I have memories of grocery shopping with my mom and how she always stressed how important it was to try something new each time.
As a child, I never really understood that concept, but always was happy to pick out a weird-looking fruit or a new kind of cereal. It was not until I moved out on my own that I realized how quickly you form a routine and fail to experiment with different foods.
The first year that I had my own apartment was the same year I made the resolution to always remember what my mom said, and try something new each time I go shopping.
SARAH GREEN/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
Although risotto can be time consuming, it is very easy and the finished product is well worth it. Using leftover champagne lends a bite to the dish that pairs wonderfully with vegetables and helps cut through the richness of Parmesan cheese.
For the last five years, I have stayed true to my mom and my past new year's resolutions and tried something new each time, be it a spice, type of produce or simply a different brand.
As 2012 faded away, I decided it was time for a new resolution, actually, two. The first is to eat a well-rounded breakfast every morning.
The second is to not waste any food.
I will buy my food with thought, and strive to eat everything before it expires. Rather than throwing away a slightly bruised apple, I will make baked apples for dessert. When I cook chicken, instead of throwing away the carcass, I will make my own stock.
These are my new goals, and although we are only two weeks into the New Year, I am already feeling confident with my new resolution.
My first chance came New Year's Day. After an amazing night of eating Indian food and watching the ball drop with friends, I began to clean the house.
Any other day I would have gladly parted ways with our leftover and now-flat bubbly, but keeping my resolution in mind, I decided to make a risotto. There is no better way to use up your left over flat champagne.
It lends a bite to the dish that pairs wonderfully with the vegetables and helps cut through the richness of the Parmesan cheese.
Yes, risotto can be time consuming, but it is actually very easy and the finished product is well worth it.
Served as a side, or a stand-alone meal, risotto is a creamy and soul-warming dish, to which you can add whatever you would like to make it your own.
Champagne risotto with asparagus and artichoke
Yields: 6 servings
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small shallots, diced, about 1/4 cup
2 cups Arborio rice
2 1/2 cups champagne
4 cups vegetable stock
1 bunch asparagus, about 2 cups, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for on top
Remove champagne from the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature.
In the meantime, in a medium pot, begin heating vegetable stock. In a large saute pan, melt butter and olive oil together.
Add shallots and saute until translucent.
Once shallots are translucent, add the Arborio rice and coat each grain in the oil.
Parch the rice over medium-low heat for a minute, until the rice lends a nutty aroma.
Not letting the rice brown, add 1 cup of champagne.
Stir vigorously until all of the liquid is absorbed. Once absorbed, add the remaining champagne, again stirring constantly.
It is important to stir constantly, because it helps the starches in the rice release, resulting in a very creamy dish.
While the champagne is absorbing, put the chopped asparagus into a boiling pot of vegetable stock.
Blanch the asparagus for three minutes, until just slightly softened. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Once the asparagus is set aside, begin ladling vegetable stock, one ladle at a time, into the rice mixture.
Once the rice appears to have absorbed all of the liquid, add another ladle, and so on. This should go on for about 20 minutes. You want to cook the rice low and slow so it can absorb all of the liquid.
Just before you add your last ladle of liquid, combine the asparagus and artichokes in the risotto.
Add the last bit of liquid and stir until combined.
Finish off with the Parmesan cheese, plus some on top for serving.
It should make soft waves when you shake the plate, not be a stiff mound. Serve immediately and with your favorite champagne to accompany it.
Green was first diagnosed with gluten intolerances as a teenager. Soon after, she developed a blog to share her struggles and successes of adapting to a gluten-free life. Over the years, her passion for wellness has turned into a profession.
A 2012 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in New York, she is continually networking with other gluten-free experts and expanding her knowledge.
Her goal is to make gluten-free an option for everyone, not just those in need.
Green may be reached at email@example.com. Her column is published on the second Wednesday of each month.