Top 16 of 2016 | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Top 16 of 2016

Top 16 of 2016 | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

2016 was a battle. I feel beaten and battered and completely exhausted. I’m digging deep and finding hope for the future. Maybe this is the challenge we need to become the very best we are capable of. 

Let’s go to our happy place and talk about food. Here are your 16 favorite posts of 2016. Eat, drink, and be merry every single day.

16. Caramel Toffee Cheesecake

15. Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

14. Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cake

13. Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf

12. Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail

11. Brown Elephant Cocktail

10. Parmesan Fried Gnocchi

9. Transformer Chicken

8. DIY Air Conditioner

7. Passion Fruit Green Tea

6. Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

5. Double Chocolate Muffins

4. Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

3. Chicken Parmesan

2. Peanut Butter Fudge

1. Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels

Enough sadness. Let’s go be awesome. 

Jalapeno Hush Puppies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Jalapeno Hush Puppies

Jalapeno Hush Puppies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

2016 is almost over which means I made it in just under the wire for achieving one of my New Year’s resolutions. I’ve finally managed to overcome my fear of deep frying. Somehow, having a pot full of hot oil on my stove seemed fraught with peril. I had visions of setting my house on fire or burning my face off. 

Turns out if you leave plenty of room in your pot and clip a thermometer on your pot to make sure your oil is at the right temperature, it’s actually pretty easy. I’m going to fry all the things. 

Jalapeno Hush Puppies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

My breakthrough came with these Jalapeno Hush Puppies. They’re crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside with a hint of heat from chopped fresh jalapeno all over the place. It’s like eating a fresh savoury, spicy doughnut. Hush Puppies are heaven. 

These are perfect all on their own, but if you want something to dip them in, just stir together a little sour cream and hot sauce, and go to town.

Jalapeno Hush Puppies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

2017 is going to be a year where we have to face our fears and bring our most awesome selves forward. You might as well get frying at home. Everything is gonna be alright.

 

Jalapeno Hush Puppies
Yields 12
Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and bursting with subtle heat, Jalapeno Hush Puppies are easier to make than you think and totally wort it.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 75 grams all purpose flour
  2. 71 grams corn meal
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  6. 1 teaspoonssalt
  7. 3/4 cups buttermilk
  8. 4.25 ounces creamed corn
  9. 1 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
  10. Vegetable oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Get out a pot that is heavy and deep. I used an enamel coated cast iron 5 quart pot. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Pour in vegetable oil until it's a couple of inches deep. Turn the heat under the pan to medium and keep your eye on the thermometer as you're mixing your batter. You want it to get up to 375F degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, cayenne pepper, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a separate container, add buttermilk, creamed corn, and jalapeno. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together quickly and gently with a rubber spatula, and mix until just combined. Try not to mix for more than 20 seconds. A few lumps are okay. Let the batter rest while your oil continues to heat up.
  5. Once your oil has reached 375 (this may take a while, and the heat will need to be adjusted throughout cooking to stay as close to that temperature as possible) use a scoop or two spoons to gently add the batter to the oil in fat dollops. I could comfortably cook 3 or 4 hush puppies at a time in my pot. You don't want to overcrowd the pan, or you won't get nice even browning.
  6. Use your tongs to gently flip the hush puppies over in the oil a few times while cooking. Once their dark brown, carefully remove them to a wire rack set over a cookie sheet to cool and crisp up.
  7. Add more batter to your oil as space becomes available, and keep frying and flipping until you have a pile of delicious hush puppies. Remember to keep an eye on the temperature of your oil throughout. The temperature will drop while cooking, so you'll need to keep adjusting your heat.
  8. Serve warm plain or with hot sauce spiked sour cream.
Adapted from I'm Just Here for More Food by Alton Brown
http://awesomeon20.com/
Homemade Oatcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Homemade Oatcakes

Homemade Oatcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

When I first met my husband, I marveled at his lack of understanding of cheese. He once made nachos with Doritos, with shredded mozzarella, and Thai sweet chili sauce. He said, “All cheese tastes the same.” Wait. What???

It wasn’t until I moved to the UK that I figured out how he had been operating under this unfortunate delusion for so long. Most cheese in the UK is pretty much the same. Almost everything is a variation on cheddar. This can make for a pretty boring cheese plate. Not to mention that in Scotland, instead of a nice chunk of baguette, they give you dry, bland oatcakes. I have frequently been underwhelmed. 

Homemade Oatcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Because I’m somewhat neurotic about working my way through a cookbook, I decided to try Nigella’s recipe for homemade oatcakes. I wasn’t expecting much. Turns out, oatcakes are pretty awesome if you make them yourself and roll them as thin as you can before baking.

Make sure you include a fat pinch of salt and cook them  until they’re golden brown around the edges. Eat them with a variety of cheeses with a variety of textures and flavors from a variety of countries. That’s how cheese plates should work. Throw in some grapes and some salted almonds or cashews. 

Homemade Oatcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Drink wine. Eat oatcakes and cheese. Live it up.

Oatcakes
Yields 12
Homemade Oatcakes are flavorful and crispy and good with every kind of cheese.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons quick cooking oats
  2. Pinch of salt
  3. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  5. 6-8 tablespoons of recently boiled water
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put the oats, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl, and give them a stir to combine. Pour in the butter and start add the first six tablespoons of hot water. Start stirring, and add hot water as needed until a stiff dough forms.
  3. Knead your dough a few times until it comes together smoothly. With a rolling pin, roll it out as thin as you can.
  4. Using a three-inch round cutter or whatever shape floats your boat, cut out as many oatcakes as you can. If you find your dough is sticking slightly, use a thin spatula or butter knife to lift it off the counter and onto the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown slightly. Cool on a wire rack.
Adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
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