If NASA can put a man on the moon and bring him safely back to earth …
If Oprah can turn cauliflower into pizza …
If I can teach little kids to hit a baseball …
… you can more or less do whatever you set your mind to.
About the baseball thing, let me explain. When I was in the second grade my report card noted that, although I was a sweet little girl, I was a dismal failure at the bean bag toss. I’m sure the teacher didn’t use the words dismal or failure but you get the picture.
It was a family joke for years and still pops up from time to time. Quite simply, I was that kid. The one who couldn’t throw or catch a bean bag or ball, shoe, orange or whatever. Forget about connecting a ball to bat or ball to foot or racket or goal or anything else. Oh, sure, once in a blue moon I won a tennis game but never a match. I never hit a home run and tripped over more than one soccer ball. The whole eye-hand (or foot) coordination thing just didn’t work for me.
You can imagine my surprise when I was drafted to coach T-ball. Of course, the commissioner or whatever they call the guy who organizes the teams was desperate. I figure he ran out names to call when he stumbled across my number in his directory. Anyway, he must have caught me at a weak moment because I said yes.
Either that or I somehow realized that he wasn’t taking the light blue team seriously. Perhaps they were Geneva’s answer to the Bad New Bears. Yes, this all happened when I was living in Geneva and at least half of the team didn’t speak English. One little girl didn’t speak French either. Two American dads, they were the red team’s coaches, divided up the kids. They stacked the deck, filling their roster with Americans who knew at least a bit about baseball and spoke English.
However, while I knew practically nuttin’ about baseball, I knew a whole lot about concentration. In addition, I spoke more than enough French to communicate the few basics I was able to grasp. By teaching the kids to concentrate on the ball – to ignore their friend on second base and not to worry about the bat – I taught them how to hit. One on one, I whispered to each child. I assured them that as long as he or she kept their eye on the ball, they’d hit it every time. With all seriousness and no shame, I attributed this no-fail/eye-on-the-ball thing to magic. After all, who needs skill when you have magic on your side.
Anyway, it worked. The light blue team won every game – yes, EVERY game.
But it’s not just kids who need focus and inspiration. We all do. A healthy measure of confidence and a little magic never hurts either. From that first day of kindergarten, fall has always been a time for new beginnings. With New England’s beautiful foliage, it’s also a magical time. Whatever your goal is for the coming months, if you set your mind to it and focus; you might just hit a home run.
Here’s to hitting it out of the park and bon appétit!
Risotto with Fresh Corn & Grilled Tomatoes
September is the perfect, maybe the only, time for this dish. Local corn is at its peak and temperatures are cooling down. Homey and comforting but far from ordinary, risotto is great on a chilly night. Enjoy!
Serves 6 as a main course and 12 as a side dish
- About 1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- About 5 cups chicken stock
- About 4 cups (4-6 ears) fresh corn kernels
- Pinch nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated plus more to pass
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves cut in julienne
Put the tomatoes and garlic in a bowl, drizzle with just enough olive oil to lightly coat, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Put the tomatoes and garlic in a grill pan, place on the grill and, stirring from time to time, grill on high until lightly caramelized, 4-5 minutes. Return the tomatoes to the bowl and fish out the garlic. Finely mince the garlic, add it back to the tomatoes, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and toss to combine. Set aside.
Heat the chicken stock to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low to keep warm.
Lightly coat a large, heavy saucepan with a little olive oil and heat over medium. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until it starts to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring for another 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium low, add the wine and simmer until the rice absorbs the wine. Add 1 cup stock and, stirring frequently, simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add stock, 1 cup at a time, and stirring, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the corn and nutmeg and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter, cream and the Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir until melted and combined. Stir in half the basil.
Spoon the risotto into shallow bowls, garnish with grilled tomatoes, sprinkle with the remaining basil and serve. Pass more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for those that like a cheesier risotto.
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- One Year Ago – Spicy Shrimp, Corn and Coconut Soup
- Two Years Ago – Hoisin Pork Ribs
- Three Years Ago – Curried Carrot Soup
- Four Years Ago – Warm Gorgonzola with Caramelized Onions & Walnuts
- Five Years Ago – Baked Haddock with Fresh Tomatoes & Herbs
- Six Years Ago – Pumpkin-Ginger Muffins
- Seven Years Ago – Roast Pork with Apples & Onions
- Eight Years Ago – Lemon Roasted Salmon with Beurre Blanc
- Nine Years Ago – Wild Mushroom Soup
- Ten Years Ago – Rustic Apple Tart
- Eleven Years Ago – Oktoberfest Sausages & Sauerkraut
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
Do you have a any special goals for the fall? Feel free to share!
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019