Coconut Katsu Chicken

2 boneless chicken breasts pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs beaten
2 cups coconut panko
Oil for frying

Put flour, eggs, and panko in three separate bowls.

Coat each chicken breast with flour, then egg, then panko.

Deep fry in 350 degree oil until golden and internal temperature is at least 165.

Coconut Curry

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
3 medium tomatoes (finely chopped)
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 medium potatoes (boiled and diced)
14 oz coconut milk (canned or freshly made are both fine)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cilantro (or scallions, for garnish)

Heat the oil. Add cumin seeds and as they start to darken, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Saute for a couple of minutes until the onions start to soften.

Add the tomatoes, cayenne and turmeric and continue to saute for a few more minutes until the onions are soft and pulpy.

Add the potatoes along with half the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Let the curry cook another minute for the flavors to meld, then turn the heat to low and add the remaining coconut milk. Check for salt. If the curry is too thick for your liking, you can add some water or vegetable stock to thin it out. Turn off the heat as soon as the curry has warmed through but before it returns to a boil.

Garnish, if you like, with cilantro. I love this curry with the carrot rice and a garnish of scallions.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

3 tablespoons olive oil
one small white onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
2 cups white basmati rice (see notes for brown basmati rice)
4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1–2 limes- zest and juice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, leaves and tender stems
3 scallions, sliced

Over medium heat, using a lidded saute pan or wide pot, saute onion and garlic in oil until fragrant and tender, 4-5 minutes. Add rice, saute 1-2 more minute, coating each grain, then add coriander, 1 tablespoon of the lime zest (save rest for garnish) and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

Give a stir and add the water. Bring to a rapid boil. Cover, lower heat to low (gently simmering).

Cook 20-22 minutes or until all the water evaporates.

Fluff with fork, squeeze with lime juice (3-5 tablespoons) and right before serving, toss in the chopped cilantro and scallions.

Fluff again, taste and adjust salt and lime to taste.

Enjoy!

notes

If making ahead, add cilantro and scallions right before serving!

If using Brown Basmati Rice, plan on almost double the cooking time… 35-40 minutes (unless you soak the rice beforhand). Make sure to read package directions adjusting the liquid if need be.

Garlic Fried Rice

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (75ml) canola oil or other neutral oil
8 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced thinly
4 cups cooked white rice (24 ounces; 700g), preferably long-grain, but any variety will do

In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic softens, becomes very aromatic, and turns lightly golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Strain oil through a fine-mesh strainer directly into a wok; reserve cooked garlic and set aside.

Heat wok over high heat until oil is shimmering. Add rice, breaking up larger clumps with a spatula and tossing to coat with garlic-flavored oil. Cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until no clumps of rice remain and rice is warmed through, about 4 minutes. Add reserved garlic to rice and toss to combine.

Serve with chicken adobo.

Ginger-Lime Grilled Chicken

1 1/2-to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lime zest (from about 2 limes), plus lime wedges, for serving
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (from a 3-inch piece of peeled ginger)

Pat the chicken dry and season all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lime zest and ginger; season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the mayonnaise mixture and stir to coat. (The chicken can sit in the marinade for up to 8 hours in the fridge. Let come to room temperature before cooking.)

To grill: Heat a grill to medium-high. Grill the chicken over direct heat until cooked through and juices run clear, about 5 minutes per side for thighs and about 4 minutes per side for breasts, turning as necessary to avoid burning.

To cook in a skillet: Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Cook the chicken until juices run clear, about 5 minutes per side for thighs and about 4 minutes per side for breasts.

Serve chicken with lime wedges, for squeezing on top.

Khichdi

1 to 2 tablespoons GHEE or clarified butter
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cumin or jeera
1 bay leaf or 1 sprig of curry leaves (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ginger grated or ginger paste
1 small onion chopped (optional)
1 green chili slit or 1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 small tomato deseeded & chopped
1/8 teaspoon turmeric or haldi
salt as needed
1/2 cup rice (or quinoa, steel cut oats, millets)
1/2 cup MOONG DAL or skinless petite yellow lentils (or any other dal)
3 to 4 cups water (use 4 cups for porridge consistency)
1 pinch asafoetida or hing (optional)
1/2 tablespoons GHEE for topping
optional ingredients
1 medium carrot cubed
8 french beans cut to 1 inch length
1 small potato cubed

Add rice and dal to a pot. Wash them at least thrice & drain water completely.

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker or pot on a medium heat. Saute bay leaf & cumin on a low flame for 1 min. Then fry ginger until fragrant & sprinkle hing.

Fry onions and green chilies until the raw smell of onions goes away.

Add tomatoes, carrots, beans, salt and turmeric and saute for 3 to 4 mins. Then add drained daal and rice. Saute for 3 to 4 mins.

