December 30, 2011


My husband moonlights as a tutor for a few middle school students who attend a private school in the area. One of the boys and his family have been exceptionally generous to us this year. Their gifts never fail to surprise and delight us.

For our honeymoon trip to Florida we were fortunate enough to get to stay in their lovely home in Seaside, Florida for ten days. It was amazing in many ways, but what we fell in love with most was the kitchen and, in specific, the two Le Creuset pans on the shelves. We adored them and cooked in the braiser nearly every single night. So, when I got a text message from my husband a few weeks ago it is nearly an understatement to say that he was elated to show me a picture of his Christmas bonus - our very own braiser!!

This Christmas day was low-key for us. We lingered over a large french press of coffee in the morning and then mozied over to my parent's house to share a late brunch with both them and Justin's parents. It was delightful. We found ourselves at home and relaxing on the sofa with nothing to do by early afternoon. It wasn't until our stomachs reminded us that it was dinnertime that I realized I'd been so intent on planning a great week leading up to the Christmas celebrations that I'd completely left anything for Christmas dinner off my shopping list. Oops.

But, never fear, imagination is your friend, especially if you are lucky enough to have a Le Creuset and a decently stocked pantry at your disposal. Serve up a warm bowl of fresh risotto and pour a glass of wine. Life is good.

Off the Cuff Spinach Risotto

2 T lemon e.v.o.o. (regular works great, too)*
1 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 c arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (or whatever you have)
4 c (1 carton) chicken broth
1 c Romano cheese (Parmesan or any other hard cheese would work just fine)
5 oz (1/2 bag) fresh spinach
Goat cheese for garnish (and deliciousness)

Heat lemon oil and butter over medium heat in a Le Creuset braiser. Add in onion and garlic and cook until onions are tender and starting to brown. Lower the heat to medium-low and add rice to the pan and toast for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Add in the white wine and stir gently until nearly all of the moisture is absorbed by the rice. Add in one cup of the chicken broth and do the same, repeating until all of the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender. Mix in the cheese and spinach. Serve right away with goat cheese crumbled and an extra drizzle of lemon olive oil for garnish. Bon App├ętit!

* Big thanks to my fabulous brother and sister-in-law who gifted us the sweet lemon olive oil - So yummy!

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