aithne: (alton_souffle)
There are a zillion baked macaroni and cheese recipes on the Internet. Many of them suck. This is not one of the sucky ones. It's based on a family recipe, slightly gussied up because I couldn't remember how exactly one uses the microwave to make cheese sauce.

You'll need:

Cheese sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Dijon mustard
paprika, salt (optional), pepper
2 cups (at least) shredded cheese, preferably aged Cheddar

One package largeish tubular noodles, preferably with ridges. We used to use a penne for this, but I used a medium ziti tonight and it worked just fine. If you have to use elbow noodles, use the largest-bore elbow noodles you can find. Trust me on this one--you want the finished product to be pretty loose and with lots of breathing room. Ridges help the sauce adhere to the noodles.

Optional protein:
1 turkey or beef kielbasa sausage

Optional topping:
Panko crumbs

Boil plenty of water in a big pot for the pasta, and cook according to directions. You want to pull the pasta off when it's al dente, just a bit before you normally would. This should probably be going on in the background while you're making the sauce. Drain the noodles and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F or thereabouts.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Using a non-metal spoon, stir in the flour and mix well. Continuing stirring over low heat for two minutes. You don't want to brown the roux; if it looks like it's heading in that direction, reduce the heat.

Using a whisk, and continually whisking, add the milk in small quantities - about two tablespoons at a time. Make sure that you fully incorporate the liquid before adding more - this way you will get a smooth sauce. The sauce will act like a weird living creature during this phase--you add the milk and whisk, and all of a sudden the roux goes sllllurrrrrrrrrp! and you have a sort of raggy mess in the bottom of your pan. It'll contract a bit more and then relax a little as the roux accepts the liquid; this is normal and a sign it's time to add more milk.

After you've added about half the milk, pour in the rest and give the mixture a good whisking. Continue to heat the sauce on low to medium heat, whisking often. Cook just to below boiling until the mixture thickens. This will happen all at once. (I love making sauce. It's magic.)

Add the cheese about 2 tablespoons at a time, thoroughly incorporating each addition. Cheeeeeeeeeeeese. Mmmm. Stir in mustard to taste--I use about a tablespoon.

Remove from heat and whisk in a little paprika and pepper. Salt, too, if it needs it.

Pasta goes in a casserole large enough to hold all of it. Cheese sauce goes in there too and gets all mixed in. At ths point, you could stick it in the fridge and bake it later--but why wait?

If you like a crunchy topping, melt some butter (about a tablespoon, maybe?) in a saucepan, then toss in some panko crumbs and sauté it a bit. Sprinkle crunchy stuff on top of the mac and cheese.

If you want sausage with our mac and cheese, cut up the whole thing and stick it on top. Then cover it and put it in the oven and leave it alone for, oh, 45 minutes or so. You want the sausage to be hot, the edges to be browning, and if you've got some bubbling action going on that's good too.

Pull it out, and eat.
aithne: (alton_mixer)
Hawaiian Roast Pork
2 lb. boneless pork roast with fat
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 c. pineapple juice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 lg. knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 c. vinegar
1-2 tbsp. peppercorns
Onion salt
Garlic salt
Leave the fat on the roast. Place the roast in a container along with the soy sauce, pineapple juice, garlic, ginger, vinegar, and peppercorns. Marinate in refrigerator for 12 hours, turning frequently.
Place roast on rack in shallow open roasting pan and pour 1 cup of marinade over it. Sprinkle top generously with onion and garlic salt. Spoon any remaining peppercorns on top of roast. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Increase oven heat to 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes to brown crust.
Slice thinly and serve with freshly baked apples or ginger flavored applesauce.

