Ode to Macaroni and Cheese

In the last elimination challenge before the finals in the first season of Top Chef, a panel of judges including some of the most accomplished and discerning chefs in the country chose Dave’s truffle & cognac cream macaroni & cheese, filet of beef, and collard greens & radicchio as the winning dish. The filet and greens were criticized for being “afterthoughts” to the macaroni & cheese, which itself was the favorite dish of all the judges. Why did macaroni and cheese capture the imagination of experienced chefs and critics of high-end cuisine? Continue reading

Calculating your Net Worth

I’ve helped quite a few people get a handle on their finances. It can be a big job. But the starting place is always the same: calculate your net worth. What is your net worth? It’s what you have minus what you owe. Why do you start with your net worth? Because you want it to go up, and the only way to tell if it’s going up is to keep track of it.

Whether you’re in debt and trying to get out, doing ok but want to know if you’ll be able to retire, or just starting out on your own, knowing your net worth and being able to easily keep it up to date is essential to understanding your finances. And it’s easier than you think. Continue reading

Black Bean Sauce over Pasta

I like to cook. Really, I do. It’s just that I don’t seem to actually do it very often during the week. I come home late from work and don’t feel like making anything more complicated than a hotdog or peanut-butter sandwich. And when I do come home ready to cook, I often have nothing to cook, because I haven’t gone to the grocery store. I was looking through the cupboard trying to find something other than pasta and tomato sauce to eat when I noticed a can of black beans. I like refried beans, and thought a smoother, more liquidy version would be good as a pasta sauce. Then I ordered a pizza.

But I eventually came back to the idea, and here’s the result. It’s low fat, yet tasty and satisfying. With the beans and whole wheat pasta, it’s a good source of fiber and complete protein. Everything except the yogurt can keep for months, so it’s forgiving of my grocery shopping lapses. Continue reading

Motivation at the Margins

If you’ve read anything about retirement planning, you’ve probably seen the “skip the latte” example. The numbers vary, but it goes something like this: Assume you buy a latte every day at work for $5. If you skipped that latte and invested the $5 in an account that averages 4% return per year, you would have over $95,000 after 35 years. The example is meant to inspire you to make small changes in your spending habits to secure a glorious retirement. If you are capable of absorbing the example and using it to alter your spending habits in one fell swoop, congratulations. You don’t need to read the rest of this article. But I wasn’t able to do it so easily. And I couldn’t figure out why $95,000 was not sufficient motivation to get me to make such little changes until I realized buying coffee isn’t a $95,000 question. It’s a $20 question. Continue reading

Welcome to the new Prince Clan

Welcome to my new blog. You should visit here if you want to subject yourself to my thoughts on the legal system, personal finance, cooking, and anything else that strikes my fancy. For now, the site contains the recipes from the old Prince Clan Recipe site and not much else. You can find recipes using the search box in the upper right corner or the list of categories in the sidebar on the right side of the home page.

Dana & Bob’s Wedding Cheesecake

This was the tiered cheesecake at our wedding reception. I couldn’t find my cheesecake book when it was time to go grocery shopping, and couldn’t find a recipe that looked like what I wanted, so I modified one. I didn’t have time to test it, and it was our guests’ good fortune that it turned out to be the best cheesecake any of us had ever tasted.

I made three batches total – a double batch for the 14″ tier and a single batch divided between the 10″ and 6″ tiers. But they were pretty short – you could probably pour a whole batch into a 10″ (3″ high) pan without it overflowing. Be sure to do the banging on the counter bit – if you don’t get out all the air bubbles the cake will crack.
Continue reading

Citrus Marinated Steak on Sweet Potato with Spicy Tomato Relish and Sour Cream

I saw this very briefly on a tv cooking show and went off to find the recipe. Of course, it wasn’t available online unless you paid $35 for a 6 month subscription (yeah RIGHT!) so I made it up as I went along.
The seemingly disparate flavours combine amazingly well, and the sour cream seems to pull it all together at the end.

Of course, it could be made non dairy by leaving out the sour cream (and optional butter)and I think it would still work. If you were to do this I would cut down the heat in the relish, as the cream acts to tone this down at the end.

This is not as much work as it seems – while you need to prepare some stuff ahead of time (the marinade, the relish) it’s a perfect recipe if you’re going to home for an afternoon doing other things anyway. Also, the relish will keep in the fridge for at least a week, so you can always make extra and serve with other dishes.

These quantities serve 2. Continue reading