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/
White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Have we all started permanently wearing our stretchy pants for the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday party bonanza? I miss the days when I actually had to wear spandex to work. What do you think would happen if I showed up in tights and a leotard at my East End Glasgow school? Can we sit on the floor? Desks are for suckers.

This whole moving debacle is putting a a massive wrench in my plan to cook all the things. I might maybe sort of be co-hosting a waffle party this weekend, but I’m about to put most of the stuff in my kitchen into a box. I may not know who I am for a while.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Before moving madness hit, I made you a cheesecake. Actually, I made you a White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake that you can serve as your Christmas dessert this year. Prepare to be loved by everyone.

This cheesecake has a chocolate cookie base and creamy white chocolate peppermint cheesecake studded with peppermint bark, then the whole thing is topped off with a white chocolate mousse and scattered with crushed candy canes. Not only is it festive and beautiful, but it’s one of the best cheesecake’s I’ve ever eaten.

If you can’t get peppermint bark where you live, you can make your own. It’s pretty easy. Here’s the peppermint bark recipe I used. Don’t worry about fancy molds. Just spread the chocolate out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Oh, and you only need half of this for the cheesecake. You can only make half or save the other half for snacking.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I can’t wait until I can invite the world over for dinner in our new place. Until then, please please please make this White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake. It’s so very awesome.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
Serves 12
White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake had better be in your face very very soon, like now.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
10 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
10 hr
For the crust
  1. 2 cups (around 20 cookies) chocolate cookie crumbs (like oreos or bourbon biscuits)
  2. 3 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling
  1. 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 4 ounces white chocolate, melted
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons flour
  5. 1-1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  8. 3 eggs
  9. Approximately 1-1/2 cups pepermint bark pieces
For the mousse
  1. 1/2 cups cool whip, thawed
  2. 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. 2 ounces white chocolate, melted
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  6. Crushed peppermint candies, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C). Prepare your 9-inch springform pan by wrapping the outside with plastic wrap and then foil to keep any water from seeping in when you put it in a water bath.
  2. Use your food processor to crush up your cookies into fine crumbs. (If you don't have a food processor, you can put the cookies in a zip top bag and and smash them with a rolling pin or other heavy object.)
  3. Add the melted butter to the bread crumbs and pulse until your crumbs resemble wet sand.
  4. Pour your crumb mixture into your springform pan, and press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake your crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool while you get on with your cheesecake filling.
  5. Reduce oven heat to 325.
  6. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat your cream cheese until smooth. Next beat in the sugar, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  7. Beat in the melted white chocolate, flour, heavy cream, salt, and peppermint extract, and give the bowl another scrape.
  8. Beat the eggs in one at a time. Scrape and beat once more to make sure the mixture is completely smooth.
  9. Scatter your peppermint bark pieces evenly over your crust. Pour your cheesecake mixture over the crust and peppermint bark.
  10. Place your springform pan into a large roasting pan. Place the whole thing in the oven. Pull the rack out a bit so you can reach it easier. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it's about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Gently push the oven rack back into place, close the door, and bake your cheesecake for an hour.
  11. When the hour is up, turn off the oven, but don't open the door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 45 minutes.
  12. Remove the springform pan from the water bath and allow the cheesecake to cool on the counter for an hour. Transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to cool for at least four hours before adding the mousse.
  13. To make the white chocolate mousse, add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl, and beat together until thick and smooth.
  14. Carefully spread the mousse over the top of the cheesecake, and return it to the fridge for another four hours at least.
  15. To add a bit of festive cheer, crush up a candy cane, and sprinkle the bits over your cheesecake just before serving. They'll be crunchy the first time around, but they'll melt in the fridge. It' fine. They make a cool watercolor effect and still impart peppermint flavor.
Adapted from Baked by Rachel
Adapted from Baked by Rachel
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Jalapeno Hush Puppies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
Be Awesome

Be Awesome

Be Awesome

More and more lately, I’ve been noticing a dichotomy developing between the life I wish I had and the life I actually lead. I want to be adventurous and interesting. I want to be thin and beautiful. I want to be endlessly compassionate and intelligent. I want to kick ass at my job and at my life every single day. I want to be a woman that my daughter will admire. I want to live for a hundred years and read every book and visit every country. I want to be perfect, and I don’t want to accept that that’s an unreasonable expectation.

In real life, I come home from work, put on my pajamas, eat leftover meatballs, watch three episodes of The Crown, eat a giant slice of cheesecake, and go to bed. I am utterly boring.

I have a very hard time acknowledging the positives in myself, and don’t you dare try to enumerate them. Seeing the positives in the world around me comes quite easily. I know all about my many many blessings. 

I know the life I want to have, but I can’t stop feeling tired and listless. I even know some of the things that I could do to get there, but then I just don’t do them. I give in to my exhaustion and indulge my urge to be boring.

Maybe I should stop punishing myself. Maybe I should change. I don’t know which one is right. 

Or maybe… Maybe I should just keep faking it. Maybe I should stop looking at other people’s online edited lives and being overwhelmed with envy. Maybe I should remind myself that there are a lot of people who are just as boring as I am most days. There might even be people who look at my edited online life and feel envy. 

I don’t have the answers. The only thing I know is that every day, I get to make choices. Everyday I can choose self-love or self-loathing. I can be easy on myself, or I can be hard on myself. I can do what I’ve always done, or I can go against my instincts and just be happy. 

Choosing happiness probably comes easy to most people, but in case it doesn’t, know that I’m right there with you. Know that you’re not the only one struggling to be okay with who you are. Know that you’re not the only one faking it. Eventually, we’ll make it, and that will truly be awesome.

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