Pour 3 cups water for mushy consistency and 4 cups for porridge like consistency. Stir well & taste the water. Add more salt if needed.

Pressure cook for 2 whistles on a medium flame for a mushy khichdi. Cook for 4 to 5 whistles on a low to medium flame for porridge consistency.

If cooking in a pot, cook until soft adding more water if needed.

Pour 1 tsp ghee on the hot khichdi. Serve with papad and pickle.

Instant pot Khichdi:
Press saute button (medium) & pour ghee. When the ghee melts, add in bay leaf and cumin. When it sizzles then add in onions & chili. Fry until transparent.

Next add in ginger, hing, tomatoes, all veggies & turmeric. Saute for 2 to 3 mins until tomatoes turn mushy.

Add & saute drained rice & lentils for another 2 to 3 mins.

Next add in salt & pour water. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom with a spatula to remove bits of food stuck in there if any. Mix well & taste the water. Add more salt if needed. Secure the lid & move the steam release handle to sealing.

Press the pressure cook or manual button (high pressure). Set the timer to 8 mins. Or you can also press porridge button & set timer to 9 mins.

Once it is done, the instant pot beeps, then press cancel and switch off. Wait for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes & release the rest manually. When the float valve drops, open the lid & stir gently.

If you like soupy khichdi, add some hot water to bring to consistency you like.

Top with some ghee & serve khichdi with plain yogurt, pickle or papad.

Peanut Noodles

200 g fresh white (wheat) noodles (7 ounces; or 100g/3.5 ounces dried)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger (minced or grated)
1/3 cup peanut butter (85g; creamy or chunky)
2-3 tablespoons hot water (depending on desired sauce consistency)
1 tablespoon Thai sweet soy sauce (we like the “Healthy Boy” brand; can substitute 1 teaspoon Chinese dark soy sauce, plus 1 teaspoon sugar)
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce to keep the dish vegan)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)
2 teaspoons chili oil (optional)

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Meanwhile, prepare the garlic and ginger, and add to a serving bowl along with the peanut butter and hot water.

Stir to combine, letting the hot water loosen the peanut butter. Then stir in the sweet/dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil, along with the lime juice and chili oil if using.

By now, your water should be boiling. Cook your noodles according to package instructions. Drain and toss in your sauce. Serve.

Yam and Plantain Curry With Crispy Shallots

1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (2- to 3-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 whole red habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, pierced all over with a knife
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 1/2 pounds white or orange yams, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 green (unripe) plantains (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon red palm oil (optional)
4 cups julienned hearty greens, such as dandelion greens, collards or lacinato kale, tough stems removed
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 lime, sliced into wedges

Heat a medium pot, large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium. Pour in the neutral oil, add the sliced shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are caramelized and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove shallots from the oil and allow to drain on paper towels or a cooling rack. Season with salt and set aside.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil out of the pot. (Reserve extra oil for another use.) Over medium-low heat, add the garlic, ginger and turmeric to the pot and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 2 minutes or until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Drop in the chile and add the whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hands as they go in. Stir to combine ingredients and dissolve the tomato paste, then add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.

Once boiling, season with salt, reduce heat to medium, add the yams and simmer until the yams are just beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the plantains and cook until both are tender but hold their shape, and the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and red palm oil, if using, season with more salt and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, remove and discard the cooked chile. Ladle the curry into bowls, top with the caramelized shallots, a scattering of basil and cilantro, and several squeezes of lime juice.

Note: This recipe is an adaptation of asaro, the Yoruba word for a dish of starchy root vegetables simmered in a seasoned tomato- and chile-based sauce. Regional versions of asaro are served all year round across the south of Nigeria and in other parts of West Africa. Traditionally, the dish is made with the West African yam, but you can also use white or purple taro root or unripe plantains. Here, firm, green plantains are combined with white yams in a sauce rich with caramelized shallots, garlic and ginger. There is a slight but welcome heat from a single red habanero dropped in whole to infuse the stew. Coconut milk and an optional spoonful of red palm oil — a floral, slightly smoky oil that is pressed from the fruit of oil palm trees — round out the flavors, and hearty greens cut the richness. Serve topped with crunchy shallots, fresh herbs and a wedge of lime.

Basic Grilled Shrimp

1 large clove garlic
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ to 2 pounds shrimp, in the 15-to-18-a-pound range (or smaller, if skewered), peeled, rinsed and dried
Lemon wedges to serve

Start a charcoal or gas grill, or heat the broiler. Make the fire as hot as it will get, and put the rack close to the heat source.

Mince garlic with salt; mix with cayenne and paprika, then make into a paste with olive oil and lemon juice. Smear paste on shrimp. Grill or broil shrimp, 2 to 3 minutes a side, turning once. Serve immediately or at room temperature, with lemon wedges.

