I’ve surprised myself by making some supremely tasty dishes since having E. Who said that having two babies is hard. It’s a breeze! (Omg, I’m so kidding. Most of these meals were made before E was born, and anything I’ve done since then – usually with a newborn glued to my chest – has only happened thanks to my amazing Mom, and also my amazing husband who help me so much).
I’m too tired/busy to really post these recipes, but basically I don’t want to forget about them, so I’m doing a bit of a list of good things I’ve cooked lately – as well as where you can find the recipe on the internet. The only full recipe I’m sharing is for my husband’s aunt’s absolutely fantastic Macaroni and Cheese, because I believe the best is worth sharing.
Chef Michael Smith’s Thai Coconut Curry Soup
Have I ever mentioned I met Michael Smith once? I probably do every time I blog one of his recipes. It was at Jasper Park Lodge’s Christmas in November, where you get to take classes from all these amazing professional chefs. When I met him, though, the only thing I could think was: Crazy Eyes! Michael Smith is (or at least looks) intense.
This soup ended up being more of a pasta dish for me, so next time I would add more liquid. Didn’t matter, though, it was intensely tasty. About as intense as his eyes (a lot).
The day I brought E home from the hospital, my first demand was that the bottle of rose champagne that I’ve been saving for months be chilled and ready for me. What better way to toast a new baby girl than with pink champagne? We all had a little bit, but the bottle wasn’t finished at the end of the night (what can I say, we were exhausted).
Unfortunately, we let the end of the bottle go flat, so I did the next best thing after drinking champagne – finding a recipe to use up the leftovers! This decadent ham dish seemed perfect, especially with Easter around the corner. I made a few changes to the recipe myself – apple jelly is apparently impossible to find, so I used apricot jelly instead. Here’s a warning – grease the shit out of whatever you are baking this on, because the jelly will caramelize like crazy and give your pan a nice tough crust of black. It was delicious and was the dish that kept on giving – we had leftovers for a week, something that came in handy when you just don’t have time to cook!
Who doesn’t love Smitten Kitchen? If you at all like to cook (or just to look at recipes) I totally suggest it. I’m a little enamoured with the website right now (you could say I am smitten) but they have some yummy treats. Like this tomato and sausage risotto. I had some fresh spinach in need of using and this fit the bill perfectly. It was SO GOOD. Didn’t last the night.
I had some delectable Quiche Lorraine when I was in the hospital (Swiss hospital food is delicious, by the way. It was totally the thing I was looking forward to the most during the day. Also because I was starving, but mostly because it was delicious). I’ve been kind of obsessed with it since and had to make some up the other night. I played with the recipe a little bit – I added mushrooms, and I sauteed the onion and mushroom in the bacon grease a little before adding it to the pie. Because there is nothing that doesn’t become automatically better with bacon grease.
Cecile’s Macaroni and Cheese 101
And for the grand finale, my new favourite recipe. This is not something to make if you are dieting. In fact, if you are dieting, don’t even look at this recipe as it might make you weep. In fact, if you are dieting, throw your diet out the window and eat this. Then eat in moderation and exercise a little bit, get outside, you know. Life will be better for it.
8 tbsp butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices white breat, crusts removed, torn in 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt, plus more for water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne peper
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside.
Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter. Pour melted butter into the bowl with the bread; toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.
Warm milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt remaining butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring 1 minute.
While whisking, add hot milk, a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens (8 to 12 minutes).
Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, peppers, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); set aside the cheese sauce.
Cover a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone (usually 2 to 3 minutes). Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
Pour the mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining cheddar and Gruyere (or Pecorino) and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
Transfer dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serves 12.
For lots of crust, bake in a broad, shallow casserole dish.