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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been taking kind of a hiatus from my writing. As opposed to 2015 where I took an extended break to work through some personal issues, this was more from wanting to do new and exciting things. As I mentioned at the end of last year, I had a few different ideas about projects I wanted to work on and write about, so I wanted to step away from 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge. I started working my way through the Mighty Marvel Superhero’s Cookbook, however after a few quick posts I realized that it really wasn’t stimulating in the way that I thought it would be. Part of what I really love about writing is that it gives me a chance to look into new topics or ideas that I may not have thought about before. Making pancakes and frying eggs really wasn’t pushing any boundaries.

So while I dropped that format, I really didn’t have anything to put into its place. I’ve buckled down at work and put out some really fun food, but I’ve still been wracking my brain for something that grabs my interest and makes me want to write again. I looked at the 52 Weeks Challenge subreddit just to see what had been going on in the couple months I hadn’t been participating and it immediately grabbed me the same way it did almost 4 years ago now. I’ve always felt like I do better work when I’m given a ball park to play in. A lot of times it’s hard for me to come up with something out of the blue, but if somebody says “What about [XYZ]?” it seems to get my creativity flowing in one direction or another. So, at least for now, I think I’ll pick back up where I left off. I’ve missed out on nearly half the year, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

The theme of the week is presentation: Practicing one of the most crucial aspects of cooking, certainly in the professional realm if not in the home. Presentation can be as simple or as complex as your ambition permits. It could be as easy as slicing a nicely cooked steak before putting it on the plate or a sprinkling of complementary herbs on top of a lasagna, or you can bust out the tweezers and pipettes a la Chef’s Table.

With little effort, it’s easy to make food look as good as it tastes. It also doesn’t take much make delicious food that doesn’t look at all appetizing. The real skill, it could be said, would be to take food that may not taste all that great and make it look irresistible. Chef Jacques La Merde became an Instagram sensation for that exact approach, and I felt it would only be fair to try my hand at it.

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For all intents and purposes, this is a Lunchable. Ham and Cheddar with Crackers, to be exact. Oscar Mayer ham, Kraft cheddar. I made the crackers myself, only because I had the ingredients and I was a little bit broke, but other than that it’s the same ingredients you’d find in the fridge in the bright yellow box. [Side note: When did they stop putting chocolates and candies in Lunchables? What the fuck?]

I did deviate slightly from an exact Lunchable, so I wasn’t entirely sure how much it would really evoke the childhood memories, but it really, really did. There’s something about the taste of low-quality ham and low-quality cheese that never really leaves your mind.

Cheddar Cheese Sauce, adapted from Chefsteps
makes 1.5 – 2 cups

Combine ingredients in a small sauce pot. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until cheese is fully melted, about 15 minutes.

Ritz-Style Crackers
makes 1 sheet

  • All-Purpose Flour, 2 cups
  • Baking Powder, 3 teaspoons
  • White Sugar, 1 tablespoon
  • Kosher Salt, 1/2 teaspoon, plus more as needed
  • Butter, unsalted, cold, 6 tablespoons
  • Vegetable Oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Cold Water, as needed
  • Egg, beaten, 1 each

Preheat oven to 400F. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt to the food processor and pulse to combine. Add cold butter in small increments, and pulse to combine. With food processor running, add vegetable oil slowly. Add water a little bit at a time while pulsing, until dough just comes together. On a floured surface, roll dough out as thin as you can, adding more flour if needed when it sticks. Transfer dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a fork, poke holes across the entire dough. Brush dough with eggwash and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Bake 400F until crispy and lightly browned, rotating every 10 minutes, about 25 minutes. Allow to slightly before breaking into pieces.

 

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I’m still really not sure how to get into this style of writing. With a regular cookbook, I could write about the chef themselves, the history of the recipe I’m working on, or maybe what I think of their ideas on food and why they do certain things certain ways. But The Mighty Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook is a bit different. The recipes are all super basic, and it really barely has anything to do with the characters at all. I’m just going to kind of wing it and see how it goes, sound good?