Tempeh Rice Lettuce Wraps with Garlic and Lime

2 garlic cloves, peeled
1- inch segment of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 cup almond, cashew, or coconut milk
scant 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 ounces plain tempeh, crumbled
1 1/2 cups / 6 ounces leftover rice
1 teaspoon soy sauce or shoyu
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 small cucumber, deseeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
a handful of sliced herbs, cilantro, basil, mint
10 – 12 whole lettuce leaves, romaine, little gems, etc.
to serve (all optional):
extra lime, serrano vinegar*, shallot oil, a favorite curry paste

Use a mortar and pestle to smash the garlic and ginger into a paste. Heat 1/4 cup of the nut milk in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stir in the ginger-garlic paste along with the salt, and barely simmer for a minute of two before adding the tempeh. Stir until well-coated, cover, and allow to cook for about five minutes, stirring once or twice along the way. Add the rice, stir, and allow it to heat.
In the mean time add the soy sauce, and lime juice to the remaining nut milk, stir well, and add to the saucepan as well. Transfer to a serving bowl, and stir in the cucumber. Top with the grated carrot, and herbs, and give a light final toss.

To serve, spoon a generous amount of the rice mixture into a lettuce leaf. If you want to make them extra special do any/all of the following. Spread a whisper thin layer of curry paste across the lettuce, top with the rice mixture, and finish with a spoonful of serrano chile vi

Thai-Style Sweet and Salty Shrimp (or Chicken, or Tofu)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

Pat the shrimp very dry and lightly season with salt and pepper.

In a medium (10-inch) nonstick skillet, stir together the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. When the mixture comes to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook until pink on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Add the peanuts, scallions, lime juice and red-pepper flakes and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Notes: Add a quick cooking vegetable, like peas, thinly sliced asparagus or bean sprouts, with the shrimp, or substitute tofu or cubed boneless chicken thighs for the shrimp.

Serve over shredded cabbage, rice, a roasted sweet potato or rice noodles.

Thai Grilled Pork Skewers (Moo Ping)

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of surface fat
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro stems
1/3 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Ground white pepper
1/3 cup coconut milk
Chili-lime sauce (jaew), to serve

Place the pork on a large plate and freeze until the meat is firm and partially frozen, 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the garlic, cilantro, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, oil and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper.

Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the partially frozen pork into pieces about ? inch thick. The slices will be irregularly shaped; cut them into strips 1 to 1¼ inches wide (it’s fine if the strips are not uniform). Add the pork to the marinade and mix with your hands until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.

Thread the pork onto ten 10- to 12-inch metal skewers, evenly dividing the meat and scrunching it together and packing it quite tightly. If some pieces are too wide, too wispy or awkwardly shaped, fold the meat or tuck in the edges as you skewer. Place on a rimmed baking sheet or in a large baking dish, cover and refrigerate while you prepare the grill.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute the coals evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the grate. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high and heat, covered, for 15 minutes, then clean and oil the grate.

Place the skewers on the hot side of the grill (if using charcoal) and cook until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the skewers, then brush with some of the coconut milk. Cook until the second sides are lightly charred, about another 3 minutes. Flip the skewers again and continue to cook, occasionally brushing with coconut milk and turning every couple of minutes, until deeply charred on both sides, about another 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve with the sauce.

Tip: Don’t thread the meat loosely on the skewers. The pieces should be scrunched together somewhat tightly. This helps guard against overcooking. If you’re using a charcoal grill, don’t push the meat all the way to the bottom of the skewers; the protruding handle end of the skewers may prevent you from being able to position the meat directly over the coals.

Malaysian Chicken Satay

2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken thigh and leg meat
Bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for 2 hours
1 cucumber, cut into small pieces
1 small onion, quartered
oil, for basting

Chicken Satay Marinade:

3 tablespoons oil
2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only
2 cloves garlic, peeled
6 small shallots or pearl onions, peeled
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon salt or more to taste
2 tablespoons sugar or honey

Cut the chicken meat into small cubes. Set aside.

Blend all the he Marinade ingredients in a food processor. Add a little water if needed.

For the chicken satay dipping sauce, please click here: satay peanut sauce recipe.

Combine the chicken and the Marinade together, stir to mix well. Marinate the chicken for 6 hours in the fridge, or best overnight. When ready, thread 3-4 pieces of the chicken meat onto the bamboo skewers.

Grill the chicken satay skewers for 2-3 minutes on each side until the meat is fully cooked and the surface is nicely charred, on both sides. Baste and brush with some oil while grilling. Serve hot with peanut sauce the fresh cucumber pieces and onions.

