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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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 AppĂ©tit.

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:

  • 2 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
  • Âľ cup pineapple juice
  • ÂĽ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 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.

Portuguese Eggs

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Brunch is the best part of the weekend. We love to make some french pressed coffee to sip on as we make either a savory or sweet brunch. This weekend, we went with savory and oh boy was it the right call. Enjoy these baked eggs – so simple and so delicious.

Ingredients:

  • ÂĽ cup olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeds removed, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar (about 4 oz.)
  • ÂĽ cup fresh basil leaves

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 10–12 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, and paprika to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and liquid is thickened, 20–30 minutes; add spinach and season with salt and pepper. Discard jalapeños.
  • Preheat oven to 400°. Using the back of a spoon, make 6 evenly spaced divots in mixture and crack 1 egg into each. Top with cheddar cheese; season with salt and pepper. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until egg whites are almost set but yolks are still runny, 15–18 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh basil.

Psst. Leave out the cheese and this breakfast is paleo!