Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

FOR THE MACARONI AND CHEESE:
1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon smoked or hot paprika
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar cheese, grated
12 ounces fontina or Gruyère, grated

FOR THE TOPPING (OPTIONAL):
1 cup coarse bread crumbs or panko
4 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until it’s barely al dente. (It should be more al dente than your average pasta: It’s going to continue to cook in the oven.) Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium pot over medium heat. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is foamy and just starting to turn a light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk to avoid clumping. Add garlic, paprika and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly and paying special attention to the edges of the pot to make sure the flour mixture is totally incorporated.

Add grated cheese and whisk to blend until the cheese is completely melted. (The sauce will seem thick at first and thin out as the cheese melts; it will thicken while it bakes.) Season with salt and pepper and add cooked pasta, stirring to coat well.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (to catch any cheesy drips).

Make the optional topping: Combine bread crumbs, melted butter and Parmesan, if using, in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, using your hands, mix well to ensure the bread crumbs are evenly coated.

Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture to a 3-quart or 9 x 13 baking dish and scatter bread crumbs, if using, evenly over the top. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake until macaroni and cheese is bubbling, thickened and creamy, and bread crumbs are evenly golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar, grated
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until just barely al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, bring milk up to a simmer in a large pot. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese, and whisk until it’s completely blended and no lumps remain. Add Cheddar cheese and butter, whisking until everything is completely melted. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened and is coating each piece of pasta nicely, 2 to 3 minutes; sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Season again with more salt and pepper before serving.

Ham and Cheese Scones

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup diced ham, bacob, or pancetta
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in buttermilk, cheese, ham and chives until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pill, roll the dough into an 8? circle, about 1-inch thick, and cut into 8 wedges.

Place scones onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

Cannellini with Tomatoes and Sage

FOR OVEN-CURED TOMATOES:
6 PLUM TOMATOES
1 TABLESPOON CHOPPED FRESH FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY
3 TO 4 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
SALT

BEANS:

1 POUND RUNNER CANNELLINI or CELLINI BEANS, soaked
1 MEDIUM CARROT, peeled and quartered
1 CELERY STALK, cut into thirds
1 GARLIC HEAD, halved
3 FRESH SAGE SPRIGS 3
FRESH ROSEMARY SPRIGS
SALT
1/4 CUP SAFFLOWER or GRAPESEED OIL for frying
20 FRESH SAGE LEAVES
1/2 CUP EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, plus oil for drizzling
2 GARLIC CLOVES, thinly sliced
3 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH SAGE
FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Make the tomatoes:
Preheat the oven to 200 ° F. Core the tomatoes. Slice each tomato nearly in half lengthwise, taking care not to cut all the way through so the halves remain attached.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt to taste. Toss to coat. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side down, in a single layer on a rack setover a baking sheet.

Bake until the liquid is evaporated and the tomatoes are shriveled and reduced in size, but not completely dry, about 10 hours. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Beans:
In a stockpot, combine the beans and their soaking water, carrot, celery, and garlic head.

Put the sage sprigs and rosemary sprigs on a piece of cheesecloth, gather the corners, and tie the bundle securely. Add to the pot.

Add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by at least 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook,partially covered, until the beans are nearly soft, about 1 hour. Season with salt and continue cooking the beans until tender, about 30 minutes.

Allow the beans to cool in their broth. Remove and discard the vegetables, garlic head, and cheesecloth bundle. Drain the beans, reserving the broth.

In a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, warm the safflower oil until it is shimmering. Add the sage leaves, 4 at a time, and fry until they are crisp but remain bright green, 10 to 15 seconds. Remove with tongs to a paper towel to drain.

In a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, warm the 1/2 cup olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and chopped sage, and sauté until aromatic.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook just until they begin to break down, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cooked beans to the skillet along with 1 cup of the reserved broth. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced and leaves a glossy shine on the beans.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil.

Transfer the beans to a serving dish and top with the fried sage leaves.

Red (or Black) Beans and Rice

1 pound dried beans, such as Red Nightfall or Sangre de Toro
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 1/2-ounce can chicken broth
1 cup red wine
3 cups of water
1 bay leaf
1 pound smoked ham hocks
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups hot white rice

Chopped scallions for garnish

Wash beans well and sort through them, removing any pebbles or impurities. Place beans in a pot, cover with water and soak overnight.

