Spring in a Bowl (Giveaway Post)

There are very few things that shout "SPRING" quite as loudly as fresh produce. After months and months and months (and months?) of eating cruciferous veggies, root veggies, and frozen veggies that are out of season, there's nothing quite like those first asparagus, those beautiful berries, and the fresh smell of produce that grows ABOVE the ground. Not to mention, the warm weather has transformed the tiny buds on our lilac bush into nearly full-grown leaves.
leaves
I've taken it upon myself to cook something challenging each night of my Spring Break (or bake something, or roast 4 pounds of brussels sprouts), and tonight was no exception. I tend to get overwhelmed when thinking of "challenging" recipes and bite off more than I can chew (no pun intended) and end up making nothing more than a mess. The lovely RhodeyGirl suggested a risotto on Twitter yesterday, and upon reading the recipe, I knew I needed to make something similar! The recipe she had was from Better Homes and Gardens and can be found on their website under Spring Green Risotto. I wanted to make a less heavy version of the recipe, and ended up creating something similar, yet also very different. It featured two of my very favorite Spring ingredients: leeks and asparagus
bowl of asparagus
leeks
Ingredients * 1-1/2 Tbsp. good olive oil * 1-1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter * 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts * 1 cup chopped fennel bulb * 1-1/2 cups Arborio rice * 2/3 cup dry white wine * 4 to 5 cups chicken or veggie stock * 1 lb. thin asparagus * 1-1/2 c. frozen peas, defrosted * 1 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest * Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper * 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice * 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving Directions 1. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the oil, butter, and vegetables. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, cut asparagus diagonally in 1-1/2-inch lengths and discard tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. 3. When risotto has been cooked for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until rice is tender but still firm. 4. When the risotto is done, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
spring risotto
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Thank you so much Sabrina for the recommendation of this (well, a similar) risotto! The flavors were inexplicably "Spring" and I'm so thrilled that there are enough leftovers for a couple of days! There's something about the fennel, asparagus, peas and lemon that are just so bright and refreshing after so many months of dark and starchy meals...
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You may have noticed that I mentioned a giveaway in this post title. You didn't? Well, now you do, right? You may have also noticed the prep bowl I used with my asparagus above... you didn't? Go look, I'll give you a minute. Does that bowl look familiar? Perhaps you need to see it in other forms: veggies in calibowl ice cream in cali bowl stewed chicken in cali bowlbowl of asparagus Now do they look familiar? That's right, those are CaliBowls, only my favorite bowls in the entire world! They were one of the first things that I added to my OpenSky Shop . I love how they've saved the front of my clothing, look cute, and are microwavable and BPA-free. Thanks to OpenSky and CaliBowl, we're holding a giveaway for an entire CaliStack valued at $33! Click here or on the image below to be taken to the entry page. You'll be asked to enter your email address, and at random, one winner will be chosen to win a turquoise CaliStack. Everyone else gets a bonus too! You will receive a 10% off coupon for any item in my OpenSky Shop!
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The 10% off coupon will expire one week from today, so happy shopping, and good luck to all who enter! Please let me know if you win the CaliStack! And before you ask, this giveaway IS for real and not an April Fool's joke! Have an amazing night, and TGIF to those of you NOT on Spring Break! P.S. Those of you on Facebook and Twitter who truly believed that I was receiving an iPad with cooking software to review, I apologize... APRIL FOOLS!!!
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16 Responses to Spring in a Bowl (Giveaway Post)

  1. I really like those cali bowls! I have been dying to get some. 🙂
    .-= Jessica @ How Sweet It Is´s last blog ..Strawberry-Lime Stuffed Cupcakes. =-.

  2. Lauren says:

    Risotto is one meal that I am scared to make. I just don’t think I have the patience but I have AWALYS wanted to try. Seeing how good yours looks makes me want to try even more!

    Thanks for this giveaway. I am dying to get the Cali Bowls! 🙂
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Water in the Knee? =-.

  3. Lurve risotto. This one is especially timely given the little asparagus stalks starting to creep up in gardens everywhere….
    .-= Andrea of Care to Eat´s last blog ..Andrea: It’s alive! =-.

  4. ashley says:

    I’m trying to sign up for the giveaway, but it says my e-mail address isn’t valid 🙁

    Great post though!
    .-= ashley´s last blog ..Chocbite bar! =-.

  5. Ashley says:

    Ooooh pretty asparagus photo!!
    .-= Ashley´s last blog ..hooked. =-.

  6. MizFit says:

    TOTALLY LAUGHING.
    Im far too gullible 🙂
    .-= MizFit´s last blog ..What have you done to try and fit in? =-.

  7. I love how adventurous you are in the kitchen!

  8. Risotto is a gift from the gods! Asparagus and risotto are also made for each other! Your dish looks delicious!

  9. RhodeyGirl says:

    Ahhh leeks. What a smart choice! I love leeks and fennel- this risotto looks amazing!!!!
    .-= RhodeyGirl´s last blog ..Giada De Laurentiis Book Signing =-.

  10. RhodeyGirl says:

    P.S. Thanks for the shout out!

  11. This is crazy but I don’t think I’ve ever had Risotto–it looks incredible!
    .-= Dawn (HealthySDLiving)´s last blog ..She’s HERE! =-.

  12. Mara,
    Your risotto looks wonderful!! Spring in a bowl is right! Makes me think of this salad I posted about the other day.

    http://whatscookinwithmary.blogspot.com/2010/04/green-salad-with-orange-vinaigrette.html

    I just love asparagus. Probably one of my most favorite veggies. If you have a second, check out my salad and let me know what your thoughts are 🙂

    Happy Spring Time!!
    -Mary

  13. Wow. This looks like the perfect spring dish!! I might have to make it for Easter 🙂
    .-= Nora@LiveLifeEatRight´s last blog ..Using My Resources and PBC&J =-.

  14. Dave says:

    This may sound pedantic to some, but seeing how this is labelled as vegetarian, here is a small health warning if anyone is thinking of making this for a vegetarian friend: the chicken stock quite obviously needs to be substituted with a vegatable one, or water even; but perhaps more surprisingly for some will be the news that parmesan is not vegetarian either, as it’s made with animal rennet, so that needs replacing with a vegetarian alternative too.

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