Stovetop Mustard Macaroni & Cheese

I put mustard in dishes that should not have mustard in them.  Mustard powder is great, but the real-deal condiment adds a great zing to just about everything, in my experience.

Taco meat? Add mustard. Tuna salad sandwiches? Let’s add some mustard. Hummus? Mustard. Clam chowder? Why not – where’s the mustard.

Did anyone else eat cheese and mustard sandwiches growing up? I never really missed the ham or turkey.  I was after that sharp cheddar cheese and French’s Yellow Mustard combo, with so much mustard it would ooze out the edges and seep through the holes in the bread if you pressed down on the sandwich.

The addition of yellow mustard and Dijon mustard to your typical tabletop mac and cheese did not disappoint – and it gave me validation to continue with my bizarre food experiments. I had been adding mustard powder to most of my stovetop macs, but the condiment adds a “what did you put in this?” mystery flavor that’s difficult to put your finger on.

Stovetop mac, if you haven’t made it before, can and should be a staple food in your household. Yes, even if you are kid-less. Admit that you want it – it’s OK, we all do.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is perfect in every way an iconic American staple food can be perfect. But you’re getting so much extra oomph mixing whatever yummy cheese you have on-hand in your fridge to your favorite short pasta, adding some milk or cream, and seasoning the gooey mixture to your heart’s content. Just make sure you’re adding some of the processed stuff – Kraft American Cheese Singles or Velveeta – I will arrest you if you don’t.

Mike Myers, featured in a 1992 blockbuster as the doofus Wayne in Wayne’s World, had his priorities straight when he asked:

“Pardon me sir – do you have any Grey Poupon?”

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 to 4, depending on appetites.

  • 1 box short pasta
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, of your choosing
  • 10 Kraft American Cheese Singles
  • 3 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard, of your choosing
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, of your choosing
  • 3 / 4 cup half & half
  • 1 cup reserved cooking liquid from the pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Boil a pot of water, cooking the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid before straining.
  2. In the same pot, add the butter, half & half, both mustards, salt and pepper. Immediately return the pasta to the pot.
  3. With the pot on low heat, add the cheeses and stir until the cheese and butter melts completely. Begin to stir in the cooking liquid in small pours until the mixture reaches desired consistency. The pasta will dry out over time, so if you’re going for seconds you may want to add more of the cooking liquid to “re-creamify” it.
  4. Serve hot.

 

 

 

 

Hagrid’s Hungryman Stew with Pumpkin-Potato Mash

The story behind this recipe can be found in Hankerings’ post, You’re a Wizard, Harry!

I hope you enjoy. 🙂

I N G R E D I E N T S

F o r  t h e  P u m p k i n – P o t a t o  M a s h

Serves 2 to 4.

  • 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & cut into quarters
  • 1 28 oz. can unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 / 2 stick butter, salted or unsalted, melted
  • 1 / 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 / 2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Put the quartered potatoes in a large pot of boiling water. Cook until tender and drain.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients. With a hand mixer, combine the ingredients on high speed until few potato chunks remain. Taste for seasonings, adjusting as necessary.
  3. Set aside until stew is ready or eat on its own.

I N G R E D I E N T S

F o r  t h e  S t e w

  • 2 lbs. boneless stew meat of your choosing, cut into large cubes (red meat is preferred, we used beef ribeye)
  • 3 lbs. hearty vegetables of your choosing, cut into large bite-sized pieces (we used small Vidalia onions, quartered Spanish onion, sliced carrots, whole white button mushrooms and fresh spinach leaves)
  • Approximately 1 liter beef stock (enough beef stock to cover halfway up meat and vegetables)
  • Approximately 10 stems thyme, 5 stems sage, 3 stems rosemary tied into a bouquet garnier (tied together with kitchen twine for easy removal)
  • 1 head garlic, skins removed and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Shredded parm reg, if desired
  • Minced rosemary, if desired

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Put all the ingredients in a crockpot, stirring so everything has a chance to combine. Put the slow cooker on high, cover with the lid, and cook for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat is falling apart.
  2. Serve ladlefuls of the stew over the pumpkin-potato mash, sprinkling with parm reg and minced rosemary, if desired.