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Ben Grimm, better known as the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing: One-time leader of the Yancy Street Gang, military aviator, NASA astronaut, founding member of the Fantastic Four. Growing up in a Jewish family in the Lower East Side of New York City, Grimm’s early life was based largely on that of creator Jack Kirby. Along with Reed Richards and Susan and Johnny Storm, Grimm was exposed to high levels of cosmic radiation, mutating his physical appearance, as well has giving him superhuman strength, stamina, and resistance to injury.

In addition to being one of the characters most beloved by fans, The Thing is even one of the more popular characters in-canon; Heroes from across the Marvel universe were more than happy to attend his Bar Mitzvah (yes, The Thing had a Bar Mitzvah) and the subsequent poker tournament.

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Blushing Ben makes a few appearances throughout the Cookbook, the first of which being his Clobbered Omelet.

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Pretty straightforward with this one. When you get down to it, it more closely resembles a frittata, but cooked on the stovetop rather than baked.

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The Thing’s Clobbered Omelet

serves 4-6*

  • Butter, unsalted, 4 tablespoons
  • Poblano Pepper, seeded, diced, 1 each
  • Red Bell Pepper, seeded, diced, 1 each
  • Yellow Onion, small, diced, 1 each
  • Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced, 8 ounces
  • Mixed Vegetables**, about 1 cup
  • Eggs, 12 each
  • Heavy Cream, 1/2 cup
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • Cheddar Cheese, shredded, about 1/2 cup

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add all vegetables, cook until tender and lightly browned. While vegetables are cooking, combine eggs and cream. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until smooth. Increase skillet to high heat. Add egg mixture over vegetables and top with cheese. Cook until egg begins to set around the edges. Using a rubber spatula, gently pull cooked egg towards the center of the pan, allowing uncooked egg to fill the empty space. Continue pulling the cooked eggs this way until no uncooked eggs remain, about 4-5 minutes. Carefully slide or flip eggs onto a serving plate or platter. Cut into wedges, serve hot.

*If you’re not serving a crowd, feel free to cook the veggies and advance and store in the fridge. For a single serving, I used about 1/2 cup of the veggie mix, 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons of cream and just a sprinkle of cheese.

**If good, fresh vegetables are in season, definitely go with your favorite mix of fresh veggies. I used a frozen blend from the grocery store.

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When you talk about the origins of foods, it’s sometimes a difficult to task deciding where to look. For example, it’s pretty well known at this point that noodles and pasta were developed in Asia before making their way to Europe. However, we tend to more strongly associate that type of dish with Italian cuisine. They weren’t by any means the originators, but they certainly took the ball and ran it out.

Around the same time that pasta was being developed in China, about 4000 years ago, beer was being brewed in Sumer. Made from smoked barley bread and fermented date wine, it was a far cry from what we think of as beer today. So while that may be our earliest recollection of beer, the Czech really brought it into its own.

Břevnov Monastery in Prague has been brewing since 993CE, just over a thousand years of beer.  Cities such as Pilsen and Budweis (sound familiar?) have been brewing consistently since the 13th century, spawning arguably the most popular styles of beer in the world, Pilsner and Budweiser respectively. With greater consumption of beer per capita than anywhere else in the world, it’s often joked that beer is the national sport of the Czech Republic. And as with all major sports when your team is playing, if you’re hosting, it’s nice to have a good spread of snacks.

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In America, our beer snacks are usually laden with salt; popcorn, chips, pretzels, nuts. In the Czech Republic, it seems to be fairly different. Meats, cheeses and breads are common, likely to help absorb some alcohol and allow you to keep drinking long into the night. The most common of these kinds of snacks is Nakládaný hermelín (nahk-la-dan-ee her-mel-een). Hermelin is a soft cheese similar to camembert, marinated in spices, onions, garlic and oil. Pickled sausages are also common, and much to my surprise are far less gross than I imagined the ones in the jar at the gas station tasting. Smokey, fatty, and just a little bit of acid. I can definitely dig it.

Czech “Pickled” Cheese

  • Camembert, 1 wheel
  • Yellow Onion, thinly sliced, 1 each
  • Garlic, 4 cloves
  • Pickled Banana Peppers, sliced, 1/2 cup
  • Black Peppercorn, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Paprika, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Bay Leaf, 2 each
  • Thyme, fresh, 1 tablespoon
  • Kosher Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, as needed

Cut cheese into small wedges or strips. Toss with remaining ingredients and transfer to a sealable container. Cover with olive oil and marinate at room temperature for 5-7 days, up to 6 weeks.

