My neck is less sore these days as I walk without looking at a smart phone. Up until last year, I had a couple android tablets for reading digital magazines, newspapers and books on the subway. Since that time, I’ve rediscovered how print books not only allows my mind to escape into another world, but they allow my eyes to rest from electronics. Instead of staying up late at night working on food blog posts, sleeping thru the night allows my mind to rest. In turn, my writing and my focus at work is better. A friend called to express her dismay at our lack of communication. It was a touching and confusing conversation, because I thought Facebook told me all what’s needed to know about her daily life. These day’s I’m trying to call more people to say hello and listen to them.
Facebook was fun a few years ago, but now it’s a depressing media source. And, it’s been awhile since my network of friends had engaging conversations. People are complaining too much; it’s all talk about politics and less discussion about options for how to take action. Or (do I dare say it…) they post only pictures of their children, in which their personal or professional lives are no longer discussed. And, there’s quite a few social media updates that are mostly private thoughts that should never be typed into public. And, I’m equally guilty for talking too much on social media, too. My experience with Facebook is so dismal, there are thoughts about deleting my account, but it’s an important engagement source for this food blog. As I slowly wean myself from social media, I realize my free time is more than the average person.
Coming home from work and the gym, I’m striving to focus less on responsive devices and more about making dinner (which is often packed for an office lunch) and going to bed. However, the last activity I want to do on weekdays is cook. Here’s a confession: there are few “less than an hour” or “15 minute” recipes. Such recipes proclaiming those time periods, rarely take into account of the additional time for shopping and prepping ingredients, washing dishes and cleaning a kitchen.
This Baked Shrimp Risotto recipe isn’t 15 minutes or an hour. But, for a weekday meal, it effortlessly comes together, especially if buying deveined and shelled shrimp. Unlike traditional risottos, this recipe skips the 20 minutes of stirring a pan of rice. Instead, the pot is placed in an oven. As the risotto is cooking, the dishes are washed and the kitchen is cleaned.
Having an abundant amount of free time is another source of inspiration. I never thought a day would come, in which the digital technology would cease being exciting. It’s time to disconnect to reconnect with real life and relationships. Perhaps, I should call a friend to talk about their professional or personal life that’s not discussed on Facebook. Or, while walking down a street, there’s a sweet rose to sniff and a vast blue sky to observe while walking proudly tall, instead of staring at a small, blue screen.
These days, while looking around the subway, my fellow commuters are absorbed in their phones, as I read a thick book with an intriguing cover design and deckle edge pages. And, I’m starting to think about how to start a few offline, self-development projects.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m doing less food blogging. I’m not too sorry. My fans are missed, but I’m still here, enjoying my offline, personal time.
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme or 1 small bunch of fresh thyme leaves wrapped in twine
- 1-3/4 cups low-sodium, chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup white wine
- 4 tbsp. salted butter
- 1 small sweet onion, minced
- 1 to 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- Sea salt, to taste
- Fresh black pepper, to taste
- A pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp. whole fennel seeds (optional)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (recommend a mix of rosemary and sage)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup arborio rice, rinsed 3x
- 1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled deveined and cleaned
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
- The juice of a fresh lemon, halved
- 1 cup frozen or fresh peas, blanched
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp. butter
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Add bay leaf, thyme and broth in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Cover and bring broth to a simmer. Turn off the heat, cover and set aside.
- Place a large oven-proof pot (recommend cast iron pot) over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add 2 tbsp. butter. After a few seconds or when the butter completely melts, stir in the onion and celery. Lightly season with salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and fennel seeds (except the parsley).
- When the onion is transparent (about 3 to 5 minutes), mix in 4 minced garlic cloves and wine. Simmer wine (leave pot uncovered) until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Stir in the rice and fresh herbs.
- Continue stirring the vegetables and rice until fragrant for about two minutes. Stir in the reserved broth (with bay leaf and thyme), and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is al dente.
- Meanwhile while the rice is cooking, gently mix the shrimp with 2 to 3 minced garlic cloves, sea salt, fresh black pepper and olive oil. Set aside.
- After 20 minutes -- when the rice is ready — Stir in the half a cup cheese, all of the shrimp, the juice of half a lemon, and frozen or blanched fresh peas. Cover and bake for an additional five minutes. Stir in the last half of the cheese, 2 tablespoons of butter, the second-half of the fresh lemon juice, and parsley. If necessary, adjust seasoning. Stir in butter and garnish with more cheese.
Recipe adapted from Kay Chun at Food and Wine magazine.
Pack the risotto in separate container and mix the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh parsley together in another separate, smaller container. After reheating the risotto, sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley over the dish. Bonus Tip: Always have fresh black pepper in your office drawer.
2 thoughts on “Disconnect to Reconnect”
Thanks for the tip about rinsing arborio rice, Linda! I’m definitely a fan of “there can never be too much herbs” in a dish.
The rice goes in after the onions so the kernels are coated with the oil and then their centers turn white. Then hit the mixture with the hot liquid. I also never rinse arborio, it ruins the texture of the final risotto.
Too many herb ideas for one pot. Recipe looks basically great and I love the oven idea. Fun blog!
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