When it comes to biscotti, the process always stays the same, but the flavors never, ever, have to.
Seems like mac’ and cheese weather (more or less). Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: About 45 minutes
One of the most popular recipes in the original How to Cook Everything, which I attribute to too many people growing up with what the Canadians call “Kraft dinner.” The real thing is rich, filling, delicious, and dead easy. You can change the type of cheese you use: Try blue cheese, goat cheese, smoked Gouda, or even mascarpone. Or mix in some crisp-cooked chunks of thick-cut bacon or pancetta, about 1/2cup.
2 1/2 cups milk (low-fat is fine)
2 bay leaves
1 pound elbow, shell, ziti, or other cut pasta
4 tablespoons (1/2stick) butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
11/2cups grated cheese, like sharp cheddar or Emmental
1 /2cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1 /2cup or more bread crumbs, preferably fresh
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.
2. Heat the milk with the bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 minutes later, turn off the heat and let stand. Cook the pasta in the boiling water to the point where you would still think it needed another minute or two to become tender. Drain it, rinse it quickly to stop the cooking, and put it in a large bowl.
3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter; when it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the milk and add about 1/4cup of the milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk, and continue to do so until all the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the cheddar or Emmental and stir.
4. Pour the sauce over the pasta, toss in the Parmesan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9 ×13-inch or like-size baking pan and turn the pasta mixture into it. (You can make the dish to this point, cover, and refrigerate for up to a day; return to room temperature before proceeding.) Top liberally with bread crumbs and bake until bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve piping hot.
Homemade granola bars have much more flavor than the store-bought variety, and are way better for you.
Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook. Pre-order the book today or pick up a copy when it’s released on September 21st.
Makes: About 3 dozen
Time: About 40 minutes, plus time to cool
Many Florentine recipes call for coating the cookies in melted chocolate, which I think is overkill. I really prefer the touch of lemon. Unsalted butter for greasing the pans
2 cups whole almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1. Heat the oven to 300°F. Grease 2 baking sheets with a generous smear of butter.
2. Grind the nuts in a food processor until they are just beginning to form a paste; this takes less than a minute. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and add the sugar, egg white, salt, and lemon zest. Stir, adding some lemon juice, a few drops at a time, until the mixture drops easily from a teaspoon. Save the leftover lemon juice.
3. Use the teaspoon to put dollops of the batter about 3 inches apart on the prepared sheets. Dip a fork in the reserved lemon juice and spread the batter into thin (about 1/8 inch) circles, roughly 11/2 inches in diameter. Bake, rotating the pans once or twice, until firm, golden brown on top, and slightly darkened around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets, then transfer them to wire racks to let them become crisp. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for no more than a day or 2.
Orange-Hazelnut Florentines. Use hazelnuts instead of almonds, and orange zest and juice instead of lemon.
A quick, easy, wonderfully-textured flatbread to add to your grilling arsenal.
A food processor makes this poundcake incredibly fast and easy; a citrus soak makes it unbeliebably moist and delicious.
By Cathy Erway
It was so silly I had to do it. When I read that I would be getting a pint of donut peaches in the newsletter of my fruit CSA this week, the idea took hold of me: must make “donut peach donuts.” I just saw Inception like the rest of our society has, it seems, so I know more than ever now that when an idea is planted, it can grow and grow to take over your rational thought.
I dreamed and deliberated about how to make donut peach donuts. My first idea had been simple: make a peach jelly with the fresh fruit, and squeeze it in the middle of some sort of homemade donutty thing. Yeast-risen dough or cake-like dough? Both involved tons of steps, especially the yeast, which is actually my preferred donut type. Do I coat it with powdered sugar after it’s been deep-fried and done? Yuck… I know it’s classic, but I could never stand that fine dust of super-sweet. Maybe I don’t really want to make donuts after all? I hesitated.
Another thing I seem to have forgotten: how to make bread. Specifically, how to make Jim Lahey’s bread, about which I somewhat famously wrote four years ago.
Then, at a benefit for the Truro Center for the Arts a few weeks ago, I met a woman named Judith Motzkin, who makes (among other things) ceramic pots specifically designed for baking Lahey-style bread. This roughly coincided with the arrival of an actual oven at the place I stay in on the Cape (until recently we had a weird kind of oven/microwave hybrid, which was inadequate to every task, from heating coffee to baking bread), and a pledge on my part to resume breadmaking. (The Outer Cape, notorious for bad bread, now boasts a “boulangerie” in Wellfleet which, from my pre-summer experience, seems pretty good, but right now it’s more than your life is worth to try to get anywhere near it. You might as well try to get into Mac’s Shack at 7pm on a Saturday.)
by Barbra Walton
(Barbra cleverly improvises a fix during a crisis – a baking crisis no less. – mb)
I hate it when I screw up a dish. So when I moved the flour and found the unopened package of tapioca behind it, I said all my favorite swear words and pulled my freshly-made cherry pie out of the oven and plopped it on the counter. This pie already had a long history; I bought the sour cherries at the farmer’s market Saturday morning, but by the time I pitted them and made the crust, the temperature had hit 95 degrees and we don’t have air-conditioning. Running the oven would have made the house uninhabitable. Everything went into the fridge until a milder day.
Monday morning was cool. Shortly after my first cup of coffee, I decided to get the pie in the oven before the day heated up, and that was my first mistake: never do anything requiring skill or precision before two full cups of coffee. I wanted to make a lattice-top, which I’d never done before, and took my time getting it perfect. I congratulated myself as I put it in the oven, at least until I found the tapioca. Continue reading
By Suzanne Lenzer
[Following up on her popular On Eating Alone, Suzanne suggests the opposite: inviting someone over, for an old-fashioned coffee cake. - mb]
Remember how in old television shows neighbors visited each other in the middle of the day for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake? Ethel and Lucy would hatch plans over coffee, and long before Samantha made Darrin his evening martini, Esmerelda would have been around for a cup of Sanka and a touch of bewitching mayhem.
Back then everyone seemed to have time to sit and talk over coffee and cake, with no one checking their blackberry in the midst of a chat. And in those days, an afternoon coffee wasn’t just a jolt of caffeine, but an excuse for a real break. The cake was a further reason to linger an extra half hour or so. Now it seems a nostalgic reminder of the days before Atkins, personal trainers, and Pilates. Continue reading