Martha’s Mac & Cheese

On March 15, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This recipe is nothing short of humble… Martha Stewart’s website even went so far to name the recipe “Perfect” in its title.  Fortunately, that title is well deserved with this recipe that lived up to the hype.

I was on a conference call the night I was making this dish and everything was ready as I was jumping on a call with China as I dished out some for my wife to enjoy and put the rest back in the oven to keep warm until my call was over.

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From the family room, I heard my wife shout “this is the BEST mac & cheese you have ever made!”

Sounded great though I was disappointed as I was on my call for a good hour until I finally finished work and dished out some for myself.  My wife was right.

The sauce is cheesy rich almost fondue like sauce that is created while the noodles are cooking.

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I decided to divert from the recipe a little with the breadcrumbs. I kept the crust on and proceeded to heat the bread crumbles in a saute pan with a little butter to give it some crunch, being careful not to burn. I then took the bread and put in my min food processor in two batches and reduced it down to small bread crumbs leaving some slightly larger pieces in it.

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The rest of recipe I followed exactly. Enjoy!

Full Recipe: [Perfect Macaroni and Cheese]

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Crock Pot: Pot Roast

On January 15, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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We had a lot of running around to do Saturday after I spent most of the week away from home at the Consumer Electronics Show. While I enjoy shows like CES and trying some new places, including a gas station taco shop in Vegas, I couldn’t wait to get home and back to cooking my own food. Five days of dinning out is miserable in Vegas. Honestly, I’ve never had a great meal there, with the celebrity chef restaurants always being the most disappointing.

Wanting something easy and ready after all the errands makes the crock pot the perfect solution. Plus I had a beautiful Top Sirloin Roast from Burgundy Pasture Beef.

My roast was only a 1 pound roast. I followed the exact ingredients here since I wanted a healthy amount of vegetables and plenty of sauce. Only adjustment is I cooked the roast for 8 hours on low instead of 10.

The following recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.

Pot Roast

6 medium carrots, cut into thirds
2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
1 beef chuck roast (3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1 diced garlic clove
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

In a slow cooker, stir together cornstarch, broth, wine, thyme, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce until smooth. Add carrots and onions; season with salt and pepper, and toss.

Sprinkle roast with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; place on top of vegetables.

Cover; cook on high, 6 hours (or on low, 10 hours.)

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Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula

On June 1, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Continuing our tradition of moving to a more vegetarian balanced diet this recipe for Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula was a welcome addition to this quest to find good, easy to make vegetarian dishes.

What is most enjoyable about this recipe is how fast it is to make. It was literally 15 minutes from ingredients to plate. In the time it took to cook the pasta, the mustard vinaigrette dressing, washed arugula, drain cannellini beans, and crumbled goat cheese where ready and waiting for the drained pasta to complete the dish.

The pasta salad is great for a summer dinner or even for a dish to pass at a potluck or to bring to a family event. Simple, quick and enjoyable. We will definitely be making this one again as the boiling hot Dallas summer months are upon us.

For the Recipe: Martha Stewart’s Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula.

 

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I will occasionally get an email from my wife requesting quote – You should make this – end quote. Well last week I received another email (in fact two) and finally got around to making a pasta dish from Martha Stewart’s website.

It’s a good thing I didn’t get this particular recipe sent to me a couple months back, because I still had yet to find a market with decent fresh ricotta cheese in Dallas. Fortunately, a few weeks ago while at Central Market I noticed they carry a couple fresh ricotta choices. This afternoon I made a stop over there and picked up fresh ricotta from the Mozzarella Company, a popular local homemade cheese shop located in Deep Ellum, a trendy artsy part of downtown Dallas.

The recipe also calls for some fresh tarragon, sugar snap peas, and peas. One of the best parts of the recipe is it’s all cooked in one pot; though, you really should test the pasta before adding the peas. The recipe asks to cook the pasta for 3 minutes before adding the sugar peas. I would check the pasta and maybe give it a good 3 more minutes before adding, unless you have just made fresh pasta. I was using fresh, but refrigerated pasta from Central Market and it need a few more minutes; though, not as long as dry pasta needs. So adjust accordingly.

Also, when I make this again I’m going to try two things. First add roasted pine nuts. It just needed something to intensify the flavor and pine nuts should bring out the flavors better. Second change is to still experiment with the ricotta cheese choice. The one from the Mozzarella Company was good, but I’ve had far better at good Italian Markets. Unfortunately, the only Italian Market I’ve found around Dallas is Jimmy’s Food Store and they don’t carry fresh ricotta.

Here is a link to the recipe: Two-Pea Pasta with Ricotta and Tarragon


I typically plan my week of dinners over the weekend and this last weekend was no exception. This time I grabbed a few back issues of Martha Stewart’s Food magazine focusing on the March-May 2010 issues. In there I found a pulled pork recipe and after having recently bought a beautiful local, pasture raised pork butt in McKinney, Texas I decided to give it a try.

Big Mistake.

I actually have a good pulled-pork recipe already that uses a slower cooker. I suppose I tried it because the Food magazine had a couple recipes using their pulled-pork recipe and well why not try it. Martha is fail safe, right? I’ve honestly never had a bad Martha Stewart recipe. Really.

The recipe called for doing everything in the oven. It started with 1 hour at 450 degrees with just salt, pepper and a 1/2 cup of water. Then you remove the pot and cover it with foil and reduce the heat to 350 and cook for 3-4 hours. I had a smaller piece of meet so I cooked for 3 hours longer. When it finished, I pulled it out and noticed everything was shriveled and burnt.

If I had really put some consideration into this recipe I could have guessed the result. First there is just too little liquid to make a moist, pulled piece of meat. Also, the first stage at 450 for 1 hour is too long. It really just should be a quick braising on a burner, if that was the point.

Oh well, lesson learned. Never trust someone from Westport, Connecticut to get BBQ pulled-pork right.

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