mushrooms first. They are fine to let sit on low while the risotto is cooking. For the mushrooms, I kept it simple and ,s, butter, S&P, white wine vinegar- just a splash, and fresh thyme at the end. Let these beauties simmer down to au sec, almost dry, and put them aside *covered!!* until the risotto is almost done. Before you deliver your last ladle of hot stock and add the cheese to the risotto, add the mushrooms. Obviously, each dish has its own flavor at this point, so it is important to know how they blend at this stage, eliminating a need to rebuild flavors at the end. Stir, stir, gently!

Taste!

Add the cheese (good mascarpone and freshly grated parmesan). If your pan is giving you resistance and your heavenly dish is gunky and heavy, loosen it up with a little bit more stock. Time and rest will bring it back together, so it is better to err on the “too loose” side. Taste again.

63d

This can be served as an entire meal by adding a salad or soup and a chunk of good bread. I included it as a side for another dish, but it was SUCH the show stealer that I will rethink that decision the next time I make it.

Stop by to see what fate awaits the leftovers…