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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dragon Breath Pasta

I decided to just whip up something random for dinner tonight instead of hunting down a recipe or going to the grocery. Because I wasn't sure if it would be worth posting, I didn't write down any measurements. I don't think you could mess this up. It only took about 15 minutes total to make so try this out when you want something delicious that doesn't take a lot of time. And it will leave you with a nice suprise - Dragon Breath! (so don't make for date night)


Pasta (I had adorable mini-wheels - Use whatever is in your cabinet), cooked

Bacon - I used 4 slices, which was plenty

Onion - I used about 1/4 of a red, diced

Garlic - 2 cloves, sliced

Cream - I just used the rest of the container I had....probably a between 1/2 -3/4 cup.

Pesto - I just used the store-bought kind

Parmesan Cheese for serving

Red Pepper Flakes for serving

Cook the bacon and then dice into bite-size pieces. Cook the onion in the bacon grease and then add in the garlic, making sure not to let it burn. Add the cream and bacon and heat over low heat until a bit thick. Then add in the pasta and pesto and mix together. I used about 2 spoonfuls of pesto, but taste as you go. You'll probably want to add in some salt & pepper too. Put into a bowl and top with grated parmesan cheese & red pepper flakes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Aunt Deane's Macaroni & Cheese

No, this doesn't involve a blue box. Or that weird boxed cheese that doesn't need to be refrigerated. This is the real deal.....and definitely worth the few extra steps. Aunt Deane submitted this recipe for the Burnett cookbook, and I just got around to trying it tonight. Many of the recipes from the cookbook are a bit hard for me to try as a party of one, but I was able to use this adorable tiny Le Creuset cocotte for this and divide the recipe by 1/3. It''s a good thing I didn't make the entire thing...I might have eaten it all. It was delicious, and I even have leftovers for tomorrow! Feel free to get creative here - Try different cheeses or add in some additional ingredients. I had some jalapenos and bacon around, so I added that in as well. I followed the cooking instructions exactly as written and wouldn't change a thing. I will definitely be making this again. That Aunt Deane knows her stuff; All those years in home ec really paid off!

1 cup elbow macaroni (I used little shells because that is what I had)
1 1/2 T. margarine
1 cup soft bread crumbs (I used panko - delicious)
2 T. margarine
1 1/2 T. flour
1/8 t. mustard
1 t. salt
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 lb. sharp or medium Cracker Barrel Cheese
1 T. grated onion (I diced mine - I wanted to taste)

Cook macaroni in boiling, salted water until tender or about 9 minutes. Melt 1 1/2 T. margarine in a saucepan. Add crumbs and toss. Remove to bowl or waxed paper and save for topping. Melt 2 T. margarine in same saucepan. Add onion and cook lightly Add flour and blend until smooth. Add milk, mustard and salt. Stir and cook until it thickens. Remove from heat. Grate all the cheese and add half to the sauce. Reserve remainder for topping. Stir occassionally until cheese is melted. Drain macaroni and add to sauce. Pour mixture into a greased 2 quart casserole. Top with grated cheese and then buttered bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until slightly firm and nicely browned. If the casserole is refrigerated before baking, increase milk to 1 3/4 cup and bake for 45 minutes.

Serves 4-5 as a main dish.

Look how cute this dish is!

Interior Shot

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Edamame Tofu Salad with Sesame Chili Dressing

Yes, it's still me writing this. I'm sure you're already worrying about me. Lisa? Tofu Salad? No way! One of my team members at work is super duper healthy and always eating nuts & berries and that sort of nonsense. I give her a hard time about it of course, because I am good at that sort of thing. One day she was eating a tofu salad from this place called Fresh & Co., and she offered me a bite, which I took, expecting to be disgusted. Instead, I wanted more! It was delicious and had such a great combination of flavors and textures. I told the team that I was going to re-create the dish and bring it in, which I did this past Monday, making a few changes along the way. The girls all raved about it and voted it to be ever "fresher" that the Fresh & Co. version, which was the ultimate compliment to me! I have all of the ingredients at home, and if you don't, highly suggest you make the investment. If you don't know what else to do with Mirin or Sesame oil, just contact me and I can send tons of recipes! This is definitely going to be on my recipe rotation, which should keep the co-workers happy!

Salad Ingredients:
4 ounces soba noodles, cooked
1 pound firm tofu (marinated & fried, see below)
2 cups shelled edamame (I blanched for 2 minutes)
1 -2 cups shredded cabbage (napa is preferred, but i used normal cabbage and it was fine)
2 carrots, grated
Fried Tofu Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, sliced
4-5 slices (1/8-inch thick) of fresh gingerroot
1 cup water
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup tamari or shoyu (I used soy sauce)
Coconut oil (I used canola oil)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
5 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons mirin (or sake)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons chili sauce (Thai )
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons hot pepper sesame oil

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds

To prepare tofu:
In the morning, combine all ingredients for marinade. Cut tofu into 1/2” slabs, and then cut slabs into triangles. Put marinade and tofu in a glass storage container with a tight-fitting lid for ½ hour to 8 hours. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor in the tofu.
Heat ½ of the coconut oil in a skillet to medium high. Remove tofu from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. This will protect you from sputtering oil. Place ½ of the tofu pieces in oil and brown on both sides. Repeat with remaining oil and tofu. Set aside.

Combine all the dressing ingredients except oils in a small bowl. Drizzle olive oil and sesame oil in slowly and whisk well to incorporate. Dress cooked soba noodles with 2 tablespoons of the dressing while still warm.

Arrange noodles, tofu, edamame, carrots and cabbage in separate piles on a large serving platter. Garnish noodles with the sesame seeds. Put dressing in a small pitcher. Try to have prettier plates at your job than I do.

Papaw's Country Ribs

The closest grocery to me is sometimes great, sometimes good and sometimes lame. It really depends on when you visit, as well as how many peeps have been there before you. I went last Saturday to find something to cook, and the only thing left in the very tiny baby teeny weeny meat section was some baby back ribs. Now, I've never made ribs in my life...(that's a man's job) and it seems like a total sin to do such a thing indoors. But hey, after almost 10 years in New York, I've learned to accept the fact that I don't have a yard, a grill, a smoker or anything cool that normal people in America have. Luckily, Papaw came to the rescue with his Country Ribs recipe. I kind of fiddled with this honey apple bbq sauce from another cookbook that I would not repeat, but the ribs came out good enough to try again. A good option when you don't feel like dealing with the smoker...or don't own a smoker.

1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup hot water
salt & pepper

Mix vinegar and hot water. Smear over side of ribs. Salt and pepper and cook at 300 for 1 1/2 hours or until dry.
I served with baked beans, coleslaw and jalapeno cheddar biscuits, yall.