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

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

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

Seared Seseme Encrusted Tuna with Ginger Sauce

Once you've adjusted the cooking time for your own stove and frying pan, this tuna is to die for. The cooking directions should leave the tuna rare. If you like it even rarer, cut the tuna into larger strips. If you can't stand sashimi, cook it a little longer. Expect to try 2 or 3 times before you get it just how you want. Continue reading