When ready to cook, drain beans and set aside.

Sauté onion, green pepper, celery, garlic and jalapeño in oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, uncovered, until soft (about 10 minutes).

Add beans to the pot, along with chicken broth, red wine, water, bay leaf, ham hocks, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and taste to adjust seasoning.

Simmer, covered, for 2 hours, stirring frequently.
Remove ham hocks after 2 hours. Continue to simmer beans for another 30 minutes, or until the liquid in the beans has a thick, creamy consistency.

As soon as the ham hocks are cool enough to work with, remove all meat from the bones, and shred it. Return meat to the beans.

Divide the hot rice among 4 wide, shallow serving bowls. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the bean mixture over the rice in each bowl; you’ll have a little bean mixture left over.

Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

You can also replace the red beans with a firm, creamy bean like Midnight Black Bean.

If you wish to add andouille, tasso or chicken to this recipe, to make it meatier still . . . go right ahead!

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)

1/4 pound diced Apple Smoked Bacon (optional) (we like Hobbs)
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, (3-4 tablespoons if not using bacon)
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3/4 cup diced Roma tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 pound Royal Corona or Cassoulet beans, soaked 6-8 hours
4 cups homemade chicken stock or your favorite canned chicken stock
6-8 cups water if necessary
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
1 cup pasta (your choice shape such as little tubes or broken papardelli noodles
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Da Vero Lemon Olive Oil to drizzle
Vella Dry Jack to grate to taste over the “fazool”

In a large heavy bottom soup pot, sauté bacon until browned. Remove bacon from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Discard all but about 1-2 tablespoons bacon fat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil (or start with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil if you are not using bacon).

Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery, carrots, and garlic until soft and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, stock, oregano, and return bacon to the pot. Simmer over medium heat until beans are tender, about 1 hour (cooking time may vary depending on freshness of beans). You may add water if necessary.

Add pasta and continue cooking until al dente. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and allow the “fazool” to stand for 10 minutes before serving, to concentrate the flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Drizzle individual bowls with lemon olive oil, and sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Pasta e Fagioli with Escarole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup tomato sauce (you can use your favorite)
1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans, or another creamy white bean
1 cup stock (Try chicken stock and bean broth, half and half)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 pound short, flat pasta (I broke up tagliatelle nests)
1 head escarole, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 3 or 4 as a light main dish

In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft, 8–10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, beans, stock, and rosemary sprig and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook gently for another 10–15 minutes to combine the flavors.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, using plenty of salted water. Drain the pasta.

Remove the rosemary sprig from the sauce, then mix in the drained pasta; add the escarole and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

White Beans, Wild Rice, and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 large heirloom tomato, cubed
2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Rancho Gordo Pineapple Vinegar to taste
1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Wild Rice
1/2 cup cooked white beans, such as Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Alubia Blanca beans
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Serves 1–easy to scale up

In a bowl, combine the tomato, olive oil, salt and pepper, and vinegar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes.

To make the salad, toss the wild rice with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Make a ring around a bowl with the rice, then add the macerated tomatoes and finally the cooked beans. Sprinkle with parsley and maybe indulge yourself with one small drizzle of olive oil.

White Beans with Salsa Verde

Cooked Royal Coronas, Alubia Blanca, or Cassoulet beans

To make Italian salsa verde:

Pound a clove of garlic with some salt and make a paste.

Add chopped fresh sage and flat-leaf parsley (about 3 parts sage to one part parsley) and continue pounding as you add really good olive oil.

Italian Meatball Soup

1 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 cup carrots diced 1/4-inch
1/2 cup celery diced 1/4-inch
1/4 cup onion finely diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste optional
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
28 oz can diced tomatoes undrained,preferably fire-roasted
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or 1 tsp basil and 1/4 tsp of thyme and oregano leaves
Parmesan rind or 3/4-inch cube of Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper
20 frozen, fully cooked Italian meatballs about 1 inch *see notes
3/4 cup ditalini pasta or other small pasta
4 cups baby spinach
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat on the stovetop. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, if using and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender (taste to be sure). Discard bay leaf.
Pour in can of tomatoes. Add Italian seasoning, Parmesan rind, if using, and a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine. Add meatballs. Continue simmering soup another 15 minutes, to allow the flavours to come together.
Add pasta and simmer a further 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper and/or Italian seasoning, as needed. Remove from heat and stir in baby spinach until wilted.
Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan.

