Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Feast of the Two Fishes

For years and years I worked on Christmas Eve and usually got home after 9:00 pm. Sometimes we closed at 6:00 but people just didn't want to leave and then we had to clean up. So now that we can enjoy Christmas Eve I like to cook something special. Bill always cooked Christmas dinner because I was always exhausted and enjoyed being catered to, but Christmas eve I think I just fell asleep.
The Italians have the feast of the Seven Fishes but since there are just two of us we had the feast of the Two Fishes!
This recipe is the result of watching too many cooking videos on You Tube. It seems as though there are as many recipes for mac 'n cheese as there are cooks. For years I have made mac 'n cheese by making a roux with butter and flour and milk. Several Southern cooks I watched skipped this step entirely and mixed everything in a big bowl and then transferred it to a baking dish. They also used eggs and you can go with half and half, fat free half and half or evaporated milk or 2%. It's's half and half!
If we had won the lottery this recipe would be called Lobster Mac 'n Cheese....

"Almost Lobster" Mac 'n Cheese

1/2 lb elbow macaroni or you could use Campanelle (Italian for "little bells" and they soak up lots of sauce)
1/2 stick butter or I can't believe it's not butter
1 8oz. pkg Trans Ocean Lobster Classic
1/2 lb medium cooked shrimp
1 pkg Kraft Italian 5 cheese with added cream cheese (Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago and Parmesan)
2 cups half and half with 1 egg whisked in
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper

Cook macaroni (al dente) and drain. Put in a big mixing bowl and while still hot add the butter cut up in pieces. Stir to melt butter and coat macaroni. Break up lobster into chunks. It will come apart in squares about 1 inch. Add lobster and shrimp to bowl, cheese, half and half, egg and seasonings. Stir all together. Grease a 1.5 quart casserole. Pour in everything. Cover and bake for 30 min. at 325.

Prepare topping.

2 tablespoons of melted butter combined with 1/4 c. Panko bread crumbs.

Uncover and put breadcrumbs on top. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 15 more minutes until lightly browned.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rumble, rumble...Woo Hoo!

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive & well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate & wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out & screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Yes, I stole that from my famous cooking blogger Laurrie! Words to LIVE by....

Intent on living up to the chocolate part, I submit the following recipe...also not mine but worth adding to your recipe box.

Trader Joe's Rumble Cakes

1 stick TJ's Unsalted Butter
2 TJ's Eggs
1 box TJ's Truffle Brownie Mix
1/4 cup TJ's Dried Tart Montmorency Cherries
1/4 cup TJ's Walnut Halves and Pieces
1 box TJ's Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring the butter to room temperature and combine the eggs with the butter and whisk/ mix. Slowly add in the brownie mix. Once the mixture is uniform, add in the cherries and walnuts; set aside. Lightly grease a brownie pan and place the chunks of cookie dough sporadically around the bottom of the pan (there may be a few pieces of cookie dough left, do with them what you must). Pour the brownie mix over the top, evenly coating the cookie dough. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean. Enjoy! Serves: 10
Cooking Time: 45 Minutes

If you don't have a Trader Joe's, you could make your own brownie mix (but TJ's Truffle Brownie Mix!!!) and you could make your own cookie dough (but TJ's !!!). With or without TJ's you could use dried cranberries and toasted pecans (which I did) and make it all your own.

There is some question as to what size pan is a "brownie pan". I used a 9x9 pan which took a really long time to cook. Someone said 45 minutes at 325 but it took mine over an hour. It was looking more like cake since it filled the pan to the top when it cooked. I'm thinking it probably meant a 9x13 pan at 350 for 45 minutes. Just watch it and you can tell when it starts to pull away from the sides and the toothpick comes out clean. I'm rather partial to the big, chunky, chocolatey results.

If it gets a little overcooked on the edges there is a remedy. Put chunks in a parfait glass, pour some coffee liqueur over and top with whipped cream!

Woo Hoo !!!!