Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cuisine: Macaroni and Cheese

I love Macaroni and Cheese. Any kind really. from the Kraft box to the custard-style to the boiled pasta and some olive oil and parmesan cheese kind. There is one particular recipe that I make for holidays. It costs about $100 to make and makes enough for about 20 people. It is filled with a dozen eggs, pounds and pounds of cheese, and enough calories, cholesterol, sodium, and fat to give you an immediate heart attack, stroke, and diabetes all at once. That is why I only make it for special occasions.

That said, it is a very custardy mac and cheese. Heck, it has a dozen eggs. My husband prefers the creamy kind. So this holiday, I obliged and created a NEW mac and cheese recipe. It is way creamier, cheaper, and more complex (in taste not making). Here it is as a new years gift to ya'll.

1 (16 ounce) package of elbow macaroni
9 TBSP butter
1 onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic
1 cup shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese (Tillamook preferably)
1/2 cup shredded gouda
1/2 cup Pepper Jack cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
8 ounces cubed processed cheese food (Velveta preferably)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups half and half

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the water is boiling, in a small covered saucepan add the butter, diced onion, and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes). Add butter, onions, and garlic to cooked macaroni and stir.

While the macaroni is still hot, mix in the processed cheese food and stir until combined.

In a large bowl, combine all the shredded cheeses, salt, and spices. Mix well. Set aside 1/2 cup.

Beat the egg and half and half together. Set aside.

Add the half and half/egg mixture and the cheese and spice mixture to the macaroni. Stir until combined.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a deep 2 1/2 quart casserole dish, and pour macaroni and cheese into it. Top with 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture you set aside.

Bake in preheated over for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbling around the edges. Cool and serve.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cuisine: Tangerine and Cabbage Slaw

I walked in to the the produce market yesterday and was overwhelmed by the smell of the fresh tangerines. I knew immediately I needed to use them in a recipe for dinner. I had already decided I wanted to make Spicy Chipotle Pork Stew, and I was trying to figure out what would be a good pairing. Then, it hit me. Take the best of Curtido (a Latin American slaw) and add tangerines. It paired perfectly with the stew, adding a freshness and crispness to the palate. It would also be a fantastic pairing to any type of barbecue.

Preparing the slaw:
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 1/2 jalapenos, cored, seeded, and sliced thinly lengthwise
1 head cabbage, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly lengthwise
3 carrots, shredded
1 1/2 onions, sliced thinly lengthwise
3 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together and place in colander. Place colander in large bowl. Let drain for about 45 minutes. Make sure to pour out liquid. (Tip: If you are making Spicy Chipotle Pork Stew, reserve liquid and add to stew when you add the reserved liquid from the vegetable base and pork marinade.)

For the dressing:
3 tangerines, juiced
2 limes, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
4 tsp salt
2 dry roasted garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp smoked chipotle powder
2 TBSP good olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together.

Mixing the slaw:
2 tangerines, diced
1 lime, diced

Mix the prepared slaw, dressing, tangerines, and limes. Set aside for 15 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Let sit for another 10 minutes.

Serve with Spicy Chipotle Pork Stew, Mexican sour cream, and fresh tortillas.

Click here for a grocery list for the above dinner.

Cuisine: Spicy Chipotle Pork Stew

Yesterday, I was in a funk. So I decided to cook. This is what I created. It was the perfect remedy. It is very spicy and comforts the soul.

To make it less spicy, add less chipotle peppers and jalapenos.

For the marinate:
1 small onion, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 tsp. salt

Mix all of the above inredients together. Set aside for about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve any liquid.

For the rub:
1 tsp. smoked chiplotle powder
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. spicy smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground corriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
3 lbs. tamale pork, cubed in large chunks

Mix dry ingredients and rub on pork. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Then mix with marinate. Set aside for another 15 minutes. Drain and reserve any liquid.

Cooking the pork:
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP safflower or other vegetable oil

Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add pork. Fry pork on all sides. Pork should brown, and there should be bits of seasoning stuck to the bottom of the pan. Remove pork from dutch oven (it will not be cooked fully) and set aside in a covered bowl.

The vegetable base:
1 red bell pepper, cut in large chunks
1 1/2 small onions, cubed
3 carrots, cut in large strips
2 1/2 jalapenos, cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix vegetables together with salt and set aside for about 10 minutes. Drain and keep any liquid.

