Andouille and Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

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Okay, so this photo isn’t the prettiest. The lighting is awful. But I’d be remiss to not share this recipe with you. Herein lies one of my favorite dishes of all time. This mac and cheese is decadent, complex, and will have you going for seconds thirds in no time. I’ve adapted it from a Food and Wine magazine recipe: I removed the cilantro and nutmeg from the original, upped the other herbs, and reduced the amount of fat here. But still: it’s cheesy, smoky, meaty, garlicy and satisfies all your carb-laden dreams. It’s time consuming and it’s unhealthy. But. It. Is. DELICIOUS.

You have been warned.

Andouille mac and cheese

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mild white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Salt
Black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
6 ounces andouille sausage, diced (or raw andouille sausage, crumbled)
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 pound medium pasta shells
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot)

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and heavy cream to a simmer. Keep warm over very low heat.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat until bubbling, 1 minute. Add the garlic, thyme, and cayenne and whisk until the roux is lightly browned, 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the warm milk and cream until the sauce is smooth and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat, whisking, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mild cheddar and 1/2 cup of the sharp cheddar. Season the cheese sauce with salt and black pepper.


3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the panko and toast over moderately high heat, stirring, 
until lightly browned, 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet.

4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the sausage, bell pepper and onion and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are lightly browned, 5 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup of sliced scallions and the chopped parsley.

5. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well, then return the pasta to the pot. Stir in the cheese sauce and the andouille mixture. Season with hot sauce and salt and black pepper.

6. Spoon the pasta into a large oven-proof ceramic baking dish. Top with the remaining 1 cup of sharp cheddar and the toasted panko. Bake until piping hot, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with scallions and serve warm.

Ale, Cheese, and Potato Pie

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Please keep scrolling if you’re following a gluten-free, dairy-free, or low-fat diet. This dish is not healthy. In fact, it’s probably the least healthy dish that I’ve ever cooked.

But it tastes oh-so-good. Gooey cheese and savory potatoes are encased in buttery puff pastry for a cold weather treat. Heavy cream binds it all together. This dish isn’t for the faint of heart. Speaking of your heart, maybe exercise for a week or two to burn the calories off of this one. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Ale, cheese, and potato pie

Ingredients:

Two 14-ounce packages butter puff pastry, chilled
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
salt
pepper
3/4 cup ale beer
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 egg yolks, plus 1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each puff pastry sheet to a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Stack the pastry sheets 
on a sheet with a piece of parchment paper between them. Refrigerate until chilled.

2. In a large pot, cover the potatoes with 1 inch of water. Add salt, bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Pat the potatoes dry, then peel and quarter. Gently crush with a wooden spoon.

3. In a medium saucepan, boil the ale over high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and 
cook, whisking, until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and cook over medium heat, stirring 
constantly, until the sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks, Worcestershire and mustard. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and let cool. Carefully stir in the crushed potatoes and season again with salt and pepper.


4. Arrange 1 chilled puff pastry sheet on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with some of the beaten egg. Spread the potato filling on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Top with the second sheet of puff pastry and press the edges together to seal; crimp decoratively. Brush the top of the pie with more of the beaten egg and cut a few slits for venting. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the pie for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, rotate the baking sheet and bake until the pastry is browned and the filling is bubbling, 25 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Dry Fried Glass Noodles with Chiles

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I’ve been on a spicy kick lately. Does it have chiles? Copious amounts of chiles? Yes? Will my tongue tingle and will my mouth go numb? Sign me up then.

This Sichuan-influenced dish of glass noodles quickly dry-fried with spices and ground meat is fiery thanks to a healthy dose of chili bean paste and dried chiles. It’s a flexible recipe, so feel free to leave out the meat for a vegetarian version or add vegetables galore to up the health factor. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that this dish is spicy. Pass the water, please.

Dry fried glass noodles

Ingredients:

6 ounces dried bean thread noodles
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 ounces ground turkey or chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon chili bean paste (tobanjan)
5 dried red chiles
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Pour enough warm water over the noodles in a large bowl to cover completely. Soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and cut the noodles in half.