Hawaiian Pork Bowl

1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup sugar
2 English breakfast tea bags
One 1-pound pork tenderloin, butterflied and flattened
Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of fresh pineapple—peeled, quartered and cored
1 red onion, cut through the core into 1/4-inch wedges
1/3 cuo extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
Pepper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced cilantro, plus sprigs for serving

Steamed rice, crisp bacon, diced avocado and thinly sliced jalapeño, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the boiling water, sugar and tea bags and let stand for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags and stir the tea to dissolve the sugar. Let cool completely, then add the pork and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Drain the pork and pat ?dry with paper towels. Brush the pork, pineapple and red onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill ?the pork over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the pork registers 135°, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a carving board and let ?rest for 5 minutes, then slice the pork against the grain. Meanwhile, grill the pineapple and onion, turning once, ?until charred, about 4 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice with the minced cilantro and the 1/3 cup of olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Serve the pork, pineapple and onion over steamed rice with crisp bacon, diced avocado, thinly sliced jalapeño and the lime dressing.

Curry Mee

2 tablespoons oil
1 onion (minced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
1 tablespoon lemongrass (minced)
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (thinly sliced)
3 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
13.5 ounces coconut milk (400 ml)
4 cups chicken stock (950 ml)
3 tablespoons fish sauce (optional for vegetarians)
1 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces egg noodles (225g)
salt (to taste)
2 handfuls raw bean sprouts (washed and trimmed)
Cilantro leaves (for garnish)
1 lime (cut into wedges)

Heat the oil in a pot over medium high heat and add the onion, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Cook for about 6 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Stir in the red curry paste.

Turn the heat up to high and add the chicken. Stir-fry until the chicken turns opaque. Add the curry powder, turmeric, coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package directions. Divide between 2 soup bowls and set aside.

Taste the soup and season with salt to taste. Divide the soup among your 2 bowls of noodles, and garnish with raw bean sprouts, cilantro, and a squeeze

Indian Vermicelli with Peas and Cilantro

3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 Fresno or jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped, stems and leaves reserved separately
12 ounces vermicelli pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and ground back pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

In a large pot over medium, heat the oil until shimmering.

Add the shallots and ginger, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the cumin and turmeric, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the chili, cilantro stems and pasta.

Add 3 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and  teaspoon pepper, then bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cover, reduce to medium- low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.

Off heat, add the cilantro leaves, peas, lemon zest and juice, and half the peanuts, then toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts.

3-Ingredient Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

6 ounces (170g) elbow macaroni
Salt
6 ounces (180ml) evaporated milk
6 ounces (170g) grated mild or medium cheddar cheese, or any good melting cheese, such as Fontina, Gruyère, or Jack

Place macaroni in a medium saucepan or skillet and add just enough cold water to cover. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Continue to cook, stirring, until water has been almost completely absorbed and macaroni is just shy of al dente, about 6 minutes.

Immediately add evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Add cheese. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continuously, until cheese is melted and liquid has reduced to a creamy sauce, about 2 minutes longer. Season to taste with more salt and serve immediately.

Mexican Rice

3 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice (450g)
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, or water + 1 bouillon cube (710 ml)
2 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 cup plain tomato sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

First, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the rice and stir constantly until the rice begins to turn golden brown. The toastier your rice, the tastier it will be (information gleaned from my friend, via her grandma of course).

Next, add the chicken stock. The mixture will bubble up, and should be followed immediately by the tomato paste or tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and salt.

Bring to a boil, stirring the tomato paste to dissolve it if using, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Immediately turn the heat down to low and set a timer for 20 minutes.

During or when the rice is done cooking, you may want to check moisture levels. If you smell a hint of a burnt scent, your heat is too high! In this scenario, if the rice is cooked, remove from the heat. If it’s not cooked, lower the heat, and add water ½ cup at a time to continue the cooking process. If it’s too wet, leave the lid slightly ajar or off the pan entirely.

When the rice is done, fluff it with a fork and serve

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
4 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar (about 16 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
2 cups shredded Colby Jack (about 8 ounces)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions until a little under al dente, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add cooked macaroni, 2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar, melted butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and stir until well combined.

Add half the macaroni mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups Colby Jack evenly on top. Spread the remaining macaroni mixture on top in an even layer. Cover with aluminum foil, transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Carefully remove and discard the aluminum foil. Top the macaroni mixture with the remaining 2 cups Cheddar and ½ cup Colby Jack. Broil on top rack until cheese is browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. (The broiled cheese can go from golden to burnt fairly quickly, so keep a close eye on it.)

Remove from oven and let cool until the macaroni and cheese is fully set, 10 to 15 minutes. (The mixture may first appear jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.) Serve warm.

Notes: Extra-sharp Cheddar adds tartness and a layer of Colby Jack creates a gooey, molten center. If you can’t find a Colby Jack blend, shredded mozzarella or a Mexican-style blend will work in its place.