Some thoughts on my June 'challenge'... last month my sister, who is 12 years my elder, finally got to walk across a stage and accept her Associates degree. It has been a long twenty-five years coming for her to experience that, the walk. Through abusive relationships, drug addictions, undiagnosed bipolar disorder, my sister has clawed, fought, slugged her way to this point. And I am so very very proud that she kept at it. When so many others wouldn't bother at this point, she is continuing on, working now towards her BA. It is her commitment that inspired me to bring discipline back into my life.
I feel often that I float through on life with little intention, lacking a clear focus. So rather than focus on the BIG things, I wanted to create daily habits, little things, that will be the fertile ground for the seeds of bigger things to grow from.
Today I finish my yoga practice at 11 pm. Just 5 Surya Namaskar A's, and Savasana. In a way I felt I had already done my practice while I cooked dinner. If yoga is truly the yoking of mind, body and spirit, risotto is yoga. The act and art of standing patiently, mindfully, coaxing and nursing along these little pearls to release their starch is a practice in its own right. As I stood over my stove, linking breath and the movement of my wooden spoon, setting an intention of love, knowing the steamed greens and ricotta added would create my son's favorite dish, this was yoga. It was lovely. But my mat time is mine alone. So I need that too.
In time I'd like to add more structure to the yoga challenge, Ashtanga 3 times weekly, 3 days to play and explore edges in a freer form. But first June, to develop the daily habit of creating space to breathe.
I thought I'd share the recipe for this dish. My cousin Selene gave it to my mother, and she shared it with me. Bridger can not get enough. Be sure to use best quality whole milk ricotta, fresh, not the supermarket kind (I make mine - stupid easy, and SO GOOD), and season to taste as you go. Once you are adding liquids, stir very frequently, it's what makes risotto so creamy.
Ricotta alla Selene
Steam 5-6 cups of greens - spinach, chard, kale, whatever you have. Puree.
Simmer 5 cups stock of your choice (chicken, veg, beef) in a saucepan. Melt 1 tbsp butter in 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over med-low heat. Add 3 cloves minced garlic and 2 medium diced onion, and sweat until translucent. Do not brown. Add 1.5 cups Arborio rice, and stir to coat, toast for 1 minute. Deglaze with a generous splash of sherry, or white wine, stirring frequently. As rice soaks up liquid, and starts to thicken, add a ladleful of the stock. Stir until it is absorbed. Continue adding stock by the ladleful as it is taken up by the rice, stirring frequently. To add all the liquid should take 25 or so minutes. As you near the last ladleful, add the greens, stir to combine. When rice is al dente, or just softer, add 1 cup of ricotta, and stir well to combine. Add freshly grated parmesan to taste. Heaven. A little bit of my mother's Italy in my kitchen.