Archive | June, 2012

Decadent Three Cheese Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Artichokes

24 Jun

I had plans for a simple and healthy steamed tofu recipe, but while discussing food with my fellow law clerks at some point during the day, I began to crave macaroni and cheese.  And not just any mac and cheese, but a clog-your-arteries buttery and creamy mac and cheese, made with real butter, milk, and tons of cheese.  But I didn’t want to use the oven, because it was like 90 degrees out.  So I decided to do a stovetop version.

And, boy, was this good.  Creamy cheddar, sharp Parmesan, and tangy goat cheese combined with the unique flavor of artichoke hearts made for a seriously decadent macaroni and cheese.  Is it a quintessentially summer dish?  Hell to the no.  But it tasted really, really effing good.  It also reheated well in the microwave for lunch, which is a big bonus when you make enough mac and cheese to feed five people in a house of two.

Decadent Three Cheese Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Artichokes

1 lb. elbow macaroni

1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

3 tbs. goat cheese

1 stick butter

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 to 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)

1 13.75 oz. can whole artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Chili powder, to taste

Cook macaroni according to package instructions.  Let drain.

Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once it just begins to froth, whisk in the flour in small batches until smooth.  Slowly add the milk, continuously whisking.

Working in small batches, add the cheese.  Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the cooked noodles and artichokes and stir to combine.  Stir and cook over medium heat until both noodles and artichokes are heated through.  Serve immediately topped with chili powder and dried parsley.

Spicy Coriander and Ginger Pickles

19 Jun

I loved the pickled red onions I made by adapting Michael Symon’s recipe so much that when I saw some pickling cucumbers for sale at our usual grocery store, I knew I had to buy them and see if it worked on them as well.  I decided to make an additional change to the original recipe by adding some roughly chopped fresh ginger, which I though would work well with the flavor of the coriander.  I also played around a little with the spice amounts a bit.

This recipe worked really, really well.  The flavors were addictive and interesting – a nice hint of sweetness at the beginning of each bite, transitioning into a punch of salt, the aromatic coriander and mustard, and the spice of the ginger and crushed red pepper flakes that lingers on your palate.  The texture of the pickle is crunchy and crisp.  These would be delicious alongside any sandwich but are also pretty darn good on their own.

Spicy Coriander and Ginger Pickles

Adapted from Live to Cook by Michael Symon

1/2 dozen pickling cucumbers, halved

Vinegar – half apple cider vinegar, half rice wine vinegar


Kosher salt

2 tbs. coriander seeds

1 tbs. mustard seeds

1 tbs. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbs. black peppercorns

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

2″ of garlic, peeled, roughly chopped

2-3 bay leaves

Pack the cucumber slices in a 1-quart jar and cover with water to come within 1/2″ of the rim.  Pour the water out into a measuring cup.  Note the volume, then pour off half of the water.  Replace it with half apple cider vinegar and half rice wine vinegar.

Pour the vinegar mixture into a nonreactive saucepan.  Add 2 tbs. sugar and 2 tbs. salt for every 3 cups of liquid.  Add the mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Allow the liquid to boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Pour the hot liquid into the jar over the onions.  Stir to evenly distribute the spices.

Screw on the lids and shake a few times.  Let cool to room temperature.  Transfer to refrigerator.  Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Cold Vermicelli Salad with Fried Mushrooms

17 Jun

It’s finally really and truly heated up around here, so I was looking for an entrée that didn’t require the oven or a whole lot of stove top simmering.  This meal came together in a matter of minutes and was deeply satisfying.  The mushrooms added a nice meaty bite to this meal.  The vermicelli noodles had a nice springy texture and were brightly flavored with ponzu, vinegar, and lime.  This meal also makes for  excellent leftovers.

Cold Vermicelli Salad with Fried Mushrooms

Cold Vermicelli Salad:

8.8 oz package vermicelli noodles (green bean thread)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped

1 shallot, thinly sliced 1 scallion, thinly sliced

Lime and ponzu dressing, see below

Coriander and peppercorn mushrooms, see below

Soak vermicelli noodles in hot water for 3-5 minutes, or prepare according to package instructions.  Run under cold water until chilled.

Toss together all ingredients except the mushrooms.  Serve mushrooms over the noodles.

Lime and Ponzo Dressing:

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup ponzu (or use soy sauce and extra lime)

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

3-4 tbs. fish sauce

1 lime juiced

1 tsp. sugar

Whisk together, or put into a closed container and shake, until well combined.


