Double-Dutch Mac and Cheese with Chard

Double-Dutch Mac and Cheese with Chard

Bon Appétit, May 2009

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
2 cups (packed) coarsely grated aged Gouda cheese plus 1/2 cup finely grated (about 10 ounces total)

2 cups (packed) coarsely grated Edam cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, stems and center ribs removed
12 ounces elbow macaroni
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless sourdough bread
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, then flour; stir constantly 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups coarsely grated Gouda and 1 cup Edam. Stir until cheeses melt, about 2 minutes. Stir in cayenne and nutmeg. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Cook chard in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer chard to plate; cool. Reserve pot with water. Squeeze water from chard; chop finely. (Black Sheep Farm note: frying or steaming the chard instead will conserve nutrients.)

Return water in pot to boil. Add macaroni; cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Stir macaroni into warm cheese sauce. Place half of macaroni in dish; smooth top. Top with 1 cup Edam cheese, then chard. Top with remaining macaroni mixture; spread evenly.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter. Place breadcrumbs in medium bowl. Drizzle butter over; toss. Add 1/2 cup finely grated Gouda and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over mac and cheese. Sprinkle cumin seeds over, if desired.

Bake mac and cheese until breadcrumbs are golden and edges are bubbling, about 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pizza Bases

Caramelized Onion Base

2 ailsa craig onions

1 Tb butter

leaves from 1 sprig of thyme or parsley, chopped (optional)

1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)

¼ c dry white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop onions into ¼ in. slices, and add into large saucepan along with butter and simmer over very low flame. Stir occasionally, and cook 15-25 minutes until onions turn golden and slightly browned. Add herbs and/or garlic if desired and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add wine to deglaze pan, turn off flame, and stir to remove fond (brown bits stuck to the bottom.) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toppings to pair with:

Roasted golden beets, chevre, and prosciutto or walnuts

Fennel, crabapple, mushroom, and sausage or walnuts

Cream Sauce

½ c heavy whipping cream (preferably Strauss)

½ c grated pecorino romano (ideally made from sheep’s milk)

1-3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp. dried oregano (optional)

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer cream, pecorino, and garlic in sauce pan over very low flame. Stir frequently. Meanwhile toast optional oregano until fragrant and add along with optional red pepper flakes to mandatory white sauce. Turn off flame when cheese is incorporated (4 minutes max).

Toppings to pair with:

Broccolini, mushroom, sun dried tomato, and onion or leek

Roasted cauliflower, mushroom, leek and gruyere

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Fine Cooking 47, Oct, 2002

Served with a tartly dressed green salad, this soup is hearty and filling enough for a light supper. I like the convenience of using chicken broth, but if you have a good beef broth on hand, feel free to use it for even deeper flavor. Serves six. Yields 4.5 cups.

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 large yellow onions (about 1 1/5 lb. total), sliced about 1/8 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. all-purpose flour
½  cup dry white wine (not oaky), such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
4 cups homemade chicken or beef broth, or low-salt canned chicken broth
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley, 1 sprig fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf tied together with kitchen twine
1 baguette, cut into as many 3/8-inch slices as needed to cover three soup crocks
1-1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) grated Gruyère cheese

In a large, wide soup pot (at least 2-1/2 qt.), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and season lightly with salt and pepper. (It might seem like you have far too many onions, but they'll cook down to about one-quarter of their original volume.) Cook the onions gently, stirring frequently, until they're very soft and have begun to turn a dark straw color, 35 to 45 min.; I like them when they're still a little toothy and haven't yet begun to brown too much.

When the onions are ready, stir in the flour and cook for 3 to 4 min., stirring frequently. Pour in the wine and increase the heat to medium high, stirring and scraping to loosen any caramelized juices, until the liquid is mostly reduced, 5 to 8 min. Add the broth, toss in the tied herbs, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 to 30 min. to infuse the broth with onion flavor; the onions should be soft but not falling apart. Remove the herb bundle and taste the soup for seasoning. The soup can be made ahead to this point and then cooled and refrigerated for a few days.

To serve -- Heat the oven to 350°F, put the baguette slices on a rack, and toast lightly (7 to 10 min.); set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Set three ovenproof soup crocks on a heavy baking sheet and ladle the soup into the crocks. Float a few toasted baguette slices on top, enough to cover the soup surface without too much overlap. Top the bread with a handful (about 1/4 cup) of the grated Gruyère. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and just browning in spots, 10 to 12 min.

Melted, bubbly, just barely golden cheese is what you're after. Serve the soup right away, while the crock is hot and the cheese is still gooey.

Wild Rice, Fennel, and Sausage Stuffing

Wild Rice, Sausage and Fennel Stuffing

Altered from Bon Appétit, Nov 1995

3 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups wild rice (about 9 ounces), rinsed, drained

1 cup water

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1/3 pound shiitakes, de-stemmed and cut into thirds or halves

3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

Combine broth, rice, 1 cup water and fennel seeds in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until rice is tender, stirring occasionally, about 55 minutes. Drain.

Sauté sausage in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to plate. Add chopped fennel bulbs, onions, and shiitakes to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until vegetables are golden, about 10 minutes. Add rice and sausage to skillet. Sauté until heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in walnuts, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. If serving as side dish, rewarm covered in 350°F. oven for 20 minutes.) Transfer to bowl and serve. If using as stuffing, cool completely and fill bird.

Winter Escabeche

Winter Escabeche

2.5 lb. radishes, carrots, and onions in whatever proportion you like

2 czech black peppers
1 garlic bulb
2 cups water
2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 Tb kosher or pickling salt (NOT iodized!)
1.5 Tb sugar

2 tsp oregano
bay leaves
Black peppercorns
sprigs of fresh thyme, cilantro stems, coriander seeds

Ball jar(s)


Slice carrots into sticks or disks. Cut radishes into wedges. Slice onion into thick rings. Slice Czech black peppers lengthwise. Peel garlic cloves, and crush slightly with the side of a knife. Boil together the water, vinegar, salt and sugar.


Start with very clean jars (from the dishwasher hot cycle or cleaned by hand then dipped into a boiling water bath). To each jar add a garlic clove, a bay leaf, 4-8 peppercorns, 4-8 coriander seeds, and 6 cilantro stems. Pack in radishes, carrots, and onions, and Czech black slices almost to fill, leaving a little more than ½ in space from top. Cover with the boiling brine, leaving ½ in space. Cover with a clean lid, and refrigerate. They should be good to eat in a week.

Note: Cauliflower, Romanesco Cauliflower, and salad turnips from past weeks make fine additions, if you still have some leftover.