Tag Archives: Duke

On Top of the World

In case you haven’t heard, it’s Earth Week!  This week (really April 17th – 22nd) is a chance to not just learn more about environmental impacts that you incur on the environment every day, but also to make some changes to make your life better, and hopefully the planet a little better.

I’ve loved this holiday week since elementary school.  Yes, it may be weird, but Earth Day was always one of my favorites!  The highlight of Earth Day came in P.E. class each year.  My school had these huge inflatable Earth balls (and oddly are available for sale on Ebay!).  I would run, jump, and roll onto the top, trying not to fall off as my teachers kept the ball rolling.  As corny as it sounds, I really was on top of the world then, and it was a great feeling. 

Well, I do not get a free Earth Week to just play outside with huge balloons anymore, but I still find ways to celebrate the planet each April.  If you’re looking for a way to make a difference this Earth Week, just make a pledge or attend a local event.  You’ll help raise awareness and probably learn some new things, too.

Another option — just take a walk and marvel at what Mother Nature has to offer.  I went for a walk this evening in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on campus.  These gardens are one of my very favorite places to visit at Duke, and are absolutely gorgeous this time of year.  Spring is definitely their time to shine. 

Enjoy the pictures!  I was amazed by many of the plants and flowers I saw, and just being able to see, smell, and take photos of them made me feel like I was on top of the world again.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. 

– Native American Proverb

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Duke Blue Cheese Risotto

What about today are you celebrating, and just how are you celebrating it?

I am celebrating and anxiously anticipating tonight’s men’s basketball matchup between Duke University’s Blue Devils and University of North Carolina’s Tar Heels.  As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the rivalry between these two teams puts all other rivalries to shame in my book.  It’s pretty exciting to be in the Triangle right now. 

I’m showing my spirit for the game in two ways:  the color of my clothes and the food I’m eating.  This is how I typically celebrate all holidays or special events.  I dress up being mindful of whatever the event is (meaning a Duke t-shirt and jeans today) and then make sure to consume something that represents the occassion…

Enter Duke Blue Cheese Risotto.  This recipe stemmed from a need to clean out my fridge (I’ve been trying to figure out what to make with the leftover blue cheese from my birthday party pizzas) and today’s big game.  Nothing like showing you bleed Duke blue by consuming some stinky blue cheese.  

Risotto is one of those foods that I love to eat but have only made a handful of times because the idea of it used to make me nervous.  I’ve heard horror stories about unbearably chewy or crunchy risotto from too many chefs to count.  A good deal of time at the stove is also required due to the constant stirring, and sometimes I’m just too impatient to stand in one spot for 20 minutes or more.  But I had the time today and discovered two things:

1.  I really never had anything to worry about because making risotto is extremely easy.
2.  If you step away from the stove for a couple minutes, the risotto won’t be ruined.  There’s no need to be a helicopter cook and hover.

I promise this is delicious…make it tonight. 


Duke Blue Cheese Risotto


Duke Blue Cheese Risotto

1 ½ Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup white onion, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup brown rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
½ cup blue cheese crumbles
1 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat chicken stock in a saucepan over medium heat.
2.  In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium.  Add garlic and onion, sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
3.  Add in frozen peas and heat until warmed through.
4.  Add in rice and mix well to coat the grains in oil.  Toast for 2 minutes.
5.  Pour in wine and allow to boil off (keep temperature at medium to medium-low).  Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, it’s time to start adding the broth!
6.  Using a ladle, add about ½ to 1 cup of broth to the rice mixture.  Stir risotto occassionally as the liquid absorbs.  When you stir the risotto and no liquid separates from the rice, but it’s still moist, add another ladle of stock.
7.  Continue the process of stirring and adding more broth until the starch in the rice starts to break down, the grains look creamy, and suit your desired level of tenderness (I like my risotto to be softer, less al dente).  This took me about 20 minutes using brown rice*.
8.  Once the rice is cooked, reduce heat to medium low, add blue cheese crumbles, and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
9.  Swirl in a bit of honey.  This sweet finishing touch complements the blue cheese perfectly!  A little honey goes a long way in this dish.

*Note:  Traditional risotto uses arborio rice.  I simply used brown rice because that’s what I had on hand.  Arborio rice may need additional liquid and cooking time.


And since it is a Wednesday….it’s time for wine of the week!

I used the $3.99 bottle that the Berserk Mushroom lady recommended to me a couple weeks back in the risotto, and it is delicious!  Aconga 2009 Chenin Blanc-Chardonnay blend from Argentina.  I found it right in my local grocery store and hopefully you can, too.  It’s excellent for the price!

Lastly, GO DUKE!

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Cameron Crazies

I have not found many places that embody such vitality as Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University.  The home court for the multi-national championship Blue Devils is small in comparison to the number of fans and awards the team has garnered, but what it lacks for size, it makes up for in spirit.  Behind every great team is a strong fan base, and I have never seen a more fervent group of fans than the Cameron Crazies.  This crew is made up of Duke students, current and past, and when you see them join together at games it’s almost as if you’re witnessing witchcraft.  The chants, synchonized motions, and curses they propel towards opponents do not seem logical, but instead invoke a mystical power that lifts up their home team while simultaneously taunting the challengers.  These are not fair-weather fans; regardless of how the team fares each season, the Crazies pack the stadium for each home game and bring Cameron Indoor to a deafening roar.

You can tell that the students definitely deserve the title of “Crazie” based on this picture:



Before certain games each season, students camp out to raise their chances of a better spot in the student ticket line on game day.  News stations have covered the camp out in Krzyzewskiville (pronounced Shi-shef-ski-ville, after Coach Krzyzewski) for the past two weeks.  During that time the weather has transitioned from freezing cold to sunny 60 degree days, back to freezing, and then to downpours.  And yet hundreds, possibly thousands, of students stayed, even though there’s no guarantee of tickets for those that camp. 

The current camp out is the largest and most important of the season because tomorrow night the Blue Devils match against their ultimate enemy:  the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.  Two of the top schools in the nation, both academically and athletically, sit only 9 miles away from each other and it makes for a rivalry that humbles most other college rivalries.  

I wish I could say that I will be on the floor of Cameron Indoor along with the other Crazies, but unless a ticket magically appears at my doorstep (do the Crazies make special deliveries?) I will most likely watch at home.  Even so, I’ll wear my Duke t-shirt, chant and cast spells along with the students, and hope to win bragging rights for the next few days that I can tease my UNC-fan employees about at work.  If you want to witness a little magic tomorrow night, just watch the game.  And get a little Crazie.

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