Recipe Notes
Leftovers will thicken in the fridge. Thin when reheating with a little more chicken stock or water.

If you can’t find fully cooked frozen Italian meatballs, you can use fresh and pre-cook them before adding to soup.

Crockpot option! Add all ingredients except pasta and spinach to your slow cooker. Cook covered on low for 5-6 hours. Add pasta and cook, covered an additional 15-20 minutes. Stir in baby spinach until wilted, then serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top.

If you want to up the fibre quotient, some white or red kidney beans would not be out of place in this soup.

Like some heat with your warm soup? Add a pinch of red pepper flakes when you are sauteeing the vegetables.

Potato, Leek, and Fennel Soup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb—halved, cored and chopped
1 medium celery rib, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 thyme sprig
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt 8 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
1 cup heavy cream
White pepper

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the leek, onion, fennel, celery, shallot, thyme, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the stock, potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the parsley and 1 tablespoon of the tarragon. Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 40 minutes.

Add the cream to the saucepan and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon each of parsley and tarragon and season the soup with salt and white pepper; discard the thyme sprig.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Spring Pea Pasta with Lemon and Shiso

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon minced garlic
12 ounces dried orecchiette or shell pasta (or two batches of this fresh orecchiette)
Salt and black pepper
2 cups frozen peas
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons Vermont Creamery mascarpone (Greek yogurt or Vermont Creamery crème fraîche work well, too)
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup finely sliced shiso leaves (or mint, if unavailable), plus more for garnish

Combine oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic in a small skillet or saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden brown, 9 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add the orecchiette and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. (The pasta should still have quite a bit of bite; it will continue to cook in the sauce.)Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add the peas, lemon zest and juice, reserved garlic-oil mixture, and 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the pasta. Stir until pasta is well-coated with oil and no water remains in the bottom of the pot.

Add the mascarpone, Parmesan, and shiso leaves. Toss until the cheeses melt and evenly coat the pasta. If needed, loosen the pasta with the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water.

Season with more salt and plenty of black pepper to taste, then serve, with extra Parmesan on the side and more shiso, if desired. Enjoy!

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz dry macaroni (1 2/3 cups measured in a 2 cup glass liquid measure. Note that this measure will only work for macaroni and probably not a larger pasta shape. Weighing is recommended.)

Cheese Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
7 oz Good aged white crumbly cheddar crumbled
3 oz Another variety orange sharp cheddar or cold-packed cheddar grated or crumbled
1/2 tsp kosher salt little less if using table salt
1/4 tsp regular chili powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Topping:
1/2 oz aged cheddar grated
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder

Add water and a bit of salt to a large pot and place over high heat for the pasta. While it’s heating, prepare the cheese sauce.

For the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk and cook for about 2 minutes.

Very slowly add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly. Once all the milk has been added, cook, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. (Don’t rush this step. The mixture will not be thick, but will noticeably thicken after 8-10 minutes of cooking).

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cheese, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. (If the cheese isn’t melted completely after about 3 minutes, you can put the pan back on low heat and stir until it is melted). Set aside for a minute.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C) with rack in the centre of the oven. Oil or butter an 8-inch square baking dish, an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or individual baking dishes.

When the pasta water is boiling, add the macaroni and cook for 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate. (The noodles will finish cooking in the sauce in the oven). When the pasta is cooked, drain and immediately rinse well with cold water. Make sure your pasta is well drained.

Add the cooked pasta and to the cheese sauce and mix gently, but thoroughly. (It might look like too much sauce or too little pasta, but trust me, it will all be good in the end).

Spoon or ladle the mixture into a prepared baking dish or individual dishes. Sprinkle the top of each with a bit of additional grated sharp cheddar cheese (you don’t need a lot here, as there is plenty in the sauce), then sprinkle with the chipotle chili powder.

Bake in the preheated 350F (175C) oven uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce has bubbled up around the edges and the top has a nice golden crust. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Pork and Ricotta Meatball Noodle Soup

Meatballs:
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated, plus more for garnish
1 large egg
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
1 tsp Kosher salt less if using fine salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 lbs ground pork

Soup:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 3-by-1-by-1 inch piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 3 inches long, 1 inch wide and 1 inch thick
1 cup frozen peas thawed
2 cups baby spinach
For serving
Warm cooked egg noodles
Shaved, crumbled Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Start water boiling in a large pot for egg noodles.

