Friday, December 2, 2016

A family favorite that somehow got missed!

Baked Mac&Cheese Casserole

one medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced, if desired
2-3 large pats of butter and equivalent amount of flour
1 1/2 c. scalded milk

1/2 cup fresh ricotta
4 oz grated non-oily cheese (gouda, gruyere, havarti or swiss. Cheddar and American are wrong for this, don't use them)
3-4 c. egg noodles or rotini
1-2 cut up carrots
about 20 small florets broccoli
parsley, caraway, salt and pepper to taste
grated cheese (a hard and/or non-oily cheese works best. I like mozzarella or romano, but Monterery Jack is also nice. Cheddar and American are wrong for this, don't use them)

You can make this hours or days ahead of when you eat it. Make it on a Sunday afternoon, then pop it in the oven when you get home from work sometime later in the week.

In a large saucepan, boil enough water for the pasta. Add the carrots when you set the pot on the stove. Two minutes before the pasta/noodles are done, add the broccoli so that it just blanches. If the pasta is done before the sauce, drain it and set it aside in a greased casserole (I use cooking spray, but you can also grease it lightly with butter).

While the pasta is boiling, make the sauce:
Scald the milk in the microwave, about 5-6 minutes at 80% power.

While the milk is scalding, cook the onions (and celery if you like it) in a 2-quart saucepan in about a 1/4 c of water, until transparent. Melt the butter in the onions; before it browns add the flour and saute over very low flame for 2 minutes, stirring constantly and not allowing it to brown. Turn off the flame; when the sizzling stops, turn the heat back on low and add about 1/4 cup of the scalded milk. This will instantly create a thick paste; immediately start adding the rest of the milk very slowly, stirring constantly to create a creamy sauce. Add the seasonings and cheese and simmer uncovered very low for about 10 minutes, until cheese is completely blended, stirring occasionally, and being careful not to let it burn.

When the cheese is blended, fold the sauce into the pasta/veggie mixture, making sure that the carrots, and broccoli are evenly distributed throughout. Lightly sprinkle just enough bread crumbs to cover the top, then same thing with the grated cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350F for 25-30 minutes (depending on how browned you like your cheese).

Serves about 4

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Let's try this

The kids are making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time this year. I think we'd be here anyway, even if the family hadn't disintegrated as a unit; nearing 30 it's time. Wei and I had cooked Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter at least half a dozen times by the time we were 30.

So I am passing on to them two of our traditional (traditional for us, anyway) recipes.

Apple-raising stuffing
Makes 10 cups

This can be made the day before eating.

1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter
1 quart peeled, chopped apples
1 cup chopped celery
2 quarts toasted croutons*
1/2 cup golden raisins (NOT the dark ones)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 egg
1/4 cup apple cider
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a Dutch oven (borrow one from your mom), saute onion in butter over medium heat until transparent (about 5 minutes). Stir in apples and celery, simmer uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, again about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients, beating egg lightly before adding.

Set aside 4 cups to stuff the bird. The day before, or if you have a second oven, for the remainder, leave in the Dutch oven. Lightly brown two turkey drumsticks over high heat on the stovetop (don't cook through, just leave til they sizzle). Place these on top of the stuffing, cover and roast at 350 for an hour or until the drumsticks are cooked through. To reheat: take out of the fridge about an hour before reheating; place in a warm (300F) oven for 20 minutes after you take the turkey out.

*Easiest: buy the bag of plain croutons, (don't get the herbed ones). To make your own, cube bread (most recipes say French bread or baguette, but these aren't dense enough. Use a good polish whole grain loaf or other heavy white or whole grain bread). Spread on a rimmed cookie sheet (so they don't slide off) and put them in a warm oven, about 250F, for an hour, or until they are completely dry and crunchy.

Harvest Cider
8 servings (we usually double this)

2 cups water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Zest from one orange
3 sticks cinnamon
2 teaspoons whole clove
1 teaspoon whole allspice (or 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 quarts apple cider
juice of 2-3 oranges
juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat first eight ingredients (through nutmeg) in a 2 quart saucepan. Once it boils, turn heat to a simmer; simmer covered for 20 minutes. Pour through strainer lined with cheesecloth. Transfer liquid to a large pot, add remaining liquids and heat until hot.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Two slaws

Basil coleslaw
1 small cabbage, shredded
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 carrot, grated
1/2 medium onion, grated


1/2 cup (homemade, see below) mayonnaise
1 T honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Toss the vegetables together. Whisk the dressing, and mix.