Place vegetables in dutch oven after pork is removed. Cook vegetables making sure to scrape off burnt seasoning off the bottom for about 10 minutes on medium high heat. Not all seasoning will come off. Remove vegetables and set aside.

The stew base:
4 chipotle peppers (from canned chipotle peppers), cored and seeded, plus all adobo sauce
2 cans whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
7 cloves dry roasted garlic, sliced (This can be done over the stove in a dry pan with garlic cloves still in their skins. It takes about 15 minutes.)
1/4 cup water

Cook chipotle peppers and adobo sauce in dutch oven, scrapping the bottom to remove as much of the burnt seasonings as possible for about 5 minutes on medium high heat. Add tomatoes and all their juices. Continue scraping bottom of dutch oven and cook for another 5 minutes. Add all reserved liquids and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and water. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add vegetables and pork and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Beans and potatoes:
3 small potatoes, cubed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. salt

Mix potatoes and salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Drain all liquid. Add pinto beans and potatoes to stew once it has been removed from heat. Taste stew to see if additional salt needs to be added.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cover dutch oven and cook for 1 hour. Mix twice as it is cooking. Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.

Serve with Cabbage and Tangerine Slaw, Mexican sour cream, and fresh tortillas.

Click here for a grocery list for the above dinner.

Grocery List: Spicy Chipotle Pork Stew and Tangerine and Cabbage Slaw Dinner


I didn't really know what I wanted to make for dinner. I knew I wanted something spicy, and I wanted pork. That's it. I let the freshness of the ingredients dictate what would be made. Spicy Chipotle Stew and Tangerine and Cabbage Slaw is what came through. If you want to make this delectable dinner, here is the shopping list.

6 carrots
4 small onions
3 small potatoes (white, red, or russet all work fine)
1 head cabbage
1 red bell pepper
4 jalapenos
5 tangerines
3 limes
2 lemons
1 bunch cilantro 1 bunch Italian parsley
1 head garlic

Canned goods:
1 can pinto beans
2 cans whole tomatoes
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

garlic powder
lack peppercorns
smoked chipotle powder
ground red pepper
ground corriander
ground cumin
salt (preferably Kosher)
3 lbs. tamale pork

olive oil
safflower or other vegetable oil


Mexican Sour Cream 

Fresh tortillas

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cuisine: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bombs

I have tried a number of different combinations of these ingredients to make these cookies, and I think I've found the perfect balance. The cookies are crumbly, crunchy, chocolately, and most importantly peanut buttery. In a word, they are delectable.


1/2 cup - wheat flour
1/2 cup - unbleached flour
1 tsp - salt
1 tsp - baking soda
1 tsp - baking powder
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup - white sugar
1 cup - brown sugar
1 1/2 cup - reduced sugar peanut butter
2 eggs
2 tsp - vanilla
3 cups - slow cooked oats
1 - 12oz package mini chocolate chips

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together butter, sugars, peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Sift the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture and mix. Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough between palms in to balls and place on cookie sheet. Dough will be crumbly, so use the heat of your hands to help keep shape. Bake for 14 minutes. They should be a light toasty brown on top, and they will retain a ball-like shape. Cool on a rack.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cuisine: The S. Kitchen presents... Mediterranean

Yesterday (September 20, 2009), John and I hosted the S. Kitchen presents Mediterranean. It was a truly glorious dinner with the fabulous company of Mary Kate and Ginger Snap. This is the first is what we hope to be a plethora of "social dinners".

The S. Kitchen was a monthly dinner party John and I hosted complete with elaborate themes. It was an opportunity to bring friends, family, and colleagues together and celebrate over food. You see, I love cooking and entertaining. It is a source of creativity, rejuvenation, and self-care. The S. Kitchen was an extension of that creativity and self-care. Guests always loved them and left feeling refreshed, satiated, and ready for the week ahead.

But with all good things, I got busy, and the S. Kitchen went away. I am horrible with a schedule and trying to keep it on the second or third Sunday of the month meant actually having to plan it, clean up for it, and host it. Trying to mix that in to an ever quickening schedule created stress. Yuck! It was just what I didn't want out of the S. Kitchen.

Enter the digital, social networking age. I love social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It enables me to be connected and stay tuned with friends, family, and colleagues at my own pace. I can obsess as much or as little as I like. I can post as much or as little as I want. I feel connected and a part of something.