Pickled Sausage

  • Water, 4 cups
  • Cider Vinegar, 4 cups
  • Kosher Salt, 2 tablespoons
  • Bay Leaf, 2 each
  • Kielbasa, 1 large link

Combine water, vinegar, salt and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cut sausage into 4-6 small links. In a sealable container. pour pickling liquid over sausages and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and store refrigerated at least 5-7 days.

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Pasta is one of the great equalizers of the culinary world. From diners to fine dining to home cooks and family recipes, everybody loves pasta.  Although we tend to think of pasta being iconic of countless Italian traditions, it was likely introduced in the 13th century by Marco Polo after having traveled through China. Origins aside, pasta is one of the most versatile vehicles for carrying dishes and flavors from across the globe. While it’s certainly easy enough to grab a box from the grocery store shelf, homemade pasta takes just a few ingredients and is a great technique to add to your arsenal. Niki Achitoff-Gray has a fantastic article on Serious Eats that breaks down everything you need to know before taking on the task for yourself. The devil is always in the details, so I strongly suggest giving it a read. In my experience, fresh pasta dough can be very temperamental and the way you make the dough can vary widely based on the environment in which you make it. For ease of adjustment-making and finding the groove that works for you, I’m just going to go into bullet points here.

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Three ingredients are all you need: Eggs, salt, and flour. Many recipes will call for “Double Zero” flour, a super finely ground variety that yields an incredibly smooth product. If you can or want to find it, it definitely won’t hurt, but All-Purpose will do the trick nicely. A lot of recipes will call for the addition of olive oil, but as the small, old Italian woman I learned from in Bologna told me, “Don’t waste your time”. The eggs and salt are beaten together before going into a well of flour. As for the mixing, feel free to do it by hand or use a stand mixer. I’ve done it both ways and the results are indistinguishable.

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After a few minutes of mixing, the dough should look like this. You’re going to think that you need to add water. Just keep mixing. Only add water if it literally will not come together as a dough after about 7 minutes of mixing, and at that add only a small amount of water very intermittently.

img_3782 Just when you think your arm is about to fall off, you should end up with something similar to this. At this point, you want to let the dough rest few a couple of hours. This lets the complex network of gluten relax a bit and makes rolling it out much easier.

The process is pretty straightforward, but it can be tricky if you’re not used to it. There’s also really no good way to explain it through text alone, but the video below is super thorough.

Once you have it rolled out to the appropriate thinness, you can use the sheets for lasagna, tagliatelle or ravioli and other filled pastas. Most rollers also come with an attachment for fettuccine-like noodles, and also a thin spaghetti.

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At this point, you can throw ’em right into boiling, salted water (again, don’t waste your time adding olive oil), or toss them in a little flour for longer storage.

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Now, homemade noodles are all well and good, but it’s what you do with them that makes them great.

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Above all else, what I learned from my time in Italy is that simplicity is key. Carbonara is a perfect example of what that really means. Fresh noodles, tossed with egg, Parmesan, black pepper, and cured pork (bacon, pancetta, prosciutto, etc.). The heat from the noodles cooks the eggs just enough to create a smooth, velvety sauce. A heavy dose of black pepper counteracts the salt from the Parmesan and pork.

Fresh Egg Pasta, from Serious Eats

Spaghetti alla Carbonara from Saveur

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Sometimes, it’s really strange to me that people have normal jobs. Like, non-kitchen jobs. I’ve worked a single job outside of a kitchen or restaurant since the age of 13 (I did a brief stint at the IT department in college, go figure), so the thought of having eight-hour days with nights and weekends off is incredibly foreign to me. You mean to tell me that you don’t work until midnight and then have dinner? Weirdo. One benefit, I will concede, of working the abnormal hours that kitchen life requires is that getting drunk on Monday doesn’t seem that bad when Sunday is your Friday. But of the strangeness between us in the restaurant industry and the rest of the world, the strangest to me by far is the idea of breaks; 15 minutes or more where you can basically just fuck off and not worry about anything. I don’t smoke, so if I’m able to get a minute to run to the restroom during the night I consider myself lucky. But an actual break, nearly unheard of.

