Friday, December 13, 2013

Winter Newsletter 2014

HSL Winter Newsletter 2014
What's inside: Comedy is Suffering, Compassion Training Weekend at IDP, a holistic approach to itchy, raw eczema

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Comedy is Suffering

Putting my head in the mouth of a dragon is how I embraced my 45th birthday this past September. I am that kind of woman. This particular "dragon" takes the form of speaking in front of a group of people and/or performing. I know I am not alone in this fear as giving speeches and performing are terrifying for many. I don't think of myself as riddled with fears, in fact, I consider myself an adventurous brave soul. However, I know I have fears and when I look the other way rather than at them, they only grow in potency. In avoiding this perceived fear, I had been avoiding parts of myself. Those parts of myself can only be discovered by going in. What better way to slay my dragon aka "have fun" through suffering and laughter?  Improv 101 at Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC.

I'm hard pressed to think of a "comedy" film where our hero character or characters aren't constantly running into obstacles mostly created by their actions or perceptions and we the audience, the viewer, watch and laugh at how silly and obvious it all is or sometimes isn't so obvious. Groudhog Day starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott is without a doubt one of my favorite comedies illustrating just how many times it can take to start to wake up to our own crap, our own cycle of suffering. When we don't get what we want, we suffer. Then what? Do we act like a baby and make the people around us miserable, too, like Bill Murray's character? Of course what is funny to the viewer is that the more miserable the character is, the funnier we think he is. In the movies, comedy is suffering and we can relate. Opening up to the lighter moments in life during the darkest moments is an option. This doesn't mean we bypass the sadness, skip over it, suppress it or pretend it doesn't exist. That's the work we can practice on a day to day basis when we slow down enough to look at where our thoughts come from and how we feel.

Every person out there, yeah, you, too, are unique, creative and funny. Your ability to access this part of you, is up to you. 

My experience is that I need to allow myself to feel sadness, let it wash over me and through me. Joy follows sadness and sometimes sadness follows joy. I heard Louis C. K. say that joy is like the antibody for sadness. When sadness is allowed in and felt, the joy is released, too, and they find each other. Antioxidants work in a similar way - they attach to free radicals neutralizing the toxins and then they leave our system. Too many toxins, not enough antioxidants and we have disease. Undigested emotions can come back and bite you when you least expect it. I work with my sadness on a daily basis through meditation and training my mind. The only way in is through. It takes courage to face those heart pounding physically charged emotions of sadness and underneath the sadness sometimes there's some anger lurking around. I've come to understand these feelings as undigested emotions that need looking at. So I sit with it. Welcome the feelings though well aware I'm not about to have a "good time" and feel all warm and cozy inside. Meditation is not a blissful walk in the park; commercialization of the practice has us believing this is meditation. I've been practicing for some years now and have instruction as to how to work with strong emotions. Meditation practice, dharma teachings and psychotherapy have helped me leaps and bounds in discovering my ... sanity dare I say? My mind's "go to" in mediation used to be flooding with sadness or numbing out. Now that I'm more familiar with how I experience these emotions, I have techniques for working with them gently during meditation practice and they have less of a hold on me. This doesn't mean I don't get sad anymore during mediation. I still do, but now I understand it in my body, allow it to be there and soften to the experience. Practicing compassion towards myself, feeling my own pain gently, I have not found to be easy. I'm a human being and a work in progress.
The Sloppy Tim's - Improv 101 Student Class Show

The ability to laugh at myself, is the biggest relief of all. I meditate so that I can understand or at least begin to understand the projections of my mind, my thoughts, and relate to them with some clarity and sanity. This in turn gives me confidence and presence when relating to others and the potential to see what is happening in the moment for what is happening in the moment. To relate to others as human beings with their own stuff going on and navigate how I feel in situations that are awkward, unknown and uncomfortable seems to me is getting into the belly of life and when I feel most alive. Feeling emotions is being alive. This doesn't mean we have to act out on our emotions and be reactive to the anger by screaming or hitting someone or flooding with tears when we loose our favorite hat. When an "ah ha" moment emerges in real time, in real life, we smile at our own little mastery of getting it. The connection to another person along with the validation of self, being understood and understanding right there in the flow of life, the unpredictable moments that have potential for pure chaos but yet somehow we navigate the moment and are able to make sense of it in that moment with another is amazing. Improv classes are ripe with opportunity to discover these connected moments as well as discover when one is blocked and not in the flow.

