Select Page

Author: Aldrin

… Loves Beecher’s Recipe for the “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese

Okay, I didn’t know about Beecher’s Handmade Cheese until I’d watched an episode of Foodcrafters on the Food Network (it’s been more than a month and yes, it’s still my favorite TV channel 🙂 ). In that episode, they’d showcased the mac & cheese made by the cheese shop in Seattle. Now, I like macaroni and I do love cheese, but I’ve never been able to find a ready-made mac & cheese from the stores that was … eh … nice … you know what I mean? Sometimes they tasted too “cheesy”, and oftentimes they tasted kinda artificial, leaving a strange aftertaste on the tongue and in the back of the throat. And sadly, I didn’t try to make homemade mac & cheese, mostly because I was so disappointed with & disillusioned by those store-bought ready-made ones. But there I was, watching Kurt Beecher Dammeier prepare a batch of his famous mac & cheese and describe how his mac & cheese (or rather penne & cheese, as he uses penne instead of macaroni) became so popular that it became called the “world’s best” by his customers. So, I was intriqued about trying mac & cheese again, this time following Kurt’s recipe. Now, sadly, I didn’t have the 2 cheeses called for in Kurt’s recipe: Beechers Flagship Cheese and Just Jack Cheese. I could try ordering them online from Beecher’s,...

Read More

… Likes Homemade Soft Pretzels

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post … sadly, my job’s been keeping me busy, too busy to do any cooking or baking, let alone try out new recipes. But I’d just discovered the Food Network a few days ago when I was changing my cable plan. And the first show I’d watched on that channel was a pretty funny one by the witty Alton Brown … Good Eats. Not only does Alton show us how to cook … eh, well … good eats, of course, but he also gets educational with the history, science and nuggets of information about those good eats, all accompanied by some humor. Check his show out on your TV or the episodes available on YouTube. And so, here I was … while laughing with Alton, he showed how easy it was to make soft, homemade pretzels. And here’s my yummy attempt at making those same pretzels … Homemade Soft Pretzels Adapted from recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2007 Prep Time: 30 min Inactive Prep (Rising) Time: 1 hr Cook Time: 25 min Serves: 8 large (hand-sized) pretzels or 16 small (palm-sized) pretzels Ingredients 1 1/2 cups warm (110-115°F or 43-48°C) water 1 Tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons fine table salt 2 1/2 Tablespoons instant dry yeast 22 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups or 624g) (I’d used Pillsbury bread flour instead)...

Read More

… Likes to Liven Up Pre-made Jars of Pasta Sauces

Pasta sauces are one ingredient I don’t usually make at home … I have made my own pasta sauce from scratch, but somehow, making homemade pasta sauces does not interest me as much as baking breads or roasting chickens & turkeys. So, for spaghetti nights, I would usually go with pasta sauces readily available in jars from the stores & supermarkets. But I would still liven up these pre-made sauces and this is how I would do it most times … Jar of Pasta Sauce Livened Up with Beef, Mushrooms & Capsicum Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Makes: 4 to 6 servings of sauce Ingredients 24 oz pre-made pasta sauce (680g) 1 lb ground beef (~450g) 4 to 5 oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced (~130g) 1 red bell pepper/capsicum, julienned or diced (~200g) 1 to 2 medium ripe tomatoes, skins removed (here’s my description of the technique to peeling tomatoes) and cut into quarters (optional) ~20 black peppercorn, crushed ~20 additional black peppercorn, uncrushed 1 medium onion, chopped (~100g) 3 cloves garlic, minced (~20g) 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Method 1. Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan, deep skillet or pot, and fry the onion & garlic over medium heat until the onion softens and starts to turn light brown. 2. Add the beef, stir...

Read More

… Wants to Share The Technique for Peeling Tomatoes

My kid was helping me make spaghetti bolognese the other day and she had found from the Food Network, a technique to easily remove the skin from tomatoes. And it really did make it easier to peel the tomato skins off! Later, I learnt that this is the same technique taught by the Culinary Institute of America in their book, The Professional Chef. Here’s my description of the technique to easily peel tomatoes … How To Peel Tomatoes (Adapted from The Food Network and The Professional Chef (8th Edition), pages 697-698) 1. Remove stems (if any) and for each tomato, cut a shallow X (about 1-3 mm deep) at the end opposite where the stem was. 2. Prepare a pot over medium heat with enough boiling water to fully submerge the tomatoes, along with a separate bowl or pot containing enough ice water to also fully submerge the tomatoes. To scoop out the tomatoes from the pot of boiling later, have a slotted spoon, a strainer (that’s small enough to scoop the tomatoes out of the pot) or simply a fork and spoon ready at hand. 3. Submerge the tomatoes into the boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds (the less ripe the tomatoes, the longer they’ll need to be in the boiling water) … note that the tomatoes will tend to float, so using the slotted spoon, strainer...

Read More

… Likes Savory Olive Oil Dough for Homemade Pizzas

So, we had homemade pizza over the weekend … there’s nothing like making your own pizza, right? Not only can you control what and how much (or how little) of the toppings you want on your own pizza, but you can also choose the best quality ingredients you can find or afford for the toppings & dough! And if you have kids, the pizza making is a great way to bond and spend time with them. They can help to prepare the dough and toppings, roll out their own crusts and top their own pizzas any way they like (within reason, of course 🙂 ). It’s also a good way to get them to eat if they are choosy or picky eaters … let them choose & top their pizzas to make them feel that the pizzas they make from start to finish are really theirs, which should help ensure they’ll eat them. My kid enjoyed helping me weigh and mix the dough ingredients, and I’d even let her slice the ham (obviously, I was hovering over her shoulder, worried that she might cut herself). She made for herself a smoked ham, mozzarella & Parmesan cheese pizza, stretching out her own pizza dough and spreading a base of a tomato-based pasta sauce that supplied her vegetable diet needs (she doesn’t like to eat vegetables but will eat a bit...

Read More