Hawaiian Pesto Recipe
macadamia pesto pasta

Here's a quick garnish to serve over chicken, tofu
10 min | 10 min prep | 2 cups
1 cup packed cilantro, fresh
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
3 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
6 chopped scallions
2 tablespoons ginger
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup macadamia nut oil or other oil

1. Combine all ingredients except oil in food processor.
2. With processor running, gradually add oil.

Basic Baked SPAM (I would grill instead of bake)
spam spam spam spam

1 can SPAM or spam light
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
Whole cloves
2 teaspoons water
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Score SPAM in diamond pattern and dot with cloves. Mix sugar, vinegar, mustard, water and Worcestershire.
Brush on SPAM. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, basting three or four times. Note: This is a generous amount of topping, enough for two cans of SPAM at once, if you want to serve more.

Maui Sweet Potato Bake
poi subsitute

An island flavoured side dish! It can be prepared in advance - cover & refrigerate for up to 2 days or wrap in foil & freeze for up to a month. Defrost overnight in fridge, bring to room temperature (2 hours) then bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

• 4 lbs cooked sweet potato, about 5 large ones,skinned
• 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk (regular or light)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
• 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander or parsley
• 1 lime, peel of finely grated
• 1 dash hot sauce
• 1/4 cup shredded coconut

1. Mash potatoes in a large bowl until almost smooth.
2. Stir in coconut milk& seasonings and mash until smooth.
3. Stir in next 4 ingredients, test for seasoning, turn into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish& spread evenly.
4. Sprinkle coconut over the top.
5. Bake in the center of a preheated 350F oven for 30- 35 minutes.

Frozen Coconut Caramel Dessert

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 (7-ounce) can flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (12.25-ounce) jar caramel sauce

Combine first 3 ingredients, and press into a lightly greased 13- x 9 inch baking
dish. Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned; cool.
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan; add coconut and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
Cook over low heat, stirring often, until coconut is golden; cool.

Beat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Layer one third each of cream cheese mixture, caramel sauce, and coconut mixture over crust. Repeat layers twice. Cover dessert, and freeze overnight.
Makes 15 servings.

Our Famous Rum Cake
rum cake!

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 18 1/2 oz. pkg yellow cake mix
1 3 1/4 oz pkg. Jell-o Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie filling
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup Wesson Oil
1/2 cup Barcardi dark rum

1/4 lb. butter
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Barcardi dark rum

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour 10" tube or 12 cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts. Bake 1 hour. Cool. Invert on serving plate. Prick top. Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until all glaze is used up.

For glaze: melt butter in sauce pan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.

6. Broil until the top is golden, about 3 or 4 minutes.
aithne: (camera)
present and accounted for

Friday was the annual Catstead 4th of July picnic, which includes good friends good food, and boomy things. I had a lovely time and took lots of pictures; I promised to post recipes, so here we go....

Wonderful Overnight Slaw
mmm slaw

1 med. head cabbage -- shredded
1 med. red onion -- thinly sliced
1/2 c. chopped red pepper
1/2 c. chopped gr. pepper
1/2 c. sliced stuffed olives
1/2 c. white vinegar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. ea. -- salt, celery seed and mustard seed


In a 4 qt. bowl, combine the veggies and olives. In a saucepan, combine remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 min. Pour over veggies and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Mix well before serving. 12 - 16 servings.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad
strawberry poppyseed salad

This is a showy salad with a sensational poppy seed dressing!

1 pkg. fresh spinach
1 basket. fresh strawberries
1/3 c. almond slices -- toasted


1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 c. veg. or olive oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

To make dressing, put all ingredients in a clean glass jar and shake. Refrigerate until serving time. To toast almonds, bake in a preheated oven 350 deg. on a pie plate for about 10 min., until golden. Cool and store in a glass jar.

Wash and dry spinach, remove stems, place in a pretty salad bowl. Slice or quarter strawberries and add to spinach. When ready to serve drizzle dressing over salad, toss, then sprinkle with toasted almonds.