In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta and 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano.

Add the egg, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper and water. Add the pork and stir to combine well. Form into 15-18 approx. two-inch diameter meatballs.

In a large pot (preferably non-stick), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook the bottom until well browned.

Using a spoon, gently flip the meatballs over and brown that side well. Again, using a spoon, flip the meatballs on their sides and brown all sides to seal the meatball well.

Pour in the broth and add the the piece of cheese. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer the broth very gently, stirring once or twice (so the Parmesan doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan), until the meatballs are cooked through and the broth is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the thawed peas and spinach. Taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the peas are warmed through.

Meanwhile, cook egg noodles in boiling water per the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Place some warm cooked egg noodles in the bottom of shallow bowls. Spoon the meatballs and broth over the egg noodles. Garnish with additional grated Parmigiano and serve.

Recipe Notes
As the meatballs are quite moist and soft, cooking them in a non-stick pan will make life easier. If you don’t have a larger non-stick pot, you can cook them off in a non-stick skillet, then move them to a larger pot to finish cooking the soup. A non-stick skillet will give you extra room for flipping, as well.

Maple Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

8 slices bacon, diced
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, frozen
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

In a large bowl, combine bacon, flour, cheese, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Grate butter using the large holes of a box grater. Stir into the flour mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk and 4 tablespoons maple syrup. Add to the flour mixture and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut out 12 rounds using a 2 to 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Place biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet; place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove biscuits from freezer. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup and butter.

Serve biscuits warm, brushed with the maple-butter mixture.

Flatbread with Apple, Cheddar, and Arugula

Flatbread Dough: (makes four 5×14-inch flatbreads)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. dry active or instant yeast
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Toppings: (for one 5×14-inch flatbread – increase as necessary)
1 cup grated or crumbled aged white cheddar
1/4 cup cooked diced pancetta or bacon
1/4 – 1/3 of a large apple cored and very thinly sliced (no need to peel) or pear
Handful of fresh baby arugula

In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour and salt.

In a two-cup glass measure, combine warm water, yeast and honey. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Add proofed yeast mixture and olive oil to bowl with flour and salt. Stir into a smooth dough, adding a few more tablespoons of flour, if necessary to make a smooth, moist (but not sticky) dough.

Place into a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 400° F. with racks in upper third and lower third of oven. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove risen dough to a well-floured surface. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Your flatbread can be any size or shape. If making oblong ones, just be sure they aren’t longer than the length of your baking sheet, so it doesn’t hang over the edge. Somewhere around 5-inches wide to 14-inches long works well.

Place two flatbreads side-by-side onto each baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes to rest.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then switch baking sheets top to bottom and front to back.

*If you have some large bubbles, poke them several times with the point of a sharp knife. Bake another 5-7 minutes, until firm and starting to turn golden in spots.

*Don’t over-brown if you intend to re-bake flatbreads with toppings later on, to avoid over-browning when you bake the second time with toppings.

Remove flatbreads to a cooling rack to cool. (If making cheddar-apple flatbreads immediately, leave oven on and set to 400° and keep baking sheets with parchment handy to re-use)

Once flatbread have cooled a bit, top with cheddar and cooked pancetta/bacon. A little freshly ground black pepper, is nice here.

Arrange thinly sliced apples overtop.

Return to parchment-lined baking sheet and pop back in to the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden and apples have softened. Allow to cool slightly, then top with fresh arugula. Cut into triangles for serving.

Apple Cheddar Drop Biscuits

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated cored peeled apple
2 Tbsp chopped fresh green onion or parsley (optional)
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425° F.

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces. Stir in Cheddar, apple and green onions. Using a fork, stir in milk to form a ragged dough.

Drop by 1/4 cup mounds, 1 1/2 inches apart, onto parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheet. Bake in 425° oven until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes.

Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork (Thit Heo Nuong Xa)

You can use this marinade with small pieces of pork and thread them on skewers and dip them in some nuoc cham dipping sauce. If there’s no lemongrass, use about 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder instead. Slicing the pork at the end is a traditional Vietnamese approach to eating meat as the pieces are easier to pick up with chopsticks. Enjoy with rice, a stir-fried or grilled vegetable and a quick soup (canh). Feel free to stuff leftovers into banh mi sandwiches and use them for bun rice noodle salad bowls.

