I remember first meeting my husband and discussing food and he mentioned how he only ate macaroni and cheese out of a box. Because that is what his grandmother served. My grandmother always made baked macaroni and cheese from scratch.
And since I’m the cook in the family he didn’t eat macaroni and cheese for a while.
I also grew up with macaroni and cheese being a side dish. I didn’t realize people ate it as a meal till I moved to the south. And they put extra things in it. Things like bacon, broccoli, tomatoes, ham, chicken etc. The only addition I will eat is lobster!
My original mistake with making lobster macaroni and cheese is that I thought I could just add lobster meat to my grandmother’s recipe.
After trying several lobster mac & cheese dishes at restaurants and some regular mac & cheese dishes (I only try them if they are baked). I began to pinpoint the differences I would need to do in order to create a recipe that worked for me.
This last time, I used langostinos because I had some in my freezer and they work well as a substitute for lobster in a pinch.
But use whatever you have.
Like I mentioned before, what’s important are the type of cheeses used and the liquid to solid ratio.
And just as with any recipe, play around with the ingredients. There are so many types of cheeses out there. Start with your favorites and go from there.
Remember it’s basically pasta, cheese and lobster. You really can’t go wrong with it.
Lobster Macaroni & Cheese
A decadent and rich comfort food for any occasion
- 1 lb pasta (such as elbow, rigatoni, penne, ziti etc)
- 4 tbsp of butter, plus extra for baking pan
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp course ground pepper
- 3 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
- 1 cup each of 2-3 cheeses of your choice (I use gruyere, gouda and parmesan)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp of thyme (optional)
- 1 lb of lobster meat, thawed if frozen
- 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- olive oil
- whisk together, breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tsp of thyme if using. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and put in a bowl with lobster meat and 1 cup of cheese (1/3 of each cheese). Set aside
- In a medium sauce pan, melt butter gently and whisk in flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
- Add in salt, pepper, dry mustard. Combine well.
- Add milk in 1/2 cup at a time while whisking constantly to remove any lumps that form. This is sometimes known as a white sauce or béchamel sauce.
- Once fully incorporated, let the sauce cook to thicken for 3-5 minutes.
- Slowly add in 2 cups of cheese (2/3 of each cheese). Whisk again to combine.
- Mix cheese sauce with pasta and lobster.
- Butter a baking dish or cast iron skillet. Gently pour macaroni and cheese into your baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let stand for 5 minutes
- Bon Apetit
Tasty Tin http://tastytin.com/
Carrot, apple and lemon juice aka ‘Orange’ Juice
Before my daughter was born, my husband and I had planned to make all her food. We looked at baby food blenders and processors and figured we’d get one after she was born. Then we stumbled upon ‘baby-led weaning’. And me being the laziest mother out there, jumped on the bandwagon quick.
In a nutshell, you feed your kid the same foods you eat at meals, no pureed foods, or strained anything. They will learn to chew naturally, and won’t have to go between textures. We loved it, the kid loved it. But I noticed with raw vegetables, very little was getting into her stomach. I mean she had no back teeth so it’s understandable.
So in order to increase her veggie intake (and mine, let’s be honest) we started juicing.
3 years later, we still are. And this is our favorite juice to have for breakfast. Carrots, apples, lemon and ginger (if I have it) blend so well to make a sweet enough drink that almost anyone would like it.
Juicing is messy and expensive but if you already own a juicer or blender (it will make more of a smoothie) then try this one.
Carrot Apple and Lemon Juice
A delicious blend of fruits and veggies for breakfast
- 4 large carrots
- 2 apples, cut into fours
- 1 lemon
- ginger (optional)
- Wash all produce
- Remove zest from lemon
- Run everything through the juicer
- Stir and chill or serve over ice
Tasty Tin http://tastytin.com/
Today I am reminded why I wanted to start Tasty Tin. For years friends have asked me to cook for them or host a party or advice on recipes and every time I’m broached, I say yes and then explain that they could do this too. I’m not a culinary trained chef, I’ve never worked in a restaurant (I’m totally ignoring those 2 weeks at CiCi’s pizza) so what I do anyone could do as well.
And I want everyone to realize that.
Every time I get in the kitchen or talk with someone at a market, farm or specialty store, or even just read a new cookbook, I learn something new.
Not only do I embrace the learning but I am ok with messing things up. It’s ok to mess up. To me, failure is the greatest teacher. And if you learn the lesson, then failure isn’t failure at all, it’s an experience.
What did I do today that was a complete mess up?
I tried to make a ham from scratch. What I didn’t realize was I didn’t have a complete understanding of cured, smoked, raw and baked hams.
But that didn’t stop a full Sunday in the Tasty Tin Test Kitchen. The best part of Tasty Tin (other than our amazing customers) is the Tasty Tin Test Kitchen. Sometimes the most inedible things emerge from there. But we always leave there laughing, learning and talking about the next time.
Because there’s always a next time…
March is such a wonderful month that gets lost in the shuffle of the ending of the holiday season and the start of warmer weather. But so many great things happen in March like daylight savings time (I know, I know we lose an hour but think of all the sunlight you get to embrace!), spring officially begins and, my favorite, my farmer’s market starts back up.
From March to December I talk and learn from any and every farmer I can find. As passionate as they are about what they grow and how they grow it, they are just as passionate about cooking their fare. And like me, they love to talk about it.
You can find a wide variety of lettuces, herbs and other produce and some really great simple recipes to try at home. I’ve never gotten a recipe from a farmer that had more than 5 ingredients. Usually all 5 ingredients can be found at the farmer’s market which makes it an ideal place to try something new.
My favorite part of local farms are farm shares otherwise known as Community Supported Agriculture or CSAs. A farmer will sell shares of their farms harvest for a year to a set number of locals. Some times they will accept a person working on the farm in place of money but regardless of which a person does its the support that makes it what it is.
Search around your neighborhood, ask friends or family or visit the farmers market and ask the vendors there to point you in the direction of a CSA. They fill up fast but are so worth it. And if you miss your chance this year there is always next year and just shop weekly at your local farmer’s market.