The Best Little Cheese Sauce You’ve Never Heard Of…

Posted April 25, 2010 by T M K
Categories: Uncategorized

Is called a Rarebit. A Welsh Rarebit to be more precise. Ryan and I made it a couple years ago based on an Alton Brown recipe and ate it for hours over rye bread.

Recently on “What Would Brian Boitano Make?” which is quickly becoming one of my favorite cooking shows, Brian made a mock beef wellington and cheese sauce.

Details as follows:

1 tblsp butter – melt over medium to medium low heat until foaming stops

1 tblsp flour – whisk into flour and cook until mixture changes from buttery to nutty brown.

Slowly and while whisking, add 1/2 cup of milk (I used half and half) and 1/2 cup of beer. ( I used a nut brown ale)

As sauce thickens slowly add in 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese. (I used sharp white vermont cheddar)

Season to taste (white pepper and black pepper)

Thats it. So simple. So untried. So delicious. I promise you will dip everything into this sauce. Bread, crackers, chips, apples, its so amazing.

Also I thought, why not add beer next time I make mac and cheese. This cheese is the basic recipe for baked mac n cheese (minus the egg and some mustard depending on your recipe).

Perhaps I will try adding an ale to cheese sauces of the future.

“I always cook with wine, sometimes I put it in the food” – Julia Child


Tuna Noodle Casserole

Posted April 20, 2010 by T M K
Categories: Uncategorized

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This is actually a creation of my husband’s. Its fast and easy and comforting.

Pasta – We used stuffed tortellini the first time and egg noodles last time

Jar Alfredo – I have only ever used Bertolli

Birdseye Steamer Peas – We get the individual servings and throw them in dishes to add a green all the time

Tuna – The good stuff in Oil is nice in this, but water packed Starkist works just fine too.

Cook and pasta according to directions adding peas to the pasta water when there are 3 minutes left on pasta. Drain when finished cooking (but not too dry, it should still be a little drippy)  and return to the cooking pot. With the heat on medium, add sauce and tuna. Cook till ingredients are heated through.

And your done. This is as fast as hamburger helper but a bit better for you. Once I learn how to make alfredo sauce I might venture to call it healthy!

Try adding sauteed onions and squash

Or pack it in a pyrex dish, top with bread crumb and serve it as a pasta bake

Kosher and Why We Care

Posted April 18, 2010 by T M K
Categories: Uncategorized


So what’s the deal with Kosher Salt?

What’s the difference between that and Morton’s in the jar?

Does it really matter?

An excerpt from The Food Network Kitchen:

Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits, and includes a small portion of calcium silicate, an anti-caking agent added to prevent clumping. It possesses very fine crystals and a sharp taste. Because of its fine grain a single teaspoon of table salt contains more salt than a tablespoon of kosher or sea salt.

Kosher salt takes its name from its use in the koshering process. It contains no preservatives and can be derived from either seawater or underground sources. Aside from being a great salt to keep within arm’s reach when you are cooking, it is particularly useful in preserving, because its large crystals draw moisture out of meats and other foods more effectively than other salts.

And from Salt Works salt distributor:

Kosher salt can refer to two types of salt—one is a specific shaped flake salt that is so named for its use in the preparation of meat according to the requirements of Jewish dietary guidelines. It contains fewer additives, and has a cleaner and more even taste than ordinary table salt. The flakes dissolve easily, and have a less pungent flavor than processed table salt. Due to the shape of the granules, there is simply less salt in a pinch of kosher salt than in a pinch of table salt.

So the idea is Kosher Salt is better tasting and because of fewer preservatives, maybe better for you.

Try this if you want:

Buy a box of kosher salt, in most grocery stores you can find it for less than $3.

Do a taste test.

Taste a pinch of table salt, then taste a pinch of kosher salt.

You should be able to easily tell the difference. But then again, some people think Pepsi and Coke taste the same….

Capellini with Tomatoes

Posted April 18, 2010 by T M K
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

This pasta comes from Ina Garten or as more people may know her, The Barefoot Contessa.

One of the things that I love most about Ina is how competent and content she seems even though she is not chic like most other TV cooks. She is not quite old enough to pull off the, “I’m not overweight, I’m matronly” bit, but there she is, never changing wardrobe, perfect little life.

Capellini is a thin spaghetti. You might could use angel hair, but this sauce is really delicate so I would not use anything thicker.

You will need:

1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes

1 half onion sliced thin

1 box of Capellini

1 head of garlic

1 large bunch of basil

3 cans of clams

Olive Oil

Red Pepper Flakes

Boil water in a large pot with 3 tblsps kosher salt* and a splash of olive oil

Using a generous amount of oil, cover the bottom of your saute pan. I would say cover, then add a glug or two more. Allow the oil to heat up on medium to medium high.

