Rosemary, Cheddar Cheese Curd, and Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese

Hello out there!

The summer is flying by.  Hopefully everyone has been out doing summery things!  I’m doing my best to pack everything into the few short months of extended daylight that we’re blessed with, and it’s been a lot of fun.  A few weeks ago I was part of a whirlwind trip out to the Midwest.  I didn’t pet any cows this time, but I did squeeze most of the Wisconsin food groups into about 72 hours {cheese, cheese curds, Prime Rib, sour cream, kringle, and bratwurst (boiled in beer of course)}.  I don’t know how I didn’t gain a gazillion pounds, but I escaped them this time.

I did manage to snag some cheese curds from one of my favorite places, Mars Cheese Castle.  I’ve always described it as pre-cheese.  I’m not sure if that’s exactly true, and I know it sounds a little funky, but they’re delicious.  I always try to pick some up when I’m out there to bring back home, but when I get home, I tend to be a little cheesed out, forget to eat the curds, and it’s not uncommon for them to die in the fridge.  I wasn’t going to let that happen this time.

Instead of giving in to food waste, I made the most of an evening in the kitchen.  Cheese curds don’t always melt down like regular cheddar, but I really wanted mac and cheese, and so I used a little patience.  My go-to mac and cheese recipe is from the Fannie Farmer cookbook, and I just tweaked it to use the cheese I wanted to.  I highly recommend the following recipe that I threw together.  It’s delicious, and the addition of the rosemary elevates the whole dish without being overpowering.

Rosemary, Cheddar Cheese Curd and Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dry pasta {I used shells this time, for the nooks and crannies}
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 cups 1% {or whole or whatever you like}
  • 8 ounces Laack’s cheddar cheese curd, or comparable cheese curd brand.
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, divided in 2.
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • A few sprigs fresh rosemary

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Grease an 8×8 baking pan {unless it’s non-stick or silicon}.
  3. Cook your pasta a few minutes shy of package directions.  {Very al dente since they’ll keep cooking a bit in the oven.}
  4. Drain pasta and reserve.  Do not rinse.
  5. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tbsp butter.
  6. Add 4 tbsp flour and stir until combined.
  7. Let cook a few minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.   Stir so it doesn’t burn.
  8. Slowly pour in milk, stirring as you add it to help prevent lumps.
  9. Heat until just below boiling and then reduce to a simmer, stirring frequently.
  10. When the milk-flour sauce has thickened, add half the goat cheese and all of the cheese curds, a little at a time, stirring to distribute throughout the sauce.
  11. When all your cheese is melted, add the pasta to the sauce and mix until every noodle or piece of pasta is covered in cheese.
  12. Transfer your mac and cheese to the prepared baking dish.
  13. Crumble remaining goat cheese over pasta and top with panko breadcrumbs and rosemary.
  14. Bake uncovered until top is toasty golden brown.  It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
  15. Enjoy!
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Cheese curds close-up.

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Cooked and drained shells.

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Melty cheese curds in the milk sauce.

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See how they’re getting really melty?

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Melted down curds.

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Combined shells and cheese sauce.

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Poured into prepared baking dish.

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Dotted with goat cheese.

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Sprinkled with bread crumbs.

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And fresh-cut rosemary sprigs. {Another perk of having an herb garden, if you have the space!}

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Out of the oven, golden and crunchy top.

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Close-up of my bowl. Lots of cheesy deliciousness! The rosemary and goat cheese make it grown-up, so go ahead and grab an extra forkful.

What’s your favorite way to mac and cheese?  

* This recipe was my own idea.  Neither Mars nor Laack’s is sponsoring me, although if they’d like to I’d love to talk!

Eastern European Poppyseed Cake

Hi again.  I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been here, but I went away for Easter break.  I had 8 days off of work, plus weekends, and took the time to fly over to Italy for a while.  It was so nice, and I’ll share all my pictures.  I have plenty.  I got back last week, and I’ve been busy unpacking and getting re-settled.  An unexpected game of musical apartments is also keeping me on my feet.  The other day I made a poppyseed cake that my family usually eats at Easter, and while I still missed my family, the poppyseed is delicious!!  I found the recipe here, and tweaked it just a bit.  I’ve been trying to post it all week, but the pictures wouldn’t load.  Today I got a migraine at work, and they were nice enough to send me home because I looked so awful.  Now that I’m feeling a lot better, I finally have the time and the bandwidth to share this with you guys!!

