Archive for the 'delicious' Category

Macaroni and cheese

It’s cold and rainy in the Pacific Northwest, while other parts of the nation sweat. This is perfect weather for one of the best comfort foods ever.

Baked macaroni and cheese may seem daunting if you’ve not made it before, but it’s not difficult. Several months ago my fella tried out a new recipe, courtesy of Alton Brown, and we loved it. Our party guests did too. The not-so-secret ingredients: onions and panko breadcrumbs. So crunchy.
Baked macaroni and cheese

But the other night I wanted to fix something quick and there wasn’t much in the proverbial pantry, so I thought a stovetop mac & cheese would be the thing. Did a little searching online and found a recipe I liked. It was from, coincidentally (?) Alton Brown. Okay, it’s nothing like baked macaroni and cheese, but definitely better than the stuff from a box! It calls for evaporated milk but I just used whole milk, and added some Beecher’s Flagship for extra cheesy flavor.
Stovetop mac & cheese

Update: stovetop mac & cheese does not make good leftovers.

Stick a feather in your cap and call it…

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a glass of white

sauv-blanc

One of my favorite warm weather drinks is a glass of dry white wine. Pair a crisp Orvieto or a fresh Vinho Verde or a tart but not-too-grassy Sauvignon Blanc, like this inexpensive variety from Washington’s Columbia Valley with your favorite grilled protein and green vegetable. A simple delight.

Who doesn’t like the taste of bacon?

wholesome-bacon-72

I’m not a regular meat eater. But boy the smell of fatty bacon sizzling up in a pan is almost always a temptation.

I’ve been fascinated by the bacon renaissance of the last couple years – the classic cured pork product has inspired new creations by gourmets and doughnut makers alike. Possibly the most awful contemporary recipe I’ve found is this so-called ‘bacon explosion.’

When I heard about baconnaise I thought it might be just the thing to put the ‘B’ back in my BLT… but I’d hate to be stuck with a whole jar if it ends up being dreadful. Oh yeah, they make bacon salt, too. I think it’s time to give them both a try.

Classic American

ONeill-72

The O’Neill

Ingredients:
Rye whiskey (e.g., Old Overholt)
Lemon juice
Simple syrup
Maraschino liqueur* (e.g., Luxardo)
Ice
Cocktail cherries – Sable & Rosenfeld’s Tipsy Cherries are a step up from the typical cherries they call maraschino.* Or if you can find them or make your own, try fresh sweet cherries preserved in whiskey or maraschino liqueur.

Tools:
Cocktail shaker
Strainer
Juicer

Steps:
Squeeze one half lemon to yield 1 oz of juice.
Add several ice cubes to a shaker or mixing glass, then add 2 oz rye, the lemon juice, ½ oz simple syrup and ½ oz maraschino liqueur.
Shake vigorously.
Strain into an old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

*Maraschino is a bittersweet liqueur flavored with marasca cherries from Dalmatia, Croatia. The recipe for this distilled liqueur dates back to the 16th century. Maraschino cherries may have originally been marasca cherries preserved in maraschino liqueur. Now they’re just light-colored cherries soaked in red dye, syrup and artificial flavors.

I couldn’t decide what to call this classically inspired cocktail, which was created for Our American Theater Co. They went with “the O’Neill.”

with cheeseburgers

chihuahuachz

Oh how I love this picture. You can go see William Hundley‘s site for more of his photos.

veg candy

roasted cauliflower

Wow, how did I live this long without enjoying roasted cauliflower?

These days I’m always looking for tasty ways to get more vegetables into my diet. Someone suggested roasting cauliflower (apparently I missed the trend from a few years ago). Okay, truly, this is delicious – roasting brings out so much sweetness you never knew was hiding within that lumpy white head of veg! It’s easy too.

There are several recipes out there; here’s how I did it: Pre-heat oven to 450°. Cut a head of cauliflower into 1 1/2″ pieces, arrange in a shallow baking pan, toss with a couple tablespoons olive oil, some salt and pepper, and some herbs if you like, maybe fresh thyme. Roast for 15 minutes. Add a couple cloves of minced garlic and toss (with more oil if needed). Roast for another 10 – 15 minutes.

Eat like candy. Or as an accompaniment to some protein.

If it’s good enough for NOLA…

sazerac
The Sazerac

Now the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans (by countless accounts the birthplace of the cocktail), some say the Sazerac was the very first such spirited concoction. The story goes that apothecary Antoine Peychaud made an elixir of brandy, a spoonful of sugar (helps the medicine go down?) and his proprietary aromatic bitters in his French Quarter shop in the 1830s. The drink became popular in New Orleans bars, and a few decades later the restaurateur Thomas Handy switched the liquor from brandy to rye whiskey. At some point a bit of absinthe was added, and the recipe reached its pinnacle.

Chill an old fashioned glass, then coat the inside with absinthe* (rinse out the excess).
*The green fairy is legal again in the United States, but if you can’t get your hands on any, you could substitute with a pastis such as Pernod. Note that pastis is sweeter, so you’ll probably want to use less sugar.

In a mixing vessel, combine:
a sugar cube & a splash of water OR 1/4 oz simple syrup
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters*

*Thanks to Jeffrey Morgenthaler for this suggestion – it may anger the purists, but it gives the drink a bit more flavor and body, so they can just hush.

Muddle til the sugar is dissolved (skip this step if using simple syrup).

Add several ice cubes and 2 oz. rye whiskey, such as Old Overholt.

Stir – don’t shake – til well chilled, then strain into the glass.

Squeeze a lemon twist over the glass to release the oils, then discard, or be saucy and drop it into the drink.