Going down the only road I've ever known.

Each time I return home I can expect an entirely different experience than the time before. I can always count on the familiarity and comfort factors, but I never really know what, or who, I will stumble into when I’m here. Sometimes I seek out old friends and sometimes I hide. Sometimes when I seek out old friends I don’t find them, and sometimes when I hide my old friends stumble across me. Sometimes there are even tiny, unexpected romantic dalliances with mysterious people from random chapters of my past. Returning home is always interesting, as I can rarely control how my visits will unfold. I like this.

My previous visit featured a surprise reunion with a very old and very dear friend with whom I had not had contact for over 5 years. Her absence in my life was not my choice and I was always bemused about it. But when we bumped into each another on the street one afternoon, it all felt fine, good - familiar. There seemed to be no need to discuss anything about the past. A couple of hugs and the promise for a glass of wine later was more than sufficient.

That glass of wine was lovely. Seeing her again felt like a thought being picked up after an ellipsis. When she left, I stayed behind to have a moment and finish my glass of wine. Then, surprisingly, I was approached by someone with whom I attended both elementary and middle schools. We shared mutual friends throughout high school and beyond. Apparently we were even in the same crowd that met up each year, on Christmas night, at our old watering hole (aptly called “Hole in the Wall”). I suppose it was our “St. Elmo’s Fire.” Honestly, I didn’t remember him very well. So it was wonderful to spend some time with him throughout that week, reminiscing, and learning about who and what we have become over the years.

And here I go again. Back in Richmond.

Yesterday, as I was staring blankly into the cheese section at Kroger, debating whether or not to buy my favorite packaged pimiento cheese, someone touches my hand and, both literally and figuratively, shocks me. It was an old friend from my very early youth.

I remember a Halloween slumber party at her house when we were about 9 or 10-years old. We watched “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (her parents wouldn’t let us rent a real horror movie), which seemed dorky at the time, but completely scared the life out of me (and it is a great film, by the way). I made the mistake of falling asleep before the other girls and awakened to Tootsie Rolls stuffed in the back of my underpants. I learned a valuable lesson, and never fell asleep before anyone else at a slumber party again.

I actually recall quite a few Halloweens with Kelly. She was also the person who approached me in our middle school hallway to advise me that maybe I should start considering wearing a bra (I was mortified!).

And so there we were, with our shopping carts parallel, in the cheese aisle of Kroger, all grown up. As she was talking about motherhood and I, rainbow chard from my garden, I could see a fly-on-the-wall perspective, still image of us. It all seemed surreal, and slightly scary, like a shot from “The Stepford Wives. As she guided me to another aisle to look for hazelnuts, I suddenly wanted to go have 23 kids OR go to a bar and have 23 shots of tequila.

I did neither. I went home, put on my pine-cone jammies and dad’s slippers, put some John Lee Hooker & Miles Davis on the stereo, and made this dish while I contemplated the trajectory of my life.

Scallops With Wild Mushroom Risotto and Rosé Fonduta
(adapted from CD Kitchen)

2 servings

1/4 cup minced shallots, divided
3/4 cup rosé wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup brie cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry, white wine
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup chopped wild mushrooms
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 pound sea scallops

In a saucepan over high heat, combine half the shallots with rosé and reduce until rosé is almost completely evaporated. Add cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add brie and gently stir with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper, cover and set aside and keep warm.

In a saucepan, heat broth and keep warm.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add the rice, mushrooms and remaining shallots and sauté without browning. Add 1/3 of the broth, 1/3 of the wine, and increase heat to high and stir constantly. When broth is completely absorbed, add the next 1/3 of the broth, 1/3 of the wine, and reduce until absorbed, stirring constantly. Add final 1/3 of the broth, 1/3 of the wine, and cook until absorbed. Remove from heat, allowing the risotto to remain soft. Add 1 tablespoon butter, Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Cover and set aside.

In a large saucepan over high heat, combine remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Allow butter to become slightly browned. Spread scallops evenly over the bottom of the pan, but don't stir. Add additional butter if necessary to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until brown on one side. Turn over and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the dish, divide risotto onto two plates. Divide and arrange scallops over the risotto. With a spoon, drizzle cheese fonduta over scallops and risotto as desired.

1 comment:

  1. That looks amazing. How good? 'Roll around on the hood of the Jaguar' good!