Friday, September 19, 2008

What up, homefry.

In Seattle there used to be a 24 hour cafe called Minny's. Once in a while I had one of those nights when I needed some grub at 2 in the morning (ie:drunkytown) and Minny's was one of only a handful of all night eateries in Seattle(if I wanted gut rot or a free showing of crackhead theater I'd go to The Hurricane). After trying to swerve our bodies through the sea of drunken frat boys we would finally reach our table and peruse the menu. Not that we needed to, burgers are always the only logical choice at that time of night (that or a breakfast of chicken fried steak). My biggest complaint was the fact that they served home fries instead of french fries. Every time we went there I would say "what kind of dumb, backwards hick place is this?" "You don't serve home fries with a burger!" I still hold true to my drunken sentiments, however I don't want the potato gods to be angry with me and I should show my appreciation for the glorious fries made at home. I served my with eggs and toast like it should be! I used Olsen Farms heirloom new potatoes and Olsen's house made German sausage. To make it a little more interesting I added some fennel, cherry peppers, and fresh rosemary. I sauteed some onions and garlic, added the fennel, peppers, and diced sausage cooked until soft/done. In a different pan at the same time I cooked the small diced potatoes (with the rosemary and salt and pepper) in butter until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I combined the two, seasoned, and added some chopped fennel frond. Home fries fit for the best of chicken fried steaks!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mac N' Blue

This ain't your mama's mac n'cheese. Well, maybe it is but if that's the case your mom's got some home cookin' class. I love traditional Southern style simple macaroni and cheese, all creamy and gooey with a crunchy breadcrumb topping. However sometimes you have to change things up a little. I like to make this recipe using my favorite Point Reyes blue cheese, peppery thick bacon, and fresh chanterell mushrooms. I also usually use a thicker type of past like penne or rigatoni to hold up to the sauce. Don't be scared of this recipe. You can always diet tomorrow.

1 lb penne or rigatoni
1 lb pepper bacon, cut into batons (small strips)
1/2 lb chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded asiago cheese
2 cups crumbled Point Reyes blue cheese
1 cup grated parmesean cheese
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Boil pasta in large pot of salted water until al dente or just cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Drain. In a saute pan over medium high heat render the bacon, about 3-4 minutes. Remove cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate.

Butter a 10" (or so) baking dish. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute (do not brown). Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Simmer until it thickens slightly, about 4 minutes (whisking periodically). Reduce heat to low. Add the shredded asiago cheese and the crumbled blue cheese. Whisk until cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes. Season sauce with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.

Stir the cooked pasta, mushrooms and bacon into the sauce, mixing well. Transfer the mixture to the buttered baking dish. Top with grated parmesean. Bake about 30 minutes.