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Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe by Leah

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Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese is decadent and delicious.  It’s one of those dishes that when people take their first bite they pause to savor it, leaving the dining room quiet with contemplation.  I know you think I’m exaggerating but I promise I’m not.  It has happened on more than one occasion!  Try this one.  You won’t regret it.

 

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Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese

 

INGREDIENTS

1 pound dried elbow pasta

3 cups whole milk, warmed

1/2 cup + 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, separated

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 tsp kosher salt, separated

2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 lb cooked crabmeat, picked over for shells

6 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

4 cups grated Havarti cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 lemons, cut into wedges

 

PREPARATION

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
  1. Melt 6 Tbsp butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the crabmeat, 4 tsp of the Old Bay Seasoning, and 2 tsp salt to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and set aside.
  1. Heat 1/2 cup butter over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.  When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  1. Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly.  It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour the entire 3 cups.
  2. Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly.  In the next 2 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick.  Lower the heat to medium and add 2 tsp salt, stir.
  1. Add the Havarti cheese, cooking over medium heat.  Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes.  Add the crabmeat mixture and the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously for another 5 minutes.
  1. Spoon the mixture into a large casserole dish (mine is 4.8 quarts).  Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and then the panko.  Lastly, sprinkle on the remaining 2 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning.  Bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
  1. Spoon into serving bowls and serve with lemon wedges.

*adapted from Homeroom Restaurant in Oakland, CA

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup with Cheater Grilled Cheese Recipe by Leah

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This recipe uses fresh vine-ripened tomatoes and is a great way to utilize your bountiful tomato harvest.  The tomatoes are slow roasted all day in your slow-cooker, making a sweet and tangy soup with a velvety flavor.  Serve it with some Cheater Grilled Cheese for dipping.

 

 

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Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

yield: a little more than 3 quarts

 

 

INGREDIENTS

3 lbs vine-ripened tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups tomato juice

1 cup cooking sherry*

3 Tbsp granulated white sugar

1 chicken bouillon cube

2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

2 cups heavy cream

optional: Parmesan cheese

PREPARATION

  1. Wash your tomatoes and cut them in quarters.  Place them in a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add the onion, tomato juice, sherry, bouillon, sugar, and chopped basil. Stir.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Carefully use an immersion blender to blend the tomatoes.
  5. Warm the heavy cream and stir into the soup.

Note: Broth can be substituted for the cooking sherry, although the flavor will be altered slightly.

Don’t Forget the Other Half!

As the name indicates this isn’t much of a recipe, just a shortcut.  One benefit is that it uses less butter than traditional grilled cheese, but the main reason I like to make grilled cheese this way is it allows me to make them more quickly for a crowd.  Get the sandwiches all made ahead of time and pop them on the griddle together so everyone gets a warm sandwich all at the same time.

 

Cheater Grilled Cheese

INGREDIENTS

2 slices of sandwich bread

butter

your cheese of choice

 

PREPARATION

  1. Lightly toast your bread.
  2. Lay cheese slices on one side of each piece of bread and put the bread slices together with the cheese sandwiched in the middle.
  3. Butter the outside of the sandwich and cook the sandwich in a skillet or griddle until the cheese has melted.

Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges Recipe by Leah

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Potato Perfection!  The potatoes are crispy with gooey cheese, served with a creamy ranch dipping sauce.  Want to win over a crowd?  Serve these!

 

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Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges

 

INGREDIENTS

12 slices bacon

4 lbs russet potatoes

2 Tbsp melted butter

2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

8oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

8 oz aged white cheddar cheese, shredded

1 bunch scallions, diced

your favorite ranch dip

 

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Cook bacon crisp and rough chop.  Set aside. Reserve bacon fat.
  3. Cut potatoes into uniform-size wedges.  Place potatoes in a large bowl and add bacon fat, melted butter, salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.  Toss well to coat.
  4. Pour out potatoes onto a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes.  Flip and roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  5. Cover the potatoes with white cheddar cheese, then bacon, then sharp cheddar cheese.  Place the pan back in the oven for 2-3 minutes to melt the cheese.
  6. Sprinkle with scallions and serve with ranch dipping sauce.
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