Most of the time, I am not completely satisfied with a dish unless there is a hint of sweet somewhere. Stir fry, salads, paninis, whatever. A drizzle of honey or tossing in some dried fruit completes it for me. I have an unrelenting sweet tooth, so that certainly plays into my culinary preferences.
Throwing some roasted pears into this bold, savory blue cheese macaroni was crazy good. And I probably ate it for like, six meals in a row surrounding Thanksgiving this year. Full disclosure: I even had it for breakfast on at least one occasion.
BLUE CHEESE, BACON & ROASTED PEAR MACARONI Serves 5-6
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 onion, sliced
2 pears, peeled and diced
1 pound macaroni, cooked al dente
8 ounces white cheddar, shredded
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup flour
2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the onion with salt & pepper and caramelize over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. About 8 minutes before the end of onion cook time, add pears to skillet. Then, add flour, milk, and cheeses. Stir until melted. Season with salt & pepper. Toss with pasta and bacon crumbles.
Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes.
This recipe does not require a candy thermometer. This recipe does not require a candy thermometer. That is the most important and best thing about it, so it had to be stated first.
Never a frequent connoisseur of caramels, I associated it with the tiny, hard bricks you buy made in bulk at a convenience store or the flavored sugar drizzle stuff you pour on ice cream. Neither were much for me to get thrilled about. I had a hunch the homemade kind would change how I viewed the stuff, but I have a needless yet firm opposition to using candy thermometers. Thinking this ruled me out of the caramel game, I abandoned the thought until this Christmas season. Enough was enough and a thermometer-less recipe was happening because there had to be other souls like me who wanted simple homemade caramels too. Welcome thermometer-stubborn friends; we have made it.
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large stock pot over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Do not stir. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes until sugar turns a medium amber color. Remove from heat and add heavy cream, butter, and salt. Stir slowly to incorporate. Add vanilla and stir. Pour into prepared pan.
Sprinkle sea salt over top of caramel. Allow to set at room temperature for 1 hour. Cut into squares or divide and roll into wax paper.
In this Christmas season you have already had 400 occasions that required you to bring cookies to an event. Do not get me wrong, I love it. But, when occasion 401 arose, I needed to do something new. Macaroons! And this recipe worked overtime because I baked them again for a gluten free friend. Something about macaroons makes them very conducive to eating lots in a row. (David will attest to this). They are that good and have a lighter feeling than most of your typical flour based cookies.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whip egg whites and salt in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Meanwhile, stir together shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Fold egg whites into coconut mixture.
Place batter in about 1 inch mounds on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.