3 cups coconut milk (regular, not light, about two cans)
1/2 cup sugar
Dash salt
1/2 cup cornstarch

Combine coconut milk with sugar and salt over medium heat in a saucepan. Slowly add cornstarch while stirring. Continue to cook and stir until thickened, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. Pour into an ungreased 9-inch square pan. Cool slightly, then refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 1 hour.

Kris's Note: actually, take about a cup of the coconut milk, the fluid part, and make a slurry with the cornstarch before adding to the pot. I promise, you will like the results much better.

More recipes may be coming later. Until then, head over to the set on Flickr to see what all we were up to that day!
aithne: (Default)
chop chop!
Almost every Thursday night at our house, we have a night where family comes over, the cooks make dinner, and we watch a few of the TV shows that all of us enjoy. It's a lot of fun, and for a while I've been wanting to do a weekly post about what we made and ate that night.

Last night was Patitsatha, an episode of Dr. Who, and and episode of Torchwood.

adapted from A Kitchen in Corfu by Chatto and Martin
* 1 Large Chicken -- in large pieces (we made one with real chicken and the other with Quorn for the vegetarians among us)
* 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
* 2 Large Onion -- sliced
* 3 Cloves Garlic -- finely chopped
* Salt -- to taste
* Paprika -- to taste
* 3 Whole Cloves
* 1 Pinch Cinnamon

* 2 Pounds Ripe Tomatoes -- chopped
* 1/2 Cup Red Wine
* 1 Tablespoon Wine Vinegar
* 2 Medium Bay Leaves
* Parmesan Cheese -- to taste
* 1 Pound Spaghetti

Directions: Brown chicken in oil. Add onions and sauté until browning, add garlic. sauté for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, 3/4 cup water and remaining ingredients except pasta and cheese. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Cook pasta as directed and serve topped with chicken mixture. Pass the parmesan.
with cheese
aithne: (alton_mixer)

malva pudding
Originally uploaded by Nareshe.
This is a South African specialty, and Bryan made one the other night. It is So. Good.

Recipe (from

Malva Pudding
From: Boschendal Wine Estate Restaurant, Cape Province, South Africa. It is actually a delicious cake but rich!! Very simple to make.

Posted on: May 10, 2005



* 1 cup sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon apricot jam
* 1 cup flour
* 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon table salt
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 teaspoon white vinegar
* 1 cup milk


* 1 cup whipping cream (not whipped)
* 6 ounces butter
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup hot water


1. Beat the egg and sugar well in a mixer. Add the jam, sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Melt the butter and add the vinegar. Add liquids to egg mixture alternately with the flour. Beat well and bake in a COVERED dish such as Corel at 350F for 45 minute to 1 hour. It is important to use a covered dish otherwise the sauce won't soak into cake.

2. Melt together the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the pudding as it comes out of the oven.

3. You will not believe the taste! I never add whipping cream or Cool whip as it is quite rich the way it is.

aithne: (alton_mixer)
mmm, cupcakes...
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
From Allrecipes

Dead easy. Completely deadly. I garnished mine with chocolate-covered dried cherries, because I am like that.


* 1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
* 1 1/3 cups water
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 3 eggs
* 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
* 1 (16 ounce) can vanilla frosting (I used chocolate!)


1. In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, water, oil and eggs; mix well. Spoon batter by 1/4 cupfuls into paper-lined muffin cups. Spoon a rounded teaspoon of pie filling onto the center of each cupcake. Set remaining pie filling aside. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted on an angle toward the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost cupcakes; top with one cherry from pie filling. Serve additional pie filling with cupcakes or refrigerate or another use.

pumpkin spice cupcakes!
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

So, so good. I would triple the amount of spices in this one; I used about 1.5 times the amount called for and they still don't quite have the flavor I was looking for. For mini-cupcakes, bake for about 15 minutes at 375.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed, cooked or canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
3/4 cup milk
Vanilla Butter-Cream Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 ½-inch muffin-pan cups, or line with paper liners.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg on piece of waxed paper.

Beat together butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, then pumpkin.

