Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Crazy good mac and cheese

Got this from David Rosengarten.

Three-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese
Makes 8 side-dish servings

6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 ½ teaspoons paprika, divided
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 ¼ cups milk
½ cup crème fraiche
1 clove garlic, peeled
8 ounces grated extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, divided
4 ounces grated mild Cheddar cheese, divided
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked al dente, drained and rinsed with cold water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, thyme and ½ teaspoon paprika; toss with melted butter. Set aside.

In another saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. When melted, whisk in flour, mustard, salt, nutmeg, remaining paprika, and freshly ground black pepper to taste until smooth. Cook over low heat for 1 or 2 minutes or until mixture smells “toasty”. Add milk, whisking until smooth. Add garlic clove, return to a simmer, and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in crème fraiche. Reserving ½ cup of each cheese for topping, stir the rest of the cheese into the sauce until melted. Remove and discard garlic clove.

Place macaroni in a baking dish, add cheese sauce, stirring to coat all of the macaroni with sauce. Sprinkle with half the breadcrumb mixture, then remaining cheese, then remaining breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered about 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Crab Quiche

This is a modified version of a simple crab quiche I found on All Recipes.com.

I added shallots, lemon juice, and zest to make the flavors a bit more complex.
I used hand-cracked snow crab legs. I also doubled the original amount because crab is delicious and if I'm going to make crab quiche, then, by golly, you are going to know it's crab quiche with every single bite. I added an additional egg to make sure I could contain the extra crab (just barely). I did stay with the store-bought crust because I am not a baker and I didn't want to risk messing up all that crabby loveliness.

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups crab meat
  • 1 cup diced Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced green onions
  • 1/4 cup diced shallots
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, mayonnaise, flour, and milk until thoroughly blended.
  3. Arrange crab, cheese, shallots, and onion evenly into bottom of the pie shell.
  4. Sprinkle lemon zest and juice over the filling.
  5. Pour egg mixture over the top.
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chutney-Bourbon Glazed Flank Steak

This is my favorite fajita marinade. Marissa and I got it from a Central Market class.

Chutney-Bourbon Glazed Flank Steak
Serves 4

1/3 cup minced onion
1/3 cup minced bell pepper
½ cup peach or mango chutney
1/3 cup pineapple juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 ½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons hot pepper sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound flank steak, trimmed

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak. Seal bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. While the steak is marinating, preheat the grill or broiler.

Remove the steak from the bag, reserving marinade. Place steak on grill rack or broiler pan; cook on each side to desired degree of doneness. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices; keep warm.
Pour reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with steak.

Chewy Pecan Squares

These are better than pecan pie and disappear quickly.

Chewy Pecan Squares
Makes about 32

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/4 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups coarsely chopped pecans (about 14 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13 X 9 X 2-inch baking pan with foil, leaving 1-inch overhang on all sides. Butter foil. Blend flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt in processor. Add butter and process until mixture begins to clump together. Press dough evenly onto bottom of foil-lined pan. Bake crust until set and light golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand while preparing topping. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

For Topping: Stir brown sugar, maple syrup and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils; boil 1 minute. Add pecans and cream; boil until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour hot topping over warm crust.

Bake nut-topped crust until caramel is darker and bubbles thickly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to rack. Cool completely in pan (topping will harden).

Lift foil out of pan onto cutting board. Using heavy sharp knife, cut crust with nut topping into 1 1/2 x 1-inch squares. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store between sheets of waxed paper in airtight container at room temperature).

Sunday, April 5, 2009


4 ripe Haas avocados
3 T freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2 limes)
8 Dashes Hot sauce
1/2 c. small-diced red onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato, small diced

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. Immediately add the lime juice, tabasco, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper, and toss well. Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.

-This is also a Barefoot Contessa recipe. However, hers calls for lemon juice, but I've always used lime. Also, I tend to use a little less red onion than what this calls for (personal taste). This recipe is pretty easy to scale up for a larger crowd too.

