Thursday, May 02, 2013

Lemon Thyme and Fennel Risotto

Lemon Thyme Fennel Risotto--0140 by Meeta K. Wolff

Funny how one week can differ so drastically from another and the days are a constant roller coaster ride filled with barrel rolls, boomerangs and catapults. On the positive days it is often enthralling but on those dark and negative calibrated days this is emotionally draining. On these days all you really want is come home, run a hot bath to drown out the emotional and mental noise and look forward to a comforting meal, maybe even at having a good bitch with the partner!

The past week I have been shooting for my regular clients Köstlich Vegetarisch for their Italian edition and I have had the pleasure of cooking dishes, styling and shooting for a trattoria special feature with some incredibly delicious dishes. The creative director and I make a really efficient and effective team where she trusts my judgement and I have confidence in her ideas. We’ve been working together since the beginning of the year and we’ve become a good team. It’s a lot of fun and the shoots always guarantees a lot of good food to indulge in after the shoots.

On other days, working together with a colleague of mine is at times destructive, time consuming and totally saps the energy out of me. I am used to working very efficiently, conveying my concept and messages clearly and with structure making it easy for all in the team to quickly find their strengths and together we have been creating some high quality work. The bad dynamics of the new colleague is demotivating and has become a hindrance for a few of us causing static and exasperation. But there is something I have realized about myself during these interactions

Lemon Thyme Fennel Risotto-53 by Meeta K. Wolff

I am at a point where I feel confident about myself and my strengths, I know where my weaknesses lie but am not afraid of them. I am open to constructive critic when it helps me to improve and actually see this as a benefit. It is probably something that comes with age, something you accumulate with experience as I do not remember being like this at 25 or even at 30. I am also at a point where although most of me is saying “Screw diplomacy!” I am able to step back and view the scene with a certain composure that I do not remember having. Back then, I would blurt out gibberish in my distemper!  There most certainly are times when I am fuming when hit below the belt, and there is nothing more I would like to do than to retaliate with my sharp tongue.

Lemon Thyme Fennel Risotto-0145 by Meeta K. Wolff

Yes dear readers, I am armed with a sharp tongue and paired with my sarcasm I know it can do harm. However, maybe with that confidence comes a hint of arrogance that allows me to stand above it and smile... turn around … and walk away from the bad vibes.

But I am not infallible and this does not leave me cold.

For days like this I am happy to have friends, family and colleagues that offer balsam with their words and catch me when I trip. On days like this I turn to comfort food with soothing and healing powers. And always, my bounce rate is fast.

How better to bounce back: a risotto, cooked slowly, massaged and pampered, then infused with lemon, thyme and fennel to create a sublime mouthfeel.

 

Recipe: Lemon Thyme and Fennel Risotto

Printable version of recipe here

Lemon Thyme Fennel Risotto-53 by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 liter vegetable broth
  • 375 ml dry white wine
  • 2 lemons, zest from both and juice from 1
  • 2 fennels, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 300 g risotto rice
  • 100 g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Bring the broth to a boil and keep warm. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil together, add the chopped shallots and fennel, then on a low heat sauté very gently for 8-10 minutes until the flavors have combined and caramelized. Be careful and do not allow them to take on color. Add the rice and increase the heat.
  2. Keep stirring the rice while it cooks and takes on a glassy color - approx. 1 minute. At this point add the wine and as it bubbles, allow the rice to infuse with the wonderful aroma.
  3. Once the liquid has evaporated and the rice begins to get dry add a ladle full of broth. Stir well and add a touch of salt. Reduce the temperature so that the mixture bubbles gently. Now, keep adding the broth, a ladle at a time, and allow the rice to soak this up, stirring every now and then. When the rice has soaked the liquid add another ladle full. By “massaging” the rice this way you release the creamy starch from the rice giving the dish a fantastic creamy consistency. This whole process takes approx. 15 minutes. The rice grains should be soft but still have a slight crunch to them. Now add a bit of salt and pepper, but be careful as the stock is normally salty enough - so please taste before!
  4. Take the pot off the heat and stir through the thyme, lemon juice and zest along with most of the Parmesan. Mix well and cover. Allow the rice to take on all the flavors - 2 minutes. Giving the risotto this time allows it to unfold it's perfect creamy-moist consistency. Check and adjust seasoning.
  5. To serve scatter the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top and enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine.

The Food Guide_1The Food Guide Tips:

- Tips and tricks on how to make a basic risotto






 


Verdict Lemon Thyme Fennel Risotto-0148 by Meeta K. Wolff

Is this what it means to “grow up?” At 40 this might be a rather naive question but I am very critical of myself and scrutinize my reactions and my self minutely. Self-reflection has been an adept teacher and over the years I have learnt to listen to it more carefully. It helps when there is a nice steaming bowl of comfort food in your hands that helps to process the thoughts constructively!

BannerP2P-2Next week the bags will be packed once again, as I take off to the beautiful green shores of Ireland. I am excited to be seeing my 3 dear friends and gorgeous ladies - Ilva, Jamie and Jeanne. That is the big added plus of From Plate to Page!

