What makes anyone want to run a marathon? Obviously, we aren't all cut out to be marathon runners. To most people, it hardly seems worth the effort to put ourselves through all of the training to be awarded with a gatorade and a medal. But to a runner, the results are worth the time and effort that they invest in their marathon training.
We are a society of instant gratification but have you noticed that the more time and energy that we devote to something, the more fulfillment we receive when our goal is finally achieved? It takes countless hours of training for a person to get themselves into the physical condition necessary to run a marathon. What is the motivation? Is it the potential of winning or just the satisfaction of accomplishing a long term goal?
I gave up running 12 years ago because of a wimpy ankle situation but when I WAS running, I never described myself as a "happy" runner. I ran out of necessity. It was an efficient and inexpensive form of exercise and most days, I had to force myself to do it. I devoted a percentage of my day to exercise because I felt like the benefits outweighed the pain and aggravation that I had to endure. It was the long term benefits to my health that kept me motivated to run around and around my neighborhood on a daily basis.
I apply the same principles to dinners that I make. There are times when we need instant gratification - and sustenance - in a hurry. There are other times when I devote a lot of time into making a meal and I've learned over time NOT to do it for the potential accolades that I will receive from my family. I actually get a lot of satisfaction from the process of transforming raw ingredients into something that smells and tastes absolutely heavenly. There's also a direct link between the amount of time that I spend cooking a meal and the contentment that I feel when I eat it.
There are certain meals that you just can't rush. They require that you invest a certain amount of time in order to achieve the desired results and there's no shortcuts. Risotto is one of those dishes. It requires a significant amount of time and a lots of attention in the form of constant stirring. Trust me when I say that it's totally worth it though. This shrimp risotto is DELICIOUS!
1 pound extra large shrimp, with shells
1 3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 Tablespoon oil
7 cups water
15 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon fennel
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Stir in chives, lemon zest and juice and 2 T. butter.
Serve with lemon wedges and parmesan.
Admittedly, this shrimp risotto isn't the most photogenic of meals because it's a little monochromatic. I can assure you that it's anything but one dimensional when it comes to flavor. This is definitely a new favorite in our house.
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