Ingredients

1 pound boneless pork shoulder steak, about 1/2 inch thick

Marinade

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons granulated or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallot or yellow onion
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dark (black) soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oil

Cut the pork shoulder steak into pieces about 3 to 4 inches big. Set aside.

Put the sugar, garlic, shallot and lemongrass into an electric mini chopper and process to a fine texture. (Or, mince the garlic, shallot, and lemongrass individually, put them into a bowl, and add the sugar.) Add the pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, and oil and process to combine well. Aim for a relatively smooth texture. The marinade will be chocolate brown. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the pork, and turn to coat well. Cover and set aside at room temperature to marinate for 1 hour. Or, refrigerate up to 24 hours, letting the meat sit out at room temperature for 45 minutes to remove some of the chill before grilling.

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through. Nick with a knife to test. Transfer to a plate, loosely cover with foil or an inverted bowl for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Thai Pork Satay (Moo Satay)

PORK AND MARINADE

2 Pounds Pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/4
4 Tablespoons Lemongrass water
5 Tablespoons Thin soy sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
14 Ounces Coconut milk
1 Teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 Tablespoon Thai curry powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

BASTING LIQUID

1 Remaining from above Coconut milk
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Turmeric powder

SATAY SAUCE

5 Whole Dried Chile, soaked in water to soften
1 1/2 Tablespoons Chopped fresh galangal
1 1/2 Tablespoons Thinly sliced lemongrass
5 Leaves Fresh kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2 Tablespoons Fresh shallot, thinly sliced
3 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Tablespoon Shrimp paste
1 Tablespoon Matsaman curry paste
1/4 Cup White sesame seed, toasted in a dry wok or skillet
1/4 Cup Dried roasted peanut
2 Cups Coconut cream
1/4 Cup Palm sugar
2 Tablespoons Fish sauce
1 Tablespoon Tamarind concentrate mixed with 1 tablespoon water

AJAD

1/2 Cup White vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Thinly sliced cucumber
1/4 Cup Sliced shallot
3 Each Fresh Thai chile peppers, sliced

METHOD FOR PORK MARINADE

Thinly slice 1 stalk of fresh lemongrass, put in a bowl, then pour 1/2 cup boiling water over it. Remove 4 tablespoons of the water and set to cool.

For the can of coconut milk, don’t stir it up, and some will have a thicker consistency. Measure 1/3 cup of the thicker part for the marinade. You will use the thinner part for your basting liquid below.

In a mixing bowl, combine the lemongrass water with the coconut cream, and the other ingredients. Mix well, then add the pork, and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

METHOD FOR BASTING LIQUID

Combine the four ingredients, mix well, and set aside.

METHOD FOR SATAY SAUCE

Start by pounding your white sesame seeds in a mortar & pestle, into a thick paste. Set aside. Then pound the peanuts until fine, and set aside.

Next, put the whole dried chile, fresh galangal, lime leaves, and lemongrass into the mortar & pestle. Pound together well, then add shallot, garlic, and shrimp paste. Leave it in the mortar. Heat a wok or large pan to medium heat, and add this mixture from the mortar. Saute it with 1 cup coconut cream. Stir constantly, until all dissolved. Add matsaman curry paste, fish sauce, tamarind, palm sugar, and stir well. Add remaining coconut cream.

Add the sesame seed paste and pounded peanuts (or leave the peanuts out if you prefer) to this mixture and cook over medium/low heat for 10 minutes or so. It should all blend together well.

METHOD FOR AJAD

In a small saucepan, mix vinegar, salt and sugar over medium heat. Stir until dissolves, then remove from heat and set to cool. Just before serving, add the cucumber, shallot and sliced chiles to this.

PREPARING AND SERVING YOUR PORK SATAY

Cook the marinated pork skewers over charcoal, constantly basting them with the basting liquid. Serve together with the satay sauce, ajad, and for an authentic twist–with sliced toast as shown.
Enjoy!

Thai Chicken Satay 2 Ways (Satay Gai)

Version 1 you can make in your kitchen without a charcoal grill. The chicken in both versions is prepared as you’d find in Thailand — using thin strips, instead of thick cuts that restaurants outside of Thailand often serve for satay.

