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Birthday dinner

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It was awesome seeing everyone who showed up (Mike, Curran, Matthew, Anna, Tim, Kathryn, Nick, Jessica, Sylvie, Sean, Kael, Liz, and Liz.)

Also, aside from the chicken and dairy products Rahul brought home from the Oscar Mayer store yesterday, I didn’t have to buy anything for this meal–it was all made from stuff I had in the pantry/fridge/yard.

Here’s what I cooked for my 32nd birthday (had the party on Saturday but my birthday’s on the following Wednesday this year):

Cheesecake cupcakes: (modified this recipe)

6 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
16 ounces sour cream
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cupcake pans with paper cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar. Stir in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla. Spoon into cupcake pans to fill about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
Bake for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
To make the sour cream topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spoon into the well on the top of each cupcake.
Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until set. Set cupcake pans on racks to cool, do not remove cupcakes from the pan until they are completely cool. For a finishing touch, you can add a dollop of your favorite pie filling on top.

Lime shortbread (basic recipe from Joy of Cooking with lime zest and juice and cocoa nibs added in)

Shrimp chips (deep-fried the way Mom used to make them, from the little clear, hard, plastic-like rounds that puff and curl in 2 seconds)

Cranberry-almond kasha
2 cups kasha
1 Tbsp butter
4 cups water
1/2 cup (?) frozen cranberries
1/2 cup (?) Trader Joe’s tamari almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, minced

Mince the garlic. Saute in the butter over medium heat until fragrant, then add the kasha and toast for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the water and cranberries, cover, and lower the heat to simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the kasha is cooked through, then mix in the tamari almonds and minced scallion.

Chicken in coconut milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, cut into thin half-moon slices
1 large slice fresh ginger
4 large chicken breasts
1 can coconut milk
1 large (double-sized) can diced tomatoes
1/2 package Chinese black wood ear fungus
1 package dried Manzanita boletes
1 head black garlic, cloves peeled and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
Dried cilantro
1 cup baby carrots, cut into rounds
2 scallions, chopped
Fresh oregano, chopped
Salt
Pepper
Cumin
Nutmeg
3-4 dried curry leaves
4 small Thai bird peppers (or jalapenos), minced
Cooking wine

Cook the garlic, onions, ginger, and chicken breasts in the butter until they are starting to brown. Deglaze with a splash of cooking wine, then add the coconut milk, tomatoes, peppers, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and curry leaves. Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer.
Rehydrate the mushrooms in boiling water. Drain and chop any large pieces of mushroom to bite size, and add to the pot along with a splash of the mushroom cooking water. Add the baby carrots and black garlic.
Simmer till the chicken is cooked through, cutting it into bite-size pieces once it’s tender enough. Add the cilantro. I let the whole thing simmer probably 2 hours, till the sauce was reduced quite a bit, and then added the fresh oregano and scallions.

Beet and chestnut salad
1 package cooked, peeled beets
1 package cooked, peeled chestnuts
1/3 small yellow onion
Apple cider vinegar
1 scallion
Toasted sesame oil
Salt
Fresh mint leaves

Mince the onion and leave to soak in the apple cider vinegar while you prepare the other ingredients.
Dice the beets and chestnuts, mince the scallion and mint, and add the onion with a splash of vinegar and a drizzle of sesame oil. Season to taste with the salt. Mix together and serve.

Bean dip with veggies (modified from Cook’s Illustrated recipe)
1 24-ounce jar Great Northern beans
1/4 cup fresh curly parsley
2 scallions
2 limes
2 cloves garlic
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and rinsed
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (nonfat)
Salt
Pepper
Ground coriander
Chili sesame oil

Mince the garlic and lime zest and leave to macerate in the lime juice while preparing the other ingredients.
Reserve 3 Tbsp of the bean liquid, then drain and rinse the rest of the beans. Add the beans, liquid, peas, yogurt, parsley, garlic mixture, seasonings, and the white and light green parts of the scallions to the food processor. Blend until smooth. Garnish with the green part of the scallions, chopped, and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, baby bell peppers.