1 package white shimeji mushrooms

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tbs. coriander seeds, whole

2-3 tsp. szechuan peppercorns, whole

In a cast iron pan, heat oil with seeds and peppercorns over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and cook, turning frequently, until golden brown.  Drain for a few minutes on a paper towel and serve over noodles.

Sriracha Oatmeal with a Soft Boiled Egg

10 Jun

This wasn’t a planned post, but once I took the first bite of this dish, I knew it was worth sharing.  This savory oatmeal is comprised of an Asian flavor profile, amped up a notch with a kick of spice from the sriracha.  It was well balanced by the creamy soft boiled egg.  This would look much prettier and be pretty darn tasty with a garnish of scallions, but after that first bite, I wanted to dig right in rather than gussy this up.

Sriracha Oatmeal with a Soft Boiled Egg

1 egg, refrigerated (older are easier to peel)

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 1/4 cup water

1/2 tbs. butter

1 tbs. sriracha

1 tbs. soy sauce

1 tbs. shaohsing rice wine

1 tsp. sesame oil

Freshly cracked black pepper

Bring a pot of water deep enough to cover the egg by about 1″ to a rolling boil.  Add egg straight from the refrigerator.  Cover pot and remove from heat.  Let sit seven minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add oatmeal and cook, stirring frequently, 4-5 minutes.  Once cooked, keep covered and warm over very low heat. Once seven minutes have passed, carefully transfer the egg to an ice bath.  Let sit about a minute, and then peel under running water.

Mix together oatmeal, butter, sriracha, soy sauce, shaohsing rice wine, sesame oil, and black pepper.  Top oatmeal with boiled egg.

Roasted Red Pepper and Black Bean “Burgers”

7 Jun

This veggie burger was quite the success.  In part, I think, because I didn’t try too hard to imitate a regular beef-patty burger.  Rather, it’s a mix between a traditional veggie burger patty and  a fritter, modeled off of the roasted red pepper and feta fritters that were one of Zak’s favorite items from the first year of the blog.  This burger was a far cry from some of the very “one note” veggie burgers I’ve tried.  Instead, each bite is packed with smokey roasted red peppers, salty feta, sweet corn, rich black beans, sharp scallions, and bright, fresh parsley.  The awesome pickled red onions (seriously, they are going to be a constantly-in-the-fridge staple from now on in our house) made it feel extra special, while the light smear (or healthy dollop, your choice!) of mayo kept the whole thing together perfectly.

The patty stayed together well thanks to an egg and a sprinkling of whole wheat flour, neither of which detracted from the fresh taste of all the vegetables.  Just be careful not to add too much flour, or this will end up tasting too much of flour and not enough of veg.  It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but you’re already getting a lot of dough-y flavor from the hamburger bun and even more could easily drown out all of the vegetable flavor.

Roasted Red Pepper and Black Bean “Burgers”

Roasted Red Pepper and Black Bean Patties:

Makes 3-4 patties

1 1/2 medium red bell peppers

Non-stick cooking spray

3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted

1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and slight smashed with a fork

1 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1 large clove garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup feta, crumbled

1 egg, lightly beaten

About 3-4 tbs. all-natural, whole wheat flour

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbs. corn oil

Preheat broiler.

Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place red pepper halves on baking sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place in broiler and broil 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until flesh of peppers is blacked and charred.

Transfer immediately to a zip lock bag and zip closed.  Let sit until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.  Remove the skins from the peppers – they should easily slide off at this point.

Roughly chop the roasted red peppers.  If there is a lot of liquid in the peppers, drain through a colander.

In a medium bowl, mix together chopped roasted red peppers, corn, black beans, parsley, garlic, feta, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Mix together thoroughly.

Slowly mix in flour until the fritters will hold together.

Heat oil in a 10″ cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Spoon about 1/3 cup of fritter mixture, formed into patties, into the pan and cook 3-5 minutes per side until firm in the middle and slightly charred on the outside.  Serve as directed below.


3-4 hamburger buns

3-4 roasted red pepper and black bean patties

Mayonnaise, for serving (optional)

Pickled red onions, for serving (optional)

Spread both halves of the hamburger bun with mayo.  Add roasted red pepper and black bean patty (see above).  Top with pickled red onions.  Serve immediately.

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