Late Winter Salads and European Summer Cheeses

Classic Blue Log with Roasted Rhubarb, Rosemary Walnuts, and Rotini on http://www.theculinarylife.com

- Classic Blue with Roasted Rhubarb, Rosemary Walnuts, and Rotini -

So much has been going on since Melt was released. We’ve received accolades on many wonderful food websites and newspapers, such as Epicurious,  The Wall Street Journal, and Readers Digest. I was on Fox News talking about the Velveeta shortage, while Garrett was on NPR discussing the finer points of specialty cheese.

The book has gotten a lot of press, and for that we’re very grateful. As we cruise into the spring season, salads are about to come a reality again. Produce is beginning to pop up in our California farmers markets, and for those of you in the Polar Vortex states, you’re just a couple short months away from budding greenery. For those of you who have the book, please take a look at the salads in chapter 2! Here are some of our favorite winter and early spring recipes:

  • Drunken Goat with Edamame, Fennel, Mint, and Lemon, page 32
  • Yogurt Chicken Salad with French Cheese, page 46
  • Asparagus Salad with Ricotta Salata, Fava Beans, Mint, and Farfalle, page 43
  • Goat’s Milk Gouda with Golden Beets, page 40
  • Classic Blue Cheese with Roasted Rhubarb, Rosemary Walnuts, and Rotini, page 49

Also, keep in mind cheese is a seasonal food! Now is the time to head to your local cheese shop and ask for the last leg of European summer cheeses from 2013. The animals that fed on summer grasses were milked from June to August; the cheesemakers took a little time to create the cheese; then it was aged for a few months (duration depends on the specific cheese in question), and then it was shipper here to us in the United States. The whole process takes a few months, which means the best time to enjoy these cheeses here in the states is December to February. So head down to your favorite cheese shop and ask for the following varieties:

  • Tomme de Manigodine - A French cheese produced only for distribution in the United States, Manigodine is made from raw cow’s milk and aged by affineur Jean-François Paccard. Here you’ll find a rich cheese, unctuous and full bodied, with lovely nutty notes.
  • Formai de Mut dell’Alta Valle Brembana - The milk used to make this Italian cheese comes from cows that graze the mountain regions of Lombardia. It is rich, grassy, and robust, a fabulous addition to your cheese plate.
  • Gotthelf - An Emmentaler Alpine-style cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk from farms within a 10 km radius of the cheese factory. Grassy and nutty, this cheese is satisfying without being overly rich.

Melt the Art of Macaroni and Cheese Cover on http://www.theculinarylife.com

Turkey Mac-and-Cheeselets on KATU – Turkey Leftovers (Video)

Turkey Mac-and-Cheeselets on AM Northwest - Turkey Leftovers Video on http://www.theculinarylife.com

 

A few days ago I posted the recipe for our Turkey and Gouda Mac & Cheeselets, a great way to use up those turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving. In the few days since then, KATU in Portland aired a segment I filmed on how to make these cute little portable baked macaroni and cheese dumplings. It’s a long segment that essentially shows the entire turkey leftovers recipe from beginning to end. To print the recipe, go here.

Enjoy!

 

Thanksgiving Turkey Leftovers Bliss: Turkey Mac-and-Cheeselets Recipe

Thanksgiving Leftover Bliss! Turkey Mac-and-Cheeselets on http://www.theculinarylife.com

 - Oodles of turkey leftovers? These portable mac & cheese lets are a delicious kid-friendly solution. -

Ok. The tryptophan haze has set in, as have the food coma, carb dive, and sugar crash. The dishes are done, the excess pie and casserole pawned off to friends and family in the last of your Tupperware. But if yours is anything like this household, you’ve likely got a metric ton of turkey leftovers sitting in a huge zip-top back in your fridge. What do with with it all? Well, besides turkey minestrone soup, healthy turkey-stuffed cabbage rolls, or an amazingly hearty turkey chili, why not try a unique macaroni and cheese dish from Melt?

Cooked in a muffin tin, these adorable individual mac-and-cheeselets are a good way to use up all that leftover turkey while exercising portion control… assuming you eat just one or two and not, like, seven. They are a perfect portable snack when Christmas shopping, hiking in the woods, or sitting through the long drive or flight home from wherever you celebrated your holiday. Just toss a few in a baggie and head out. They taste great at room temp!  [Read more...]

The Ultimate Holiday Dish: Baked Macaroni and Cheese in A Pumpkin

Pumpkin Stuffed with Fontina, Italian Sausage, and Macaroni on http://www.theculinarylife.com

I give you baked macaroni and cheese, in a pumpkin. Crazy easy, crazy impressive!

Thanksgiving is in a few days. Right now, households all over the country are practicing two should-be Olympic sports: the mad dash to the grocery store, and the clearing of space in your fridge for an enormous frozen bird (while still trying to fit all the other ingredients you’ll need for the big day). The idea of adding one more dish to your holiday menu may seem ridiculous, but hold on – I want to share something really special with you.