It was surprisingly easy, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.  I was super-apprehensive because this was the first time I hadn’t boughten {consider this my formal entry of the word boughten into the English language} it at a very specific bakery.  If you like poppyseeds, I think you’ll love this recipe.  Let’s just all hope we don’t get drug tested for opium in the next few days!

Poppyseed Cake:

Ingredients:

Poppyseed Filling:

  • 1/2 pound poppyseeds {More is better than less.  The poppyseeds are the star of this recipe.}
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup hot milk

Dough:

  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2+ cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, separated.  {Original recipe calls for 1 but I could tell that my dough needed 2.}

Directions:

  1. Grind your poppyseeds in a food processor if you’re going to.  I didn’t and everything turned out fine, so I say save the electricity.
  2. Mix your poppyseeds with the hot milk, melted butter, and 3/4 cup sugar.  Cover and refrigerate.  You should probably use a bigger vessel than I did, just in case it expands.  So anything larger than a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup should work just fine.
  3. Mix the yeast with the warm water and 2 tbsp sugar.  Let stand until foamy.
  4. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in butter using a knife or pastry cutter; your mixture sure look like large crumbs when you’re done.
  5. Pour the yeast/water mixture into the flour/butter mixture and add the egg yolks.  Stir it together and you should have a soft dough.
  6. Knead dough on a floured surface about 5 minutes, until springy and smooth.  If it’s too sticky, knead in a little flour at a time.
  7. Cut the dough in half.  Roll out each half into a rectangle 12x16in.
  8. Spread half poppyseed filling in each rectangle, leaving an inch on all sides.
  9. Fold the 1-inch border over on each side, and press down.
  10. Roll up the shorter side of each rectangle, like a jelly roll.
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Place rolls, seam side down, on the baking sheet and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  13. Preheat your oven to 350°F {176°C}
  14. Brush the rolls with the egg white.
  15. Cut diagonal slits in the rolls.
  16. Bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes, until dark golden brown on top.
  17. Remove from oven and cover with a clean kitchen towel until cool.
  18. Slice when cool and enjoy.
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Combine the poppyseeds, hot milk, melted butter, and sugar. Cover and refrigerate.

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Cut the butter into the flour and salt.

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Dissolve the yeast in the yeast and warm water… let sit until foamy.

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Add the yeast and eggs to the flour and stir.

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It’s starting to come together, into a soft dough.

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After kneading.

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Roll out one half into a 12x16in rectangle. I didn’t use a ruler.

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Fill with half of the poppyseed filling, leaving a 1 inch border all around.

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Fold the border over on all sides.

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Roll up like a jelly roll.

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Let both rolls rest on the cookie sheet in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until just about doubled in size.

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Create horizontal slits for steam to escape, and because they’re pretty. Brush with egg whites.

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Bake until dark golden brown. Cover with a clean kitchen towel until cool.

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Ready to be sliced.

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Delicious!!!  Please ignore the sloppy photography… I was too busy devouring the poppyseed cakes.

Have you ever had a poppyseed cake?  What foods remind you of your family and special celebrations like Easter or Passover?

Poppyseed Matzoh

Happy Saturday!!  Here on Mallorca, Spring seems to have arrived.  It’s warmer out, the tourists have exploded everywhere, and tonight we set the clocks ahead an hour, losing time and sleep.  I even saw my first Spanish Holy Week procession last night.  Pictures will certainly follow in another post, and  you can judge for yourself if the participants bring anything else to your mind.  In the meantime, I’m waiting for the gas man, again.  I don’t think he’s coming at this point, and I would like to go for a run.  Regardless, yesterday I found myself in a different dilemma.  I have a whole big batch of homemade roasted garlic hummus, and I had nothing suitable to put it on, which is where the matzoh comes in.

I love matzoh.  It’s my favorite.  One time, after Passover, I got five pounds on sale at Wegman’s for a dollar.  $1.00.  It’s possibly my favorite matzoh story, but, as much as I recounted it, wasn’t providing me with any matzoh here in Spain.  Seriously, does no one eat it here?  Where is it??  I’ve been craving matzoh pb&j {peanut butter and jelly}, and had to take matters into my own hands.  Like the bagels that I made, I don’t know that I would say it’s a perfect match for store-bought matzoh, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  It did remind me more of the matzoh that you could buy at Fairmount or St. Viateur’s Bagels in Montreal, especially once I added the poppyseed.  There was definitely more flavor than the boxed stuff.  It was really surprisingly easy to make, and didn’t take any time, since there’s no yeast to rise.

