Toast to the New Year
By CHRISTINE GARDNERfood@tylerpaper.com
As you ring in the New Year and move into 2013, the evening will be filled with well wishes, resolutions and a midnight toast.
New beginnings offer the chance to start fresh with a clean slate and renewed state of mind. Whether you stick to resolutions, the exercise is an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and ponder the path of the future.
When I think about resolutions, I don't make the usual list of things I know I probably can't achieve because it becomes more like a "to do" list that is never fulfilled and leav-es you feeling defeated.
Instead, I think of things that will expand horizons, add simple ple-asure to each day or create positive interactions with people -- things that not only promote happiness, but also plant seeds of joy and encouragement.
Doing that through food can be hard and time-consuming, but when I see people enjoying food I have cooked, or get excited about something they learn from me, I feel extremely grateful and privileged to have the opportunity to share with others.
I'm still not sure what my goals for 2013 are, but as I reflect on 2012, I feel great joy and gratitude towards the people who have become a part of my life because of food.
Whether it's through FRESH Ideas, cooking classes or seeing people in restaurants or stores, I have discovered amazing people who love food as much as I do.
Not everyone enjoys cooking, but eating and entertaining always brings people together. The laughter, smiles and happy faces are priceless.
My toast to you on the eve of a new year is an anonymous quote I found in a book about giving toasts.
"Here's a toast to the future, A toast to the past, And a toast to our friends, far and near. May the future be pleasant; The past a bright dream; May our friends remain faithful and dear."
And for those of you ringing in the new year with some bubbly -- grab an extra bottle and try this luxurious Lobster and Champagne Risotto.
I talked about this recipe at Coffee Talk at FRESH by Brookshire's a couple of weeks ago and several people were interested in trying it.Lobster and Champagne Risotto
4 lobster tails
2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
2 1/2 cups arborio rice
1-750 ml bottle of sparkling wine
3 cups fish stock
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Steam or boil the lobster tails for 15 minutes, split on the underside of the tail, break open, remove the meat and cut into pieces. Sauté the shallots in a saucepan with the butter and oil. Pour in the rice and let it toast for a couple of minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Pour in 1/2 cup of champagne and let it evaporate. Then add a ladle of broth and continue cooking the risotto. Slowly add more champagne and broth as they are absorbed.
The secret to risotto is to continuously stir. Keep stirring, let liquid absorb, add more liquid & repeat. Continue this process for about 20 minutes or until rice is done. It should be soft, with a little bite to it, but not mushy. When the rice is almost ready add the lobster meat and the parmesan. When the rice is cooked through, remove from heat and stir in a tablespoon of butter. Your risotto should not be too thick. Add a bit more broth if you need to loosen it up. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.