From the monthly archives:

December 2012

About a year ago I had a request for a gooey runny mac and cheese. I was thinking about never having gotten around to the request. I decided to look up the last time I wrote about mac and cheese (recipe here). It’s not that. Not even close to the request. But, I figured it out.

I don’t often make this dish. The last time I made it was when I wrote the last recipe last year. One reason is that it’s not really good for you despite how it makes you feel. And truth be told, I like the stuff out of the box. I know.

So how do you pack more cheesiness in? Adding more cheese alone isn’t the trick – it would get oily especially when reheated. The first trick was getting the sauce thickness right so that it is not all absorbed by the pasta. The second trick is to fully cook the noodles before mixing with the sauce. Most recipes tell you to cook it al dente like good Italian pasta. In this case I wanted the sauce to thickly envelop the pasta not bake into it. And, I wanted enough sauce to fill the elbows.

This is best right out of the oven with the cheese running all over the place. We will see how the leftovers are tonight.

The recipe calls for a baking it with a baking sheet under the casserole. Remember to do this! The fire alarm will go off and the oven will be a mess




16 oz. large elbow pasta
7 tablespoons butter
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
5 cups whole milk
5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko
4 slices of bacon



Boil the pasta according to package directions.
Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the flour, salt, black and red pepper, and paprika.
Whisk constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.

Stir in the milk a cup at a time.
Whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Reduce heat to low, and stir in 1/2 of the cheese, stirring until melted.
Add the rest of the cheese and whisk until melted and smooth

Adjust the seasonings in the sauce – remember that there is a lot of pasta to cover.

Mix the sauce with the cheese and add to a large casserole dish

Fry the bacon strips until just less than crisp and remove to cool.
Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease and add the breadcrumbs.
Stir on low for a minute or two.
Chop the bacon and add to the crumbs and remove from heat.

Sprinkle the bread crumb mix over the top of the noodles.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes over a sheet pan (in case the cheese boils over).



Red Posole (Pozole Rojo)

by Michael on December 9, 2012 · 0 comments

in Main Dishes,Meat,Recipes,Soup

As the holidays approach, it’s time  make tamales. One of the regional things we picked up in Phoenix. It seems that every grandmother has them on sale for  $15 a dozen. We started out making it a party, I would prepare the meat and the masa and then everybody would how up and fill and fold their own. On the way from carnitas for filling the tamales, posole always happens – all of the ingredients are right there and it always calls out to me. This is a pork and hominy corn soup with lots of mild dried red guajillo peppers for flavor and color. The dark red broth really makes this stunning. The soup is always served with a variety of fresh toppings and tortillas. And next to menudo, it the best hangover food ever.


1 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder
8 Dried guajillo peppers
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder or 2 dried)
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups chicken stock or water
1 29 ounce can of white hominy corn drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt to taste

Toppings for the soup – use at least the top 4:
Chopped cilantro
Chopped onions
Matchstick sliced radishes
Lime wedges

Dried oregano
Hot chili powder
Chopped green onions
Chopped up fried pork rinds (chicharrones)

Heat the stock to a simmer.
Take the stems and seeds off of the peppers and place in a blender.
Peel the garlic and add to the blender.
Add the chili powder to the blender if using.
When the stock is hot, add 2 cups to the blender and set aside.

Cube the pork in 1 inch cubes and trim excess fat.
Add the pork to the simmering water.
Chop the onion and add to the pot.
Add the cumin, oregano, pepper and tomato paste to the pot.
Rinse the hominy and add to the pot.

When the water in the blender cools, blend the peppers and garlic until smooth and add to the pot.

Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours until the pork is falling apart.
Taste and adjust the salt to your desired taste.

Serve the soup garnished with cilantro, onion, radishes, a squeeze of lime and the other optional toppings.