You can of course also make the same recipe as beef satay, pork satay, or prawn satay (large prawns usually deheaded and the skewer threaded lengthwise down the body).

MARINADE INGREDIENTS VERSION 1

1 Pound Chicken Breast, cut into thin pieces 2 – 3 inches long
1 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Thin Soy Sauce

NAM JIM SATAY PEANUT SAUCE INGREDIENTS VERSION 1

1 Tablespoon Red Curry Paste
1/4 Cup Fried Red Onion
1/2 Teaspoon Extra-Fine Ground Chile powder
1/4 Cup Roasted Peanut
1 1/2 Cups Coconut Milk
2 1/2 Tablespoons Palm Sugar
1 Tablespoon Tamarind Concentrate mixed w/1 TBSP Water

MARINADE INGREDIENTS VERSION 2

1 Teaspoon Coriander Seed
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seed
1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic
1 Tablespoon Fresh Grated Ginger
1 Pound Chicken Breasts, Skinned, boned, and cut into bite sized pieces.
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
Pinch Turmeric Powder (as only a colorant, so very little!)
8 Tablespoons Coconut Milk
3 Tablespoons Palm Sugar

NAM JIM SATAY PEANUT SAUCE INGREDIENTS VERSION 2

4 Ounces Roasted (unsalted) Peanuts
4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Ounce Chopped Onion
1 1/2 Tablespoon Red or Massaman Curry paste
1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
8 Tablespoons Coconut Milk
6 Teaspoons Lime Juice (to taste)
2 1/2 Teaspoons Palm Sugar

INGREDIENTS FOR A JAD CUCUMBER SAUCE

8 Tablespoons White Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons Cucumber, Very Coarsely chopped or sliced
2 Shallots (or any variety of purple onion) Chopped
8 Fresh Thai Chiles

MARINADE METHOD – VERSION 1

Mix coconut milk, turmeric powder, sugar and soy sauce in a bowl, add chicken, marinade for 1 hour. You can thread the chicken onto satay sticks now, or cook the chicken first and thread it onto the sticks later (as we did). Cook the chicken over low heat, using all the marinade to baste as it cooks.

PEANUT SAUCE METHOD – VERSION 1

Pound the fried red onion in a mortar and pestle, set aside. Pound peanuts in a mortar and pestle, and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and fry red curry paste together with the pounded red onion and chile powder over medium heat, until fragrant. Add peanut, palm sugar, tamarind, salt, and stir. Add coconut milk, reduce heat, and keep at a high simmer until oil rises (this oil comes from the coconut milk, and it will look distinctive as shown in photo).

Serve as shown, with chicken on skewers accompanied by a bowl of satay sauce, and a bowl of ajad (see below).

MARINADE METHOD – VERSION 2

Beat the chicken flat, using the flat of the blade of a heavy cleaver or a meat tenderizing mallet. You can also use a rolling pin.

The coriander and cumin are toasted then crushed in a mortar and pestle. The ingredients are then combined to form a marinade, and the chicken is marinated overnight. The pieces of chicken are then threaded on the satay sticks, loosely folding them in half and piercing through the folded meat to form a loose gather.

The completed sticks are then grilled, broiled or barbequed on fairly high heat (they taste best done over charcoal, as they absorb the smoke). Turn them regularly and brush them liberally with the remaining marinade. Cooking should take between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the heat of your cooker.

PEANUT SAUCE METHOD – VERSION 2

First grind or crush the peanuts to a fairly fine powder. Then combine them with the remaining ingredients (except the lime juice), to form a smooth sauce. If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it with a littlechicken stock. Now add the lime juice, tasting as you progress to check the balance of flavors is correct.

Note use red curry paste with beef or pork satay, massaman (as above) with chicken. If you are doing shrimp satay then use half the quantity of massaman paste.

A JAD SAUCE

Combine the ingredients, and leave to stand overnight. Alternatively, you can gently heat the vinegar, add 4 tablespoons water, let it cool, then pour that over the other ingredients and serve right away.

Each diner should have a small bowl of nam jim and a small bowl of a jad. However the satay themselves are normally served “communally”. We like to eat steamed jasmine rice that has a few spoonfulls of the Peanut Sauce on top.