Are we ready? I say yes we are. Our incredible sponsors have started to send their shipments across the seas. Our awesome participants have sent in their homework, presentations are almost ready, assignments have been discussed, our menu looks too scrumptious to be true, goodie bags are being printed ready to be filled and even the Sage & Stone market where we will be taking out participants for their on-location shoot are welcoming us with a super friendly welcome! How cool is that! So next week make sure you all tune into Twitter (@plate2page or @meetawflh) following the hashtag #p2pIreland, on my Instgram profile or of course on my Facebook page or our Plate to Page page to keep a track of the rocking Plate to Page Workshop weekend. I'll see you when I return.

You might like these comfort food ideas from WFLH:

Kedgeree-0314-WM_thumb LambBiryani_0025WM2 LemonHerbRisotto_0003CRMeetaK2
Salmon Kedgeree with Butternut Squash, Parsnip, Fennel and Quail Eggs The Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani Lemon and Herb Risotto with Balsamic Roasted Asparagus


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

25 comments :

  1. Yes, the older you get, the better you face difficult situations...

    A delightful risotto. That is one of my favorite combinations.

    Glorious pictures as always.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I love lemon risotto and yours is cleaner and healthier than the rich version I usually make. I will definitely be trying this! Beautiful.

    And I think that the more we work, the more we evolve and understand not only ourselves better but how to work with others better, as well. We take more and more upon ourselves and it cannot always only be good and easy. Just let the good and the easy and the exciting drive you forward and calm you in those more difficult moments.

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  3. Very thought provoking post Meeta.. knowing our strengths and weaknesses is a continuos journey and it is indeed a strength to know ones own weakness and work towards it. Exciting times with the Ireland trip!

    Lovely and clean risotto recipe.. loved the addition of lemon and thyme..such a healthy version.

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  4. I wish I could tuck into this right now! There are so many dishes of yours that I truly can't wait to try when I'm back in my own kitchen.

    It's a great thing that you're having this realisation, don't take it lightly - you have the confidence to stand in your own truth. I have realised the opposite thing about myself recently, I am too easily beaten down by the negativity of others that I start believing it. We should all get to know ourselves fully so that when someone says a bitchy comment or worse, insults our work, we can just brush it off and say, "f**k you, I'm brilliant!"

    Lots of love,

    Hayley xx

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  5. I love the simple flavour combination. Beautiful pictures as always Meeta!
    I can relate to the 30 year old side of you because i am at that phase of life now. I am constantly fighting the emotional side of me. It often gets ahead of me. But I try to look at the positives of everything and as a learning experience to build a stronger self.

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  6. Knowing ones strength and weakness is big achievement, Meeta. Wonderful flavors in the risotto.

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  7. I can relate to your situation Meeta. I have changed so much over the period of time and it feels good, so good. Specially when a situation is tough and I handle it maturely :)

    Risotto is one of my fav meal and I like it simple and clean. Yours, screams absolutely flavorful!

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  8. My dear, it makes me a bit sad to hear. But I know you are striving the art of communication. And yes, sometimes are sharp tongue is necessary!! Hope we can meet soon (with petits gateaux) and do something brain moving like chatting.
    Hugs, Sandy

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  9. True that.. Wisdom comes with age and your and others' life experiences! Beautiful dish for the Spring, comforting yet with vibrant light flavors!

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  10. Meeta, I wish I could be as wise as you. At present, being 28, I could probably relate more to the 30 year old side of you. And I agree that one bad colleague can really damage the work an entire team is working towards. With that said, beautiful pictures!

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  11. Dear Meeta, thank you so much for sharing all these thoughts!! My dear collegue who is 50something and I with my 40something have often similiar talks about communication, how to work with others, how to handle the own sharp tongue and above all, how our thinking and behaviour have changed and still changes and how different we face nowadays certain situations, at least most of the time.. which is indeed something I enjoy about getting "older" (or let it call "more experienced) :) Hugs, Eva

    PS: And be sure that I will follow your P2P workshop! Wish you a lot of fun!!

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  12. When it comes to creative endeavors it's a real challenge when you don't see things the same isn't it? Here's wishing you better times ahead in your collaboration.

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  13. It is my great pleasure to visit your website and to enjoy your excellent post here. I like that very much.

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  14. That is a tough situation to be in, especially when it involves creativity and breadth of experience that you possess. But you are extremely poised and mature and you will shine through this. Good luck, sending positive vibes your way!

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  15. oh don't get me started about colleagues! That's why I join food blogging, and reading inspiration from yours and others' blog, it is a good distraction from the real life that is definitely not as sweet as cakes and cookies.
    That risotto looks delicious.

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  16. I love risotto and all recipes about it. Very good job, happy to have found your blog..

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  17. The risotto sounds absolutely delicious and the pics are beautiful!

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  18. It's discouraging to have those bad days, the ones that seem like you're flowing against the tide. But the nice thing is that the tide is always changing. Your risotto looks perfectly elegant and comforting at the same time - love lemon, thyme and fennel together.

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  19. Awesome pictures ... the risotto looks fabulous!

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  20. The pictures look great!
    Yummy :)Thanks for sharing !

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  21. Comfort food is always a great dish to come home to after a difficult day - and I love the look of your risotto!

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  22. I made this risotto last night and it was really delicious! It paired really well with some roasted salmon. Thanks for sharing it!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta