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A Cheating Way of Cooking Risotto

A Cheating Way of Cooking Risotto

    I love eating rice and would cook and eat rice nearly everyday. Risotto is a classic Italian cuisine, well accepted by people with different cultural backgrounds around the world. Not to mention, I love its rich and creamy texture going extremely well with a variety of vegetables or meats. The traditional way of cooking risotto is to add stock into the grains gradually and stir constantly. Generally speaking, the whole process of cooking the grains from raw to being cooked with constant stirring requires me standing near the stove at least 25 to 30 minutes or so. I happily invest all the efforts and time in cooking this fantastic cuisine as “labour of love” for my family and the end results prove the labour is well worth.

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    But there are often times, when I am tired, or have some urgent or important things interrupted or for any other reasons, yet I still want a bowl of creamy risotto, I might go for a short cut in cooking. I found a cheating way to cook risotto with similar outcome that I want. The trick is simple, just use a steamer or a wok to replace the constant stirring near the hot stove and skip the hardest part of making this dish. But I have to insert a disclaimer here. The cheating way of my approach and cooking time taken in the following recipe is to produce the well cooked rice in order to suit our Asian rice-eating buds. As for those people who love a bit chewy inside, you have to adjust the cooking time and quantity of stock. Do one or two experiments yourself to find the optimal way to suit your taste if you want to cheat in cooking risotto. Follow my first cooking hack, A Quick Way to Make Crème Brulee Without an Oven, this is my second one posted on this website. Hope you all like it and enjoy.

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    Serves 3 to 4 (Adapted from Australian Good Food, May 2010 edition)

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    Ingredients:

    • 600g (21oz) butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tsp thyme leaves
    • 150g (5oz) Arborio rice, about 3/4cup
    • 70ml dry white wine
    • 550ml salt-reduced vegetable stock
    • 35g (1.5oz) parmesan cheese, grated
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
      Cooking Pumpkin Risotto in a cheating way

      Method:

      1. Preheat oven to 200C (390F). Add 1 tablespoon of oil to two thirds of the diced pumpkin and toss to coat. Transfer them onto a baking pan, lined with baking paper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender and golden.
      2. Bring water to boil in a steamer or wok. Prepare a large deep dish and its size fits in the wok. Use a saucepan, heat stock and bring it to boil.
      3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until aromatic for 3 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Cook for 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat. Pour wine into the mixture, stir for 1 to 2 minutes until evaporated. Add stock with the rest of the diced pumpkin and bring to boil. Carefully transfer the mixture to the large deep dish in the wok. Steam over high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste a few grains by yourself until the texture is cooked to your preference.
      4. Remove dish from steamer. Stir in parmesan, season with salt if necessary, and let it stand for 3 minutes. Divide into separate serving bowls, then top with baked pumpkin and extra grated parmesan. Serve hot.

      I have passions of cooking all kinds of good foods and different cuisines for my family. Check out my food blog, Christine’s Recipes for all the dishes I have cooked, with full recipes and step-by-step instructions and photos.

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      Last Updated on January 13, 2020

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

      No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

      Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

      Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

      A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

      Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

      In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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      From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

      A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

      For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

      This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

      The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

      That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

      Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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      The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

      Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

      But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

      The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

      The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

      A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

      For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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      But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

      If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

      For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

      These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

      For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

      How to Make a Reminder Works for You

      Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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      Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

      Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

      My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

      Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

      I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

      More on Building Habits

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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