Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The Metro, Economy, Avon's Campaign,
We went to the Metro restaurant last night as I mentioned yesterday. I am afraid our verdict was "It's OK". I was somewhat disappointed after the recommendations we have had. We can do better schnitzels ourselves at home. I actually had a combination of a Wiener Schnitzel with a few Pierogies and wasn't overly impressed with those either, it didn't seem to me that the vegetables were other than canned. This is one of the reasons I always hate recommending places to friends, once or twice I have praised a restaurant to the skies only to find my friends didn't enjoy their meals. The economy is practically the main topic on anyone's mind these days and GMA is no different. Every day they cover job searching, money saving etc. Today they particularly emphasised checking medical bills - this is, of course, in the States - according to GMA's financial expert, Melody Hobson, 80% of hospital bills are incorrect. We ourselves have seen instances of people being billed by a hospital for treatment of a patient who had been discharged the day before, or medications for a patient who had died the previous day. She recommended several things to do and said if you need help there is software out there, or you can hire a professional to do it for you. When some of the bills involve thousands of dollars, this can be a worthwhile investment. Another segment this morning was about Avon launching a worldwide programme "Speak Out Against Domestic Violence", Reese Witherspoon has become the worldwide ambassador for this campaign and was interviewed together with Andrea Jung, Avon's CEO in the States, on TV today. They are also marketing an attractive necklace for women's empowerment. The two hostesses on GMA were given one each. However, one of the male hosts suggested that Avon should also have something for men. A lapel pin would be a good idea perhaps. Avon has been selling the empowerment necklace for some time, but this is the first time I have seen it on a chain. I just might get one of those if they are available in Canada yet. Avon says that their sales people make wonderful contacts for women who are being domestically abused as most representatives visit their customer's homes on a regular basis. The statistics for abuse are quite frightening and it cuts across all levels of society, although, for some reason, a number of women never report it. Abuse is not confined to women of course, there are women who abuse their husbands and children are also abused, but the preponderance of women in abusive relationships is quite staggering. If you are interested in reading the statistics such as 5.3 million women are abused each year, read this page which gives all kinds of domestic violence statistics. I never realised it was so bad. This morning, in World Wide Recipes, the Chef, Joe Barkson, gave a risotto recipe as being one of his favourite dishes. I have unashamedly stolen this today as I too love risottos and thought you would like to see this one. If you would like to read more of Joe's ezine, visit www.worldwiderecipes.com and sign up for his daily ezine. He too gives a recipe a day plus helpful food information and he has written several useful articles to which you have access if you join. It is all quite free unless you join his PLUS edition. Mushroom Risotto 1 ounce (30 g) dried mushrooms, any variety or combination of varieties 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock 2 Tbs (30 ml) finely chopped shallots or onion 4 Tbs (60 ml) butter 3 Tbs (45 ml) olive oil 2 cups (500 ml) raw Italian Arborio rice* 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine (optional) 1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste *Arborio rice really is the secret to this dish, and is available in finer supermarkets and specialty shops. Long-grained rice may be used, but the results will be inferior. Soak mushrooms in 2 cups warm water for at least 30 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Remove from the water and chop coarsely. Strain the water through a coffee filter and combine it with the 2 cups of chicken stock in a saucepan. Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium heat. In a heavy 2-qt (2 L) pot over medium heat saute the shallots in 2 Tbs of butter and 3 Tbs olive oil until translucent but not brown. Add the rice, stir to thoroughly coat with the oil and butter, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine or 1/2 cup of the simmering stock, stirring frequently. When the liquid is almost completely absorbed add another 1/2 cup stock, and repeat this process for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms and continue adding stock as it becomes absorbed for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the rice is done. You may have some stock left over; do not feel compelled to use it all, as this will make the risotto too runny. Test the rice for doneness by tasting it; it should be "al dente" (soft but still firm to the tooth) and the risotto should be creamy at this stage. When the rice is cooked remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 2 Tbs of butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Serves 4 to 6. Have a great day.