30 May 2010


After waking, George wanders out back and snips some lettuce. Then we have a delicious salad for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So when Gavin visited last week I felt completely justified in baking my twice-a-year treat: authentic, crispy, cheese-dense macaroni and cheese.

Vegans will find nothing here to tempt them, and I'm offering no vegan alternative—frankly I just don't believe that nutritional yeast tastes exactly like cheese, and I'm not motivated to experiment with it. I believe that vegans' taste buds adjust to nutritional yeast the way that George and my taste buds adjusted to soy milk. Soy milk tastes different than milk, but after three weeks of no milk, that became fine with us. But milk comes in one flavor, and cheese comes in hundreds, and the point of this recipe is the flavor of cheddar.

In short, this recipe is all about the cheese. If you're gluten-free, you can probably substitute some brown rice macaroni (people like Tinkyada) in the recipe and still be perfectly happy. The reason I use whole-wheat elbow macaroni is because first, no one ever complained, and two, it gives the entree more heft and staying power. You don't want people just downing its oily salty goodness until they get sick—the whole wheat keeps the dish at a lower glycemic level and thus keeps it from functioning like pure crack on our biological urge to gorge on fat, salt, and sugar.

This is one of the easiest high-quality mac n' cheese recipes ever, I guarantee. No white sauce, no herbs, no bread crumbs. Just pasta, butter, milk, and cheese. Probably you could substitute grape-seed oil for the butter and soy milk for the milk, but I haven't tried. The cheese stays.

Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
butter (or sprayed oil) for greasing the 9 x 13 pan
12 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
12 ounces American cheese, cut into tiny pieces
2/3 Cup whole milk

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the 9 x 13 baking dish.
2) Combine the cheddar and American cheeses. Set aside 2 heaping cups for topping.
3) In a large bowl mix the pasta and cheese. Place in the baking dish and evenly pour milk over the surface. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top.
4) Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. If the top is not browned, raise the heat to 400 degrees and bake 15 to 20 more minutes until crusty on top.
5) Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

25 May 2010

When you're stumped for what to cook

Try this delightful link I've discovered for some inspiration. Its heartwarming commentary really inspired me to cook!
They have great vegetarian options too.


18 May 2010

Pareve French Toast

To certify that food is kosher, you need professional training, but to buy kosher food you only need to know if it's dairy, meat, or neither (pareve). This is because of the Jewish rule that you cannot have both meat and milk at the same meal (the Torah says you shall not "cook a kid in its mother's milk"). You can't even mix them in your stomach. Foods that are pareve:

fruits and vegetables free of insects
eggs without blood spots that come from (not slaughtered) chickens
kosher fish (has fins and scales)

Kosher challah has to be pareve so that you can use it at either a dairy or a meat Shabbat dinner.
My whole life I've eaten dairy French toast made from leftover Shabbat challah. My mom uses the Joy of Cooking Recipe and fries the challah in butter. George and I switched months ago from milk to soy milk (plain Silk brand), so I tried out pareve French Toast—pretty much for no reason because I never eat meat anyway. Doug enjoyed this new version, and George I felt it was lighter and better.

Joy of Pareve Challah French Toast

grapeseed oil (spray can)
4 eggs, beaten
1 Cup plain soymilk
1/4 tsp. salt (I use a "lite" salt mix of potassium chloride and sodium chloride).
1/2 tsp. vanilla or rum
pareve challah, in 1 inch slices

Spray with grapeseed oil a fry pan, preferably cast iron. Heat it up on medium or medium low. Meanwhile mix eggs, soymilk, salt, and vanilla or rum in a wide shallow bowl. Quickly dip in a slice of challah, making sure to moisten the front, back, and sides. Let excess drip off and place in the fry pan. Repeat.

Cook slowly so that it cooks through without burning the surface. Serve hot with a side of warmed pure maple syrup and fresh strawberries.
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