Comfort Food Definition: A food that gives emotional comfort to the one eating it, these tend to be favorite foods of childhood, or linked to a person, place or time with which the food has a positive association.
I have eaten lots of comfort foods in my lifetime (mainly because I’m old and need to be comforted). To name a few….creamy mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, buttermilk biscuits, apple pie, meatloaf and of course classic macaroni and cheese.
Nothing is better than good ol’ down home cooking.
In fact, I’ve always envisioned myself as Laura from Little House on the Prairie, cooking up “vittles” in a small wooden barn house…….I just don’t look great in braids.
I’ve used my “mac n cheese” recipes in various ways but the easiest and cutest thing I have done to date are these little muffins. They are great for parties or just for fun when you want to serve them as an appetizer, main or even a side dish.
The trick to a perfect mac muffin is a good combo of “binders”…….eggs and cheese are your best bets. I have tweeked my recipe to add a little punch for the adult crowd by making them sharp and spicy but you can absolutely use any cheddar cheese you desire.
Here’s how you make em’ ….
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 extra large egg, beaten
1 cup whole milk (if you are watching your diet you can use 1 % milk but it really makes a difference using the full fat one)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or shredded jalapeno cheddar for an extra kick
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin (or a 24 mini tin) with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, olive oil and salt; set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 – 10 minutes, it should still be a little bit firm or al dente. Remove from the heat, drain and return to the pan; stir in the butter and egg until pasta is evenly coated. Reserve 1/2 cup of cheese and stir the remaining Cheddar, milk and mozzarella cheese into the pasta. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and the bread crumb mixture over the tops.
3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the topping is nicely browned. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. This will allow the cheese to set and they will hold their muffin shape. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.
See ya next week!
This past Saturday when the kids jumped into our bed at 6:30am I popped up and screamed “Gavin! Can you go and grab the newspaper from the front door?!” He hustled over to the door and quickly ran back with the NY Post in hand. There on page 25, 26 & 27 was LMP talking all about entertaining for the Oscars. It was the most surreal feeling of my life.
The NY Post asked us to style a table at Cafe Gitane in the Jane Hotel inspired by the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson which was nominated for several awards.
We played off the bold colors and symmetrical visuals from the movie. We used red cake stands from Fish’s Eddy to serve mini schnitzel sliders and to hold goblets of poppy seed dressed chunky chopped salad.
We also served a drink inspired by Madame X played by Tilda Swinton in the film. It was a vodka soda cocktail with a swirl of lemon to garnish and mustache straws like all of the men have in the movie!
We found the most perfect vintage items from Little Vintage Rentals – the phone, lamp and train case looked like they were right out of the movie!
In the train case we set up bags of parmesan & paprika popcorn with “Lobby Boy” stickers. We also printed Lobby Boy Hats that we turned into photo props by taping to a skewer.
A really fun element of our table were the antique items that we found from our family members. My Boobie lent me a beautiful platter which we lined with gold heart doilies and placed pastries on top of. And then there was the jewelry box that we stole from Aunt Debi AKA The Garden of Eatin’ which we turned into a macaron hotel.
Last but not least, the Mendl’s Boxes. Michelle printed out a template that she found on Etsy, printed on cardstock and folded to make these boxes look identical to those found in the movie. I took a stab at the famous Mendl’s Courtesan Du Chocolat from a recipe that I found on Buzzfeed. These were easier to make then they look!
This was one of the first times we’ve actually worked with a model who got into character with the bellboy from the Jane Hotel to showcase our work.
We couldn’t have been more pleased with how this all turned out and are still pinching ourselves from seeing our faces in the NY Post.
A big huge thanks to Zandy Mangold for these photos. What a doll and talented photographer who we are so lucky to have worked with.
To see the article in the Post including all recipes for the food that we served up click here.
It’s very rare that I cook something so decadent but man was this delish! Freshly steamed lobster and ooey gooey cheese melted in between homemade pasta.
Have I peaked your interest yet?
The recipe was adapted from one of my favorite magazines – Sweet Paul.
1 lb bag of large pasta (I used fresh ziti)
3 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used kozliks grainy creole)
8 oz white cheddar, grated
4 oz Gruyère, grated
2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
salt & pepper, to taste
the meat of 2 cooked lobsters, coarsely chopped (I only used one)
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain in colander and return to stockpot.
Melt butter over medium heat in large saucepan.
Once melted, add shallots and sauté until soft.
Add flour and stir for 1 minute until combined.
Whisk in milk.
Bring to a slight boil, whisking constantly.
Add cream, Dijon, both cheeses, salt, and pepper.
Remove pan from heat.
Stir together until all cheese is melted.
Mix in pasta and lobster.
Pour into a large baking dish.
Bake until golden. This will take about 20–25 minutes.
Serve with chives on top.
Since Luke was growing tired of frozen French toast sticks for breakfast, Seri asked me to come up with a fresh, yummy alternative to make with him. The kid is a big fan of raisins and cinnamon, so cinnamon raisin French toast was an obvious way to renew his French toast fondness.
After we shopped for ingredients together, (with the inevitable “Can I have a cake?” echoing in my ears–who was in charge of putting sweets at the entrance?!) I put sous-chef Luke to work, mixing the egg mixture with a whisk. I also employed him to gently lay the bread into the mixture, although I flipped it–don’t want the kidlets to get eggy hands!
Get your plates ready because you’re going to want to eat these up hot out of the pan. Here’s how to make them:
For 2 servings:
4 slices cinnamon raisin bread
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp fine sugar
1 pinch nutmeg
Unsalted butter for cooking
Combine eggs, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a shallow medium bowl or baking dish. Dip each slice of bread into egg mixture for a minute per side, making sure it is evenly coated. Heat a pan on medium-low and coat with a tablespoon of butter. Place each slice of bread in pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden-brown. If you have a griddler, go for it! Just make sure it is fully cooked to a golden-brown color.
All-in-all, the cinnamon raisin french toast was a success: Luke was entertained for a little over 20 minutes and the French toast was so good it didn’t need syrup! Although, let’s be honest, we couldn’t resist a little maple syrup accoutrement. Luke is half-Canadian after all!
It’s blood orange season guys! You know how I feel about eating seasonal fruits and veggies. I adore blood oranges. I love juicing them with tons of pulp, making Italian sodas, salads, and delicious desserts.
This is a super simple treat that eliminates all the milk, sugar and time in a real custard brûlée.
You will need:
1 blood orange cut in half
What to do: Sprinkle sugar liberally on top of the flesh, torch sugar in a circular motion until it starts bubbling.
Wait for it to cool and enjoy!
Yes folks, it’s that easy!