I found a great no-mixer recipe, and I really don’t think I would use a mixer for these, even if I had one available, since you just don’t need one.  I cut the batch in half, because I had no idea what to expect.  I think I would do a half batch again, since there’s a lot of running back and forth to the oven, and I don’t think I have the patience to do that for a full batch.  Maybe if I had a helper.

Poppyseed Matzoh:

{Note 1: This is the modified batch I made.  I already halved it, so you don’t have to halve it again.  Also, you can omit the poppyseeds, but I think they’re a worthwhile addition.}

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling {it’s supposed to be Kosher salt, but I didn’t have any.}
  • poppyseed for sprinkling {or sesame seeds, or whatever topping you want}
  • parchment paper, for your cookie sheet

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 500°F {260°C}, with your parchment-lined cookie sheet inside.  {I only have one cookie sheet here, so that’s what I used.  I would start out using one sheet at a time.}
  2. Combine all of your ingredients except the poppyseed, and mix together.  Add more flour or water as needed to get a proper dough.
  3. Divide your dough into three, and roll out each ball, one at a time, on a well-floured surface.  Don’t forget to coat your rolling pin {in my case, a Saran-wrapped bottle of wine}, and your hands so nothing sticks.
  4. Roll each ball as thin as possible.
  5. Take your cookie sheet out of the oven, and transfer your rolled out sheet of matzoh to your parchment-covered cookie sheet.  I found two hands, supporting it like a half-rolled out pizza, did the trick.
  6. Poke holes all over the matzoh with a fork, sprinkle with sea salt, water, and poppyseed if you’re using it.  Use the back of the fork to gently press the poppyseeds into the matzoh.
  7. Bake for about 3 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
  8. Flip over and bake for another 3 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly on that side.
  9. Roll out your other balls, and repeat until you’ve made matzoh out of all of the dough.  The cooking time might increase slightly with each batch… your cookie sheet gets cooled down every time you take it out and put fresh dough on it.
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All purpose and whole wheat flours.

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Oil, salt, and water.

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This is what my dough looked like.

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Roll it out very thinly.

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Poke holes with a fork.

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All done. I made the first sheet without any poppyseeds.

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Poppyseed matzoh ready to bake. Remember to press the seeds into the dough so they don’t fall off when you flip it over.

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Poppyseed matzoh done.

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Finished product. Three sheets of perfectly golden brown matzoh.

Have you ever made matzoh before?  What’s your favorite way to eat it?  Straight from the oven or box, with hummus, or peanut butter and jelly?

Note: My matzoh isn’t Kosher for Passover, among many reasons because the flour I used to make it wasn’t Kosher, and it took me longer than 18 minutes to make.  I read somewhere that it has to be made in under 18 minutes to be Kosher.  Regardless, it’s yummy.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Lately I’ve been into chickpeas, and hummus.  A few weeks ago I gave in and bought the hummus from my grocery store.  I wasn’t thrilled with the ingredient list, but, there weren’t any options.  And it was decent.  I liked it.  Until the other day, when I got creative and decided to make my own hummus from scratch.  I’ve always known it was a thing, but put it off because I don’t have a food processor.  Last week, I got seriously inspired by a great hummus post I read here, and I thought I should be able to pull it off.  I don’t have a mortar and pestle.  I didn’t make my own tahini from scratch.  I wasn’t that dedicated this time.  But I did manage to pull of homemade hummus from scratch, with no electricity.  {Okay, now I’m keeping it in my fridge, which is very much electric, but the actual making of the hummus was done with no electricity.}

