Lobster risotto … need I say more?

Did you notice that all the retail establishments are decorated for Valentine’s Day? It made me think about what I could make this year. My favorite go-to fancy recipe is Lobster Risotto. Found it in a book published several years ago by Williams-Sonoma called Wine & Food a New Look at Flavor. Thought I’d share!

Time saving hint … shop for a lobster at a grocery store that will steam one as you shop. Saves lots of preparation time and there will be one less pot to clean.

3 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup rich white wine
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of saffron threads
1/2 pound lobster tail meat, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and finely chopped tomato
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pour the broth into a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and adjust the heat to keep the broth at a bare simmer. In a large deep skillet over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and sauté until the onion is soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and cook, stirring to coat with the onion mixture, until the grains are opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, lemon zest and juice, and saffron threads. Cook for 2 minutes.

Begin adding the hot broth to the rice 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often and waiting until each addition is almost fully absorbed before adding more. After about 20 minutes, when you have added all but 1/2 cup of the broth, the mixture should look creamy. Taste a grain of rice. It should be cooked through but still slightly firm (not hard) at the center. If it is still too firm, add the remaining broth and continue cooking.

When the rice is ready, stir in the lobster, distributing it evenly, and then stir in the tomato and butter. Let stand covered for 5 minutes before serving to heat through the lobster and tomato.

Spoon the risotto into shallow bowls and serve right away. Makes 4 servings.

Quilts … a look back at 2014

Four entire quilts were cranked out in 2014! Pretty good year for me. Two were gifts … one donated to charity and I’m keeping one. Not sure what 2015 will hold!

The first quilt was for our first grandbaby, Jake. I finished it before he was born and named, so it doesn’t have his name on it. I bought the pattern and kit at the International Quilt Festival in 2013. It was so fun to make and with Kim Norton of A Busy Bobbin to quilt it, I loved how it turned out. The pattern also includes a quilt with a flamingo, monkey and, I think, a frog. A future grandbaby?

The next quilt was donated to the Village Learning Center for their annual gala. I like to make something totally different for them every year. It was the first time I’d worked with so much black fabric. Made me a little nervous. It was sold in the silent auction to a very nice lady who was so worried she didn’t get the high bid at the end of the night!

Santa Baby was the most challenging quilt I’ve made to date! I chalk it all up to not reading the directions carefully. A valuable lesson was learned … and still the quilt turned out great. This is the only quilt this year that was custom quilted and I love the feathers quilted by Kim Norton. I dub her the Queen of Quilted Feathers!

The last official quilt completed in 2014 was the contemporary one for my adorable daughter, Katie! We collaborated on design, size, fabric choices and quilt name. It was an awesome experience! She has the perfect spot in their house to hang it.

I started my 2014 Texas Row-By-Row quilt in 2014. During the summer, quilters were able to stop by participating quilt shops all over the United States and pick up a free row pattern, and purchase a fabric kit, designed by their shop. It takes 8 rows to make a quilt. My sister, Gretchen, picked up a row pattern and kit for me in Victoria, and my friend, Sally, picked up one or two from her Texas travels. The finished jar row is called “Harvest Time” and is from BJ’s Quilt Shop in Bay City, Texas. The quilt shop even had all fabric pieces cut so all I had to do was sew. Don’t you just love the bug jar?

I’m putting together the sailboats now. The block is called “Regatta!” from Quilter’s Emporium shop in Stafford. By the way … they have an awesome quilt shop! This row is a little challenging with the bias edges, but I’m making it work! Only six more rows to go!

Contemporary quilt for Katie

When my oldest daughter mentioned she would love a quilt to hang on a particular wall in their new home, I jumped at the chance. The last quilt I made for her was for our little grandson, Jake. After I learned she wanted something contemporary, I went to Pinterest and created a board for her to peruse. This would be my first time to enter the scary world of contemporary quilts. I was a little worried. Me … piece a quilt with solid colored fabrics? That has never happened before.

Katie choose a quilt pattern on the Pinterest board called Midcentury from Vintage Modern Quilts Pattern Co. It was probably the most modern and geometric on the board. The quilt was designed for Bella Solids by Moda Fabrics. It was easy to go to their website, and for a reasonable fee, download the pattern. My engineering husband helped with downsizing the pattern from 63″ by 74″ to fit their wall.

As the pattern suggested, I used Kona cotton in White and Zen Gray and matched the color of the “window pane” center of the quilt with one of the pillows in Katie and Chad’s living room. I purchased several fat quarters, one solid and the others a pattern that read solid. Could I tempt my daughter to think outside-the-box? Of course Katie picked a true solid fabric for the center.

After the top was finished, I had the most fun collaborating with Kim Norton, the awesome long-arm lady of A Busy Bobbin. Laying the finished quilt top across one of her machines, Kim picked out a thread color and three quilting patterns she thought would complement the quilt top. I took photos of the three and let Katie choose her favorite design … Denise’s spirals.

Katie named her quilt Mid-Century Maze. It was the last quilt I finished in 2014!