We learned scene work basic techniques throughout the eight weeks of class. These basic rules help the performer "find the game" in the scene. We are told not to make jokes, just play the game. That's what's fun in life, too, playing and getting along with others and laughter flows. When we try and control situations leaving little room for others ideas, we hit a wall, conversation gets tense, and basically we kill a scene. The party is over.

I love that "don't kill your scene partner" is listed as a "helpful hint" in learning improv technique.

Of course it's improv killing, with some kind of improv object, but if you kill your scene partner for whatever reason, say you don't like how the scene is going so you kill them, this isn't a good way to go about working in class and you don't want that spilling over out into the real world.

Our warm ups before scene work were the best! There were no mistakes to make! If you blundered in the game, most of them were tongue twisters, and speed reactions, everyone cheered. Yay, I goofed up! What a different mind set from our constant bombardment of having to get it right. I really needed this reminder as well as I had to keep reminding myself this class was purely for me and for fun - not a teacher training, or being graded, or to have a financial return in my investment.

Improv 201 I'm in. That dragon isn't quite a scary as she used to be and I didn't need to kill her after all. Thank you Laura Grey and fellow Tuesday morning devoted improvsters for showing up.

The "Final Rule" from the one handout we were given: You can break all of the preceding rules, however, most of the time you'll be better off if you don't. Improv rules tend to be life rules. They exist to make our work look more like life. ~  Ian Roberts

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Compassion Training Weekend Retreat January 2014


January 24 -26, 2014
Friday 7-9 pm, Saturday 10-6 pm, Sunday 10-1:30 pm

Where: The ID Project 302 Bowery, NYC
Leading the retreat: Kim Brown and Lawrence Grecco

Loving-kindness is a form of love that truly is an ability, and, as research scientists have shown, it can be learned. - IDP Lineage Mentor Sharon Salzberg
As qualities inherent in every human being, compassion and loving-kindness can be developed and cultivated through practice and training.  With effort, each and every person can learn to be more compassionate, kinder, and more patient. Transform your relationship to yourself, your family, your community, and your world by learning metta and tonglen; contemplative techniques designed to exercise the heart and open the mind. 

IDP Weekend retreats are a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the practices and teachings of the Buddhist tradition in the support of a group environment. The focus of this retreat will be the Buddha's original teachings on metta meditation and the Tibetan practice of tonglen. The retreat will include talks, practice instruction, in-depth meditation, short yoga breaks, and discussion.

Yoga will be led by IDP instructor Kim Stetz.  These brief stretch breaks are approximately 10-15 minutes long and are designed to be supportive of sitting meditation practice. No prior knowledge of yoga is required. 
This practice-based retreat will take place Friday evening 7 - 9 pm, Saturday 10 am - 6 pm, and Sunday 10 am-1:30 pm, leaving students ample time to relax and integrate the practice on Sunday afternoon. Participate one, two or all three days.
There will be lunch breaks on Saturday and Sunday, but lunch will not be provided. Participants should bring a bag lunch or choose from the array of diverse eateries in the neighborhood.

Registration and more information here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Itchy, Raw, Eczema! There is a holistic solution.

Eczema that looked like a flesh eating disease is what brought me to my knees over ten years ago in wanting to figure out how such a healthy living yogini could have skin covered in open raw wounds. I went to see all of “them”: two conventional dermatologists, a long standing herbalist Angelica of Angelica Herb, acupuncturist, and a consultation with Pratima Raichur, an Ayurvedic doctor. All confirmed I had the full range of eczema: the wet ones that look like little blisters on the hands and feet, the scaly bordering psoriasis type mostly on my legs and then straight up clusters of itchy red bumps on my arms. The scenario wasn’t pretty. Eczema and allergies run in my family and I seemed to have dodged all of the allergies until my mid 30s when eczema came along. I question (dis)eases that “run in the family” what is it exactly that we are inheriting?

I came to understand my eczema as an external physical manifestation of my internal raw, itchy, wounded, firey self. The internal seemingly endless chatter about the future, the what ifs, unchecked feelings swept under the proverbial rug already densely populated with self doubt and worthlessness that I had no idea even existed in my psyche. I don’t recall one of the professionals listed above suggesting I try meditation or psychotherapy. Maybe it wasn’t their place. Maybe we have to figure this out for ourselves, willing to surrender completely and look at the raw, itchy, wounded, firey self. My recurring anxiety attacks which at that time seemed inexplicable being that I was in a relationship that I thought was with “the one” (no pressure there at 33 years old), as well as becoming a certified yoga teacher in a new “Weekend Warrior” 8 month program at OM Yoga Center (no pressure there pioneering into career). It’s all connected, skin eruptions like eczema, shingles, hives are all linked to stress. Getting to the source of your stress is where the work lies and most of time what ails you is embedded in implicit memory like shards of glass, difficult to see, but painful nonetheless.

