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The Perfect Risotto Recipe for Anniversaries and Apologies

The Perfect Risotto Recipe for Anniversaries and Apologies

It’s a commonly-held belief that everyone should have at least one spectacular recipe down pat so they can demonstrate their culinary prowess at a moment’s notice. Though it’s actually best to have at least ten of these memorized, having the know-how to create one gorgeous dish is absolutely imperative, and might actually be the magic key to getting you out of trouble one day.

Do take note that when I mention the creation of a dish, I’m not talking about warming up something frozen that you’ve bought at the grocery store—that’s not cooking, it’s a travesty waiting to happen. This is a meal that you create from scratch, so if you don’t yet know the difference between chopping and mincing, and think that deglazing is something you only do to windows, it’s best to do a bit of research on the basics first. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds: chopping = cutting something fairly small; mincing = really tiny. That’s it. Oh, and use the sharp end of your knife to do all of this.

Risotto

Chopped Onion and Celery

    That really is a gorgeous word, isn’t it? Roll it off your tongue a couple of times and you’ll see what I mean. It’s an Italian dish made with Arborio rice, which gets fabulously starchy as it cooks so the dish ends up rich and creamy. There are countless variations on flavour profiles that you can create, but this is a basic recipe you can use and build upon as you see fit.

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    What you’ll need:

    6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I like to use onion)
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp butter or margarine
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
    1.5 cups Arborio rice
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    sea salt black pepper
    2 tbsp minced chives
    1 extra tsp of butter or margarine 1/2 cup grated cheese, such as Parmigiano Reggiano 

    Step 1: Heat the Stock

    In a medium-sized pot heat up the stock so that it comes to a light boil, and then turn the heat down to low to keep it hot, but not bubbling.

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    Stirring

      In a separate pot (or large, deep skillet—even a wok will do), heat the olive oil and butter on medium-high heat. When it starts to sizzle, add in the onions, garlic, and celery, and then turn the heat down to medium. You should be able to sautee them at this temperature for a good 10 minutes without them going brown.

      One the vegetables have softened and the onions are translucent, it’s time to add the rice.

      Step 2: Rice 

      Once you’ve added the rice, turn the heat back up to high and stir it around immediately so that it gets a nice, even coating of fat all over it. Keep stirring it constantly, and after a minute or so you’ll notice that it starts to look a bit translucent. This is when you get to deglaze the pan so you lift all the delectable bits that the cooking vegetables have released, and the rice will get to suck the wine up into every single grain.

      *Note: make sure that you never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t serve at your table. The quality of the dish will be far better with a good wine, and you’ll get to sample it liberally as you cook.

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      Step 3: Add the Stock

      When the rice has absorbed the wine, add a ladle of hot stock to the pan along with a pinch of sea salt, and turn the heat down to medium: you want the rice to simmer, but not burn. After that ladle-ful has been absorbed, add another one, constantly stirring that rice with your wooden spoon so you coax the starch out of the grains as they cook. This will take approximately 20 minutes or so, at which point you should taste the rice to see if it’s cooked. The grains should be mostly soft, but very slightly

      al dente, meaning that they’ll be tender, but still offer a bit of resistance when bitten into.Adding Stock

        This is your opportunity to season the dish: does it need more salt? How about some cracked pepper? Stir these in as needed, and then remove the pan from the stove.

        Step 4: Final Adjustments

        It’s in this final step that you get to make the risotto your own. If you want to keep things simple, then just add in that extra dollop of butter or margarine, stir it around, and then let it sit for a couple of minutes so it gets creamy beyond measure. You can add in grated Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago, or Romano cheese at this stage as well, and then garnish it with chives before serving.

        If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you could do a bit of prep work before starting the risotto so you can add extras to it, such as sauteed mushrooms or other vegetables. Some great ideas/combinations to try are:

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        – Mixed fried mushrooms – Broccoli and lemon (you’d add a tbsp of lemon juice during the final step)
        – Asparagus tips – Spinach and feta (omit the parmesan)
        – Sundried tomato and basil

        Risotto

          Mushrooms, broccoli, and asparagus need to be cooked before being added, while spinach and basil can just be chopped or shredded and added in raw in the final step: the heat from the rice will cook them lightly for you. Be sure to serve this with a glass of that wine you cooked with, and consider accompanying the dish with a light salad to cut the richness of it—a light salad of arugula/mixed greens with a lemon vinaigrette would do nicely.

          There you have it! Risotto might be a bit labour-intensive, but it really is worth the effort: once you and your companion take that first bite, you’ll see what I mean.

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          Catherine Winter

          Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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          Last Updated on July 2, 2020

          Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

          Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

          There is very little in life as annoying or distracting as neck pain. Most people find that neck pain is temporary. What can you do if your neck pain seems chronic or if it comes and goes with no obvious source?

          Whether you have simply slept on your neck wrong or you are working late, hunched over a keyboard half the night, neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck!

          What most people are unaware of is that there are little known hacks that can help you find relief from neck pain fast and naturally. This means no pills or expensive exercise equipment to buy.

          How can you get relief from neck pain?

          There are several easy steps to follow to find the perfect hack for solving your neck pain fast and easy.

          How Did I End Up With This Pain in the Neck?

          Neck pain often has an I-was-looking-right-at-it source that we don’t recognize at first glance. Once you identify the source of the pain, you can take the best corrective measure, or several measures if need be!

          Ask yourself these questions to find a possible source:

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          • Do you spend much of the day sitting (desk job, typing, etc.)?
          • How old are your mattress and pillow?
          • How much exercise do you work into an average day?
          • How do you manage stress?
          • Have you been injured or in an accident (no matter how small) lately?

          Perhaps one last question to ask yourself might be, “Is my pain a regular occurrence, or is my neck pain something that has just cropped up?

          Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start searching for answers.

          Remedies for Neck Pain

          Once you know the source, try tapping into one (or several) of these solutions to start healing your neck pain now.

          1. Everyday Activities

          One of the important factors with neck pain will be your everyday activities. Other than an injury or accident, one of the largest factors for neck pain includes working overtime in an office and the stress that work entails[1].

          Due to the coronavirus, many people find themselves working from home, in kitchens, basements, using a barstool, and/or other equipment that was not designed for humans to spend hours on end, typing and looking at a computer screen.

          If you find that your neck pain has occurred during the past few months due to a job change, or if you suddenly began working from home, your issue may be due to ergonomics. Invest in an adjustable office chair to help make your workspace more neck-friendly.

          2. Age of Mattress and Pillow

          The age of your mattress and pillow should also be considered. Pillows, on average, should be changed every 3 years, and a mattress every 7-10 years. No matter how good or comfortable you think these items are, the truth is that they are hurting your neck and back with a lack of support.

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          A good mattress is well worth the investment, and pillows are always on sale, as well as wallet-friendly. If you haven’t tried them, a water-filled pillow can be comfortable for many people.

          3. Exercise/Movement/Stretching

          It’s that old exercise question that no one wants to hear. This time around, it has been difficult for many people to get in good exercise since they have been housebound due to the quarantine. There are plenty of ways to get in some good, old-fashioned exercise.

          Stretching exercises are even more important than before since many people do not get enough movement while sitting at home. There are hundreds of at-home exercise, dance, and yoga videos that require little to no equipment, so even if you’re a beginner, give it a go.

          4. Stress and Stress Management

          Stress is a hidden danger that robs more people of health than even most doctors realize. While everyone has stress, not everyone recognizes it, nor do they have a means of managing it. Exercise is one of the best ways to release stress, with meditation and yoga being the best ways to manage and relieve stress. All of these will remove tightness in the muscles and relieve neck pain.

          5. Accident or Injury

          If you have been involved in an accident or injured yourself lately (falling down, or having something fall on you, for example) and your neck pain began after this incident, you should speak with your doctor about this as soon as possible.

          6. On-Going Problem or Sudden Occurrence

          Finally, if your neck pain is something that has occurred recently, it could simply be that you slept on it wrong or turned your neck too hard. That will make this a very temporary condition. You can try some easy stretches for pain relief .

          An on-going problem, however, might respond better to some other alternative methods, including:

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          • Slowly moving and stretching your neck. Do not move too quickly or too far. Roll your head from side to side, shoulder to shoulder, to the front and to the back.
          • Ice packs work well for some people, while heat works best for others.
          • Be aware of how you use your cell phone or tablet. If you keep your neck bent downward for too long to look at it, you can develop an annoying pain called text-neck or tech-neck. Take breaks and look up to stretch those neck muscles.
          • Long hours driving can also be hard on the neck. Look from side to side as far as you can, as well as up and down to prevent a stiff neck.

           

          Still Have Tight Neck Muscles? 3 Tips for Finding Relief

          When tight neck muscles are not responding to the typical heat, ice, or massage treatments, you might want to give the following a try:

          1. Gua Sha

          This is an ancient Chinese practice that might seem a bit odd, but it works for many people. In this practice, a trained individual uses a spoon or other object and makes short strokes down the neck. It is believed that poor blood circulation causes it to become stagnant, if you will, and blocks the positive energy needed for life, called qi.

          Fresh blood will indeed allow oxygen and nutrients to feed the tissues in a given area, and one study found that gua sha worked where traditional methods, such as heat therapy, did not[2].

          2. Swimming

          You probably know that swimming is a terrific low-impact exercise that works wonders for those with back and knee pain, but did you know that it also works well for neck pain and tight muscles? It helps if the water is tepid and not cold, but even just floating on your back can offer tremendous relief since most of the body weight is suspended by the buoyancy of water.

          3. Chiropractic Massage

          Not your typical day spa massage, chiropractic massage is performed under the guidance of a chiropractor. A trained massage therapist will still do the massage, but this time, the chiropractor will have discussed your neck pain and any problems you might be having with them. Many people have found real relief from neck pain through chiropractic massage.

          The Best Treatment for Neck Pain

          When you need to find relief from neck pain and nothing you have tried previously seems to give you more than a few minutes of relief, spending some time with a chiropractor often times can fix this issue, and it doesn’t often return if you follow a healthy lifestyle.

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          I’m certain that many of you are thinking about those awful videos with those loud cracking noises you’ve seen on social media, or you are recalling a news story which might have suggested that allowing a chiropractor anywhere near your neck might be a health hazard[3]. Nothing could be further from the truth.

          You should try the other suggestions in this article before you head off to the chiropractor, but when all else fails, don’t let neck pain nag you day in and day out. Take steps to make an appointment, and you will be surprised at the results.

          What Can a Chiropractor Do for Neck Pain?

          Many people mistakenly believe that the only technique a chiropractor will use is a neck adjustment. Chiropractors are trained in a variety of methods that are designed to help you find the pain relief you are seeking.

          A few of the methods a chiropractor might use include:

          • Cervical Manual Traction
          • Flexion-Distraction
          • Cervical Mobilization
          • Ultrasound
          • Cervical Drop Technique
          • Trigger Point Therapy

          There are many more options, but your chiropractor should explain to you which techniques s/he intends to use and why[4]

          The Bottom Line

          If neck pain wreaks havoc in your life regularly, the best way to stop it is to identify the source and attack it from that angle.

          Getting plenty of exercises, having a proper posture, and buying an office chair that provides plenty of support, as well as a regular stretching program, will keep your neck strong and flexible for many years to come.

          More Tips on Healing Neck Pain

          Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

          Reference

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