Cheddar Cheese Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheddar Cheese Risotto

Cheddar Cheese Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Is Instagram the best thing ever, or is it totally ruining our lives? It’s the only social media platform I still follow, and I love looking at gorgeous images from around the world, but I worry about what it’s doing to us sometimes. We now have an expectation that everything from our food to our faces has to look absolutely spectacular. What started out as snaps of real life has evolved into highly edited and curated images portraying utter perfection. Yet I can’t look away.

I see the teenage girls in my school putting so much effort into piling on pounds of makeup with varying degrees of finesse. I see restaurants serving food that looks absolutely stunning but tastes like cardboard. I see the Instagram aesthetic washing over every part of our lives, homogenizing everything from apartments to cheeseburgers to female faces. It’s beautiful, yes, but is there something else we might not be seeing?

I saw a style blogger talking in her Instagram story recently about how she finally put on makeup and then she felt normal? That struck me as a little bit insane. We paint our faces, cover up our unique features to look more like everyone else, and that’s when we feel normal? Look, I’m sure I’ve said something similar many times. I wear makeup to work every day. But for once I stopped to wonder what would happen if we were all just satisfied with ourselves exactly the way we are. What if we didn’t need to enhance, find the perfect lighting, edit away our “flaws?” What if we were just good enough already and the rest was just for fun? 

Cheddar Cheese Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

With that nonsense rant in mind, I’m sharing a dish that is truly delicious and pretty ugly. I have to confess that the first time I made it, I used orange cheddar instead of white, and the color was slightly more appealing, but the flavor was exactly the same. I thought about not sharing it because it wasn’t pretty enough, but then I realized that you would be missing out on something truly tasty. Not everything needs to be Instagram ready.

I assure you, this Cheddar Cheese Risotto will be a joy to eat. It will fill you up with its cheesy heartiness, and you’ll want to come back for more again and again. It’s not remotely difficult to make, but you do need to tend to it. Make sure you have all your ingredients measured out and waiting before you turn the stove on because once it starts cooking, you need to stay with it to the glorious end. But all you have to do is dump and stir. And stir and stir and stir until you achieve the creamy and chewy goodness that is risotto.

Cheddar Cheese Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The face you woke up with is already beautiful. Your body is already a powerhouse. Your food does not need to look like a unicorn. There’s more to life than what shows up on Instagram. Be real. Eat real. Live real. It’s gonna be awesome.

Cheddar Cheese Risotto
Serves 3
Cheddar Cheese Risotto may not look beautiful, but it's super tasty, and that's what counts.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  4. 300 grams risotto rice
  5. 125 ml white wine
  6. 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  7. 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  8. 125 grams sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the white parts of your green onions to the pot, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Save the green part of the onions for later.
  2. Add the rice and give it a good stir to coat the grains in the fat. Add the wine and mustard, and stir until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Start adding the vegetable stock a little at a time, stirring all the while until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. It will take about 18-20 minutes to work in all the stock. Taste it as you get toward the end until the rice is cooked through and chewy.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until melted.
  5. Serve right away, and sprinkle some of the green tops of your onions over the top of each dish.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
Raspberry Margarita | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Raspberry Margarita | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Raspberry Margaritas

Raspberry Margarita | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This weekend I managed to actually achieve something I had convinced myself I would probably never do. I can’t even remember the first time I tried to complete a Couch to 5K programme, but it was in Hawaii, and before I went into the hospital, so it had to be at least early 2015. Possibly before that. I would always start out with the best of intentions, but inevitably, I’d end up quitting by the third week. Sometimes I had to quit for very good reasons, like my lung collapsed. But most of the time, I’d just lose all motivation and couldn’t drag myself off the couch to engage in a mind-numbingly boring exercise routine. 

This time, I used a different app, One You Couch to 5K. It comes from the NHS here in the UK, and they got some BBC personalities involved, so I had the adorable Sarah Millican as my running coach. She cheered me on, called me flower, and promised me I could make it to the end. Pretty sure I yelled at her a few times, but she won me over in the end. There are five different coaches to choose from, so you can find the person who motivates you the most. One of them is American track Olympian Michael Johnson. I found this a bit intimidating and opted for a woman who looked like she might like cookies as much as I do. With the help of this app, I’ve now completed nine weeks of running three times a week, and I think I might continue on my own.

Raspberry Margarita | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Because life is all about balance, I’ve made us a cocktail to celebrate. Raspberry Margaritas are sweet, tangy, potent, and so awesome. There’s a good amount of raspberry puree in this cocktail, so it’s super fruity. This makes them extremely easy to drink, so I guess it’s a good thing that this recipe only makes four. Plus, the color is just gorgeous.

