Truffled Macaroni & Cheese from Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

I’m not a huge fan of seafood, but if my husband has a craving, our best bet is to make a trip to Scottsdale Quarter for Eddie V’s. I don’t complain because they have a good selection of steaks and TRUFFLED macaroni and cheese. Die.

Truffled Mac and Cheese by Eddie V's

Truffled Mac and Cheese by Eddie V’s

I sometimes feel that Donovan would shake his head for me sneaking around his back with Eddie, so I have to say, Donovan’s is still my favorite for my steakhouse macaroni. But, the black truffle addition on Eddie’s menu item switches it up and gives this dish a super savory taste.

Lucky for you, I found a copy cat recipe on tastebook.com so you can try at home for yourself.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood Truffled Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Bechamel, recipe follows
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan
  • 1 lb. Gemelli pasta, cooked al dente, very dry, previously cooked weight
  • 1 cup scallions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup PANKO crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons sliced Truffles (look for canned for frozen truffles or truffle peelings in a Speciality Grocery like Central Market or Whole Foods)

Directions:

1. Start by making the bechamel sauce. Bring two cups of whole milk to a simmer in a medium sauce pan. Stir constantly to avoid scorching. In a separate sauce pan melt 3 tablespoons butter. Whisk in 3 tablespoons all purpose flour to form a roux. Incorporate the roux with the hot milk and continue to stir until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and 1 tsp. nutmeg.

2. Combine the bechamel sauce with all of the other ingredients except for the truffles and panko crumbs. Place 2 cups of mixture into each of the 6 oven proof dishes. Bake at 400 degrees until the macaroni bubbles. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with panko. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes. After taking out of oven, sprinkle with the truffles and serve immediately.

 

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Eggs Benedict Puffins – with a little pepper jack.

Eggs Benedict Puffin

Eggs Benedict Puffin

A new Sunday routine is taking the pups to the dog park over in Chandler. My sister and I try to make it a weekly habit, and decided that we needed to extend the outing into brunch this week. We love to make our lives more difficult, so instead of mimosas and brunch on a patio somewhere, we went shopping and came back to my place. This was definitely a 2-person kitchen pursuit, but I’m sure it could be done solo if you just keep the bacon and Canadian bacon warm.

What you need:

  • Eggs
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • BACON
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Croissant dough or puff pastry
  • Pepper jack cheese
  • Arugula
  • avocado
  • tomato

We first cooked the bacon and CANADIAN bacon (our Dad is from Canada so we love when we get to use our family food 😉 ). I took 3-4 pieces of the bacon and cut up into crumble sized pieces. These would be used for topping on top of the Hollandaise drizzle.

Bacon

Kaela worked on the croissant dough by cutting into square and putting on a baking sheet. Baked at 375 for about 10 minutes.

We got the Hollandaise sauce on the stove so that it was ready to drizzle on the finished product.

Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise Sauce

Avocado & tomato were cut up for toppings as we cooked the sunny side up eggs. Just a touch of pepper and salt on these.


 

The stacking process. (This is where it all comes together.)

We started with the puff pastry and cut in half so that the dough wasn’t the main filler.

Croissant Pastry

Croissant Pastry cut in half

The egg was placed on the bottom and then a layer of Canadian bacon and regular bacon.

A touch of arugula with a splash of garlic infused EVO.

Avocado. Tomato. PEPPER JACK.

Top with the other half of the croissant square.

A spoon full of hollandaise was drizzled on top and then a pinch of bacon to finish.

Puffin Egg Benedict Sandwich

 

Open Faced Orange, Pesto and Cheesy Tuna Sandwich

Cold winter mornings always bring me back to those simple warm lunches that Mom would make. The stay in your pj’s all day kind of days. The fish of the sea is something some people wouldn’t touch, but it’s one of those comfort foods that I love to pair with a good cheese.

I went to a friend’s after Christmas holiday party and we played White Elephant. Guess what I won.  A box of delicious, cold cheese.