Steakhouse Surf & Turf Fried Rice

Seafood. Steak. In my experience, it’s calorically dangerous to put those two together. If I’m really doing surf and turf at a restaurant, you’ll hear all about it. And the waiter will make more than one trip to retrieve the extra clarified butter I asked for.

How did I run out? Because I’m drenching my food with clarified butter as liberally as an eleven year old drenches their crinkle fries with ketchup. I don’t just douse the lobster or King crab legs with butter. There are others – the steak and likely potato side(s), maybe even the table bread – that are getting the clarified butter treatment.

If I were one of those unforgivable sins I’d be the gluttony one.

Throwing this duo together in a fried rice? A mind&%$#. I don’t know how I didn’t think of this sooner.

Fried rice can be as traditional or as funky as you want it. There are a few must-have Asian condiments that are going to give the rice that “fried rice”-ness, but besides that, the proteins and vegetables are an open casting call.

I gave myself leeway to go non-traditional on the vegetables, almost mimicking the sides you’ll get at any high end seafood & steak restaurant. The result is an extra decadent profile of flavors, and you get the upside of eating something that is unopposed in its ability to make us feel good and full.

I used King crab meat but upgrade to the lobster, if you can. You can always have shrimp in your fried rice. If you’re cooking it for someone else, well, there’s your excuse right there!

Enough talk about excuses – go get your wok nice & hot and start frying! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 2 cups 1 to 2 day-old takeout white rice, or 2 cups cooked homemade 1 to 2-day old medium to short grain white rice
  • 6 – 8 oz. filet mignon, cut into medium-sized cubes
  • 1 1 / 2 lb. King crab legs, cooked, shelled, and meat removed
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 6 stalks asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 / 2 lb. white button mushrooms, stems removed & sliced thick
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 / 2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 egg yolks, for topping
  • 1 / 2 stick butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 / 2 large shallot, small diced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish or oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil
  • 3 / 4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, minced

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Cook the white rice according to package instructions if making your own. Drain in a colander and allow to dry out while you cook the rest of the dish.
  2. Heat the butter and neutral cooking oil in a large skillet. Add the shallot, and sauté on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms, spinach, and cook until the spinach is wilted.
  4. Add the beef, and cook until the beef is browned on all sides.
  5. Add the rice, soy sauce, fish or oyster sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, salt and pepper. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and stir all the ingredients, allowing the rice to adhere to the bottom of the skillet so you get crispy bits of rice throughout the mixture.
  6. After about 5 minutes of cooking the rice, stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley and gently fold in the bulk of the crab meat, leaving some for garnish.
  7. Serve hot, topping each plate with an egg yolk and the remaining minced parsley for garnish.

You’re A Wizard, Harry! – Butterbeer Pancakes & Hagrid’s Hungryman Stew with Pumpkin-Potato Mash

Fall’s right around the corner folks. We’re almost there.

The thought prompted an idea for a Harry Potter movie binge watch this past weekend – with Harry Potter-themed food and all.

Honestly, though, this was all just a poorly veiled excuse to not leave the apartment.

I give us a B, because we were conked out by The Half-Blood Prince. But we did much better than I thought – and when I wasn’t watching, I was cooking. It was a very magical day.

I love the fairy-tale food you see in movies and shows – doesn’t butterbeer sound like it should exist? J.K. Rowling is a genius. Side note – if you look closely, I think the stage drink is actually orange juice.

If I were to guess the flavor profile of butterbeer, I’d think it would be butterscotch-y.  I used butter flavoring – but there’s also some cream element from the foamy topping you see in the movies. And I’d think it would have spices in there like vanilla, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon.

I don’t know what the hell is in butter flavoring, and I don’t want to find out. But I think it’s an underused additive – super, super savory, and reminiscent of breakfast foods. We should all use it more often.

The night before we packed it in, I gave always-hungry Matt his run of the produce section and butcher counter to pick out the foods he’d like in a meaty, vegetable-y stew – believing that as long as I added enough beef stock, tomato paste, garlic and herbs, we’d probably be in OK shape.