At low speed, beat in flour mixture alternately with milk until smooth.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin-pan cups, filling each two-thirds full.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan or on a wire rack 5 minutes. Turn cupcakes out onto rack to cool.

Tint frosting with food coloring. Frost cupcakes. Decorate as desired, using fondant (tinted, rolled out, cut into shapes), licorice, toasted coconut and other candies.

Makes 20 cupcakes.

I frosted these with a spiced version of the the last cream cheese frosting recipe you'll ever need, which was awesome and easy.
aithne: (alton_mixer)
This is a wonderful recipe from Brother Juniper's Bread Book, which Storm gave me some time ago. Struan is a traditional Scottish bread that was originally a celebration of the harvest and had all sorts of odd ingredients in it. The bread, it seems, was as much ritual as culinary delight.

The bread that this recipe makes is a dense but not too heavy multigrain loaf with a touch of sweetness. It's wonderful toasted. (And each recipe makes three loaves of bread, so there's enough to share!)

Note that it calls for cooked brown rice; brown rice takes 45 minutes to an hour to cook, so add that time in if you're making the rice that day.



7 cups high-gluten bread flour
1/2 cup uncooked polenta
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup wheat bran
4 teaspoons salt (preferably sea salt)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant (quick-rising) yeast, or 3 tablespoons active dry yeast (proof active dry yeast first; this recipe prefers instant yeast.)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup buttermilk
Approximately 1 1/2 cups warm water (amount of water will vary; I usually end up using 1 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons poppy seeds, for decoration


In a bowl mix all of the dry ingredients, including the salt and yeast. Add the cooked brown rice, honey, and buttermilk and mix. Then add about 1 cup of the water, reserving 1/2 cup for adjustments during kneading. With your hands squeeze the ingredients together until they make a ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter, turn the ball out of the bowl, and begin kneading.


Because Struan has so many whole grains, it takes longer to knead than most breads, usually 12 to 15 minutes. (Note: I haven't tried kneading this bread in the mixer, so I'm not sure how it would go.) The dough will change before your eyes, lightening in color, becoming gradually more elastic and evenly grained. The finished dough should be tacky but not sticky, lightly golden, stretchy and elastic rather than porridgelike. When you push your heels into the bread, it should give way but not necessarily tear. If it flakes or crumbles, add a bit more water.


Wash out the mixing bowl and dry it throroughly. Put in the dough and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap or put the bowl in a plastic bag. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it's throughly doubled in size. (I haven't tried a cool rise with this bread; I will, one of these days.)

Forming Loaves

This bread makes about 5 pounds of dough (81 ounces, to be exact); to make 3 loaves of 1 1/2 pounds each, cut the dough into 3 pieces--each will weigh 27 ounces. Roll up each piece into a loaf by pressing on the center with the heels of the hands and roiling the dough back over itself until a seam is formed. Tuck all pieces of dough or end flaps into the seam, leaving only one seam on each loaf. Pinch off the seam, sealing it as best you can, and put the loaf seam side down into a greased bread pan (preferably 9 x 4.5 x 3). Brush an egg wash solution (1 egg beaten into 4 cups water) on the top and sprinkle the poppy seeds over the tops. (I use egg whites, usually, because I often have them to hand, rather than the egg wash.)


Cover and allow the dough to rise until it crests the top of the pan (45-90 minutes, usually). Bake in a 350 degree oven (300 if it's a convection oven) for approximately 45 minutes. (If the heat in your oven is not even, and in most it's not, rotate the loaves halfway through baking.) The loaf should dome nicely and be a dark gold. The sides and bottom should be a uniform medium gold and there should be an audible, hollow thwack when you tap the bottom of the loaf.

If the bread comes out of the pan dark on top but too light or soft on the sides and bottom, take the loaf out of the pan, return it to the oven, and finish baking it until it is thwackable. Bear in mind that the bread will cook much faster out of the pan, so keep an eye on it.

