Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Spinach, Gift Cards, Bowling, Missing, Cancer Research.

I was so tired when we got home from our bowling banquet and a visit to friend’s I Gift cardscouldn’t write much on my blog for Friday. These days I find staying out late is tiring although if I get a good book, I don’t have much trouble staying up reading til the wee hours. I mentioned we won a couple of door prizes, $10 each for our local LCBO (liquor board) so Matt used it to buy a bottle of wine, a Clos du Val Zinfandel, one of my faves. We still have Matt’s $20 win from bowling to use as well. It isn’t dated, so I guess we have plenty of time.  M & M’s have such a variety of foods, not sure what we will get with it.

Bowling yesterday was lousy. I really couldn’t do anything, if I managed to find the head pin I hit it dead on and got nothing else. Very frustrating. Someone asked me if I would be bowling in the summer league. I said I would be turning up at least, I didn’t know about bowling!!! It really is a very peculiar game. One of my team members had a really fantastic game and then the next he almost didn’t make it over the 100 points.

Headline in the news yesterday, our government is going to give the parents of Missingmurdered or missing children financial support if they need to take time off to get over their grief. $350 a week for 35 weeks so long as the children are under 18 and their disappearance falls under the Criminal Code Offence. I guess this is a pretty sympathetic action on the part of our government. Parents who later turn out to be responsible for the child being missing or murdered will have to reimburse the government. If they are imprisoned I wonder how they will be able to do that.

dandelion-cuAnother interesting story is a cancer research team have just received more funding for their research on the cancer killing properties of dandelion tea. So far they have discovered that dandelion root extract  virtually forces chronic monocytic myeloid leukemia cells to commit suicide. The researchers were very skeptical at first but they had been asked to check it out because of the number of incidences of dandelion tea helping people with leukemia. The research is in early stages even now, but the current conclusions seem very hopeful. I knew all those gardeners shouldn’t have been mowing down dandelions.

I thought this recipe looked delicious, I love all the ingredients in it, so what’s not to like and of course, I love risottos. Please note that is a short o in the middle not a long one. I could eat risotto almost any time. I was interested in the explanation for all the stirring of risotto. Nice to know it doesn’t need to be constant.

Spinach and Porcini-Mushroom Risotto

Yield: Serves 4

The stirring and stirring and stirring for a traditional risotto has a purpose: It releases the starch in the rice, and it's the starch that gives risotto its distinctive creamy texture. We have found, however, that the stirring needn't be constant, just frequent.

RECIPE INGREDIENTSSpinach and Porcini Risotto

For Mushrooms:

1/2 ounce dried porcini or other dried mushrooms

1 cup boiling water

5 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock, more if needed

For Rice:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cups arborio rice

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cognac or other brandy

1/2 pound spinach, stems removed, leaves washed well and cut into 1-1/2-inch ribbons

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter


FOR MUSHROOMS: In a small bowl, soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water until softened, about 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and strain their liquid into a medium saucepan through a sieve lined with a paper towel. Add the broth to the mushroom-soaking liquid; bring to a simmer. Rinse the mushrooms well to remove any grit, chop them, and set aside.

FOR RICE: In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and salt and stir until the rice begins to turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, the 1/4 cup cognac, and the chopped mushrooms. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed.

Stir 1/2 cup of simmering broth into the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the broth has been absorbed. The rice and the broth should bubble gently; adjust the heat as needed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time and allowing the rice to absorb the broth before adding the next 1/2 cup. Cook the rice until almost tender, about 25 minutes, and add the spinach. Cook, stirring, until the rice is tender, about 5 minutes longer. You may not need to use all the liquid, or you may need to add more broth or some water. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of cognac, the Parmesan, and butter.

Have a great weekend



  1. Looks like a tasty dish that wifey and I would enjoy. Not sure about the kids as they like a dish one day but not the next.

    1. Kids tend not to like spinach for some reason. I always loved it. You can always try it on them and see what happens.

  2. Love, love, love a blog with recipes. You now have a new follower!! Will go back and read your other "letters" in a bit. Happy T-Z Blogging!!!
    Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

    1. Well I sure have lots of recipes Patricia. Thanks so much for dropping by and for "following me".

  3. I often make a mushroom risotto using dried porcini ceps but the spinach sounds like a great addition - thanks for this, Jo!

    1. Never made one with porcini myself, so this will be very new to me. Of course one of my favourites is asparagus Risotto which will disgust Annalou, LOL.

    2. By the way, KJ, I have written about the Peruvian Bear article on my Monday blog.

  4. A potpourri of the spice of life...

    so nice to meet delightful folks from A to Z challenge Moondustwriter's Blog

  5. Thanks for visiting moondustwriter. I have been enjoying the A to Z challenge. Hope you are too.

  6. I can never get past the cook and stir for 25 minutes. Here at 6200 feet, any kind of rice is very tricky because water boils at a lower temperature, but Risotto is tasty in restaurants. I am a wimpy cook.

    1. I love to eat good food so have to be a good cook too as I cannot frequently afford the type of restaurants that serve the food I want. Most of them would be close to $100 for the pair of us which is prohibitive.

  7. Lovely blog and a great recipe. I am dreadful at cooking rice, son fingers crossed when I give this a whirl!

    A-Z Challenge (Anglers Rest)

    1. I must say I don't understand that. If you follow the packet directions and keep your eye on it, you shouldn't get into trouble.

      Thanks for visiting, this Challenge is fun isn't it?

  8. That recipe looks delicious! I think it's kind of your government to address the needs of parents dealing with such tragic situations. Here there is no financial support such as there. Good-hearted people generally donate & some charities and church might help but a lot of parents just have to keep working as best they can while dealing with such issues.

    *~ MAJK ~*
    Twitter @Safireblade
    A to Z Blog Challenge

    1. Yes, it does seem to be a good policy so long as its not taken advantage of in one way or another.