Not much makes sense in my world right now. One of the most unthinkable events has occurred and I am still trying to wrap my mind and heart around the reality that a very special friend is no longer with us. It is simply wrong.
And worse yet, his wife had to endure what all of us military wives dread the most. That knock on her door with a chaplain and trusted friend on the other side waiting to give her the news that her husband's plane had gone down and that she is now a widow. That she has to care for their beautiful baby girl all by herself and that her little girl will have no memories of the father who loved her so much. It is all too much for one person to have to bear. My heart is broken for them both.
It came to me when my little man stood with his classmates and sang songs about spring in the way only pre-schoolers can do. Silly, loudly and without any self consciousness. My heart smiled. It came as our Navy family and friends started sharing photos and memories of our lost friend, many of which had me rolling with laughter at the same time that my eyes were filling with tears. It is the only way to make it through to the other side- feeling the joy in the small moments and truly appreciating the time spent with those you love.
Fair winds and following seas, my friend. You are loved and will be deeply missed. We will hold your wife and daughters in our hearts and promise to see them through this darkest hour and provide them with all of the comfort that we can.
Serves 4. Adapted, just barely, from Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard, by Nigel Slater.
For the printable recipe, click here.
This risotto is comfort in a bowl. Not much effort is needed to make it and as a nice bonus, it is fairly healthy as well. I was looking for simplicity with this risotto, but I can imagine that a sprinkling of raisins, dried cherries or sliced almonds would make a welcome addition to the apple and cinnamon flavors. The rice is only lightly sweetened, but would serve equally well for dessert as it would breakfast.
3/4 cup arborio rice
2 cups plus 2 tbs water
2 cups plus 2 tbs milk (I used lowfat milk which worked just fine, but a full fat milk would give it a bit more creaminess)
a healthy pinch of cinnamon
1 large apple or 2 small ones
2 tbs sugar
optional: 1/2 vanilla bean (split), raisins, dried cranberries or cherries, sliced almonds, a drizzle of maple syrup
In a medium pot stir the rice and water together. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until all of the water has been absorbed. Add the milk and bring the mixture to a simmer again. If you want to use the vanilla bean, add it to the pot now. Cook, stirring occasionally until the rice is cooked (it will have just the tiniest bit of a bite left to it) and the milk is nearly absorbed. The rice will be very creamy and it should take about 8-10 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean, if using.
Stir in the cinnamon and sugar. Grate the apple, peeled if you wish, over the pot and into the rice. Stir and let the risotto warm the apple through for just a minute. If using any dried fruit, this would be the time to stir it in.
Serve warm in cups with a drizzle of maple syrup or sprinkling of almonds if desired.