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Written by orata

April 15, 2012 at 1:06 am

Chicken with chimichurri, broccoli, and rice

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Made Mahatma Spanish rice straight out of a package. Roasted broccoli in one pan, and layered raw chicken breasts on chopped onions with a drizzle of EVOO in another pan, and roasted all till the chicken was cooked through.

Also made chimichurri: a bunch of fresh cilantro and parsley, about 1/8 red onion, 1-2 cloves garlic, EVOO and walnut oil, a handful of walnuts, salt and pepper, dried oregano, and lime juice all blended together in the food processor.

Ate the rice, chicken, and broccoli with chimichurri.

For dessert, I made a blackcurrant mousse that was a bit too strong: 1 small container whipped cream, 1 package frozen blackcurrants simmered with vanilla and pressed through a strainer, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 package gelatin, juice and zest of 1 lemon.

Also made guacamole for Kathryn’s guac-off party. Avocados, lime juice and zest, salt, cilantro, red onion. Keeping it simple! The winning guacamole had basil in it. Tim made one that involved roasted avocados, tomatillos, chipotles, caramelized onions…

Written by orata

February 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm

culinary wonderland

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31st birthday party last night. Here’s the invite (was decorated with a pic of Lady Gaga in her egg):

“Nobody can eat fifty eggs.” –Cool Hand Luke, 1967.

In honor of the momentous occasion of my birth, and the Spring season of holidays of regeneration and rebirth, I would like to cordially invite you to a dinner celebration on the evening of April 23.

Since it’s Easter weekend, and my earlier idea of rabbit in chocolate mole sauce was vetoed, I thought it would be nice to have an egg-themed dinner party.

There will be food made with eggs and/or shaped like eggs. There could potentially also be drinks involving eggs: this idea was hatched (ha ha) over a Wisconsin Beer Bomb at the Old-Fashioned… for those who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this yet, it’s a PBR with a pickled egg in it. (There will probably also be some food not involving eggs at all, for the sake of our digestive systems.)

Let me know if you have any food restrictions or special requests. Gifts not needed, but if you would like to bring something to drink other than wine or water, or if you are inspired by the theme and are dying to bring along a boiled ostrich egg or board games or something, please feel free.

Attendees: Jeanne, Steve, Lizbert, Stephanie, Josh, Kelly, Matthew, Tim, Ivan, Aaron, briefly Tim’s lady friend Elizabeth, and of course me and Rahul
Menu:

A main dish roughly inspired by this shakshuka: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/04/shakshuka/

Soffritto of diced onions, carrots, and celery sauteed in grapeseed oil till almost browned and then I added plentiful garlic and fresh jalapenos, minced; dumped two big 28-oz cans of drained diced tomatoes in, seasoned it with sugar, cumin, and oregano, and simmered with a bay leaf and cinnamon stick for an hour or two. I pureed it with an immersion blender after taking out the cinnamon stick and then simmered meatballs in it and poached eggs directly in it. I garnished it as suggested, with feta and chopped fresh flatleaf parsley.

Meatballs:
1 1-lb package ground lamb (the halal lamb was cheapest! From Willy St. Co-op)
1 package ground turkey
About 3 handfuls pine nuts, toasted in a pan over medium heat
A big handful of raisins, rehydrated in hot water, then drained and coarsely chopped
1 egg
About 1 cup instant potato flakes (I normally would use breadcrumbs moistened in milk, but I thought Mary would be coming so tried to keep it gluten-free)
Zest of 1 lemon
1-2 green onions, chopped
Seasonings: salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin
Mix everything together and shape into golf-ball-sized meatballs. Poach in tomato sauce and/or bake in 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, till cooked through.

White long-grain rice–although washed till the water ran clear, the grains were not as fluffy and separate as I was hoping. I need to find out what kind they use at Zuzu.