Social networking sites, however, are not the same as being together in communion over food. So, I have decided to marry the two things together to create "Social Dinners". Instead of having something regularly scheduled, I will make an announcement over at the S. Kitchen fan page on Facebook about an upcoming dinner and menu. If you are free, post on the wall and you are invited. I will also follow up with recipes and (in the future) pictures of the dinner. Then we can all share stories about the food, friends, and fellowship that happen in person in an effort to extend the in person to the online and vice versa.

Listed below is the shopping list and recipes from yesterday's dinner. I hope you enjoy them. And if you were there or not, take a moment and share a story about either this S. Kitchen or one from the past. I love stories, especially yours.


Shopping List

Fruits, Vegetables and Fresh Herbs
5 medium sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
3 pounds zucchini, (approx. 6 medium)
2 small red bell pepper
2 - 3 lemons
1 head of garlic
coriander leaves/ aka cilantro

5 pounds beef or lamb

16 cups plain yogurt

Frozen Foods
frozen apple juice concentrate

Pita bread

Condiments and Dried Spices
kosher salt
whole black peppercorns (if you have a pepper or spice mill) or ground pepper (if you don't)
spicy smoked paprika
cider vinegar, small bottle
olive oil

Canned Goods
2 15oz Cans of Garbanzo or Chick Peas

Kudban (beef or lamb skewers)

3 pounds beef or lamb cut in 1 inch pieces
3 medium onions finely chopped
2 T finely chopped parsley
6 cloves crushed garlic
3 T. finely chopped coriander leaves/ aka cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and let sit for three or more hours.

Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes to an hour.

Turn all burners on grill to high and let heat. As grill is heating, brush off excess marinade off meat and skewer four to a stick. Once all meat is skewered, turn burners to medium high heat. Place skewers on grill and grill two minutes per side (about 8 to 9 minutes total). Take off grill and cover for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

6 garlic cloves, dry roasted for 40 minutes, minced and then mashed
1 medium onion, sliced and roasted in olive oil for 40 minutes (turn once half way through), then diced
2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed twice then boiled for 15 minutes in very salty water with two cloves of garlic, drain reserving water, then cool
2/3 cup of tahini (roasted, not raw)
1/3 cup (juice of 2 lemons) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup reserved water from boiled garbanzo beans
1/4 cup olive oil, plus a few Tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Combine tahini, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, pepper 1/4 cup olive oil and reserved water let set for about 30 minutes to an hour.

In a food processor, combine tahini mixture, garbanzo beans with boiled garlic, roasted onion and garlic. Add salt, pepper, and a little extra lemon juice (if needed) to taste.

Place hummus in a bowl and drizzle a few Tablespoons of olive oil over it.


Globe Slaw
3 pounds Italian globe squash, (sub zucchini) (3 medium), grated
2 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, very thinly sliced
2 small red bell pepper, diced
3 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
6 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Mix globe squash, onion, red bell pepper and salt together. Place mixture in a colander and set inside a large bowl and let set for at least 1 hour. Drain water occasionally.

In a separate container mix cider vinegar, apple juice concentrate, and chopped basil. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Mix two mixtures together and let sit for about one hour.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cuisine: Mmm....Curtido

I make this dish A LOT. In fact, my husband jokes that it's one of the only things I make when we have company. He's not wrong, but why would I make something else when this is so damn good.

I got the idea of this recipe from loving the curtido you put on pupusas. (I still haven't mastered those yet. Soon. Very soon.) It can be altered very easily. I sometimes put equal parts rice vinegar, cider vinegar, and lime juice. That tastes a little more central European than this version.

This version is a great balance of ingredients. It's just slightly sour, a little bitter, and all goodness. Enjoy and let me know how you innovate on this dish. The possibilities are endless.

  • 1 head green cabbage, quartered, cored and sliced very thinly (Do not use a food processor or shredder. Those damage the leaves little too much.)
  • 3 carrots, 1 sliced with a vegetable peeler, 2 shredded with a grater
  • 4 large cloves garlic (or 6 small), minced
  • 4 jalapenoes, cored, seeded and minced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced finely
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced lengthwise finely
  • 3-4 limes, juiced
  • 1-2 lemon(s), juiced
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) salt
  • pepper and hot paprika to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Let sit for at least one hour. Enjoy!

It's even better the next day.

Cuisine: Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken

I made this for my friend Marisa Saturday night. It was a lovely evening. I couldn't believe how warm it was at 8:30 when we started grilling. We were even able to sit outside and enjoy our dinner amidst the noise of traffic and the glow of street lights. This was paired with grilled corn, curtido, and my special spicy fruit salad.

Enjoy! And don't forget to leave and comment and share your story/recipe!


