Why does it seem like once we hit adulthood, time just flies on by?
Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into years so quickly.
I almost cannot believe that I’m sitting here, writing a post for our blog’s third birthday.
And what an active toddler it has become!
The Cozy Apron has been an absolute joy for my husband and I to work on together for these past three years, now going into our fourth.
Our hope is that we’ve been able to not only bring you some nourishing recipes that could potentially translate into some warming and comforting physical food for you to enjoy, but also some spiritual food in the way of personal reflections, experiences, and heart-to-heart’s.
My personal hope for this past year was to share with readers on a more intimate level those things that I have discovered, that I hold dear, or that I even struggle with.
I’ve wanted to share new understandings, challenges, hopes and desires with you, and also to offer some encouragement not only in the arena of cooking, but in life, as well.
I feel like each year both my husband and I long to add more to The Cozy Apron, in order to continue to give readers even more of a space to gain comfort and coziness from.
We long to get to know you, the precious folks who are our readers, and to connect and share with you on an even deeper level.
There was more that we hoped and dreamed to do this past year in regards to the blog, but time just never seemed quite abundant enough to add more elements, especially when family is part of the mix, and growing children take precedence.
But this upcoming year will be an interesting one on a personal level for my hubby and I, chock-full of change for us and our little family, as our beloved boy graduates from high school and then delves into a new chapter of his own life.
Ah…what will a couple of “empty nesters” do?
Well, that’s where our beloved little blog comes in, and offers up creative platform in order for us to continue to move forward with life and the roles it gives us to play, albeit in fresh, new ways.
(There’s a right time for everything, isn’t there?)
So our hope for our fourth year is to continue to cultivate what we’ve been blessed with in The Cozy Apron, and to be the best stewards of it that we can possibly be.
And that always means connecting with you, and continually reaching out to you, so I’m excited to see what the future holds in regards to kicking things up a notch here on the blog over the coming months.
While in the past we’ve typically offered up something sweet for our previous b-day postings, I thought that something savory would be equally as delicious, and thought this creamy winter risotto would hit the spot.
Funny enough, this recipe kind of reminds me of our blog: it takes a little time, patience and love to get the flavors going; requires some cozy and comforting ingredients to be blended in; but once it simmers and softens for a while, and some little garnishing flourishes are added, you’ve got something with a lot of heart, that’s been made with an abundance of love.
So here’s a big “thank you” for allowing us into your lives, in whatever capacity that may be!
Whether you come for the recipes in order to enjoy them for yourself or to share them with your loved ones; or whether you simply come to peruse and read, or to look around for perhaps a little inspiration, may you continue to be comforted.
And when you leave our blog after visiting with us, may you leave a little happier and cozier than when you came!
So here’s to our fourth year, and to experiencing all that life brings to each of us!
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Creamy Winter Risotto with Asiago Cheese
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4
• 12 ounces slender asparagus (trimmed of tough bottoms), sliced on the bias into ½” pieces
• Olive oil
• 3 ½ ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
• Black pepper
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
• 2 leeks (white parts only), halved and sliced thinly into semi-circles
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 ½ cups arborio rice
• ¾ cup white wine
• 6 cups hot chicken stock
• ¼ cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes (preferably not packed in oil, or then patted dry)
• 4 strips crispy-cooked bacon, chopped
• 1 teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 teapsoon thyme leaves
• 1 ¼ cup grated asiago cheese, divided use
-Place a small pot of water over high heat, and add in a liberal amount of salt; bring it to the boil, then turn off the heat and add in the asparagus pieces, and blanch them for about 30-45 seconds; drain, then immediately run the asparagus pieces under ice-cold water, or plunge them into an ice-water bath, and then pat dry; set aside.
-Place a large, heavy bottom pan over medium to medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3-4 tablespoons of oil; once the oil is hot, add in the sliced shiitake mushrooms, plus a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute them for a few minutes until they’re golden-brown; then, set them aside for a moment.
-Into that same large pan, add in 2 tablespoons of the butter, plus about 3-4 tablespoons of the oil; next, add in the leeks, plus a small pinch of salt and pepper, and saute them for about 10 minutes, or until they’re caramelized and golden-brown.
-Next, add in the garlic, and stir to combine; once the garlic becomes aromatic, add the arborio rice into the pan, and saute that with the leeks and garlic for about 1 minute, in order to “toast” the rice a bit.
-Next, add in the wine, and stir to combine; allow the wine to reduce down until it’s almost completely gone, and then add in a couple of ladles of the hot chicken stock, and stir; reduce your heat to medium-low.
-Once the rice has absorbed most of the stock, add in another ladle or two and stir, and repeat the process, stirring the risotto frequently until it becomes tender and creamy, about 24-28 minutes (you will have used most or all of your stock by the end).
-Once the risotto is finished, turn off the heat; add in about ¾ cup of the grated asiago cheese and the remaining tablespoon of butter, and stir that in to incorporate and melt; next, add in the asparagus, the sauteed mushrooms, the sun-dried tomatoes, the chopped bacon, and the parsley and thyme, and fold those in.
-Serve the risotto immediately while creamy and hot, and garnish with some of the remaining grated asiago cheese, if desired.