Labor of Love
Today was super productive. I cleaned out my little house, mowed the lawn, cleaned the pounds of fresh, local ramps that my mom’s friend gave us (I have so much more – this is officially Ramp Week here at the diner, by the way), made pie crusts, juiced 20 limes, vacuumed, swept, mopped, carried a picnic table, and shared a lovely mother’s day meal with my family. While I mowed, I was thinking about unconditional love. That is what comes to mind on mother’s day, and how lucky I always have been to have so much of it in my life – not just from my own family, but friends, and other people too. Now that some of my friends are having kids, I was thinking about what unconditional love means to me.
I landed on this definition as I was mowing the lawn: Unconditional love is not a sentiment, it is a responsibility. Love is a hugely beautiful thing, and I am glad to know it very well. But it is what you do when things are not easy or given anymore that this becomes crucial. Today I thought a lot about how I want to show that kind of love to the people in my life I feel so strongly about – what is the best way to nurture that responsibility and to be a rock for them? I have not asked that question of myself in a long time. Since I moved back home, my family has shown me unconditional love not by just being kind, but being present themselves in order to do so. That is where the words evaporate and all that is left are people doing everything they can to help each other. I feel like I have a lot left to learn, but that it is flowing through my hands every time I break bread with people. That is something I can always do when things are falling apart, or everyone else is too tired, unmotivated. I am always willing and able to cook good food. Now, what else can I do? I feel like some things are starting to make sense finally, and I am glad that it is easier to know how to do what my heart is telling me. My mom asked me to make her key lime pie for dessert, and so I squeezed the limes by hand. I cut them in half and tried to get every bit of juice out, leaving my small hands sore and sticky. Love is worth it, though, and I know that I have people who would squeeze limes by hand for me in a jiffy.
Thanks, Mom. You are so special to me, and I am so glad I am getting to spend my days with you right now. You’re always there when I need you. And I will always make you key lime pie and risotto, whenever you ask.
Mother’s Day Key Lime Pie
Verbatim from Joy of Cooking
- Single pie crust, pre-baked
- Can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 tsp salt
- Meringue topping, if you like
- Make the pie crust and bake it until lightly golden brown at 350
- Mix the condensed milk, lime juice and salt. It’s really cool how it all comes together.
- Make the meringue and put that on top if you want, then bake it at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup golden balsamic or white wine
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 20 ramps, divided and chopped (including the leaves)
- 1 medium vidalia onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 log goats cheese
- 1/2 cup parano cheese, grated
- 1/4-1/2 up yogurt
- 4 cups stock
- 2 bay leaves
- So let’s talk about the ramps: what I did was slice them all horizontally up through to the top, and put them in a bowl. Then I took some of the white parts out and mixed them with the onions I would start my saute with. I reserved the rest to be added in at the end. Chop of the rest of the vegetables, mincue the garlic, and the parsley. Place in dishes so it’s easy to add them in at the right times during cooking.
- Heat stock in a saucepan on the stove, toss in the bay leaves.
- Melt butter in the olive oil, and begin sauteing the onion, garlic, then the mushrooms. Add in some salt and pepper, the coriander.
- Add in rice and stir it around for a bit, then deglaze with the vinegar or wine. Then begin adding your stock, stirring as it gets absorbed. You don’t have to stand over it, just ensure it isn’t boiling or getting too dry.
- At the end of cooking, add in the cheeses and yogurt. You can even add some more olive oil or butter, use cream if you want it to be heavier. Then stir in the aromatics – the remaining ramps, and the parsley. Squeeze in the lemon. Salt and pepper adjustment if you need to.
- At the end I quickly stir fried some more whole ramps as a topping, just in some olive oil over high heat. Added salt and pepper, deglazed with golden balsamic, and squeezed some lemon over. Topped everything with chopped pistachios.