Friday Friday Friday! There is nothing quite like the anticipation of a fresh weekend just in front of you. And – there is nothing like knowing that your favorite person is now less than an hour away from landing in Tulsa and spending the weekend with you. Did I do a fistpump and a little squeal (no exaggeration) moments ago when I saw that his plane had taken off on time? YES I DID. This month it kind of feels like we’re in a long distance relationship and getting to see each other on the weekends. Hey it keeps things fresh right???

But did I mention that my husband is my favorite? He is. And he’s coming home!

Did you know that I happen to love Valentine’s Day? I do love the romantic part of it but I equally adore just the love part of it. Loving the people you love with exuberance! This year – I have managed to pull off what I always hope to do but have only been able to do one other time. Homemade Valentine’s for some friends and family! I wish that I could make one for all of my friends but alas – they are time consuming!

I like to pull out all of the girlie stops – you know – mostly glitter. Although this year I did find some very fun 3d hearts that could be attached to the fronts of the cards and that was a special touch. I am getting used to this blogging thing. Next time I will take pictures!

Speaking of those I love – we are celebrating with some friends tomorrow night and I am making risotto! Now let me tell you – as I did my recipe research – I came to see that risotto is not necessarily a straightforward or short committment. But here is the winning recipe from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. She is one of my very favorites and she’s never let me down with a recipe. I’ll post again with a report of what I found in the actual experience but I am getting really excited to try it!

Wild Mushroom Risotto – Ina Garten

1-ounce dried morel mushrooms
1/2 pound fresh porcini or cremini mushrooms
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup chopped shallots (3 shallots)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Place the dried morels in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Set aside for 30 minutes. Scoop the morels from the water with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. You should have 2 cups; if not, add water to make 2 cups. Drain the morels and rinse once more. If some of the mushrooms are large, cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Pour the mushroom liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel, discarding the gritty solids. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside separately.

Meanwhile, remove and discard the stems of the porcini and rub any dirt off the caps with a damp paper towel. Dont rinse them! Slice thickly and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the 2 cups of reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the morels and porcini and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the chicken stock mixture to the rice plus the saffron, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock mixture, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more of the stock mixture. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes total. When done, the risotto should be thick and creamy and not at all dry. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve hot in bowls with extra cheese.

I hope you have a weekend filled with love, extra good food, and laughter! Another Valentines post to come soon!