Meringue mushrooms
The recipe is the one I posted earlier for hazelnut macarons with chocolate frosting filling (from Knitcircus); I piped small rounds for the caps and pairs of little tubes for the stems. The stem halves get flat on one side, so have to be glued together first with frosting, then the “gills” smeared with frosting and attached to the stem, and the whole mushroom anchored to a sheet of parchment paper with extra frosting. Steve and Jeanne and Rahul helped make these. I arranged these on two cookie sheets and scattered malted milk eggs and sprigs of fresh mint around them to make it look like a woodland scene.

Bacon nests
Thanks to Kelly’s advice, I did what Brian Boitano would do and made these over upside-down muffin cups after a few unsuccessful experiments with ramekins. Rahul brought home a package of turkey bacon and I’d bought 2 packages of regular bacon at TJ’s. These all got cut into long, thin strips on the diagonal and shaped over the muffin cups. I think the most successful ones were a mixture of the two kinds of bacon. It shrinks a lot, so you need to use a HUGE amount of bacon. I baked the nests at 400 degrees for probably half an hour per tray, till the bacon seemed crispy. Oddly, it stuck like crazy to the cups despite all the fat, so I’d recommend using silicone muffin cups or greasing the cups first (as counterintuitive as that may seem). I felt like I was dressing Lady Gaga, and I never want to touch so much bacon again. Some cups broke or shrank too much and had to be combined to make more-or-less whole cups. I sliced several green onions first lengthwise and then into 2-inch lengths to make “grass” to line the nests, then laid a single hard-boiled quail egg in each one. (The eggs were from a can from Midway Foods; Jeanne said they tasted too metallic, but you can’t tell if you’re eating them with the bacon nests, since the bacon flavor is so overpowering)

Guacamole with tortilla chips
I had nothing to do with this one (RPK and Steve), but assume it’s the standard avocado/lime/cilantro/salt/chili powder recipe.

Deviled eggs
Jeanne made these with organic mayo, Dijon mustard, and a dab of homemade horseradish. Sprinkled with paprika, of course. YUM! I could probably eat a dozen deviled eggs in one sitting.

Hummus, served with broccoli, pita chips, and celery. Blend together:
1 can white beans (I ran out of chickpeas)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup? extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Cumin
Salt
Garnished with green onions and paprika

Salad
1 bag Spring mix
1 head Romaine lettuce, cut up
Slivered toasted almonds
Feta cheese

Dress with a dressing made from:
Whole-grain mustard
Salt
Walnut oil
Lemon juice and zest

Liz brought chocolate chip meringues, Matthew brought lemonade and soda water, Tim brought some very popular peanut butter/Rice Krispie eggs covered in chocolate and sprinkles, and Kelly and Josh brought egg cream fixings–Bosco syrup and whole milk, while we supplied the seltzer–and disposable bowls (and three-month-old frozen and reheated raccoon, which tasted like heavily spiced beef stew, almost like it had been soaked in cloves or allspice). Rahul got me a cookie cake and a Boston cream pie–we haven’t even unwrapped the latter yet.

It was all pretty awesome.

Written by orata

April 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm

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pies

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Today (3/13) I had a Pi Day Party for the Bad at Math!

First of all, make 1 recipe pie crust from the Joy of Cooking (all butter, enough for a double-crust pie).

Chicken pot pie in our giant cast iron skillet (this was a big hit):

1 package TJ’s “boneless skinless breast meat with rib meat” –I think this was about 2 lbs, maybe? $2-3/lb and the package I picked cost around $7.

3 ribs celery, sliced

4 carrots, diced

1 onion, diced

Maybe 1 cup frozen peas

1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms (again from TJ’s)

Nutmeg

Salt

Pepper

Whole milk

1 lemon

Butter (about 4 Tbsp, plus more for sauteeing)

Flour (about 4 Tbsp)

1 package flat leaf Italian parsley

Cut the chicken into chunks, barely cover with cold water, and put the pan on to heat. Simmer till the chicken is cooked through.

At the same time:

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the carrots, onions, and celery, and cook, stirring, till the vegetables are cooked through and browned. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Add more butter or oil and cook, then remove, the sliced mushrooms the same way.