Allow the bread to cool thoroughly for at least 40 minutes before slicing it.

aithne: (alton_gloves)
I have this vision of scurrying out of bed on Saturday mornings during the summer, going to a farmer's market, and coming home with lots of tasty things to eat. I read several food blogs in which people actually do this on a weekly basis, and it sounds so....idyllic. And tasty.

And then I come to my senses. Because, for one...I don't really cook any more. I leave that to Laura, who is a much better cook than i am. Oh, i'll make myself sandwiches, and boil eggs, and heat things up in the microwave, but that's not really cooking. I'm an inveterate baker, but, again, not really *cooking*. I clean up, that's my kitchen job. (I do the dishes because I like doing dishes, and the dishwasher is still an amusing novelty after years of handwashing dishes.)

And for two, I had a farmer's market less than two miles from my house when I lived in Laurelhurst, easily accessible by bus (so i wouldn't have to park)...that I never went to. (Of course, it was on Sunday morning, which made it a little difficult since I had to be either in Renton of Edgewood by 1.) Also, I worked literally down the block from Pike Place Market for two years and rarely bought stuff there. (In my defense: I worked 9-6 most days, so stopping at the Market on the way home wasn't possible, and getting stuff in the middle of the day wasn't exactly feasible, given the overstuffedness of our work fridges.)

So, i have a bad history of going to farmer's markets, even when they're the most stupidly convenient thing imaginable.

Still. I like the idea.

(I also like the idea of getting up early on weekdays to go running. Notice that I'm not doing that either. Must figure out just how early I need to be up and out of bed in order to get a run in.)

In other news, i provide you with this recipe and pretty picture of what looks to be an amazing chocolate cake. I may need to make this this weekend, I think we have everything on hand.

Also, I've been making myself sandwiches this week. We ran out of pickles, so I started using sundried tomatoes....which was, oddly, really, really good. Mmmm, olive oil. Even better would be them in a grilled sandwich...*ponders possibilities*

(Also, i must pick up a few bottles of this wine on Saturday: )
aithne: (alton_mixer)
Here's the zucchini bread recipe I made yesterday. It was pretty good, very lemon and gingery. Mmmmm.

Zucchini Quick Bread
(makes 12 slices)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
grated peel and juice of 1 lemon or lime
1/4 cup candied ginger, diced fine (optional)
1 cup shredded fresh zucchini squash

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5 inch cake pan; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. (I like to toss all of these in the food processor and give them a whirl for about 20-30 seconds.)
3. In a medium bowl, combine oil, eggs, lemon peel, lemon juice, candied ginger, and zucchini. Whisk well. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and fold to combine. Do not overmix. Batter should be smooth.
4. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Using a rubber spatula, smooth the top.
5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
6. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. (About 15-20 minutes.) Turn bread out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
aithne: (alton_mixer)
Posted here so I can find it later.

Chocolate-cherry Crumb Bars
(from MSL)

1 1/4 cups dried cherries, coarsely chopped
10 oz. unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks) all but two tablespoons cut up into small pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (about 2 ounces) lightly toasted
2 cups plus 7 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg
2 tablespoons kirsch or other cherry-flavored liqueur (optional)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so it overhands on two sides. Bring cherries, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 2/3 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium hear. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 cup more granulated sugar. Let cool, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved.

2. Stir together cocoa, salt, brown sugar, coconut, and 2 cups flour in a medium bowl. blend in remaining 2 1/4 sticks butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal; press 3 lightly packed cups into lined pan. Bake until just set, about 20 minutes.

3. Beat egg, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and the kirsch, if desired, on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until pale, about 4 minutes. Fold in cherry mixture and remaining 7 1/2 teaspoons flour, stir in chocolate. Spread over crust; top with remaining crumb mixture.

4. Bake until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely. Run knife around sides; lift out of pan. Cut into 9 or 12 bars.

Makes 9 large or 12 small bars.

March 2017



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