Both dermatologists prescribed steroid cream and I was so desperate to get rid of it, I gave it a go against my personal belief in healing the body holistically. The steroid cream didn’t make a difference.  Next I tried Elidel, still a prescription but not a steroid (I think). I didn’t see or feel much of a difference with Elidel either. The skin is our largest organ and by putting toxic chemicals on it I knew I wouldn’t be solving anything, just masking symptoms. I firmly believe when the body is given a fair shot at healing it will.

My gut instinct told me I needed to make a radical change with my eating habits and in doing so without realizing it, I’d be working with my mind (this is the secret Jiu Jitsu). For me, eating super clean was an easier task than discovering where my thoughts came from, sitting with feelings and emotions and asking for professional help. In my mind and opinion back then, I didn’t see a need for professional help as far as psychotherapy was concerned (read scared shitless of what I would discover about myself). In fact, I admired people who went and always wanted to have a therapist because I thought it would validate me in some way, like yup, I’m neurotic but sane like the rest of y’all working through stuff. Many years later in working with a therapist, validation was only one of the gems that helped me see what was going on inside. What I didn’t know back then was in limiting my yoga practice to just wanting to learn the asana and skeptical of the spiritual benefits, I was cheating myself of so much and trying to control the very thing that could help me get better and grow. I had no idea what “let go of the outcome” meant, though I could say it to others and myself, I had no idea how. I was picking and choosing what I wanted from yoga trying to avoid the actual work of self reflection and self study (Svadhyaya).  At that time I didn’t know how to negotiate my feelings concerning a boyfriend that I was in love with who happened to occasionally make fun of me passive aggressively. He would make fun of my curiosity in investigating yoga and Buddhist philosophies. I didn’t have the courage to tell him to love all of me or leave me. Eventually, and thankfully, the leave me did happen. Some people may be able to work the “pick and choose” method from a spiritual practice, but if my plan was to teach yoga how could I leave out the main part? In retrospect, how could I discover me if I was bypassing the teachings of yoga? I had no idea what this journey had in store for me. This I believe was the wet eczema my wounded self.

That relationship I was in, if I was too “spiritual” in his eyes, an example of that being reading books by Chogam Trungpa Rinpoche or Iyengar (both assigned readings for teacher training), he would make fun of me and ask me if I really believed “all that crap”. If I put on 5 pounds, I was told in his version of a joking way that I was getting a belly and he would adjust my pants or skirt to make sure I saw what he was talking about. Meanwhile, it was my boyfriend at age 25 to my 33 who was dieting to lose weight, taking pills so he wouldn’t lose his hair, had just quit smoking, and eventually went back to seeing a therapist because he had been diagnosed with bi-polar 2 disorder in his teens. None of that bothered me. I loved him unconditionally, yet he projected his fears on me and did not love me unconditionally. While in yoga teacher training, I did practice teaching asana and restorative yoga to him and he liked it, but he always asked me to leave out the  “spiritual stuff”. He suffered from severe back pain as well. Go figure. He read Dr. Sarno’s book “Healing Back Pain” and “magically” it worked for him.  This isn’t magic, it’s psychology and mind/body connection.

I am not the angel here nor do I want to make him out to be the bad guy. He wasn’t a bad guy at all, nor was I perfect. We were two people who connected when we did, learned from each other, and parted with torn hearts and always wanting the best for the other. No relationship is perfect, but I learned a lot from that one, mostly that I needed to work on self-confidence and developing my intuition. This would take years and it never ends. We are all a work in progress. No wonder the angry eczema engulfed me. I was far too scared of losing him, “the one” and never stood up for myself.  My skin disease didn’t have a shot at healing as long as I stayed in that cycle of not taking care of my emotional self. I needed to completely accept myself skin “problems” and all, but I had no idea that was a choice. I didn’t know I could “Jiu Jitsu” my mind, turn its perspective in a new direction. I kept wanting the eczema to go away, and live happily ever after with my boyfriend and teach yoga. What I wanted and what was happening were not in sync. In retrospect and understanding what was happening then and what I understand now to be the path to healing, and Karma, I simply didn’t have the key to unlock what was causing so much pain inside.