One sentence: a lusciously melty homemade macaroni and cheese gratin, baked in a sugar pumpkin with rosemary, sage, thyme, and Italian sausage.

This baked macaroni and cheese recipe was made for your Thanksgiving table - it takes very little actual work. Seriously, this is one of the easiest dishes in the book. You literally scrape out a pumpkin, pre-bake it, stir in some herbs, shredded cheese, cooked pasta, crumbled sausage, and finish in the oven to melt everything together. That’s it. You can even prepare the macaroni part the day before – just shred your cheese, cook your pasta and sausage, then combine and stash in a sealed container in the refrigerator. A few hours before showtime, pre-bake your pumpkin, drop in the macaroni, and finish the dish in the oven while the turkey is resting. Voila! Epic Thanksgiving side dish recipe.

And then there’s the visual splendor of this dish, which is unlike any other. When it comes to baked macaroni and cheese dishes, you’re not going to find a presentation more impressive than this. Imagine the looks on your family’s faces when you walk out of the kitchen carrying a whole steaming pumpkin, the aromas of rosemary, sage, thyme, and melty cheese swirling about the room. When you serve this gorgeous squash-bound gratin, you simply stick a big spoon in the middle and stir, scraping out swathes of sweet, baked pumpkin as you serve. I don’t use the word often, but this dish is magnificent.

Here we use Fontina and Gruyère, two old-school cheeses that can be found almost anywhere and are well known for both their gorgeous flavors and melting capabilities (fact: did you know that not all cheeses melt? More on this later, or in Basics chapter of Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese). The cheeses are flexible here, though, so you can use whatever you’ve got on hand. You can use all Fontina, all Gruyère, or even use all cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, Swiss cheese, or any combination thereof. I’ve made this dish with half Jarlsberg and half Monterey Jack, and it was incredible. Garrett once made it with aged cheddar – whatever they had handy at Trader Joe’s – along with chorizo and chipotle pepper. It was a show-stopper.

Our goal was to create a silky, stringy macaroni and cheese gratin, baked in a pumpkin, making for an epic cheese experience with a little something special. This is our Thanksgiving gift to you. We hope you enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I’m so incredibly grateful for you, my readers. Thank you for being a part of my journey.

Other Thanksgiving recipes you may enjoy:

And if you’re looking for lots of other macaroni and cheese dishes, check out this extra-special collection from Foodie:

 


[Read more...]

Gruyère and Emmentaler Macaroni and Cheese Casserole with Ham and Cubed Sourdough

Gruyère and Emmentaler Macaroni and Cheese Casserole with Ham and Cubed Sourdough on http://www.theculinarylife.com

 - This macaroni and cheese casserole is a culinary trinity of Gruyère, Emmentaler, and Black Forest Ham -

Thanksgiving is coming up. Even though it’s later than usual this year – to the degree that it’s magically synced up with Chanukah – it still creeped up on me, sneaking around in little mousy slippers. I love Thanksgiving, but this year I’m just too tired to cook. The book tour for Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese was short but intense, and left me with a lingering cold that thinks it’s found a cozy place to hang out for the winter. (I heartily disagree and am doing all I can to evict said ick – out, damn bug!)  I am so, so glad to be home; I am so, so glad that the cold, reflective season is upon us; and I am so, so beat that the idea of cooking for the holidays makes me want to curl up into a tiny ball and wave the white flag.

But cook I will, because that’s what I do.

So my solution is to make a dish so easy I could prepare it in my sleep. And, perhaps, do all the work the day before so that my actual Thanksgiving holiday isn’t gummed up by a kitchen panic. You know I’ve got macaroni and cheese on the brain lately, so here’s a super simple macaroni and cheese casserole recipe for you. A game changer of a hearty mac that takes very little work but yields  awesome results. Huzzah!

This dish has a long name but a short timeline: Gruyère and Emmentaler Macaroni and Cheese Casserole with Ham and Cubed Sourdough. These cheeses are available pretty much everywhere, though you can use all Gruyére if you want, or all Emmentaler. You could swap out Gouda or cheddar for the Gruyère, and plain Swiss cheese or Monterey Jack for the Emmentaler. In other words, use whatever damn cheeses you like in this dish, as long as they’re melty and decadent.

Note: you can find Gruyère and Emmentaler cheeses at Trader’s Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco, or most natural food stores and artisan cheese shops. I’ve even seen them at Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, Kroger, and Lucky’s, though it will entirely depend on the ordering habits of the store’s cheese buyer.

If you’re hoping to beat the Thanksgiving kitchen craziness, I recommend constructing this macaroni and cheese casserole the day before, including everything but the cubed sourdough topping (we don’t want those lusciously crunchy little cubes to get soggy, do we?), and then keeping it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Pull the casserole out of the fridge about an hour before you bake it to let the dish come to room temperature. Then, as soon as you pull the turkey out of the oven, add the bread cube topping to the casserole and slide it into the oven to bake while the turkey rests.

