Friday, May 27, 2011

Good, but not great mac n' cheese...

Creamy Mac and Cheese at Sunday dinner
If there is one thing I love is a great mac and cheese...its creamy, its cheesy, it is one of the ultimate comfort foods.  It accompanies southern meals with the greatest of ease,but it can still stand on its own as a meal unto itself. 

When it came to helping with Sunday dinner this past Sunday, I thought...what would go better with ribs than mac and cheese.  I decided to turn to Williams-Sonoma Comfort Foods, page 172... "Creamy Mac and Cheese". 

Here are the pictures and the results of what I made...

Ingredients for Creamy Mac and Cheese
The ingredients are pretty simple, as you can see in the photo above...milk, macaroni, cheddar, fontina, flour, butter, dried mustard, salt and pepper. 

Creamy Mac and Cheese
The picture above is after preparing the roux, adding the milk, the cheeses, the spices and of course the macaroni.  The sauce came together quickly.  At this point I was still sure that this would be the greatest mac and cheese ever; the sauce was creamy and everything tasted great.

Creamy Mac and Cheese
This is what the Creamy Mac and Cheese looks like topped with bread crumbs and taken out of the oven.  I had used Trader Joes Parmesan Toasts to create the bread crumbs.  I'm still feeling good about the recipe at this point.

Creamy Mac and Cheese
This is the Creamy Mac and Cheese at dinner.  It looks like the picture in the book...its good, but I have to admit; it tasted better before it went into the oven.  After coming out the oven and slightly cooling down by the time we just seemed dry to me, like the saucy goodness had baked right out of it.  I really liked the sauce and I plan on trying the recipe again, maybe adding a bit more cheddar and forgoing the whole bread crumb baking thing which I don't think it needs.  I will be trying this with in the next week or so, so stay tuned...I will post the recipe at that time with the changes I have made to it. 

Enjoy the foods of your labor.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Frittata...

Potato Cheese Frittata
 Tonight was another frittata night in our house.  The easy eggie goodness, is popped into the oven giving me room to do other things on top of my barbie size stove.  It was suppose to be omlettes, with fingerling potatoes and asparagus.  I could not figure out for the life of me how to put three large skillets on the stove top at one time....I may be able to put 2 skillets on there at once, but 3...its just not happening.  So, instead I fell back to the trusted frittata in order to make space to get the asparagus sauteed.

Well, the frittata has been my fall back for awhile.  One morning, I decided that I would make a Spanish tortilla (eggs, thinly sliced potatoes).  I looked at recipes...I even got out the two skillets similar in size in order to flip the thing.  I don't know what came over me while I was frying up the potatoes...fear of flipping the thing...or maybe it was the fact I didn't want the whole thing to end up in the floor when I tried to transfer it from skillet to skillet.  What ever the case, the Potato Cheese Frittata was born.

Potato Cheese Frittata
For printable recipe, please click here
8  Eggs
2  Tbsp Heavy Cream
6-8  Golden Potatoes, thinly sliced
5 Tbsp  Olive oil
2 C  English Cheddar, grated

Preheat over to 350.  In an 11 to 12" skillet, over medium heat add the olive oil, add the potatoes to the oil and season with salt and pepper.  In the mean time, while the potatoes are frying.  Whisk the eggs and the heavy cream together, add half of the grated cheese to the egg mixture, set aside.  Stir the potatoes in the skillet, when they are tender but still firm, add the egg mixture over the potatoes.  Make sure the mixture covers the potatoes evenly.  Let set over medium heat for a few minutes, top with the rest of the cheese and place in the oven for about 20 - 25 min or until done in the center.  Let set for a few minutes after removing from the oven, serve and enjoy.  Refrigerate leftovers.
Potato Cheese Frittata

Potato Cheese Frittata
So guess the moral of the story is don't fret, make a frittata instead.

Enjoy the foods of your labor.  :-)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Queen's Drop Scones...

Queen Elizabeth's Drop Scones
The Royal wedding seems to have stirred up a plethora of scone recipes on the net.  There was one in particular that caught my eye..."Queen Elizabeth's Drop Scones" posted on Simple Recipes which I follow on Facebook.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one who thought this recipe looked appealing; 2 days after it was up on Facebook my sister made the Queen's Drop Scones and posted it on her page (she too follows Simple Recipes on Facebook).

Well, I made mine last night; deciding to use two of my favorite teacups for measures (like the Queen's recipe).  Instead of the pancake like batter that was described on Simple Recipes, I ended up with something a bit more sconie (biscuit like) if you will.  I think by using teacups to measure my flour, I used a tad more flour than what was called for...and before you I didn't weigh the flour to verify the measure and no, I didn't use a Starbuck's coffee mug to measure out the ingredients, they were actual English teacups that you see in tearooms or your grandmother's study.  Overall, I was really happy with this skillet scone (the taste and texture for a scone was spot on), but I may try to bake them in the oven the next time. 

Prepping to make Drop Scones
Queen Elizabeth's Drop Scones from
For printable recipe, please click here
4 teacups Flour
4 Tbsp Sugar
2 teacups Milk
2 whole eggs
2 tsp Baking Soda

3 tsp Cream of Tartar
2 Tbsp melted Salted Butter

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; set aside.  In a another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar; then whisk in half *(1 teacup) of the milk.  Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the milk egg mixture. Whisk until smooth, adding more milk until you get the right consistency *(I actually added the other full teacup of milk and it was pretty thick) - thin enough to spread on the pan, but not so thin as to run *(the consistency I got was like a wet dough) . Fold in the melted butter.

***To cook scones on the stovetop:
Heat a griddle or large cast iron pan on medium to medium low heat. Coat the pan with a little butter, spreading it with a folded over paper towel. Drop large spoonfuls of batter on the griddle to form pancakes. When bubbles start to appear on the surface (after 2 to 3 minutes), use a metal spatula to flip the pancakes over. Cook for another minute, until lightly browned. Remove to a plate and cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest of the drop scones. 
***To bake in an oven:
Preheat oven to 400°.  Drop about 2 Tbsp of batter/dough on a baking sheet for each scone.  Bake for 14 min or until golden.
Makes 14 to 16 scones.

* My notes
***Baking/cooking methods
Queen Elizabeth's Drop Scones
Queen Elizabeth's Drop Scones
By cooking them in the skillet it makes heating them up easier since they can be popped into a toaster.  As a matter of fact; I had one this morning, covered in........JAM! 

Enjoy the foods of your labor.  :-)