 On the path to figuring out the eczema from a dietary perspective, going down one avenue, I met with Angelica of Angelica’s Herbs for a consultation. Her diagnosis, and she stuck with her prognosis, was to blame all the drugs I had done as the culprit to my skin eruptions. The problem with her diagnosis was that I really had never done a whole lot of drugs. Sure I had drank alcohol quite a bit in the previous 10 years of my life, but as far as drugs were concerned, I could count on two hands how many times I’d smoked pot or consumed cocaine and I stopped doing both on my 26th birthday and never looked back. Alcohol is a drug and as we know very damaging to the liver as well as relationships. Angelica put me on a detox diet of no wheat, meat, dairy, alcohol, fried foods, caffeine, and sugar. I’d done this before seasonally for 5 days or so when juice fasting which I started doing in my late 20s only this time according to Angelica’s regime, I could eat whole foods. Angelica wanted me to stick with this plan for 8 weeks and take the herbs she prescribed. I could feel and see changes happening, but my skin condition didn’t clear up. This detox regime also reminded me of what Dr. Andrew Weil suggested in 8 Weeks to Optimal Health – a detox I tried in my 20s but didn’t really take to heart. I wasn’t ready to fully embrace the healing benefits of the elimination diet. I didn’t think I needed to as I didn’t have any “negative” health symptoms.

As of writing this book, I’ve been caffeine free for at least 15 years. This was a choice I made years ago. I don’t like the feeling of caffeine coursing through my veins making me feel speedy and anxious. My hands used to shake terribly and I’d shake my foot or legs around like so many people do – just look around you or look at your self. Not everyone has a speedy reaction to caffeine. I do. Also, I choose to believe there are more quirks and health issues caused by caffeine than there are perks. Attempting the elimination diet method, I spent close to $800 on Angelica and her herbs and in fact my boyfriend even paid for it. He slept next to me while my hands were covered with a charcoal and garlic paste concoction wrapped in gauze. He also didn’t mind going on the “cleanse” diet for a little while. I thought this guy is a keeper sleeping next to ol’ garlic stinky hands meanwhile we never spoke about what was really happening between us and I never looked at how I felt.  In my mind we were going through a “for worse” phase and we weren’t even married, yet I hadn’t the faintest idea of how to look at what I was feeling on the inside – all I could see was blaring painful skin and desperately wanted to get rid of it and have healthy skin.

Since my first explosion of eczema it has been 12 years. The relationship I was in during that time ended 9 years ago. Did the eczema go away just like that? Hell no! Is it permanently gone? Absolutely not! Why? Because nothing is permanent. All that is coming, is going, too. I did find a temporary solution that does alleviate the itching and the red bumps in a bottle of ointment prescribed by an amazing dermatologist at NYU. It’s not holistic, but he does make it himself in the pharmacy. I use the ointment so infrequently that it expires long before I’m even half way through the two ounce jar. Basically I can say I have my eczema’s number. It has never come back the way it was when it first erupted and know occasionally I get hives. I have highly sensitive skin. My skin is my barometer for what’s going on inside me mentally. I’m lucky because I can see it. Some people suffer from ulcers, some hiatal hernias, some high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol, heart disease, the list goes on. My stress comes out in a skin condition.

The inner work I have done through meditation, yoga, and psychotherapy has helped in more ways than I can mention including relaxing my relationship to eczema. What this means is to understand that in order for something to change, you have to accept it first. You have to embrace all of you as whole, complete, and beautiful just as you are. Self love and compassion is a potent medicine. Your body is going to change, just as your body will be sick, get old, and die. If you are a human being, then you will experience sickness, get older and die. When I clean up my diet a few times a year do I think there is a direct link to alleviating my suffering? The answer I have found is this; it all depends on my mindset, how gentle I am with my thoughts and my body and accept what I am feeling and what is happening. When I am mindful of thoughts I can make healthy and caring choices not limited to just consumption of food or otherwise, which leads to actions that are healing rather than harmful. This is the key to living a happy, healthy, life or what I like to call a Healthy Spicy Life.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fall Newsletter 2013

HSL Fall Newsletter 2013

What's inside? Online Fall Detox Program Oct 9-18, a run in with Jason Schwartzman, Daily Sit, Sugar - Ah honey, honey

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

10 Day Online Mind/Body/Spirit Fall Detox

My intention in offering group online detox programs is for participants to integrate and experience yoga off the mat. Our food choices, how we treat our bodies, work with our minds, and be with each other is yoga. This online program integrates mind/body/spirit by eating whole foods while learning the disciplines of yoga.
Fall detox dates: October 9 - 18, 2013
Telecall: Sunday October 6,  8:30 PM
- See more at:

My intention in offering group online detox programs is for participants to integrate and experience yoga off the mat. Our food choices, how we treat our bodies, work with our minds, and be with each other is yoga. This online program integrates mind/body/spirit by eating whole foods while learning the disciplines of yoga.
Fall detox dates: October 9 - 18, 2013
Telecall: Sunday October 6,  8:30 PM
- See more at:

 For more information and sign up please visit my website

My intention in offering group online detox programs is for participants to integrate and experience yoga off the mat. Our food choices, how we treat our bodies, work with our minds, and be with each other is yoga. This online program integrates mind/body/spirit by eating whole foods while learning the disciplines of yoga.

Fall detox dates: October 9 - 18, 2013
Telecall: Sunday October 6,  11:00 AM
My intention in offering group online detox programs is for participants to integrate and experience yoga off the mat. Our food choices, how we treat our bodies, work with our minds, and be with each other is yoga. This online program integrates mind/body/spirit by eating whole foods while learning the disciplines of yoga.
Fall detox dates: October 9 - 18, 2013
Telecall: Sunday October 6,  8:30 PM
- See more at:

Monday, July 15, 2013

New! Yoga at my place special hours, special price

New !!! Introducing teaching yoga and meditation in my apartment
Where? The East Village
Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri 9:30 am - Noon AND Tues, Thurs 4-8 pm 
Special rate during these times 50 min $100 cash

$10 Add a "super foods" smoothie made with all organic products: soy or almond milk and choice of frozen fruits, flax seeds, chia seeds, cacoa powder, cacoa nibs, maca powder, spirulina, almond butter, honey

To book a time and for location please email

Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting Off The Treadmill & Becoming Bodhisattvas in Today's World

Dr. Miles Neale and Nugget

Getting Off The Treadmill and Becoming Bodhisattvas in Today's World

"In the course of our conversation that Saturday afternoon, not only did I learn about a White Op, an operation and term Miles created, but also his personal mission to implement and be a part of systemic change in society and the world because quite frankly, this planet needs a White Op like yesterday! September is too far away!"

Summer Newsletter 2013

HSL Summer Newsletter

What's inside ... 10 Day Mind/Body/Spirit Detox Program June 21 -30, 2013, working with Smart Bells™, Daily Sit, and what's gluten free and what's not, Karma retreat June 14, 15, 16 in NYC, and info on The Gift of Self Care Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica December 2013! 

To quote my Aunt Fran post reading the newsletter ... "Hummm...busy girl!"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary Seva Day

Volunteer May 31 at Woodstock Animal Farm Sanctuary.

Look at that sweet baby! 

So proud and happy for her! 

Come join me

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Life is so good. Taste it!

I'm leaving for The Sanctuary at Two Rivers in Costa Rica before sunrise on Thursday morning. This is an exciting time for me as I'm branching out to new territory. I do my best to explore new terrain every year, at least once a year, and Costa Rica will be the marker for 2013. I'm hoping to make it to Toronto for a weekend of teachings with Dr. Miles Neale in June. Toronto will be a new city for me to visit as well. Not only is visiting CR a new territory, but this is also my first retreat that I will be leading. Many thank yous and bows to my teachers and friends who have supported me on this path. I feel as prepared as I can be as a leader and a teacher. A special shout out for all the love and support from Perrey Reeves and Jeff Gossett who invited me to teach at the sanctuary.

When I return on April 23rd, I will be fully committed to my Online Spring Detox Program May 1 -10th. We will be eating and cooking a lot of organic whole foods, learning about yoga philosophy and living it! I look forward to teaching the rejuvenating yoga class the last day of the cleanse the evening of May 10th from 7:00 - 8:45 PM located at The IDP. Hannah Thiem (Wanderlust Festival) will sooth us while playing violin and Fatima da Costa (Kirtan Connection) is leading us in traditional kirtan and assisting.

Adreanna Limbach and I are just about ready to launch a six week self-care program. Classes will meet at The IDP on Sundays 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM staring May 12th! Stay tuned for details!

I hope to see you all soon!
Namaste  ૐ

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shiva via GBSK

GBSK Tees since 2009 in Tokyo now global! Yogi and friend Barry Silver creates awesome heart felt, Shiva Shakti,  rockin' it all, Tees. Been washing, drying and wearing this one for over 3 years and it looks as good as day 1. People are asking... get one! Avail in US now. Used to have to special order and ship from Japan from the man himself.

