A follow-on discussion with Jheri after the last post centered on words and concepts that are well-known within a culture, but are so much a part of the culture that they are difficult or impossible to define on the outside. The Danish concept of hyyge came up. Sometimes called coziness outside of Denmark, it is much deeper and is considered a fundamental part of life and culture. (here is a pronunciation) Using just a few words Jheri paints her own beautiful version. With her permission I sent it to a few people, but it deserves wider distribution.
Hygge is a Danish concept that is hard to define. Some say it is coziness, but that doesn't go deeply enough. It is something a lot of Danes aim towards and you see it in everything from Danish design to how they value their spare time.
Imagine you are with little group of your favorite friends. You are in a small house and have just finished a wonderful meal with good wine. Your friends have started into stories while a fire burns and candles glow. You can see the snow falling outside. You don't have to worry about finding your way home and can sleep as long as you like the next day. Everything is perfect and supports a larger calm happiness. It is in tiny things and those that are large. It isn't something you buy.
I think this is partly why the Danes are constantly rated among the happiest peoples. Even against the weather:)
I've been working on trying to make risottos without dairy products and have been having some luck. This one was delicious - there was a bit of saffron lurking in the cupboard from some earlier dishes that needed to be used, so why not?
Butternut Squash Risotto
° about two cups of butternut squash cut into half inchish cubes
° 1 small yellow onion, chopped
° 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
° 1/2 cup dry white wine
° about 6 cups of vegetable stock (I make my stocks without salt so I can add it in the dish)
° 1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
° 2 cups baby spinach
° 1 tsp saffron threads
° black pepper and salt to taste
° preheat oven to 425°F
° put the squash on a try and bake until tender - 15 to 20 minutes
° heat the stock on low heat in a saucepan
° in another pan sauté the onion and garlic is a small splash of stock (1 tbl?) on medium heat until the onions are translucent
° add the rice to the onions and then the whine. Cook stirring until the rice absorbs the wine.
° add a few cups of stock along with the saffron and pepper. Stir, cover and simmer until the stock is absorbed
° add a bit more stock, stir and cover. A good time to adjust the saltiness - I didn't use much.
° repeat until the rice is tender, but still a bit al dente - you may have left over stock. About a half hour or so.
° remove rice from the neat and add the spinach and roasted squash.