The day of, I threw the meats and vegetables in a crockpot to go low and slow. I served it over a pumpkin-potato mash, and it was super rustic and awesome-tasting. He went heavy on the mushrooms, which is never a bad idea. And it’s named in honor of my favorite oaf Hagrid, the cutest man-giant alive today.

I hope you HP fans enjoy. 😊

F o r  t h e  B u t t e r b e e r  P a n c a k e s

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

F o r  t h e  P a n c a k e s

  • Prepared pancake mix of your choosing (other ingredients per package directions)
  • 1 tablespoon butter flavoring
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 / 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted

F o r  t h e  W h i p p e d  C r e a m

  • 1 / 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 / 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon cinnamon

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Mix the ingredients (per package instructions), adding the additional ingredients spices the end. Combine vigorously with a whisk. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes so the batter has a chance to thicken.
  2. To make the whipped cream, put the heavy cream in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, and run on high speed for 5 or so minutes, until the cream is whipped. Stir in the remaining spices and let sit in fridge while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. Heat a griddle and add the butter. Once the butter is foaming, pour a ladle-full of pancake batter into the hot pan. Once bubbles appear in the center of the pancake, flip it to the other side to finish cooking. Repeat until all batter is gone.
  4. To serve the pancakes, add a dollop of the whipped cream on top of stacks of four pancakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve with maple syrup, if desired.

F o r  H a g r i d ‘ s  H u n g r y m a n  S t e w  w i t h  P u m p k i n – P o t a t o  M a s h

Serves 2 to 4.

F o r  t h e  P u m p k i n – P o t a t o  M a s h

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & cut into quarters
  • 1 28 oz. can unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 / 2 stick butter, salted or unsalted, melted
  • 1 / 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 / 2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Put the quartered potatoes in a large pot of boiling water. Cook until tender and drain.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients. With a hand mixer, combine the ingredients on high speed until few potato chunks remain. Taste for seasonings, adjusting as necessary.
  3. Set aside until stew is ready or eat on its own.

F o r  t h e  S t e w

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 lbs. boneless stew meat of your choosing, cut into large cubes (red meat is preferred, we used beef ribeye)
  • 3 lbs. hearty vegetables of your choosing, cut into large bite-sized pieces (we used small Vidalia onions, quartered Spanish onion, sliced carrots, whole white button mushrooms and fresh spinach leaves)
  • Approximately 1 liter beef stock (enough beef stock to cover halfway up meat and vegetables)
  • Approximately 10 stems thyme, 5 stems sage, 3 stems rosemary tied into a bouquet garnier (tied together with kitchen twine for easy removal)
  • 1 head garlic, skins removed and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Shredded parm reg, if desired
  • Minced rosemary, if desired

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Put all the ingredients in a crockpot, stirring so everything has a chance to combine. Put the slow cooker on high, cover with the lid, and cook for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat is falling apart.
  2. Serve ladlefuls of the stew over the pumpkin-potato mash, sprinkling with parm reg and minced rosemary, if desired.

 

Jägermeister & Guinness-Poached Blood Bangers & Mash

I’ve been working on-site for a client in downtown Manhattan. We have an apartment through Airb&b overlooking Times Square that they’re paying for. It’s really, really cool.

Except for the work part.

Work culminates each day with a zombie walk to the nearest Irish pub like a moth to a lightbulb, where I will always order a Guinness.

I didn’t realize how many Irish pubs were in Manhattan – they’re on every block.

Whenever I’m at one of these places, my mind goes to Archer.  When he chugs directly from the Jägermeister shot dispenser machine slurring one liner insults at Pam or Cheryl / Carol, when they get hammered at happy hour a dinky Irish pub near the ISIS office, all following a funeral of one of their brutally-murdered colleagues.

You’ll always see the go-to Irish pub grub when you walk into these places – Boiled Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes, Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips. And I smother on that Colman’s Mustard like there is no tomorrow.