2. Combine the rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, and cornstarch in a bowl and mix well. Add the meat and stir to coat evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add the oil, then add the garlic, ginger, chili bean paste, and dried chiles and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir-fry until it is lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon of soy sauce, noodles and cook, stir-frying until well-mixed, about 3 minutes. Stir in the green onion and sesame oil. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.

Kimbap

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I like to think of kimbap as maki sushi’s lesser-known cousin. There’s rice and there’s seaweed, but the fillings are completely different and the rice in kimbap is seasoned with sesame oil, as opposed to vinegar.

Kimbap is a perfect picnic food: easy (albeit time-consuming) to assemble head of time, tastes delicious at room temperature, and it’s healthy to boot. You can be flexible with the fillings: if you don’t like carrots, don’t add carrots. If you really like spinach, add some extra. Me? I’m all about that pickled radish.

Kimbap

Ingredients:
4 cups freshly cooked short grain white rice
salt
3 teaspoons sesame oil
3 eggs
vegetable oil
8 ounces ground beef
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound spinach, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute, rinsed and squeezed dry, and coarsely chopped
6 sticks of imitation crab
6 sheets of nori seaweed
1 yellow pickled radish, cut into thin strips

1. Transfer the warm cooked rice to a large bowl and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

2. Beat the eggs with 1/4 teaspoon salt in another bowl. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Turn the heat to low and pour the beaten eggs into the skillet, tilting so that the eggs cover the bottom evenly. Cook until set but not browned, about 1 minute. Flip the egg sheet over, cook for another minute, and remove from heat. Transfer eggs to a cutting board to cool and cut into 1/2-inch strips.

3. Combine the beff, soy sauce, 3/4 of the garlic, brown sugar, pepper, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a bowl. Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the beef and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned. Remove from heat and let cool.

4. Mix the cooked spinach with 1/2 teaspoon salt, the remaining garlic, and the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a bowl.

5. Heat half a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the crab sticks and cook for about 1 minute, then flip them over and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

6. Divide the rice into 6 portions and place a nori sheet on a bamboo mat, shiny side down. Spread 1 portion of rice evenly over the nori, leaving a 2-inch border at the top. Spread 1/4 cup of the beef mixture in a thin strip across the middle of the rice. Press it down with a spoon so it stays in place. Put one sixth of the spinach, a crab stick, a few egg strips, and a radish strip on top of the beef. Pick up the bottom edge of the mat and use it to roll the seaweed up and over the fillings, then continue rolling up the seaweed, using the mat, until you have a neat roll. Remove the roll from the mat and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 5 more rolls. Arrange on a plate and serve at room temperature.

Noodle Soup in Anchovy Broth

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On a scale of one to infinity, how ridiculous is it to be excited at the prospect of soup weather? Rainy season is here and with it comes an excuse to cook soup and after soup after soup. I’ve been craving this simple, umami-laden, and slightly spicy Korean noodle soup to warm me up as I adjust to foggy mornings and freezing nights. (Well, freezing for California. Don’t judge.)

Noodle soup in anchovy broth

Ingredients:

8 ounces Korean radish or daikon, cut into 1-2 inch slices
1 onion, sliced
20 large dried anchovies, heads and guts removed
1 7×10 inch piece dried kelp
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
4 pieces packaged fried tofu, sliced into strips
salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
8 ounces somen (somyeon) noodles
2 green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper)
2 sheets nori seaweed, toasted and crushed

1. Make the anchovy broth: combine 3 quarts water, radish, and onion in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes. Add the anchovies and kelp and cook for 20 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat, strain the stock into another saucepan, and stir in 2 teaspoons salt. Set aside.

2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil, garlic, fried tofu strips, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the garlic is crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and sesame oil and stir for another minute to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles, stirring so that they don’t stick to each other. Cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

4. Divide the noodles between two soup bowls.

5. Heat the anchovy broth until hot, then pour over the noodles. Add half the tofu strips, green onions, gochugaru, crushed nori, and a few drops of sesame oil to each bowl. Serve hot.