Category Archives: holiday

Three Cheese Macaroni

mac and cheese 2

One of my favorite traditions is our yearly friends Thanksgiving- Fauxgiving. We invite a ton of friends over and I cook everything that I’m planning on posting for the whole of the holiday season. It’s a day that allows me to test and make and photograph a ton of recipes and feed people that I love.

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This year the mac n’ cheese was the first thing out of the oven, the first thing on the table. It was a big hit, mac n’ cheese is always a crowd pleaser, but it also set the scene for the rest of the dishes. It filled the house with the smell of baking and caramelizing cheese, and it drew people in so before I knew it they were filling their plates, eating, laughing, talking, and coming back for seconds.

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A solid mac n’ cheese deserves a place on every Thanksgiving table. This mac n’ cheese boasts three cheeses- Swiss, parmesan, and fresh mozzarella. Not to mention a rich cream sauce and a dusting of chipotle and cayenne, to keep things interesting.

mac and cheese

Three Cheese Macaroni

1 lb shells

1 large ball fresh mozzarella, approximately 1 1/2 cups

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

3 cups whole milk

2 tbsp flour

1 cup heavy cream

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 stick butter

1 tbsp chipotle

1 tsp cayenne

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp salt

Boil macaroni, drain, and transfer into baking dish. Cube fresh mozzarella and mix into pasta.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat milk, cream, and garlic in a pot, taking care not to boil. When the mixture has scalded (come close to a boil), remove from heat. Set aside. Melt butter over medium heat. When it has melted, whisk in flour and continue whisking to prevent clumps. Stir the milk mixture back in and add the cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and salt. Pour over the macaroni.

Top macaroni with chipotle, cayenne, and a pinch of sea salt. Finish with a generous layer of grated parmesan.

Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Grilled Ham

ham 1 This morning my parents texted me to ask what our Easter plans were and my first and only thought was Easter? That’s next month. I have no idea. And then I realized that no, Easter is not next month. It is next week. And I had a panic attack. Where has the spring gone? Where have I been? What am I doing? It was an existential crisis type morning.

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I’ve been on the road, constantly, every weekend, bouncing from town to town and event to event. All for the best and all for people I love, but never the less I am road weary. And with no signs of stopping. This weekend we’re headed to San Francisco for a week, and then it will be May, a month full of weddings and trips and, before we know it, June. And Easter will come and go and since we’re taking a red eye home from California on Easter Eve I’ll probably sleep through most of it and I definitely won’t be eating ham or deviled eggs (I have a strong suspicion that this will be a takeout Indian type of Easter). But YOU will be home and YOU will be well rested and ready to celebrate, so therefore YOU should make a ham. This ham. Smoke it. It’ll be like no ham you’ve ever tasted, I promise. And I’ll just lay in bed and snuggle my dogs and pretend I’m at your house for Easter dinner. Unless, of course, you’re delivering.

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Grilled Ham

ed note: This recipe calls for a fresh, uncured ham. Adding wood chips to the grill gives the pork a smokey flavor, but because it is uncured the flavor is more in the style of a pork chop than traditional honey baked ham. 

10-15lb ham, uncured

brine:

1 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup red pepper flakes

1/4 cup chipotle powder

5 cloves garlic

glaze:

2 tbsp red pepper flakes

2 tbsp chipotle powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter

Hickory chips for the grill

The day before you’d like to cook and serve your ham, prepare your brine by combining all the ingredients in a large pot of water and submerging the ham completely. Cover and let sit, in a cool place, for 24 (or up to 48) hours.

The next day pat your ham down and place on a lined baking sheet. Mix together seasonings and rub evenly over ham. Cube butter and lay across ham. Heat your grill and place the ham over indirect, medium-low heat. Soak hickory chips in water and wrap in tin foil. Place on the grill next to ham. Cover and let cook, checking to baste occasionally.

Cook for 15-20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature meets 150F. Once finished remove from heat and let rest 45-60 minutes before slicing and serving.

Vinegar Pie

vinegar pie 2

This season has made me realize how truly, incredibly, overwhelmingly blessed I am. It’s been a hard few months, full of happiness and good fortune and time with family but also loss and heartache. It’s always a balance, but every once in a while something amazing happens that reminds you that you are loved.

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As silly as it sounds, that something this month has been the results of this crazy whirlwind contest- the Colombo Marsala Recipe Contest. Going into it I was hopeful but didn’t have any expectations of winning. I did my best to create a recipe that I was proud of, I encouraged my friends, family, and readers to vote (and tried to walk the line between enthusiastic and obnoxious), and I crossed my fingers. And while I was sitting there hoping, something magical happened. I watched  people I love sharing the link, over and over, encouraging their friends and family to vote. My aunt texting the extended family once a day to remind them. People I hadn’t seen or spoken to in months or even years rallying for me. My sister in Dublin asking people who came into her boutique to vote. My dad asking people at the bar with us for their vote. It was inspiring. It was humbling. I am so grateful.

vinegar pie 3 Voting ends tonight and I’m up by a fair margin. For that, I owe you all a debt of gratitude. The winner will be announced on the 20th and it will be determined by the number of votes, the quality of the recipe, and the merits of the blog post. Whether or not we go to Italy, I am so grateful for what this contest has taught me. These past two weeks have shown me the type of love and small acts of kindness that this holiday season is supposed to be all about; it’s a small and silly thing to vote for someone in a recipe contest but it has meant the world to me. Please know that I am so thankful, that you all have made my world a better place.

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Consider this pie, a traditional vinegar chess pie, my thanks. It’s a sweet and simple pie that is warm and filling. The perfect balance to hot chocolate and peppermint and the decadence of the Christmas dessert table. And, with the help of a heart shaped cookie cutter, the perfect way to add a little love to your plate.

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Vinegar Pie

pie dough

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/2 sticks butter

Ice cold water

chess

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp flour

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cardamom

1/2 cup butter, melted

Begin by making your pie dough.  Mix together dry ingredients.  Using your hands, work in the shortening.  Cube the butter and cut that in, until the dough has the consistency of cornmeal. Add ice water, as needed, until the dough clings. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the chess combine your dry ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, beat them together.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the butter, melted.  Add in vanilla and vinegar.

Heat your oven to 325. Roll out your pie dough and press into pie dish.  Pour filling into the dish.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the pie is brown and mostly set. Let cool. Serve at room temperature.