Pan Fried Onion Dip

2 large yellow onions
4 T unsalted butter
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. good mayonnaise

Cut the onions in half, and then slice them into 1/8 inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions. Maria likes to use a mandolin to slice the onions, I haven't tried this yet). Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and saute for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes, until the onions are browned and caramelized.  Allow the onions to cool.  Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise until smooth.  Add the onions and mix well.  Taste for seasonings.  Serve at room temperature.

-This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe.  I pretty much never make any modifications.  Perfect as is :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Charbroiled Oysters

The lovely Stacy from New Orleans taught me to make these during a post-SXSW fish fry. She gets them all the time at Drago's: Home of the Original Charbroiled Oyster. On a busy day, Drago’s enormous grills turn out around 900 dozen of the now legendary Charbroiled Oysters! We consumed 100 oysters that day—some raw, some fries, and some grilled using this simple, fabulous sauce.

1 stick salt-free butter
2 T olive oil
3 grinds of fresh black pepper
1 head of garlic, minced fine
1 T dry italian seasoning (oregano, basil, etc.)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 dozen raw oysters on the half shell
lemon wedges

Preheat gas grill.
In a small saucepan, combine butter, olive oil, garlic, pepper, and italian seasoning over low/medium heat until the butter is fully melted.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.
Immediately, spoon the mixture onto the oysters an place them on the grill leaving them in the half shell.
When the oysters are done, the edges will begin to curl up from the shell and the sauce will bubble and smell lovely. (I can't tell you when that will be, but start checking them after the first 5 minutes.)
Once you (carefully) remove the oysters from the grill, squeeze some lemon over each one.
Allow them to cool for a few minutes lest you sear your tongue with the deliciousness.

Note: Stacy said that it's good to have some french bread to soak up that additional sauce. We didn't have any, but they were plenty good right from the shell. Enjoy!

Caution: You may experience some flare-ups. Don't worry. This only makes the oysters more delicious.
Do remember to use tongs to remove the oysters from the grill. Trust me, the shells get really freakin' hot!

4th Annual Crawfish Boil Jambalaya

The Grier tends to overextend himself when it comes to the annual Crawfish Boil, and the Cajun gastronomy of it all. This recipe came about as a result of a “Cajun Challenge,” to create a pot of jambalaya that was fit for a crowd and would meet the standards of a discerning Cajun. Here is the result, Enjoy!
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 Texas 1015 onions, diced
3 poblanos, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 bunch of celery, diced
12 cloves of garlic, minced
32 oz andouille sausage, sliced (remove the casing if it is thick. I used Cajun Hollar brand)
1.5 lb chicken thighs
3 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Tablespoons of tomato paste (not condensed)
28 oz diced tomatoes, with juices
10 cups of or chicken or turkey stock (I used “Better than Bouillon” Organic Roasted Chicken product to make stock)
2lb box of Uncle Ben’s Converted White Rice
3-4 Tablespoons of Cajun seasoning (I used Emeril’s Bayou Blast recipe)
Salt, Pepper, & Cayenne (to taste)
File powder (optional)
Heat ¼ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of butter over medium-high heat and melt butter. Sprinkle chicken with some of the seasoning and add to the pot, browning in batches until cooked through. Remove from pot and tear apart into bite-size pieces – set aside. Add sausage to pot. Brown and remove, set aside. Add remaining butter and oil to pot and melt. Dust flour over the oil, reduce heat and stir slowly to make a light roux. Add paste and whisk to combine. Add garlic, onion, peppers, and celery to roux mixture and sauté until soft. Add about 2 cups of stock and deglaze pan, stirring to combine. Add remaining seasoning, tomatoes, and sprinkle with file, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cooked sausage, chicken, and remaining stock the pot. Sprinkle with cayenne, salt & pepper (to taste). Add the entire box of rice. Allow for low simmer covered for 25 minutes stirring occasionally until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.
Yield: A big ass pot of food.