Truffle Mac and Cheese

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When you turn 30, you get a party and truffle mac and cheese. Last Saturday we celebrated Madison’s 30th in style – a cocktail attire affair in a beautiful DC apartment with the best of friends. There was dark chocolate cake, cheesecake, champagne and yes… truffle mac and cheese.

This recipe is really easy to make, especially if you have a Cuisinart to help shred the SIX cups of cheese you’ll need. Madison was more than happy to help with this, and even posted an Instagram video to show how much he loved grating the cheese -offering to cut the cheese whenever needed. #jokes

This photo is actually the leftovers – hope it still looks appetizing!:) We have a *few* friends who will vouch for this recipe and next time we have a craving for mac n’ cheese I’m pulling out this recipe for sure.

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound pasta such as cavatappi or elbows
  • 2 tbs black truffle oil
  • 5 tbs unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, scalded
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated 
  • 5 1/2 extra-sharp white Cheddar, grated 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 6 minutes, until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and truffle oil in a large (4-quart) saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the white sauce is thickened and creamy. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, the pepper, and nutmeg.

Add the pasta into the pan and stir until combined. Pour it into a 10 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish.

Place the garlic, parsley and panko in a bowl or plastic bag and mix. Sprinkle over the pasta and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.

This recipe is adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s recipe.

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2015: #Blessed

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Turkish Coffee in… you guessed it! Turkey!

There’s no other way to say it. 2015 was #blessed. This past year I was well traveled, grew my business, spent a ton of time with family and friends and in general was the kind of nonstop lifestyle that you all know I do. #Boom. Weekend Warriors. Work Hard / Play Hard. The kind of pace where every time you call your grandma the first thing she asks is “Where are you Now??”

Before I started this post in my head I was planning to count every day that I traveled in 2015. Then I opened my email inbox to try and figure it out. Got overwhelmed. Signed up for Mailstrom. Deleted 75% of my inbox. Started feeling accomplished, until I realized I deleted all my flight email confirmations. So… I’ll list of the places I traveled to from memory (yea, I’m that good):

USA:  New Hampshire, Boston, Philly, Miami (the weekend in winter that Al Roker flew there to report the unseasonable cold weather), Rhode Island (6x), New York City (5x), Hoboken, Hilton Head (a certain little sister got hitched hutched!), Savannah, Charleston, The Hamptons, Charlotte (2x), Phoenix, Los Angeles (2x), San Francisco (2x), Napa Valley, Atlanta, Orlando, Virginia (countless wine trips)

INTERNATIONAL: PARIS (3x- soooo #blessed), Istanbul, Southern France (Nice, Antibes, Aix-en-Provence, Cordes sur Ciel, Bordeaux, Dordogne and Urrugne), Spain (to visit Baby G in San Sebastian), London, Bahamas

The point is I spent a lot of time on airplanes in 2015 and while I didn’t love that part, I LOVED spending time in so many different places. Here’s a short list of some of the amazing experiences I encountered both in DC and on the road:

  1. Walked my sister and two best friends down the aisle
  2. Discovered an intense obsession with pho (and later in the year, ramen)
  3. Celebrated a year of marriage
  4. Learned to paddle board and had ripped abs for a week
  5. Helped launch YouTube Kids in the US and UK and YouTube Music in LA at the coolest party I’ve ever been to, never mind helped plan
  6. Doubled the Anchor team (welcome aboard, Cait!)
  7. Created the most epic bubble scene with Madison via crashing our mini cooper into a car wash
  8. Tried a lot of wine (self explanatory)
  9. Read a lot of books, 3 of which made me cry
  10. Got really into Orphan Black
  11. Partied with Madison for his 30th
  12. Was in 4 major cities in 5 days (Paris to NYC to SF to DC) – also relevant: plane caught on fire- compensation pending
  13. Went to Asia (Istanbul counts!!)
  14. Almost maintained a consistent tan throughout the year
  15. Did a blind wine tasting in Paris and guessed 0 of the wines correctly
  16. Tried sea urchin and octopus again (didn’t learn from last year)
  17. Bought a cosmetics travel bag that remains packed all year long that goes from closet to luggage to hotel and back
  18. At one point I ate so many tacos people started thinking my Instagram was a taco blog
  19. Got my first blowout at DryBar which led to a lot of other blowouts
  20. Shucked my first oyster (about time, right!?)