This dish is a game changer on so many levels: it’s simple but elegant, with a gorgeous array of textures that will tempt even the most sullen bah-Thanksgiving Scrooge. And since you can make it a day ahead with not a whole lot of work, consider this my early Christmas gift to you.

And for my awesome vegan readers? Here’s a vegan macaroni and cheese dish, just for you!

And Now for Something Competely Different: Steph and Garrett on Fox40 TV

As a side note, Garrett and I recently appeared on Fox40 News in Sacramento, where we made the avocado mac and sampled it with the news crew. We thought we’d share the segment so you can take a peek. Enjoy!

[Read more...]

Red Hawk Macaroni and Cheese with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam

Red Hawk Macaroni with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam on http://www.theculinarylife.com

- Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam, from Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese -

 Dear lord, the past week has been a whirlwind. In case you’ve not seen my 3648276342876 tweets and Facebook posts, my cookbook came out last week. Melt has been receiving some high praise on the web, which is both elating and humbling. To see the book out there in the hands of readers, making the dishes that took so long to craft, savoring each little noodle and string of cheese… well, that’s just about the most gratifying thing ever. [Read more...]

Introducing Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, and A Humble Request

Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese on http://www.theculinarylife.com

 

Today is the day! Garrett and I are incredibly excited to announce the official release of our cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese. After two years of cooking, testing, writing, editing, pacing, and hand wringing, the day is finally here. We can hardly believe it. It’s finally out.

Melt isn’t your average, down-home mac and cheese book. Instead we’ve explored the concept of cooking with small-production, artisan cheeses, using pasta as a canvas for the inspired flavor combinations we’ve developed. Our dishes span the culinary spectrum, ranging from fresh, cheesy salads and creamy stovetop macs to hearty casseroles to even a few decadent desserts. If you’d like to take a quick peek, you can find our cookbook trailer below for a more visual idea of what we’re doing.

We’re already seeing positive reviews roll in and we’re incredibly excited about the enthusiasm. Dorie Greenspan so sweetly mentioned that “Stephanie and Garrett have created modern, sophisticated, beautiful food that satisfies the way the old mac and cheese did. It’s almost a feat of magic.” Ree Drummond, of The Pioneer Woman Cooks, shared, “Melt…takes a dish as beloved and familiar as macaroni and cheese and turns it into something positively transcendental.” We are overjoyed to be receiving such a warm welcome from our colleagues and mentors.

And, we are eternally grateful for you, our readers, whose supports means more to us than anyone else’s. We have sold nearly a thousand preordered copies through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers. This is no small feat. If you have been waiting to get your copy of the book, now would be a good time. Follow this link to a listing of booksellers selling Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, which includes Amazon, Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers. You can also buy Melt at your choice of brick-and-mortar book shops.

Here’s something a lot of people don’t know: a book’s performance in its fledgling weeks are incredibly important. The next few weeks will set the tone for many months to come. With a deluge of cookbooks released every year, it’s getting much more difficult to gather attention from larger magazines and newspapers, which can make or break a book’s success. How do the big time reviewers select which books to review in their pages? Ironically, it’s youReaders make all the difference, especially in the early days of a book’s trek out into the real world. The more enthusiasm our readers show Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese during its first few weeks of life, the more attention it will receive from the media — which is very important for us.

For those of you who have bought a copy, we thank you humbly. For those of you who have not, we ask you to consider picking one up. It will make a world of difference to the book’s life, as well as our careers as food writers. If you would like a signed bookplate, we’ll be happy to provide you one free of charge. Just drop us a line at [email protected]

And now come the thanks: grazi to everyone who had a hand in creating Melt. Michael Sand, Michelle Aielli, Helen Tobin, and Lisa Erickson, our team at Little, Brown, took us in their capable hands and guided us to creating and publicizing a beautiful book that we’re immensely proud of.  Janis Donnaud, our agent, has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion. Gary Tooth, Melt‘s designer, did an incredible job on creating a visual aesthetic that fit our style. Matt Armendariz and Adam Pearson worked magic with the photography. Thad, my boyfriend, ate his weight in macaroni and cheese several times over, and never once made me feel bad about his digestion during the process. And to Garrett, my f*cking adorable partner in crime, who carried half of this book and, on occasion, his nearly comatose coauthor as well.

Starting today, we’re officially kicking off our West Coast book tour with a few events in Sacramento and the Bay Area before we head off to Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland. Hopefully we’ll be in New York and Chicago soon, as well as a few spots in the south. We look forward to meeting all of you, our wonderful readers. Please do come and say hello!

Also, we’d like to congratulate Christa Curtin for winning the $500 set of Le Creuset cookware. You go girl! :)

 

 

Melt Cookbook Trailer, on Vimeo
Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese on http://www.theculinarylife.com