But I do realize that it’s a totally normal thing for pretty much everyone else. And when you are afforded this opportunity, refueling yourself for the rest of your day is crucial.  Food has to be quick, and require pretty minimal-to-no cooking or preparation. That being said, that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with eating crap for your lunch break. With a little bit of thinking and beforehand prep,  you can become the King or Queen of the break room.

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I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again (and will continue to keep saying it).: Sandwiches are the best food, hands down. Endless combinations of great flavors and textures, wrapped up in a perfect vehicle. For brown baggin’ it at work, sandwiches are a staple, and since cooking options can be really limited, cold is the way to go. My go-to format for cold sandwiches is to try and hit all the major tastes: something sweet, salty, tart, and bitter (if you can get some umami in there, all the better). This week, I was lucky enough to take home some Goat Prosciutto* from work, and I wanted to base my sandwich around that (please excuse the horrendously cut prosciutto in the photo). Prosciutto is normally paired with cheese and fruits, so building a cohesive sandwich isn’t all that difficult. I normally like darker fruits with prosciutto, so I went with some fig jam, and keeping with the goat that I had already, I used chevre for the cheese. Vegetables are always good to add some texture (especially in cold sandwiches), so I added a nice handful of dandelion greens, which also provide a great bitter contrast the the jam. As for bread, you can use whatever floats your boat. I really enjoy baguettes, so I went with that.

The best part about packing yourself lunch is that it can really be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Crockpot chili? Awesome. Salad? Perfect. Just by planning a little bit in advance, you can save yourself from raiding the vending machine too often.

*I can say with near 100% certainty that you won’t be able to find goat prosciutto anywhere. Just use regular prosciutto.

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It can easily be argued that food, and cooking in general, can be viewed as an art form. And in a way, it can certainly be thought of on the same level of art as music, film, literature, or traditional media (painting, sculpture, etc); Practitioners of their discipline spend years, if not their whole lives, developing their style and honing their craft, often to little praise or recognition, simply for the love of doing it. But food is very, very different from other art forms. You can look at a painting, for example, and it will make your brain work in a certain way. You  can listen to a song, and your brain may work in different way. Through sight, sound, and in certain cases, touch, you can start to understand what the artist was trying to convey. But with food, you also have to eat it, and that creates another layer of meaning. What I mean, is that you don’t have to taste a book to “get it”, you know? Taste and flavor creates another means of conveying a message or an idea. And I think by adding that extra layer, the sensory experience is brought to completion.

With food being *so* dependent on the sensory aspects, what happens when you intentionally distort those aspects? The theme for week 14 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge is “Food in Disguise”, focusing on altering our visual perception of a dish. As anyone familiar with Food Network could tell you, there’s a whole world of bakeries that specialize in making cakes that look like other things. While that’s all well and good, and certainly requires immense artistic skill, from what I’ve heard these types of products don’t taste as good as they look. And with taste being one of the defining aspects of the experience, it’s paramount to maintain an appropriate composition of flavors. I think the best way to do this is to work with established pairings. Simply swapping sweet and savory preparations can easily accomplish some visual trickery that maintains its integrity as good tasting food.  Meatloaf Cupcakes, anyone?

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I think the biggest challenge for this week was to start with a base idea, then make something that looks the part while still holding it’s own as an independent dish. I’ve made dessert pizzas before, but generally they’ve included a thick, cream cheese or buttercream type frosting, fruits cut and arranged to show off their natural beauty, and sometimes chocolate or another sauce drizzled over the top. Visually speaking, fruit pizzas are very dessert-y. But with a little ingenuity, a margherita-style or Neapolitan-style pizza is well within the realm of possibilities. In Naples, thin crispy crust reigns supreme, so rather than puff pastry or pie dough (which is pretty common for dessert pizzas), I went with a sugar cookie base. The sauce was actually really interesting to work on: Modernist Cuisine at Home has a really cool recipe for a strawberry marinara. Theirs is a savory sauce, made with onions, garlic, basil, and around 25% tomatoes. At first, I wanted to make that recipe straight-up, but that would probably compromise the flavor of the dish, so that was a no-go. But using their recipe as a base, I made a sweeter, slightly more jammy strawberry sauce. For cheese, mascarpone stands in for the traditional buffalo mozzarella. And no margherita pizza would be complete without some fresh herbs, so I added a healthy sprinkling of tarragon, giving a bright anise flavor to contrast the deep red sauce.