Add the 4 Tbsp butter to the pan along with the flour. Mix them together and cook this roux for a minute or two. Add a ladleful of the chicken cooking water and mix. Start adding the whole milk a little at a time, stirring constantly, till it seems like the bechamel won’t take any more liquid without getting too runny. There should be a pretty good amount of sauce here, I think mine was about 1/2 inch deep at this point.

Take out the chicken pieces and cut into smaller chunks if needed. Add all the vegetables (including the frozen peas) and the chicken.  Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the chopped parsley. Stir everything up.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take about 2/3 of the pie crust and roll it out. Drape it over the top of the skillet. Cut steam holes and brush the top with a mixture of beaten egg white and milk. Bake for about 30 minutes, till the crust is cooked and golden.

Slightly disastrous orange pie:

Same pie crust as above, remaining 1/3 of it rolled out thinly. I toasted 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts for 10 mins at 350 degrees in the toaster, rubbed off the skins, then ground them in the food processor. I sprinkled this nut powder all over the pie pan, then pressed the rolled-out pie crust into it. I weighted and blind baked the crust at 400 degrees for 20 mins, then brushed the edges with egg white/milk mixture and baked a little longer. Filled with:

Blood orange curd made roughly like this one from the Kitchn, but I only had 1 Eureka lemon and added also 1 clementine and the seeds of 1 vanilla bean (pod saved for vanilla sugar). Unfortunately, I had kind of a disaster with the makeshift double boiler/bain-marie. I’d floated a deep ceramic bowl in a saucepan of water. Everything was going great until I let the water get too hot. It started boiling, I freaked out and accidentally flipped the bowl sideways so a bunch of boiling water gushed in. I tried to salvage it by taking it off the heat and ladling out the hot water as best I could, and whisking the rest. It looked OK, so I put it away to cool. Unfortunately, it never set up and I had to try to fix it just before mealtime by nuking it in 2-min intervals till it was simmering, then whisking in 2 additional egg yolks and a teaspoonful or so of cornstarch (dissolved first in a little cold water). It never got as solid as I wanted, but it was at least not as liquid as before. In the future, this microwave version looks promising.

Final count: 4 blood oranges, 1 tangerine, 1 Eureka lemon (all juiced and zested), 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 vanilla bean, 3 eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1 tsp cornstarch, 8 Tbsp butter cut into little cubes. In an ideal world, add everything but the butter to a bain-marie and cook, whisking, till thickened. Remove from heat, strain, and whisk in butter. Chill.

Topped it with sweetened vanilla whipped cream made in the food processor. This, at least, worked like a dream.

Attendees: Liz and her friends Chris and Katie (with a pear-raspberry pie and a Pennsylvania corn pie with potatoes, with pi-shaped cutouts), Sarah and Dino (with a Grasshopper Pie made with creme de menthe and marshmallows and Roundy-Os Oreo crust), Kael, Matthew, Ah-Reum and Ted (all with various libations). It was awesome to share pie with friends.

I’m going to SF tomorrow!

Written by orata

March 14, 2011 at 12:21 am

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salads

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Here are recipes for two salads I served at a little party we had on Saturday–was supposed to be a BBQ, but weather didn’t permit, so we grilled emu and grass-fed beef indoors.

Also on the menu:

  • drinks: home-brewed German summer ale, Belgian Red cherry lambic-esque beer from New Glarus brewery, whiskey and coke
  • amazing cheese platter that Liz brought with gluten-full and gluten-free crackers: 3 soft sheep cheeses (tomato basil was my favorite; also there were plain and garlic herb) and one semi-aged one
  • Mary’s saag with spinach, mustard greens, and broccoli rabe; served with yogurt and rice.
  • Liz’s black-eyed pea and bell pepper salad
  • Kelly’s Key lime pie. I love Key lime pie to a ridiculous degree and piggishly had two slices.
  • a rhubarb pie I made to use up week-old rhubarb–Joy of Cooking pie crust with about 2/3 whole wheat, 1/3 white flour, 100% butter, 1/2 vodka and 1/2 water to moisten; 1 lb. rhubarb and 1 cup turbinado sugar, with a sprinkle of salt, lemon zest, and vanilla
  • Bananagrams!

