Saturday, March 12, 2011

spring cleaning

"What are you giving up for Lent,Mom?"  asked my son.  I signaled to him that I was busy writing and as he was leaving he said again, "You better think of a good sacrifice for Lent," as if he knew that I had yet to decide what to give up for Lent.

"So have you decided yet Mom?" he asked again the following day in the car as I took him to school. I answered him with a simple question.

"How about you?"

He quickly answered, "I'm giving up playing games on my phone."

Hmmm... I was impressed by his answer.  I knew this is going to be quite a sacrifice for him because he had downloaded so many games on his smartphone.

I was compelled to give him an inspired answer.

"I'm spring cleaning," I replied.  He had a quizzical expression on his face.

Yes, I'm spring cleaning my thoughts and actions, which means that I have to dust off the thick cobwebs from my mind, and discard the baggages I have been carrying in my heart. I have to learn to let go of all the ill feelings I kept against some people, lower my expectations, especially when it pertains to my family.  And I'll even work on being more patient.

"Then that means that you'll have to stop nagging," he joked as he stepped out of the car.

I laughed because I knew exactly what he meant.

So the question is... What are you giving up this Lenten season?

Seafood Risotto 
They say cooking risotto takes a lot of patience, as you need to stand in front of the stove, stirring, adding more broth, and stirring some more, until you get the proper texture that you desire. Patience? Ok, Seafood Risotto it is for dinner then.

 If you think this dish looks like paella and/or palabok, you're exactly right. I had both dishes in mind as I was fixing dinner.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 pack  mixed seafood
1 lb shrimp with head (set aside the head to be used as shrimp broth)
3 cups Arborio
4 cups shrimp broth (Boil the shrimp heads, crush the head or use an Osterizer, then drain)
fresh basil (chopped)
1/2 cream of mushroom soup (low sodium)
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, add olive oil over medium heat.  Saute onions.  Add the seafood and shrimp. Brown the edges and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium.

Using the same skillet, stir in the rice for 5 minutes (stirring frequently).  Add 2 cups of shrimp broth.

Continue to stir gently then add the remaining broth mixture, feel the kernel if it's soft enough.  If not repeat this step until it's nice and creamy.  Add the cream of mushroom. Mix well then add the seafood back in.  Give it a quick stir.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add chopped basil and voila...

You may have to repeat the previous step until the rice kernels are soft.  This is where patience is needed.  Also, I keep my broth hot, so when I need more the temperature doesn't go down.

Now, for those of you who are familiar with palabok sauce mix, this could be a great option to use instead of making your own shrimp broth.

Verdict: Yes - patience is a virtue and I'm glad that I passed the test.  And the dish?  My son and his girlfriend gave it 5 stars.


  1. My...I have too also think of something to give up for Lent=) Love the risotto, looks so delicious with the seafood...I haven't venture yet on the world of risotto, will keep this recipe bookmarked=)

  2. I was smiling at your first paragraphs. It is difficult for us Mums to elude that question, like we haven't given up enough already , and that's for the entire time. Right you are with your spring cleaning, difficult task but at least we have to think about doing it. Am making paella tomorrow and hope it turns out at least half as appetizing as your risotto.

  3. You inspire me to do the same. Great post as always

  4. cusinera: My romance with risotto started just a few years ago, and fell in love with it since then.

    Adora: yeah right as if the things that we do for them is not enough hahah. since I told him I'm spring cleaning, every action that I make is being scurtinized haha.

    TagaTugue: thank you.. you are funny I can't seem to catch who you are.

  5. I think I'll do same the thing with what you've said. Lower my expectations so I don't get disappointed and be more forgiving. After all, everyone has their own flaws.

    This recipe reminds me of paella which is one of my faves. Everything looks succulent. Love it!

  6. great risotto I think I will spring clean my mind too got any tips for home sickness ? and parents making you feel guilty for living abroad?


  7. wow wow wow. I'm embarrassed to say that I only tried risotto late last year at a restaurant and I was wow-ed by its texture and flavors. Partner and I shared one small miserable pan and we were vying for more. And yours looks even more delicious than that one I had back then!

  8. I might give up lots of food to eat for lent but not this Risotto that you just posted. Jammed with all the good and yummy stuff. It's mouth watering. Thanks for sharing Malou! :)

  9. Laura: it's a great time to retreat back and reflect on your life at this time of the year. Happy spring cleaning!

    Rebecca: I always turn to food when I'm homesick. Just the other day I talked to my mom and she said she was eating sweet rice cake. I was homesick right there but I dashed to the kitchen and there I madem y own rice cake.

    Jean: risotto only entered my cupboard recently too but ever since I tried to cook it. It became a staple now too. Love it.

    Ray: hello so great to see you stopr by. I love your website. And yeah we don't need to give up everything...right? Haha!

  10. I know what I am NOT giving up for Lent: this plate of deliciousness! Palabok is my hubs' favorite pancit dish and turning it into risotto is wonderful. 8-)

    I know that it's already a week into Lent but I haven't really decided on my sacrifice yet. Maybe I should give up procrastinating...!

  11. Looks sooo yummy and hearty. The photos are also gorgeous.

  12. Oh, that dish is so mouthwatering. so colorful and loaded with flavor, sounds and looks amazing.

  13. Well I certainly won't give up a dish as delicious as this! I think I will give up the drama with my teens (they just roll their eyes anyway). Wish me luck, Malou!

  14. Your risotto look absolutely wonderful and you photos are just about perfect. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary


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