With this dish, I definitely accomplished the taste and flavor of it, but I was really surprised how strongly the visual aspect affected the experience. While we were putting the pizza together, my ladyfriend blurted out that she really wasn’t in the mood for a heavier, tomato-sauce-kind of pizza, even though she knew it wasn’t. And while we were eating it, it felt like eating a pizza. Just the act of cutting it into slices and picking it up the way you would a slice of regular pizza made me expect a certain flavor and texture. Even though I made the entire thing from start to finish myself, and knew that it wasn’t a savory pizza, it’s hard to overcome the patterns that you’ve learned over a lifetime. So when all’s said and done, I think I succeeded in both of the major aspects of this week’s challenge.

Pizza Margherita (Dessert Style)

makes 1 pizza

  • Prepared Sugar Cookie Dough, 1 package
  • Strawberry “Marinara”, as needed (recipe follows)
  • Mascarpone cheese, about 4 ounces
  • Fresh Tarragon, about 1/4 cup

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly flour a large pizza pan. Roll out sugar cookie on pizza pan to 1/4 inch thickness, flouring dough lightly as needed. Bake cookie dough at 350F for 8-10 minute, or until nearly set in the middle and edges start to brown. Remove from oven,and turn broiler to high. Spread cookie crust with strawberry sauce and add dollops of mascarpone across the whole pizza. Cook under the broiler until cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes, being careful not to scorch the crust. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into slices and top with fresh tarragon.

Strawberry “Marinara”, adapted from Modernist Cuisine at Home*

makes about 2 cups

  • Slivered Almonds, 50g
  • Strawberries, 500g, pureed
  • Strawberries, thinly sliced, 250g
  • Raspberries, 170g
  • Sweet White Wine, 100g
  • Brown Sugar, 105g

Toast almonds in a sauce pot over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, mixing to combine thoroughly. Continue cooking over medium heat until thick and reduced, about 30 minutes**. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before use.

*Modernist Cuisine generally gives all their recipes measured by weight, and I have a scale that will measure grams, so I went for it. I suggest buying a good kitchen scale for lots of reasons, but if you don’t have one just eyeball the ratios.

**I actually fell asleep at this point, but I’m guessing it was around 30 minutes.

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I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about what types of foods are quintessentially American. It may seem to be kind of a weird question, but it does actually require a bit of digging. Since the inception of our country, our culture has been largely influenced and built by immigrants, so it goes without saying that our cuisine would develop in the same fashion. American cuisine is very heavily influenced by our European ancestry, so to find a dish that is truly American is harder than it sounds. But, we do have our staples: PB&J, Hot Wings (as I’ve said before, I don’t like the term “Buffalo Wings), Crab Cakes, Meatloaf, and, the much lesser-known but seeming to be the most original, Cioppino. But one of the most iconic American institutions, one that can be found from grocery store shelves to home kitchens and restaurants alike, is our focus for the 12th week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge: Mac & Cheese!

Now, it would be easy to say that Mac & Cheese has it’s origins in Italy, where pasta and cheese have gone hand in hand for centuries. But it would be rare to find a pasta dish tossed in a thick, cheese-based sauce on any traditional menus. Like the name implies, there are two crucial component to the dish: Mac, as in pasta. Elbow macaroni is obviously the namesake, but any short, bite-sized noodles will do. For me, I think elbow macaroni is actually a pretty poor choice, considering the smooth surface doesn’t hold sauce very well. I prefer penne rigate, or rotini. Orecchiette are really nice too, but are much less widely available, and tend to be more expensive; Cheese, as in… cheese. Cheddar is really traditional, but this one is wide open for creativity. My nana normally uses a blend of cheddar, mozzarella and cream cheese, which makes for a super luscious sauce. With those two basic necessities in mind, you can get pretty wild with whatever else you want to throw in there, so long as you keep appropriate flavor profiles in mind. Nobody wants to eat lobster, white chocolate mac & cheese (I can’t find a link, but this was on Cutthroat Kitchen).

