Steph’s Epic Christmas Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Steph's Epic Christmas Mashed Potatoes Recipe on

– Mashed potatoes for the yuletide history books. –

This time of year is all about reflection and appreciation, and I’m one of those people who feels compulsively grateful for every little thing in my life. That said, I’ve had a minor gripe building inside of me for the past few years. I’d like to get it off my chest.

Let’s talk about one traditional Christmas dinner dish many of us take for granted: mashed potatoes. You probably sit down with your family on Christmas and enjoy a plate packed full of many delicious things, one of which is mashed potatoes. When I picture your holiday dinner in my head, I envision a steaming mountain of light, fluffy potatoes, made with butter or cream, complete with a large enough ladle-full of gravy to feed half the third world.

In my family, there is no such magical beast. No bacon-rosemary mashed potatoes, or white wine mashed sweet potatoes.  In fact, where I come from, homemade mashed potatoes are like pink-maned unicorns that grant wishes while singing “What A Wonderful World.” In other words, they don’t exist. [Read more…]

How to Cook Pheasant: Buttered Roast Pheasant with Cream and Bourbon

Buttered Roast Pheasant with Cream and Bourbon on

– The most moist, flavorful roast pheasant recipe ever! –

Like most households, Thanksgiving is Turkey Time with my family. A few years ago, I spent the holiday with some good friends, and given that they weren’t beholden to ye olde traditional turkey, I got to test my mettle and learn a new skill: how to cook a pheasant. Not only did I decide to roast my very first pheasants, but the birds in question were two I hunted myself. (!!!)

A few weeks before that T-Day, with a very clear vision of roast pheasant in my mind, I met up with the California Waterfowl Association and participated in an organized women’s pheasant hunt. The weekend included one day of classroom training and testing on firearm safety, where we learned what not to do with a gun (for example, did you know that a disproportionately high number of hunting accidents occur when armed individuals fall out of a tree?). Then we spent the following day in the field actually shooting things.

[Read more…]

An Unfortunate Affinity to 70s Soft Rock, and Sweet Potato Biscuits

Sweet Potatoes Biscuit Recipe on

Mmmm sweet potato biscuits… /homerdrool

Here’s an annoying fact: I get music from my parents’ generation stuck in my head. All. The. Time. Perhaps it’s because my mom listened to music constantly when I was small, but regardless of the cause, the end result is the vast majority of the 70s soft rock genre has wormed its way into my subconscious like an earwig on a coke bender. Air Supply, Chicago, Bread, the Carpenters, the entirety of the Yacht Rock canon. It’s all very good music, to be sure, but it’s little out of context in the land that is Steph’s Brain… And it’s become one hell of a distraction. [Read more…]

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

Turkey Mac-and-Cheeselets on AM Northwest - Turkey Leftovers Video on


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.



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

Thanksgiving Leftover Bliss! Turkey Mac-and-Cheeselets on

 – 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…]

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

 – 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. [Read more…]

Turkey Minestrone Soup Recipe

Turkey Minestrone Soup Recipe on http://www.theculinarylife.comSummer is officially over here in Oakland, with overcast mornings turning into cool evenings. As the hot season turns into autumn, it’s time to start thinking of soup recipes. This turkey minestrone soup, compliments of the ever-talented Thadeus Jones, was created just for seasonal changes like this. Make a lot and enjoy it for days.

When you are a kid, the world is a huge place that is at once exciting and full of wonderment, but also scary and daunting. The funny thing is that your whole ‘world,’ when you are that young, is just the few blocks you are allowed to wander or go to a friend’s house. It’s not even a world in the adult sense. It’s funny to look back and see that what you thought was this huge place is really just a few minutes of walking, and nothing like what adults have to contend with. That’s not saying that when we were kids we didn’t think of what we had as one giant playground full of friends, mean kids, homework, girls (eww cooties!), and other parents. [Read more…]