This recipe is a twist on Bangers and Mash. The blood sausage, replacing more traditional pork or beef sausage gives it a heartier (read: bloodier) edge that makes this a good cold-weather dish.

Look no further than Lucky Peach’s “A Guide to Blood Sausages of the World,” to understand why blood sausage is such a ubiquitous dish outside the U.S. – hint, it’s generally categorized as a poor-man’s food, like so many of the delicious foods of the world.

In terms of the type of blood sausage you can or should use for this recipe, I can only say, treat yourself. As in, get the best quality available to you. Which, by the way, will not be an expensive product if you go to a good butcher. Realistically, I’d recommend calling your butcher to see 1) if they have blood sausage available 2) if not, whether they can place an order for you ahead of time, and if all else fails 3) order the blood sausage online. If you have a choice, French Boudin Noir has particularly good flavor.

The only real prerequisite for this recipe is that the sausage has a substantive casing so it survives the poaching process, and is shaped into a sausage form to retain that good old “bangers and mash” presentation. This recipe calls for an entirely optional sauce derived from a reduction of the poaching liquid, because I can’t leave well enough alone.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 – 4, depending on appetites. But really, I have to ask. If you had left over mash, would that be the worst thing in the world?

  • 4 – 6 blood sausages of your choosing, in their casings

F o r  t h e  P o a c h i n g  L i q u i d  &  S a u c e

  • 4 12 oz bottles Guinness Extra Stout
  • 1 / 3 cup Jägermeister liquor
  • 1 / 4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 / 2 medium white onion, skin removed
  • 10 clove buds
  • 5 star anise

F o r  t h e  M a s h

  • 2 1 / 2 lb medium Yukon gold potatoes, or 2 1 / 2 lb equivalent of another potato, peeled and large-diced
  • 1 – 2 cups of the cooking liquid from the boiled potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons course ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups Dubliner Cheese by Kerrygold, shredded
  • 6 tablespoons Kerrygold butter, melted
  • 1 / 2 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

O p t i o n a l

  • Serve with Colman’s Mustard and / or the reduced sauce from the poaching liquid, instructions below

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of boiling water. Throw in the large-diced potatoes. Cook until a knife slides easily into the center of the vegetable, approximately 15 – 20 minutes. Be sure to reserve two cups of the cooking liquid before draining. Once the potatoes are tender, drain in a colander and cover with a clean dish towel to allow them to steam for an additional 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut an onion in half, removing all the onion skins, and stud the onion with the clove buds.
  3. Put the onion half and all the poaching ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring the liquid to a temperature just under a simmer, about 180* F. Drop in the blood sausages, making sure to keep the liquid at a stable temperature. You do not want to boil the sausages.
  4. Allow the sausages to poach for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any fat or impurities that rise to the surface. The sausage is done when it reaches 160* F internally.
  5. After 45 minutes and when the sausages reach an internal temperature of 160* F, remove them to a clean plate and cover with foil.
  6. To finish the mash, throw the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add all the mash ingredients, the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt, reserving 1 tablespoon of the chives for garnish. Mix with a hand mixer or potato masher.*

*One note on mixing – a hand mixer will give you a smoother consistency that gives the mash a more elegant mouth-feel. If the mixture is too dry or thick, continue to add the cooking liquid to thin it out, until you reach desired consistency.

  1. Heap as much mash as you want on serving plates. Cut each banger in half diagonally, if only plating one. If plating two bangers per plate, lay one on top of the other cross-wise. Sprinkle the dishes with the remaining chives. Serve with Colman’s Mustard, if desired.

O p t i o n a l

  1. Once sausages are done, drain poaching liquid through a colander or sieve into a glass bowl.
  2. Take 2 cups of the poaching liquid and pour into a sauté pan heated on medium-high. Reduce the liquid down for 10 to 15 minutes, until approximately half of the liquid remains. The sauce should be thick, but still pour-able.
  3. This step is important – taste the sauce for seasonings. It should be highly flavorful and will likely need to be heavily salted. Add as must salt as needed to taste.
  4. Pour as much sauce as you’d like on top of the bangers and mash, and sprinkle with chives.