Traditional cole slaw
1 green cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, grated

3/4 cup (homemade) mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 small red onion, sliced very thin
1 T honey
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Toss the vegetables together. Whisk the dressing, and mix.

Homemade Mayonnaise
Adapted from The Perfect Pantry via Little Blue Hen
Makes about 1 1/2- 2 cups

2 egg yolks, at room temperature
4 tablespoons warm water
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cup canola or olive oil, or a combination (using olive oil gives the mayo a pronounced olive oil flavor)
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1/4 lemo

Put egg yolk, water, and mustard in the bowl of a 3-cup food processor. Run the blade to make sure it catches the mixture, dribble in a bit more water if needed or stir up the yolk to get it to catch. Run the food processor until the mixture is pale yellow (about 30 seconds or so).

The oil must be added very slowly to ensure that the mixture emulsifies. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil in a narrow (pencil tip width) steady stream. You can tell the emulsion is working because you'll start to hear slapping sounds as the food processor runs. Some recipes recommend stopping when about 1/3 of the oil has been added, and then continue to add by teaspoonfuls, but I've found it works fine to just keep the steady stream going. Stop the motor and check the mayonnaise to make sure it is emulsifying. If so, continue adding the oil slowly until it is all combined.

When all the oil has been added, add the salt and lemon juice. The lemon juice will help increase its shelf life. I've had this mayo last 3 months in the fridge.

It took me about 3 tries to get my rhythm on homemade mayo, but it is so superior to even the best store bought that once you get the hang of it, you'll never buy mayo again.

Originally posted 2/12/2011

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Enjoy the recipes!

After a little more than 3 years of posting recipes, I'm suspending Mahlzeit for a while.

I started it as a family cookbook, and it got away from that a bit. If I come upon a recipe that we really like, I may drop it in here, but for now, I'll just keep cooking but not writing about it.

Visit me at my original blog, House of the Blue Lights, where I write about the empty nest, drawings at and poetry at Xanku.

Gute Mahlzeit!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Oh, just one more

Ran out of butter, so I made this instead of scones:

Walnut quick bread
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4  cup ground walnuts
1/4 cup evaporated unprocessed sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (for a sweeter bread use vanilla yogurt)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons walnut oil
1 cup (3 ounces) chopped walnuts
1/2 cup plumped golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat the eggs in a large bowl then whisk in the buttermilk or yogurt and the oils. Quickly whisk in the flour, and fold in the raisins and walnuts. Scrape into a prepared bread pan. Test at 40 minutes, to see if nicely browned and a tester comes out clean. If tester is not clean, continue testing in 5 minute increments. Cool on a rack. Serve with butter and honey.

based on:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

No Buy Feb becomes Plastic-free March

I did really really well not spending in February.

So in March it's cash all the way.

Pray for me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Still not buying (much)

When you pay close attention to what you're buying, you start to notice all the things you buy without thinking about it.

Restaurant meals. Extra apples. A magazine. A book.  Lip balm.

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy these things in No Buy February. The point of the exercise is to get rid of conspicuous consumption, not all consumption.

But when you're not whipping out that plastic to buy those cute pink gloves (I don't have pink gloves! They're only $15! They match my hat!), or the new Stephanie Plum novel (it's on Kindle! That's not like buying at all!), or the twofer day at the consignment shop (consignment isn't like buying, because someone else already bought it before me!), you start to notice all those nickles and dimes that financial planners are always telling you could put your kid through college.

And they really can. I did finally spend half that forty bucks that was in my purse, but it took nearly three weeks, because I stopped nickle and diming, partially because I was thinking about it, but partly because I simply haven't been going into any stores.

I did have to get a new card reader; mine has vanished without a trace. Otherwise, I'm still good.
Oh, right a recipe:

Marvelous maple oatmeal-raisin cookies
Use the recipe on the box, but substitute 2/3 cup of maple syrup for the sugar, and drain off about 3 tablespoons full of the egg to adjust the amount of liquid).