Add onion and cook stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.

Add several cloves of garlic sliced thin. I would say at least 5 more if you like a lot of garlic. Cook for 3 more minutes being careful to reduce heat as necessary so that garlic does not brown. The goal here is to soften the garlic but mostly to flavor the oil.

Add tomatoes. I slit the skin of half of them so some would disintegrate into the sauce and some would hold their shape. Cook until the skins begin to wilt. Add red pepper flakes, as many as you see fit. (start with 1/2 tsp if you’re not sure)

Add capellini to the water. Cook 4 minutes.

While the past cooks add basil to the sauce. (try stacking the leaves and rolling them into a cigar then cutting across the cigar to make thin ribbons.) Then add clams; two cans drained, one can with the “juice”

When pasta is done, drain, do not rinse and add directly to the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir til combined and serve immediately.

What I love about this dish:

The tomatoes are sweet and juicy and are just perfect.

Canned clams are the food source of the highest available amount of dietary iron

Its light, yet filling and add or subtract many ingredients. I added the clams and red pepper flake myself to Ina’s Dish

* See Kosher and Why we care.

The Muffin Man Marches On…

Posted April 14, 2010 by T M K
Categories: Uncategorized


So today it is corn bread muffins.
I like to have corn bread with my chili or veggie soup, but I struggle to find a good easy recipe that I can whip up while the soups a simmerin’.

This one may just fit the bill.

Again we are making them from scratch. (Note to those who fear baking -> Again this is no harder than making chocolate chip cookies.)

Cooking note of the day: this recipe employs what is called the creaming method. You cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs and any other wet ingredients after that.
In a separate bowl you mix the dry ingredients, flour, leavening, etc. Then pour the wet into the dry in batches.

Ill make the recipe in a 3,2,1 pattern to try and make it easier to remember. I find that patterns in recipes make things more attractive to try.

Wet Ingredients:

3 Sugars

  • 1/3 cup white, 1/3 cup brown, 1/4 cup honey)

2 Eggs

  • Beat together first

1 Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted softened

Mix these all together in one bowl with stand or hand mixer until smooth.

Dry ingredients:
3 Flours

  • 1 cup white, 1/4 cup corn meal, 1/2 cup whole wheat)

2 Leavening

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

1 Dairy

  • 1/2 cup milk ( I used yogurt)

1 Can Corn

  • I used creamed

Hold the dairy and corn to add last

Add half the dry ingredients, combine only until everything is moist, add second half. It is important not to over stir because once you wet the flour, you are activating gluten. More stirring equals more gluten. More gluten equals tougher muffins. After the second half is just moist, scrape the bowl and stir a time or two by hand.

Then add milk and corn, mixing just to combine. Add to greased muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Also I split the batch and added sharp cheddar cheese to the second batch.

1st LOVE about this recipe:

They are not at all dry. Some corn bread is dry and crumbly, these are not so.

2nd LOVE  they are sweet. I like my corn bread on the sweet side.

Whole Grain Goodness

Posted April 14, 2010 by T M K
Categories: Uncategorized

Muffins. I wanted muffins. I went to the Donut Bank, mecca a glazed goodness and bought a lemon poppy seed muffin. It was gummy and tasted like lemon flavoring, not like lemon. Hmpf.

Now I really want muffins. But I am on this, don’t put any more processed food in your body than you have to kick, so I thought, I’ll make muffins. Not from a mix, but from scratch.

Turns out, its easy as making cookies. Or cupcakes.

I used this recipe here.

and added an over ripe banana which was sitting on my counter.

Next time, I might try adding a touch more baking soda because they were a little on the heavy side.

Note on whole wheat: Not only does it increase your daily fiber intake, which is difficult to meet without concentration but is more filling and provides a pleasanter texture to the muffins.

Buy a bag and play with replacing half the white flour in hour recipes with whole wheat flour. You must might be pleasantly surprised.

Hello world!

Posted April 13, 2010 by T M K
Categories: Uncategorized

The need to put things in our mouth is inborn. We touch, we taste. We see, we eat. There really is a simple connection. Unfortunately we cannot share smell over the internet. But let us not dwell on the limits of our world. Instead let us revel in the glories at hand. The snap of celery as it breaks beneath our grasp. The smooth draw of our knife on bamboo. The hiss of onions as they hit a hot pan.

Me, maestro, in my symphony, in my kitchen. And the whole house sings with me. I hope you know this love this fullness. If not, I hope to share it with you.