Rather than just one recipe this, I’ve got a bonus recipe from my lovely ladyfriend! The recipes are very different, mine obviously being much more chef-y and conceptual and hers more simple and homestyle, but both came out incredibly delicious in their own right.

The Chef-y: Monte Cristo Mac & Cheese

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For those of you that have never experienced the joys of a Monte Cristo sandwich, it’s a ham and cheese (normally Swiss, gruyere, or emmentaler) served in between French Toast (occasionally the sandwich is assembled, then dipped in the egg batter and griddled), and topped with something sweet, like jam, maple syrup or powdered sugar. Ham is a pretty standard add-in for many mac & cheese recipes, so I thought it would be really easy to morph the mac into a Monte Cristo. I like to make a bechamel-based cheese sauce (Mornay, if anyone is checking) for my mac, so I start out by sauteing some onions in butter, then adding the diced ham to crisp it up a bit. Adding flour forms the roux, and adding milk to the roux makes a nice thick sauce. From there, I added gruyere, whole grain mustard, and maple syrup. The lady likes rotini for the mac, so we split a box. Standard pasta cooking procedures apply. The real trick to this one that makes it a Monte Cristo is French Toast breadcrumbs. I had never really done anything like this before, so obviously I was excited to try. I made a few pieces of French Toast using Alton Brown’s recipe plus a little vanilla, then dried them out in the oven and ground them into coarse, panko-like breadcrumbs. Surprisingly, they were still super flavorful and really completed the Monte Cristo feel. I think this recipe would be good to make for a crowd if you want to show off a bit; It’s got enough familiar elements to appeal to the masses, but enough different to set it apart.

Monte Cristo Mac & Cheese

serves 4

  • Butter, unsalted, 2 tablespoons
  • Onion, small, diced, 1 each
  • Ham, diced, 1.5 cups
  • All-Purpose Flour, 2 tablesoons
  • Whole Milk, 2 cups
  • Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded, 6 ounces
  • Whole Grain Mustard, 2 tablespoons
  • Vermont Maple Syrup*, Grade B, 3 tablespoons
  • Rotini, or other short, shaped pasta, cooked, 1/2 box (about 8 ounces)
  • French Toast Breadcrumbs**, as needed

In a deep saute pan or medium sauce pot, saute onions in butter until translucent. Add diced ham and cook until edges begin to crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onion and ham, mixing thoroughly to form a roux. Add milk and mix to dissolve roux. Continue cooking over medium heat until milk is thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add cheese, mustard and maple syrup. Continue cooking until cheese is fully melted and incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add pasta and mix to coat thoroughly. Serve topped with French Toast breadcrumbs.

*As always, there is no substitute for Vermont Maple Syrup. Use the real stuff or don’t bother.

**Like I said, I used Alton Brown’s recipe, but feel free to use your favorite recipe. Dry the French Toast in the oven on the lowest setting possible until totally dry, like toast, then grind into coarse pieces with a food processor.

The Homestyle: Tomato and Swiss Chard Mac & Cheese

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Like I said, this one if much less conceptual, if not entirely non-conceptual, than my own. That being said, it came out just as fantastically. Since she was really just using whatever we had around, I really don’t have as much to write about outside of the recipe itself.  And I think that’s part of what I really enjoy about it; it doesn’t have to have some deep explanation or some bigger reasoning behind the way it is, and yet it is still super delicious, and really approachable.

Tomato and Swiss Chard Mac & Cheese

serves 4

  • Butter, unsalted, 4 tablespoons, divided
  • Roma Tomato, diced, 1 each
  • Swiss Chard, greens and stems, roughly chopped, 1/2 bunch
  • Prepared Horseradish, about 1 tablespoon
  • Crushed Red Pepper, about 1 teaspoon
  • Cheddar Cheese, shredded, about 2 ounces
  • Swiss Cheese, about 2 ounces
  • Whole Milk, about 1/2 cup
  • Parmesan Cheese, shredded, about 2 ounces
  • Rotini, or other short, shaped pasta, cooked, 1/2 box (about 8 ounces)

In a deep saute pan or medium sauce pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Saute tomato, Swiss chard and horseradish until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add crushed red pepper, cheddar and Swiss, stirring until cheese is melted. Add remaining tablespoon of butter, milk and Parmesan and cook until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Add pasta and mix to coat thoroughly.

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