We’re making this drink in the blender, but it’s not a frozen margarita. I suppose you could chuck in a bunch of ice, but to me that just means you end up with a watery margarita. I prefer them on the rocks. If, like me, you have a cheap hand-me-down blender, you’ll want to strain out the seeds. If you have like a kick ass Ninja blender or something, your seeds will probably be neatly pulverized by the blender magic. We’re also rimming the glass in a combination of caster sugar and coarse sea salt because life should be salty and sweet, and so should your Raspberry Margarita.

Raspberry Margarita | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I still hate running. I’m not turning into a fitness nut. I have every intention of continuing to drink cocktails and eat cheese and chocolate. But now I know I can run (as slow as I want) for 30 minutes without dying, and I can do it three times in a week. Let’s celebrate life’s little successes with a Raspberry Margarita. Cheers!

Raspberry Margaritas
Serves 4
Raspberry Margaritas are sweet, tangy, potent, and so awesome.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup tequila
  2. 3/4 cup triple sec
  3. 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  4. 1 cup lime juice
  5. 1/3 cup caster sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons sugar, for rimming the glass (optional)
  7. 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, for rimming the glass (optional)
  8. Lime wedges, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add the tequila, triple sec, raspberries, lime juice, and caster sugar to your blender. Blend until your raspberries are pureed.
  2. Strain your margarita through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds. They're just not that fun to drink.
  3. If you want to rim your glasses, put your sugar and salt onto a plate. Use a lime wedge to wet the rim of each glass, and press the damp edge into the pile of sugar and salt to coat.
  4. Add ice to your glass, fill with your margarita, garnish with a lime wedge, and celebrate.
Adapted from Sweet ReciPEAs
Adapted from Sweet ReciPEAs
http://awesomeon20.com/
White Cheddar Polenta Souffle | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle

 

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day Recently we went on holiday to Greece and did practically nothing for three days. Even though I’m generally a lazy person, I tend to struggle with doing nothing. Not accomplishing things makes me feel guilty and anxious, so initially, the thought of being halfway up a huge hill in the middle of nowhere seemed stiflingly boring. Usually when we travel, I’m rushing to pack in as much sightseeing as possible, but in Kefalos, we saw the whole town in a couple of hours. 

But when I finally accepted that there was nothing to do but read, nap, and eat, I let go of the guilt and embraced the boredom wholeheartedly. Laying in the shade by the pool with my kindle all day and only leaving the hotel in search of hummus and halloumi was pretty spectacular. My only regret is that we didn’t discover the gelato place sooner. I definitely would have gone every day to try all the different flavors. 

Since we’ve returned home, our house has been in utter chaos because of some renovations we’re having done, and I’ve just been reverting back to that do nothing mode. Given that things have gone back to utter chaos at work as well, I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than reading in bed.

I’ve finally put down my book long enough to tell you about a delightful recipe we enjoyed recently, White Cheddar Polenta Souffle. I know, you think souffle is fiddly and complicated, and while there is a tiny bit of technique involved, it’s really much harder to screw up than you’d think.

This souffle has tons of flavor from the sharp white cheddar and a great texture boost from the cornmeal. Don’t be a doof like me and forget to butter your dish right to the top so that you can get the ultimate rise in your souffle. This is best served right away, but as there are only two of us, we ate the leftovers for lunch the next day and still enjoyed it. 

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Sometimes trying new things means doing next to nothing, other times it’s cooking a souffle to impress no one other than yourself. This White Cheddar Polenta Souffle is definitely worth it.

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (stone-ground if possible)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Make sure you've removed any racks from the top of your oven and that you've placed a rack in the bottom third of your oven, then preheat it to 375F.
  2. Butter the bottom and all the way up the sides of a 1.5 quart souffle dish, and make sure you get right into the corners.
  3. Add the grated parmesan to the souffle dish, and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Tap and shake the parmesan all the way around the pan to coat it completely in the cheese. Remove the plastic wrap, pour out any remaining cheese into a dish and set aside for later. Place the souffle dish in the fridge until you're ready to fill it with souffle.
  4. Place the butter, 2 cups of water, cornmeal, garlic, and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir together and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring often for about 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and beat until light in color and slightly thickened.
  6. Ever so slowly, add bits of the polenta mixture to the egg yolks, whisking continually until you've worked in about a third of the polenta. This allows you to raise the temperature of the egg yolks slowly so your eggs don't scramble. After you've worked in about a third, you should be okay to add in the rest of the polenta and whisk it together until smooth. Add the cheddar, cayenne, and the rest of the parmesan. Stir it all together and set aside while you get on with your egg whites.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, beat your egg yolks and 1 tablespoon warm water with an electric mixer (using the whisk attachment if that's an option) until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and continue to whisk to medium peaks.
  8. This is the perfect time to remove your souffle pan from the fridge.
  9. Add a quarter of your egg whites to your polenta mixture and fold gently until combined. Keep adding egg whites about a quarter at a time until everything is incorporated being as gentle as possible. The bubbles in the eggs is where you're going to get all the lift, so be careful with them.
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http://awesomeon20.com/white-cheddar-polenta-souffle/

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