Rice salad

White rice (I used medium-grain Jasmine rice; Molly’s recipe called for long-grain, and Italian recipes use Arborio/superfino)

Bacon

Celery

Flat leaf parsley

Fresh lemon juice

Olive oil

Grapeseed oil

Salt

Pepper

Boil the rice in plenty of water (like making pasta, rather than steamed rice). As it’s cooking, make a vinaigrette from the lemon juice, oils, salt, and pepper.

When the rice is cooked, drain it in a colander and rinse with plenty of cool water to get the excess starch off. Dress it immediately so the vinaigrette can soak into the warm rice.

Fry the bacon until crisp, and crumble it into pieces. Dice the celery and chop the flat-leaf parsley. Mix these into the salad, let sit for a while, and serve at room temperature.

Molly’s recipe calls for capers instead of bacon, but I didn’t have any capers, so substituted another source of umami, salty goodness.

Watermelon feta salad

Watermelon, cubed

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Cilantro, chopped

Flat leaf parsley, chopped

Feta cheese, crumbled

Red onion

Slice the red onion into thin half-moons and marinate in lemon juice for a couple of hours.

Make a vinaigrette from the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Just before serving, gently mix the watermelon, feta, herbs, onion, and dressing together. Let sit for a minute or two and drain as much liquid out as possible. (The salad will continue to accumulate liquid, unfortunately.)

Written by orata

June 8, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Posted in parties, recipes

Mac and Cheese

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I forgot to post about our trip last weekend, to Madison and Chicago, where we discovered a new kind of Finnish cheese called juustoleipa, or Finnish Bread Cheese, and ate Chicago deep-dish pizza. While we were in Madison, in addition to juustoleipa, we bought a pound of aged white cheddar at the Babcock Hall Dairy Store (in the famous Dairy Sciences department) so naturally I had to do something with it.

Last night, we had Jeanne, Steve, and Michael Haw over for dinner. (We called considerably more people but that was our final turnout… lots of people out of town.) if I do say so myself, dinner was awesome–not too labor-intensive, so I was almost done cooking when everyone showed up, and what remained was just waiting for carrots to cook. Here’s what I made, in order:

Sexy, Spicy Broccoli–Since this has to marinate for a long time, I made it first. I doubled the recipe from the NYT, used powdered cumin instead of whole seeds, used apple cider vinegar and added an extra glug of it since I could barely taste it last time, and added a little bit of soy sauce:

Recipe: Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad
Published: February 20, 2008

Time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating

1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

2 heads broccoli, 1 pound each, cut into bite-size florets

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 fat garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons roasted (Asian) sesame oil

Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes.

1. In a large bowl, stir together the vinegar and salt. Add broccoli and toss to combine.

2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in sesame oil and pepper flakes. Pour mixture over broccoli and toss well. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, and up to 48 (chill it if you want to keep it for more than 2 hours). Adjust seasonings (it may need more salt) and serve.

Yield: 6 to 8 side-dish servings or more as an hors d’oeuvre.

Lemon Pudding Cake–I used some of the delicious eggs from Hazelbrake Farm, and milk in a glass bottle from Oberweis Dairy. The pudding came out really runny this time–not sure why. I made this second because it has to bake in the bain-marie for 45 minutes.

Macaroni and Cheese–I more or less followed the linked recipe (when I try to eyeball bechamel sauce, it always comes out too thick), with the following notes:

Macaroni and Cheese

Gourmet | August 2007

Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez

MACARONI AND CHEESE

The toasted crumbs on top have a cheesy crispness, and the pasta beneath is creamy and rich. Kids will appreciate the individual servings, but the recipe makes plenty, so why not pour the extra into a baking dish to feed the ravenous parents?