8 chicken breast halves
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup spicy vinegar (can be found in most Asian groceries)
2 tablespoons hot paprika
1/4 teasp0on hot pepper
1/4 teaspoon whit pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon anise
8 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 gallon of water
olive oil

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and set aside for about two hours.

Drain and rinse all chicken. Pat dry with paper towel. Rub lightly with olive oil making sure to coat each breast.

If using a gas grill (that's what I used), turn all burners to high and heat. Right before adding chicken turn burners down to medium high.

Place chicken breasts on grill and close cover. Let sit for about 4 to 6 minutes. Check breasts. If breasts have visible dark brown grill marks flip them over and cover grill. If they do not, turn heat up slightly and cover for another 2 minutes. Then, flip and cover.

Check again after 4 to 6 minutes. Flip again this time making sure to new grill marks run perpendicular to current grill marks. Cover and let set 3 to 4 minutes. Check, flip, repeat.

Remove breasts from grill and let sit covered for about 5 minutes. Enjoy.

For an extra tasty treat! Turn the left over chicken breasts into chicken salad. Mince two to four breasts, half an onion, and one jalapeno. Mix with mayonnaise until texture resembles chicken salad. Enjoy on wheat bread with Swiss cheese.

Cuisine: Pepper and Cheddar Biscuits

I've been playing around with biscuit recipes. I LOVE them in all there forms. This recipe I created to go alongside pork chops I was making. The chops were ok. These were excellent. I had one today with chicken salad and curtido. Mmm... A mouth-watering lunch. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think!


  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 pasilla pepper, minced
  • 1/3 cup fried dried garlic (found in Asian grocery stores)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 1/4 cup Bisquick
In a small bowl, mix together milk, fried dried garlic, jalapeno, and pasilla pepper and set aside for 15 minutes. Add cheddar cheese to milk mixture and let sit for 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, measure out Bisquick. Gently fold milk and cheese mixture into Bisquick. Mixture should separate from the sides of the bowl and be slightly sticky. If the batter is too sticky, add a little more Bisquick and gently work in. If the batter is too tough, add a little more milk and gently work in.

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease a small glass baking dish. Create 8 roughly equal balls and place them in greased baking dish. It is ok if they lightly touch. Bake for 15 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into center of a biscuit. If not done, check every 2 minutes. Biscuits should be golden brown with small specks of dark brown on top.

Enjoy with butter. Mmm....Butter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cuisine: Sweet Potato, Pear, and Ginger Biscuits

So...since I have been un(der)employed, I have been trying my hand at new things and slowing down. One of those things is baking. This weekend, I experimented with biscuits and surprised myself. These are fantastic! It may sound like an odd combination of ingredients, but the end result is a delicious, moist, and succulently sweet biscuit. In fact, we ate them all in two days. Not that we should have, but we did.

As many of you may know, my cooking always entails a lot of steps and takes a wee bit of time. I am also lousy at writing recipes down. Well! Here is a recipe that is fairly simple and written down exactly as my memory recalled. And as I age, my memory fails me more and more.

So...Let me know how these turn out for you. I'd love to hear the stories they inspire.




  • 3 small sweet potatoes, peeld and cut into 2 inch sections
  • 2 pears, peel, quartered, and cored
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups Bisquick, plus additional 1/3 cup
  • 1/3 cup butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, plus additional 1/2 cup
  • Real maple syrup (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ground ginger and let seep for 5 minutes. Then add cut sweet potatoes and boil for 10 minutes. Next, add pears and boil until sweet potatoes are soft, about 3-5 more minutes. Drain and mash the ginger, sweet potatoes, and pears with the clove and cinnamon. Set aside to cool.

In a small mixing bowl, combine oats and milk. Soak for 5 plus minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups Bisquick, 1/3 cup butter, and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Mix together lightly. Add sweet potato mixture and oat mixture. Gently stir together ingredients. If mixture sticks to the side of the bowls, add additional Bisquick one tablespoon at a time. Stop when mixture is still slightly lumpy and pulls away from the edges of the bowl.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a cast iron skillet or a heavy glass pan with butter (or spray with Pam). Using a 1/3 cup, scoop the biscuit mixture into a large ball and place on skillet or pan. Pan should hold 5 to 6 biscuits. Then sprinkle about 1 tablespoon brown sugar and drizzle a little maple syrup over each biscuit.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Check at 12 minutes. Biscuits are done when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy with butter. Mmm...Tasty!