Monday, March 25, 2013

44.5 Years Young Today

21 years of playing on a yoga mat. Yes, I'm still at it!
13 years teaching and bringing yoga into the world.
Healthy Spicy Life, friends.
Costa Rica Retreat April 13-19, 2013. One great deal space left!
Sign up for the online Spring detox May 1 -10, 2013.
Come to a rejuvenating yoga class May 10 7:00 - 8:45 PM

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Healthy Spicy Life Spring 2013

Spring Newsletter 2013
What's inside?
April - Costa Rica Retreat
May - Online 10 day detox program and yoga class
Benefits of greens and recipe for raw kale salad
Daily Sit

Friday, March 1, 2013

Daily Sit

Daily Sit
Where: From wherever
When: Saturdays 9:00 AM EST
What: Community meditation

Limited Offer Deal For Costa Rica Retreat

Old school (funny what's old school) way of signing up for my mailing list go here.

I sent out quarterly emails and occasionally an email for deals like the one that's going out tomorrow. I will not litter your email box with emails. Yogi promise.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Daily Sit

Daily Sit on IDP blog

When: Saturdays 9:00 AM EST

Where: Anywhere

What: Meditation

Why: Because it's good for you and others

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Daily Sit while on urban retreat

What: Daily Sit

Where: From wherever you are

When: Saturday Jan 19 10:30 AM EST

Get your meditation on and be present.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Savini Inspired Risotto Milanese

Savini -  Milan, Italy January 1989

 When I was 20 years old, I had the good fortune of tasting Risotto Milanese for the first time at Savini, a century old restaurant located in the heart of Milan. Living in Milan for three weeks during winter break my Junior year in college, I had been treated to fine dining as much as I had the chance to taste thin crust brick oven pizza with a sunny side up egg cracked on it piping hot just out of the oven. Visiting Milano, that's what Europeans call her, was my first experience traveling abroad. I spent afternoons forging friendships with a handful of students at Bocconi who were friends with a friend of mine who had gone to school there. I loved my new Italian friends, Corrado, Marina and the Fabios stand our in my memory. Our days at Bocconi carried over into cafes, pubs and home cooked dinners well into the night. I spent three weeks in Milano pretty much doing whatever I wanted all expenses paid and lived in a rather poche "residence" apartment/hotel situation. I took a risk going much to the chagrin of my parents, but my desire to experience life and try new things has been my inner compass which I am always grateful for and heed.

During the course of our meal, the chef came out to greet my patron who had brought me to Savini insisting that if I eat in any restaurant in Milan, Savini had was the one. He was buying, so of course I said yes. I have changed the recipe from the chef's dish because he used beef stock and I never have that on hand. I do however make my own chicken stock so that's what I use. I prefer to use homemade anything over store bought, but you my friend, the cook, can do what you like. Also for the vegetarians out there you can use a vegetable stock and it's quite tasty as well. The trick regardless whatever stock you use is to soak the saffron threads for a few hours in the stock before adding the liquid to the rice.

chicken stock warming with saffron threads

almost done

Serves two
1 cup Risotto - I use organic if made in the states, if made in Italy just risotto
2 cups of chicken stock (or your stock of choice)
1/2 tsp Saffron threads - I use Morton & Bassett two little vials - it's expensive
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 medium size organic yellow onion diced
11/2 TBS unsalted organic butter
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese plus extra for plating
Sea salt - my cooking fav Maldon Sea Salt flakes (I believe choice of Chef Wylie Dufresne)
Freshly ground black pepper
top with Italian parsley if you like, but not necessary

In a 12 to 14-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile on low heat warm the saffron-infused stock. Once the onions are translucent add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the wine to the toasting rice, and then add a 4 to 6-ounce ladle of the stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and yet still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. I add a little salt and pepper along the way, but salt and pepper is not part of the original recipe as the broth and butter used may have already been seasoned, mine aren't. Don't walk away from the stove. Keep your eye on it and keep the temperature on medium to med low. You may not need all of the broth though I always seem to use it all. Stir in the butter and cheese until well mixed. Plate immediately add some extra grated cheese and season to taste.

Risotto Milanese
I've been making this dish for 20 years and it never disappoints me and is great the next day or two as well.

Serve with a side dish of steamed broccoli or my favorite sauteed chiffonade brussel sprouts with pine nuts, sea salt and black pepper.

Most importantly, cook from your heart.
Buon appetito.