Asparagus Risotto: In Season

A typical risotto recipe--good for a late spring potluck. The key is to cook the asparagus separately and cut off the delicate heads to use as a garnish.

1 pound fresh whole asparagus
1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped fine
1/2 white onion, chopped fine
8 cloves garlic (more or less), minced
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 stick butter
2 cups arborio rice
1 bottle white wine
4 cups broth or homemade stock
1/2 tsp salt
many handfuls of parmesan or romano

  1. Preparing asparagus: Trim off the very ends of the asparagus, and any extra woody bits. With a peeler, shave off all around the tough end of the spear. See photo above.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter together at medium-high heat. When butter is all melted, add the onions and garlic. Stir stir stir.
  3. Add the rice. Stir until everything is coated and starting to get toasty. Then, add a good ladle-ful of either stock or white wine.
  4. Separately, boil a pot of water.
  5. Now is the fun part. When the rice starts to seem dry, which is basically every couple minutes, add more liquid and stir it in. Alternate between ladles of wine and stock. It can take about 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, put the whole asparagus into the boiling water. Set the timer for 5 minutes. Pull it out and cut the stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. Set the heads aside.
  7. When the rice starts to clump up instead of eating more liquid, turn the heat down. Add the asparagus pieces (NOT the heads). When almost ready to serve, add the salt and cheese and stir in thoroughly.
  8. Plate the risotto and garnish with the asparagus heads. Here's how it looks next to some toothsome salmon.

I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient. The host this month is Wandering Chopsticks. If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month.

Pain at the pump: ow!

I just paid $4.949/gallon for diesel. That hurts my feelings. I figure I have 3 options: 1. convert my car to a veggie oil system that burns cheap (but food-based) oil most of the time, 2. make my own biodiesel or at least contribute to some local biodiesel cooperative, 3. carpool. #3 seems so easy, that's the one I'm going to start with. More on my financial situation and revelations anon.

Meanwhile, playlist from Beef Jerky Time May 18, 2008:
  • A Good Egg: Leo Kottke
  • The Ghost In You: Psychedelic Furs
  • b.b.v.u. (give me give me): 800 Cherries
  • Puerto Rican Jukebox: Panther
  • Poison (Van She remix): Martina Topley-Bird
  • I Can't Wait: Nu Shooz
  • Bring the Noise: Public Enemy
  • Feel the Love: Cut Copy
  • Fire Eyed Boy: Broken Social Scene
  • Oregon Girl: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
  • Sound & Vision: The Sea & Cake
  • Take My Time: Junior Senior
  • Promises, Promises: Naked Eyes
  • Tamagotchi Freestyle: The Lovekevins
  • Theme from Paris: James Pants

Beauty tips for moms

If you wear lipstick (I do cuz it's easy and looks nice), find a shade that you like in one of these new-fangled stay-on formulas. These kind of stain or paint your lips so you can forget about your lipstick for the rest of the day (which you do anyway). Some days I completely forget to apply, and that's fine too.

Wearing mascara is a quick way to help you look put-together and awake. Anything that has those results is good in my book. I suggest a waterproof mascara—it stays on better and you can cry in it. You'll also need to invest in some eye makeup remover to get the stuff off gently but thoroughly.

Use a moisturizer with sunscreen. Reason? Multitasking saves time. I have an oil-free "moisture lotion" that is SPF 15 and formulated for the face. I put it on during my "morning makeup moment." (This is the moment around 10 or 11am when I'm sitting at my desk at work and realize that I am awake and should fix myself up a little bit.)

Invest in a good/fancy razor. Let's face it, you probably won't use it that often anyway, so the cost will amortize nicely. (Many busy moms suggest just shaving one leg per day, maximum two per week.) After cutting myself outrageously with cheap single-blade disposable razors, I lost my temper and purchased a $9 thingy that has "lotion cartridges" or something and triple blades. It even claims that no shaving cream or moisturizer is needed, you just wet & go. Love it.

More on sunblock: Make it easy to put on first thing and be done. I got my first burn of the season back in April innocently sitting on a deck enjoying an unseasonably nice spring day. I burned the same place as always, the delicate decolletage area. I have vowed to Do My Best to not get burned there again. Yuck. My weapon is SPF 25 sunblock that I keep on my bathroom sink. After I step from the shower and towel off, and before I run out to do the billion things that are simmering in my head, I pause. 30 seconds to rub on that SPF 25. Done and done.

The common theme here is that some mothers are short on time and memory power. If I do remember to do something for myself, it has to be done right then and fast. Because something else is coming up in 2 seconds. Right now that would be... radio show playlists!

Beef Jerky Time playlist 5/7/08

Beef Jerky Time Playlist 5/14/08, kids nite
  • Be Nice to People with Lice: Alan Sparhawk
  • Baby Beluga: Raffi
  • Camptown Races
  • Cricket Song
  • Clever Gretel: narrated by Danny Kaye
  • La Mer by Debussy: Baby Einstein Music Box Orchestra
  • You Gotta Have Skin: John Lithgow
  • Sheep: Zoe Lewis
  • Clementine
  • The Old Gumbie Cat: written and read by T.S. Eliot
  • Wizard of Oz selections
  • Sonata No. 1 in G for Cello & Piano: Bach at Bedtime CD
  • Come All You Bold Sailormen: Pete Seeger
  • Puff the Magic Dragon: Broken Social Scene
  • Bathtime: Raffi
  • ABC-DEF-GHI... : Big Bird
  • I Like to Eat Apples & Bananas
  • Hop Up Ladies: Dan Zanes


Music blogs are all up in it. A few people actually got to go to it. It is Coachella, annual music festival thingy. The lineup was so diverse and W I D E this year I can't help using it as a theme. It's easy to pick out a bunch of bands I like from this packed schedule, and play some of my faves for you! Everybody below was at Coachella 2008.
Beef Jerky Time playlist, 4/30/08
  • Raspberry Beret: Prince
  • Quero te Amar: Bonde do Role
  • Endless Shovel: Rogue Wave
  • Bittersweet Symphony: The Verve
  • L.E.S. Artistes: Santogold
  • Je Veux Te Voir: Yelle
  • Lights and Music: Cut Copy
  • Under the Blacklight: Rilo Kiley
  • Bird Flu: M.I.A.
  • Paris is Burning: St. Vincent
  • Superstar: Tegan & Sara
  • Slide In: Goldfrapp
  • Keep on Looking: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings