“Seize the day. What's important to you? What do you really care about?
Pursue that, forget the rest” ~ Brittany Maynard
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Have you seen Brittany Maynard's incredibly moving video?
As a 29-year-old newlywed, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and given six months to live. She and her husband decided to move to Oregon, one of a handful of states that allow patients to die with dignity.
Her doctor prescribed a pill that will let her end her life, when she chooses, peacefully and painlessly. She says she plans to take it in just a few days, on November 1st, in her bedroom, surrounded by her mother, stepfather, husband, and best friend.
“There's not a cell in my body that's suicidal or that wants to die. I want to live. I wish there were a cure for my disease, but there's not. I've discussed with many experts how I would die from it, and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying. For my mother, it's really difficult, and for my husband as well, but they're all supported me because they've stood in the hospital room and heard what would happen to me.” ~ Brittany Maynard | People Magazine
I offer no profound words of wisdom on the Right to Die debate; it's a subject so deeply personal that I wonder if a person's stance can't fully be realized until tested.
What I do know is her video has floated in and out of my mind this week. Her words written in a place I'll see as I go throughout my day. How easily we forget how precious our life really is
I've been more mindful this week about filling my days with things that are important to me. I set aside time devoted to relaxing, creating, and puttering around the house. I sat in my favorite booth at the coffee shop, took the puppies for walks, spent time writing, had brunch with someone very dear, and of course ..
spent some time in the kitchen
I've been cooking from Jerusalem an awful lot the last couple of weeks.
Risotto is always a labor of love, and this non-traditional recipe is definitely worth the effort. Barley taking the place of arborio rice, wine and parmesan cheese absent from the ingredients list. The richness here coming from cooking the barley over low heat in a liquid made from tomatoes, herbs, and vegetable broth.
To top it off, feta marinated in olive oil, mixed with toasted caraway seeds, and a few oregano leaves.
As with everything Ottolenghi, this dish is incredible. It's meaty, flavorful, and very filling. I imagine it would be a great dish to serve at dinner parties, or as we did this week on a quiet evening with someone important to you.
“I hope to enjoy however many days I have left on this beautiful earth, and spend as much of it as I can outside, surrounded by those I love. I hope to pass in peace. The reason to consider life and what's of value is to make sure you're not missing out. Seize the day. What's important to you? What do you care about? What matters? Pursue that, and forget the rest” ~ Brittany Maynard
~ Adapted from Jerusalem
Barley Risotto With Marinated Feta
- 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 small shallots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 sprigs thyme
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 strips lemon peel
- ¼ tsp chili flakes (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
- 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
- 10 oz feta
- 1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
- salt and pepper
- Melt the butter and oil in a very large frying pan or a soup pot.
- Cook celery, shallots, and garlic over a gentle heat for 5 mins.
- Add barley, thyme, paprika, bay leaf, lemon, chili flakes, tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, and salt. Stir.
- Bring to a boil then turn down the heat as low as you can while still getting a simmer. Stir frequently for 45 mins.
- Toast the caraway seeds in a dry pan and lightly crush before adding them to the cheese. Use this to top the risotto along with fresh oregano leaves.