Tag Archives: cheese

Mushroom Mac & Cheese with Portobello “Bacon” and French Bread Crumbles

Mac & cheese is one of the happiest dishes there is.  I know what you’re thinking: “That’s just like…your opinion, man.”  Well, it is.  And I love it when I’m right.

Chanterelle Mac and Cheese with Portobello Bacon and French Brea

This one is particularly good because it’s full of mushroomy deliciousness.  I found chanterelles on sale and used those, but you could use any mushroom.  You’re probably better off with cremini or button mushrooms.  To heighten the flavor a bit, you might consider roasting the mushrooms first, or swapping the cheddar to something lighter like Doux de Montagne.

But especially great with this is the topping: a crumble of french bread, parsley, parmesan and chopped portobello “bacon.”  Which isn’t real bacon, obviously, and for meat-eaters, it won’t be the same.  It will, however, be delicious and an acceptable breakfast side for anyone, vegan or otherwise, as well as a great way to add some meaty, smoky elements into this dish while still keeping it vegetarian-friendly.  I got the idea for the portobello bacon from a friend, who introduced me to Libby Pratt’s blog.


Chanterelle Mac & Cheese with Portobello “Bacon” and French Bread Topping


    For the mac:
  • 1 pound large shells, cooked to al dente
  • 1/2lb mushrooms of your choice, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter plus 2 extra tbsps
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups milk
  • 5 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • For the topping
  • 1 large portobello mushroom cap, sliced and marinated in this marinade
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3-4 pieces of french bread, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan


    Make the mac
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Melt the 2 tbsps butter in a large pot w/ the olive oil. Add in the mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and soft. Add in the salt and pepper, the rest of the butter and the flour. Stir to get everything well incorporated and cook for a couple more minutes. Add in the parsley and dijon. Add in the first two cups of milk, stirring well, and then the next two, slowly. Let the milk warm up and then add in the cheeses, 1-2 cups at a time, stirring constantly to give it time to melt and smooth out.
  2. Add in the cooked pasta and then pour the entire mixture into a large oven-safe pan. Cook at 400F for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the topping
  4. Drain the portobello slices. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add in the canola oil. Fry the portobello slices until browned and slightly crispy on the edges, 3-5 minutes per side.
  5. Remove them from the pan and drain them on paper towels. Add the tablespoon of butter to the pan and melt it. Toss in the breadcrumbs and toast them until crispy. Chop the portobello slices and add them to the pan, along with the parsley. Fold everything together.
  6. Pull the baked macaroni out of the oven and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top, and then the quarter cup of parmesan.

Parmigiano Orange Zucchini Bites with Dipping Sauce

My Ode to the King of Cheese: Parmigiano-Orange Zucchini Fritters

Parmigiano Orange Zucchini Bites with Dipping SauceI’m three months into my thirtieth year, and it’s become official: I am not aging backwards.  I had briefly entertained the notion that, by some arcane feat of magic or dubious loophole in the natural law, I might merely crest the top of this thirty year timeline before slowly and gracefully falling backwards where I would begin to age in reverse, somehow growing younger and fresher as the days wound on.

Now that I’ve written that out, it does sound a little stupid.  But I like to think that stranger things have happened.  Case in point: the platypus.   Continue reading

Champagne Wednesday: Berry Punch with Clementine Simple Syrup and a Satsuma Cheese Plate

fresh satsumas and thyme in a wooden bowlWhat I love about winter is that it’s when some of the brightest, cheeriest fruits are available: oranges of all kinds.  And beyond the basic navel, there are other delicious citrusy goodies to be had, like clementines and satsumas.  To be honest, I’ve never really worked with either of them.  Sure, I’ve had the odd clementine now and again, but I was mostly a navel girl.  And satsumas, a variation of mandarin oranges that originated in Japan, were never really on my radar until recently. Continue reading

Something awesome transpired here Saturday night.  Josh and I hosted the inaugural Melties, a semi-formal grilled cheese dinner party.

Let me say that part again.  A semi formal grilled cheese dinner party.

You know, as many times as I say it, it never sounds less awesome.  All around, it’s probably one of my better ideas.  I highly suggest that each and every one of you conduct your own Melties as soon as you can.

Let’s start with the invitation.

A few of our grilled cheese lovin’ friends received the following invitations in the mail (real invitations on real paper sent through snail mail.  Retro, I know):

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I’m on year two of a five year plan that was put into operation about 15 years ago.  I’m a little behind, I’ll admit.  But the plan, the plan is still good.  The plan is to take over the world.  At first I thought I’d do it with my charm and effervescent wit.  But that hasn’t panned out yet.  So now I’m thinking I’ll take a slightly different tack.  I’m going to take over the world through a slow, steady and judicious application of macaroni and cheese.

First, I get the world’s attention with irresistible bacon comfort filled baked mac& cheese.  Then I up the ante with a sophisticated, spring-friendly chicken, spinach and leek concoction.  And now I’m sealing the deal with this sassy chorizo, garlic and broccoli  mac and cheese.  It’s just a little taste of what my reign will be like: a macaroni in every pot.

Well, a penne anyway.  Or a rigatoni.  Maybe shells.  Or spirals. Continue reading

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Every family has their favorite dishes, things that appear at every get-together and every holiday.  My family has baked macaroni and cheese.  We’re connosieurs of it, really.  Don’t get me wrong; deep down, the poor kid in me still loves something about Kraft easy mac, and the grown-up in me still likes to experiment with my own homemade version of the stuff, but really, truly and absolutely there is no substitute for a good, hearty backed macaroni and cheese casserole with tons of gooey cheese and a good crispy crust.

This is the version I make.  I got it from Tyler Florence (the man is a god amongst mortal chefs) and I make it with or without the bacon (depends on whether my vegetarian mom is partaking) altho Josh will say that it’s not the same without bacon.  It’s a pretty easy recipe to scale, and I’ve made it for as many as 25-30 people.  It always gets rave reviews.

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