Roasted Garlic Hummus:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked through or, from a can/jar {about 1 – 1 1/2 cups dry before you soak them}
  • 5 tbsp tahini paste
  • 9 tbsp water
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • olive oil, for garlic.
  • sea salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. If you have dry chickpeas, start here.  If you have canned or jarred, drain them and skip ahead to step three.  Soak your chickpeas overnight.  Make sure whatever you’re soaking them in is big enough for them to double in size and still be submerged.  I made this mistake.
  2. Drain your chickpeas and cook them in fresh water.  I boiled mine for about 40 minutes.  Normally I wouldn’t want them so cooked, but this time I wanted them easier to smush.  If you have water left in your pot, drain it, and transfer your chickpeas to a bowl.  If you let the water boil out like I did, turn off the heat.
  3. Sautee some garlic in a little olive oil.  I did 5 cloves, burnt some, redid some others, and it was still fine.
  4. Start smushing.  I was too lazy to take off the chickpea “husks”, and it turned out okay.  I used a big wooden spoon, and a fork, and it took awhile, but it’s doable.
  5. Add the tahini {less if you have fewer chickpeas}, and the water, a tablespoon or two at a time.  You can always add more water and tahini, but you can’t take it out.
  6. Add the garlic, and the garlic oil and mix in.
  7. Add sea salt if you want.  Remember the flavors will get stronger in the fridge.
  8. When you have the consistency you want, refrigerate it.
  9. The flavors will come together overnight.

It’s seriously yummy, you guys.  I tried the storebought stuff after I made my own, to taste test, and there’s no comparison.  Homemade is way better.  A little chunkier, but better.  And you could make it smoother with a food processor, or by smushing it more and removing the husks, if that bothers you.  Also, I love knowing what’s in the food I’m eating.  Hummus shouldn’t need added sugar and sunflower oil, and mine certainly doesn’t.  I’ve been eating it straight out of the fridge, it’s that good.

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See the note above about using a big enough container to soak your chickpeas.

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Like this one.

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Drain them.

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Cook them.

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Smush them.

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Keep smushing.

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Almost there.

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Tahini time.

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Add your garlic. Try not to burn it, like I did, when you roast it.

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Mix it all together and refrigerate.

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And you’ve got hummus!

Have you ever made hummus before?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  What’s your favorite thing to eat it on?

Whole Wheat Double Crumb Coffee Cake Muffins

One of the things I think I miss most here in Spain is crumb cake.  I don’t eat all that much at home, except down the shore in the summer.  The rest of the year, it’s just nice knowing that I could drive down and pick some up.  Except Mondays and January through the first two weeks in February when my favorite bakery is closed.  It’s a nice option.  Worst case, I could pick up some Entenmann’s.  Except here not so much.  The last time I made crumb cake at home turned out okay, but it definitely wasn’t the best I’d ever eaten.  I decided to try again, and mixed things up by making individual muffins instead of a full cake.  Because, you know, the muffin cups.  And I kind of wanted to keep my brownie pan free in case I decided to make brownies.  Emergency brownies are a thing.

I started with this recipe and tweaked it.  Mainly making it whole-wheaty.  And most importantly, doubling the crumb topping.  As I was assembling my muffins, it was clear that the topping, while delicious, just wasn’t going to cut it.  Double crumb it was!

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tsp whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted.

Topping:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C).
  2. In a large bowl whisk the egg to combine the yolk and white.
  3. Add Greek yogurt, milk, and melted butter and mix well.
  4. Add flours, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt.
  5. Combine but don’t over-mix.
  6. Spread the batter into a prepared 8×8 pan or 6 large muffin cups.  Or 12 small muffin cups.  Or 24 mini muffin cups…
  7. Make the topping.  Cut brown sugar and flour into the butter in a bowl.
  8. Spread topping over cake (or muffins!)
  9. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remember to turn your pan in the oven to avoid hot spots.
  11. 8×8 cake should take 25-30 minutes.  Smaller muffins, or mini muffins especially, would take less time.

The nutritional info for these guys is at the bottom of the page.  They’re not light, but so delicious.  If you were concerned, you could make smaller-sized muffins.  They’d still be delicious.

What’s your favorite crumb cake recipe??  Do you have a favorite summer food?

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Crumb Cake ingredients.

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Making the topping.

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Already topped and ready to go in the oven.

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Close-up Before.

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All done.

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Close-up After.

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Final touches. Powdered sugar.

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Look at all that crumb. That’s a cake-crumb ratio that I’m happy with!

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Yum.

I went ahead and calculated the nutritional info for these guys.  You might not want to hear it.  Just focus on the whole-wheaty health factor.  If you’re using My Fitness Pal, the muffins are already in there.  Just search “Whole Wheat Double Crumb Coffee Cake Muffins.”  That’s for one whole large muffin {1/6 of the batter}.  I didn’t include the powdered sugar in my nutritional info, because it’s optional, and totally not a lot of calories, right?

So here you go.

Calories per large muffin: 460

Grams of fat: 18.6

Grams of carbohydrates: 69.7

Grams of fiber: 3.8

Grams of protein: 8.7