Active time: 35 min Start to finish: 1 1/4 hr

Servings: Makes 20 servings
Ingredients
For topping
1/2 stick unsalted butter–omitted
2 cups panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs) or 3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 6 slices firm white sandwich bread)–I had two pieces of buttered white bread toast left over from my breakfast at Wee Willie’s, so I ground up those and 4 toasted slices of whole-grain sandwich bread using the grater attachment in the food processor.
1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups)–Ran out of the white Wisconsin cheddar, so I used some orange Indiana Amish sharp cheddar from O’Malia’s for this.
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano–omitted

For macaroni and sauce
1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk–used 2%
1 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 cups)–used the Wisconsin aged white sharp cheddar for this, grated in about 30 seconds using the grater attachment on the food processor. I love that thing.
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano–omitted
1 pound elbow macaroni–used Barilla brand, which has little grooves on the macaroni noodles
Preparation
Make topping:
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.–I set the oven at 350

Melt butter, then stir together with panko and topping cheeses in a bowl until combined well.

Make sauce:
Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cheeses, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Remove from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.
I also added a few Tbsp of sweet and spicy mustard and soy sauce, for extra umami goodness, and a generous sprinkle of paprika.

Make Macaroni:
Cook macaroni in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain macaroni in a colander. Oops, didn’t read this part. Did not reserve 1 cup cooking water. Stir together macaroni, reserved cooking water, and sauce in a large bowl. Transfer to 2 buttered 2-quart shallow baking dishes.–I cooked this in the largest cast-iron skillet we have: we put the macaroni in first, then stirred in the sauce, and topped it all with the breadcrumbs and popped it in the oven for half an hour. Cast iron is the best! I thought I would be scrubbing baked-on cheesy residue off the pan for an hour afterwards, but with a bit of a soak I managed to wash the pan in about 10 seconds–basically just wiping it with the sponge, no scrubbing required.

Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cooks’ notes:
• Topping can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
• Half of dish can be baked in 10 (6- to 8-ounce) ramekins for children (with remaining half baked in a 2-quart baking dish for adults).

Sauteed Oyster Mushrooms
Rahul made these, for stirring into the mac and cheese. Yum. He cut up some oyster mushrooms from the farmer’s market and sauteed them with olive oil, adding a tiny drizzle of truffle oil at the end.

Watercress Soup
This was fast and easy and really surprisingly good for something so plain. Because of how heavy the macaroni would be, I just wanted something light and refreshing, with lots of vegetables, so I made up this soup. The watercress is spicy and a little bitter, so I wanted some contrasting flavors and textures–carrots for sweetness and white beans for richness–and I think the combination worked well.

1/2 bunch watercress, washed and snipped into smallish pieces (this was from the winter farmer’s market)
Stock (I used mushroom-flavored Better than Bouillon)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into discs
1 can Great Northern white beans, drained and well-rinsed

Heat a soup pot of stock. Add the carrots and white beans and simmer till the carrots are tender. Just before taking the soup off the stove, add the watercress and cook for a minute or so–it’s delicate, so it doesn’t take well to overcooking.

We also had some deliciously chalky and rich milk chocolate bunnies Michael brought over, and some kind of candy called “cream prune drop” I got from Obo’s because of the Easterish bunny on the package, happily eating green prunes.

Afterwards, we went to the new beer and bourbon bar called the Root Cellar at Farm and it was lovely–I didn’t have anything to drink aside from sips of other people’s drinks, but we’ll have to go back another time and have fancy beers.

Written by orata

March 23, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Nutmeg scones

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I made these Nutmeg-Scented scones on Sunday–ate a few with clotted cream, and brought some to a Super Bowl party we went to at Andre’s house.  This was Rahul’s idea–I thought it was weird to bring scones to a Super Bowl party, but they were, surprisingly, a hit. Someone said they were “perfect” and someone else wanted the recipe.

I subbed cottage cheese and a splash of plain soy milk for the sour cream, because that’s what I had on hand.

Written by orata

February 6, 2008 at 12:41 pm

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