MY HAPPY PLACE: THE CENTRAL LIBRARY + RISOTTO WITH PARM AND PEAS

Since moving back to Indy, I had forgotten about the amazing library that we have downtown. I have always been able to walk to the library from my apartment and now condo, but I had not been taking advantage of it. So today I went and braved the drizzly rain (it was beautiful high 60’s this weekend, so I cannot complain), and headed over. First stop was at the information desk to update my address. Always bring a piece of mail with you to verify your address!

Our library is a cool mix of old and new. The old side of the library houses the fiction collection and it is beautiful. Huge wooden doors, large chandeliers, and those fun library ladders that assist you when needing to reach a book on the very top shelf.

The new, modern part houses everything else. Some people think it’s wrong and ugly that they went with such a modern design to add to the traditional part, but I like it. I love the juxtaposition of the old and new. The sleek steel next to the traditional wood. They preserved the history, while also making room for the thousands of books and resources that the Indy community has come to enjoy. You can check out up to 125 items at one time, so knock yourself out!

I took a quick look at the directory and began exploring. I am a cookbook, history person, so I went to the third floor and hunkered down. Once I found the cookbooks, I tried to be selective so that my basket would not weigh a ton. I counted this as my workout for today and pilates tomorrow. I had an hour and a half on my parking, so I perused the history collection quickly and then searched the catalog for a book I have been wanting: ‘Switch: How to change things when change is hard ‘ by Chip and Dan Heath. A friend recommended it and I will soon discover if I am an elephant or a rider. Stay tuned. It was between a book about psychopaths and Al Gore’s ‘The Future.’

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A little light reading and yes, I did get the worst case scenario book. Keeping it optimistic, but prepared.

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My ‘Oh hey, I am in the stacks like a college kid,’ selfie.

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I hid a little note of kindness – @Indyactsofkindness

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The donut. I am not sure the significance, but who doesn’t like donuts?

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I looked at the Nopi cookbook at a bookstore in London, so I was excited to find it at the library. My go to peanut butter granola recipe is Alicia Silverstone’s, so I got her cookbook too.

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Winnie was very interested in my haul of library books

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LIBBY’S GO TO RISOTTO WITH PEAS AND PARM

I love risotto, but it has a bad rap for being difficult. While you do have to stir it frequently, this is no fail. I also use farro in place of the risotto a lot since it has a heartier, whole grain flavor and it is only $1.49 for a bag at Trader Joe’s!  This would also be good with asparagus or any leftover veggies – mushrooms would work too.

I am not a fan of white wine – I am a red wine kind of girl, but you can sub half a cup of white wine for half a cup of the chicken broth. You can use water, but the broth really adds to the flavor. I stir in the parm while it is still hot and this becomes the perfect, cheesy side dish.

I also halved this for two people since I live alone, but you can easily double it! Also, let’s be honest, I eat the entire pot of risotto. I had mine with salmon tonight, but risotto is filling enough to have on its own. I often have a big bowl for dinner.

  • A dollop of butter
  • 3-4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 -2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of risotto or farro
  • fresh parm
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • salt and pepper

Add the butter to a large pot, melt and add the garlic. Add the rice to the butter and coat for a minute. Add the broth (and salt and pepper) and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.  I also let this cook with the lid on the post for about ten minutes and do its thing, but keep your eye on it.

Once the rice has soaked up all of the liquid, you’re done. Stir in the frozen peas (the rice will heat them up) and then top with the parm. Enjoy!

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