All I have to say is it’s truly a wonderful life. Looking forward to what adventures 2016 will bring, especially as Madison and I make the move to London in January! Follow along: #madisonandvictoria

xoxo,

V

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Pan-Roasted Chicken With Pineapple-Chile Glaze

Best Chicken Dish EverWith all the attacks on bacon recently [note: ate bacon for breakfast] and FDA warnings on eating too much steak [ note: Shake Shack is still my go-to hangover food] I decided we needed some better chicken recipes.

Guys, this is it. My first attempt at finding a more interesting chicken recipe won. Literally, after eating this dinner I couldn’t get this song out of my head. Thank you, thank you, Bon Appétit.

Of course, I made a couple adjustments – see below for my take on BA’s recipe that you need to make tomorrow for dinner.

Ingredients:

  • teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices fresh pineapple, ½ inch thick
  • 1 serrano chile, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¾ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • tablespoons paprika

Directions:

  • Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. Mix cayenne and half the paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken with spice mixture, pressing to adhere; season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned and beginning to crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and add pineapple slices to pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side.
  • Place chicken on top. Transfer to oven and roast about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring chile, garlic, pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, and remaining paprika to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until thickened and syrupy, 10 minutes.
  • When chicken is done, brush with glaze and roast just until glaze is bubbling, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve chicken and pineapple with any juices from skillet alongside.

Spicy Chicken DinnerThis recipe is spicy. Use less cayenne if you can’t handle the heat. But if you like spice, trust me this is great. I paired the chicken with a kale caesar salad to cool it down a bit. Just a bit.

Enjoy,

V

Breakfast Fruit Tart

Breakfast Fruit TartSometimes brunch gets you through the work week. And after one of the best but toughest scheduled weeks in a while (LA and back in 48 hours anyone?) I was looking forward to brunch and catching up with friends. I was asked to bring some fruit to a Sunday brunch gathering and decided to spice up a fruit salad with some granola and yogurt. I know. I know. I usually hate yogurt but I don’t mind making exceptions when it’s more of an add on and not the main ingredient. A bowl of yogurt? vom.

I love fruit tarts, especially from Pastiche, which we had on our wedding dessert table. And I thought why not for breakfast? Enter the granola crust. I thought for sure I’d mess this one up but no. It was gorgeous. I almost didn’t want to finish the recipe and there was a lot of celebration dancing going on in the kitchen before moving on to dicing up the fruit, etc.

Granola Tart Crust

Look at those ridges! They held up too, even en route to our fabulous brunch. This is a very light dish and added some extra color to the table. Don’t expect the beautiful presentation to last though – once you dig in, it’s a bit messy!

Enjoy –

V

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of rolled oats
  • 1.5 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of kosher salt
  • 5 tbs of butter, melted (or substitute 1/3 c of melted coconut oil)
  • 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt
  • an orange
  • 2 tbs honey
  • assorted fruit (I used kiwi, mango, raspberries and pomegranate seeds)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Start by making the granola crust. Mix all the granola ingredients in a bowl until evenly combined. Use the bottom of the tart pan to trace a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the tart pan. Smear a dab of butter to the bottom of the tart pan so the parchment paper stays in place. Grease the sides and top of the parchment well then lightly flour the greased areas and tap the excess flour out.

Fill the tart pan with the granola and using a measuring cup press the bottom layer of granola evenly and press it against the sides. You may have extra granola that you can bake up to sprinkle on top. If you do cook the extra granola make sure to remove it before the crust is ready because it will cook a lot faster than the crust.

Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Allow the tart to cool enough to handle with your hands, about 15 minutes. Then, carefully, remove the side of the tart pan but keep the bottom of the tart pan under the granola shell. Allow the granola shell to cool entirely.

Juice the orange and whisk into the yogurt, along with the honey. Whisk it good. Like really good. Get some air in there. Fill the shell with yogurt and top with cut fruit.

Yogurt filled granola crust

Yogurt filled granola crust

Recipe adapted from Honestly Yum.