Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

I can never remember what I did the last time I made a creamy style mac and cheese and to save myself the work of figuring out what to do when I make it again I thought I should write a recipe down. Plus Len liked this as much as he likes his mother's style mac and this was a first. This is the type I make when I have some soft stinky cheese I need to use up. Feel free to use multiple types of cheese but if you use Roquefort don't use a large amount or it will be too strong. Feel free to mix up any sorts of cheese you happen to have.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound macaroni, I prefer cavatappi
8 ounces unsalted butter, divided
4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon
large pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon mustard
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese grated 
8 ounces Compte or Gruyere, grated
4 ounces Epoisses or similar cheese
enough cracker or bread crumbs to cover the top of the mac mixed with 2 ounces melted butter
Heat the oven to 350º F. Butter a 9" by 13" pan. Cook the macaroni until just short of al dente in boiling salted water. Heat the milk over medium heat. Melt 6 ounces of the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. When it bubbles add the flour. Cook, whisking 1 minute. Add the hot milk slowly, whisking the entire time. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and bubbles, about 10 minutes. Add the cheese and the spices. Stir in the pasta and place the mixture in your pan. If you want to have even more fat in your mac and cheese you may pour some melted butter on your bread crumbs now. Lastly sprinkle the crumbs on top of the mac and cheese and bake it until it is golden, about 30 minutes.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Crazy Chocolate Cake or (Updated Name) Vegan Chocolate Cake

This recipe is from the Great Depression when eggs, milk, and butter could be hard to come by. It is great for people with egg or lactose allergies. Another bonus is that you don't have any dirty bowls to wash. Back when this recipe was developed being vegan was not fashionable and the cookbook where I found the original recipe doesn't mention that it is vegan. I found this recipe in the LA Times.
I top the cake with powdered sugar and serve it with sliced strawberries.

Crazy Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups unsifted all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup cold water or weak coffee or 1/2 cup stout plus 1/2 cup coffee
Set your oven to 350º F. Sift the dry ingredients into an ungreased 8" square baking pan. Whisk them together in the pan until mixed and smooth them out. Make 3 depressions in the dry ingredients and pour the vanilla, vinegar, and oil in the depressions. Pour the water over all. Mix everything together with a spoon. Don't worry if there are a few lumps. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Väänänin Martini Recipe

I thought that I didn't like like martinis until Eeva made her twist on her brother Jukka's version of the classic recipe. It was delicious and changed my opinion when it came to martinis. I am pasting the recipe Eeva sent to me.

 Always use Noilly Prat vermouth. Accept no substitutes (well, perhaps in this hipster era of ours there are acceptable substitutes out there, but guilty until proven innocent, I say). I'm pretty sure we got Noilly Prat at Trader Joe's, but your Aptos liquor store is bound to have it, as it's the standard bearer, not niche. 

I favor stirred martinis. If you don't have a stirrer, you can use a large pint glass. Put enough ice cubes in it that they will be higher than the gin. Stir quickly to chill the glass (you don't want the ice to melt, and if any water collects on the bottom of the glass throw it out before adding the gin). Add the gin (just shy of 1/4 of a cup per person) and no more than a Noilly Prat cap full of vermouth, stir rigorously for a few seconds and pour into martini glasses. The idea is to ensure as little dilution of the drink, so no extra time in contact with the ice. Take your lemon peel piece, give it a quick twist above the glass to release the aromas and drop it in. You're all set. 

My martini is based on the stirrer I use, so the amount may vary but it looks like about 1/4 cup. No need to fill up the vermouth cap entirely either, it's really just meant to be a hint. Some folks even rinse their martini glasses with vermouth first then chuck it out before adding the chilled gin.

Some people also store the gin in the freezer or place martini glasses in the freezer for 30 minutes before making the drink. I sometimes do the former, but never the latter, as I don't like drinking from a wet glass and having precipitation all over my hands.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Oven Spareribs

This is a recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen which was adapted from a recipe by Harold McGee. I decided that I had to put it in my blog because I was afraid that the next time I wanted to cook ribs in the oven I wouldn't remember what recipe I had used and it would be lost to me in the fog of my brain. It is very easy and when I made it with the outstanding ribs from Fogline Farms in Soquel, the ribs were delicious.

Oven Spareribs
5 lbs of ribs should serve 4 people

1 cup dark brown sugar (may be reduced by 1/4 cup for a less sweet version)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
4 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon mild or hot pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
5 pounds spareribs, cut into 4 slabs, patted dry
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200º F. Place each slab of ribs on a piece of foil large enough to wrap it. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub each slab with 1/4 of the dry rub. Tightly wrap the ribs in the foil and place them on a rack that has been placed on a sheet pan. You will need two racks and 2 sheet pans for the 4 packets of ribs. Bake the ribs for 4 hours at 200º, switching the ribs rack position after 2 hours. After the 4 hours reduce the oven temperature to 175ºF and roast for another 2 hours or until a fork easily pierces the meat. Open the packets and pour the juices into a small saucepan. Boil the juices down until they are syrupy and then add the vinegar. The ribs can be put under the broiler for a bit for extra caramelization if you like. Serve the ribs with the sauce poured over them.