One of the cheeses in the box was Mountina Cheese, an Alpine cheese from Montana. It has a smooth nutty flavor, reminiscent of a Gruyère.

Open Faced Orange, Pesto and Cheesy Tuna Sandwich

Open Faced Orange, Pesto and Cheesy Tuna Sandwich

I was craving a tuna sandwich, but of course also some cheese, so I looked in my cabinets and fridge to see what I could whip up. Here are the ingredients I used:

  • Bread
  • Tuna
  • Mayo
  • Slice of orange for a spritz of juice
  • Pesto
  • Mountina Cheese or a Gruyère
  • Arugula
  • Olive Oil (I used one infused with garlic)
  1. Mix the tuna and mayo together
  2. Squeeze the orange to get the juice out. Normally I use lemon, but didn’t have any. I’m glad I didn’t because it brought a floral taste to the sandwich. Also, I drop the orange rinds down my disposal after to make my kitchen smell fresh!
  3. Use a cheese grater to get thin pieces of the cheese. Mix into your tuna.
  4. I don’t usually toast my bread  before I broil, because I like it to still be a little soft. If you like crispy, toast your bread.
  5. Spread pesto on bread, then the tuna mix. Pop in the oven and broil on low for about 10 minutes.
  6. After the cheese has melted and the tuna is warm, pull out and top with arugula.
  7. Pour a tablespoon of garlic olive oil and drizzle on top of the arugula.
  8. Get a glass of milk and enjoy!

These cheeses came from local Cheese Queen, Lara Mulchay, who owns Petit Fromage & of Hot Dish Inc., a pop-up cheese shop.  You can check out her products here: http://hotdishinc.com/shop/

 

Black Truffle Bacon Mac & Cheese

I’m sorry to those of you who I said I would post this recipe sooner but the holiday season brought on a wonderful sickness in my household! Cheers to Kleenex and Nyquil stocking stuffers!

Alright, so I met Go Lb. Salt at the Mac and Cheese Throwdown this past year. Aaron is awesome and gave me some of his new black truffle bacon. I knew when I laid eyes on this thick cut bacon I had to put it in my favorite dish. Lucky for my family, I made it on Thanksgiving for them.

Black Truffle Mac and Cheese

Black Truffle Mac and Cheese

Here is the recipe that I used from Chow.com to make my from-scratch macaroni and cheese. Chow.com got the recipe from Homeroom a restaurant in California that sell nothing but mac and cheese. (I die.)

The recipe didn’t include bacon but don’t forget it! I mixed it in before baking, and also saved some to sprinkle on top. The truffle bacon is going to be the hardest part. If you can’t get some of Go Lb. Salt’s bacon, get thick cut bacon and drizzle a little truffle oil into the dish.

 (My notes below in italics)

For the béchamel:

  • 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (Since you’re using bacon, I would recommend less salt)

To assemble:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 8 ounces shredded 2-year aged sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 cups)
  • 3 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup panko (optional, but I used since I baked)

For the béchamel:

  1. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it just comes to a simmer, then turn off the heat and set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown in color, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. While whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk to the flour mixture until evenly combined and smooth. (It will get very thick when you first add the milk, then thin out.)
  4. Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and while whisking constantly, cook until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the salt, taste, and add the remaining salt as desired. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To assemble:

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until it’s almost al dente (just on the edge of being underdone), then drain and rinse with cold water; set aside. (If you plan to top the mac ‘n’ cheese with panko and bake it, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.)
  2. Place the reserved saucepan of béchamel over medium heat and stir in both cheeses just until melted and smooth. Add the pasta and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is heated through and steaming, about 2 to 4 minutes. (THIS IS WHERE I ADDED TRUFFLE BACON.) Serve immediately or, if baking, transfer to a 5-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the panko (AND BACON), and bake until bubbling and brown on top, about 25 to 30 minutes.

If you don’t want to bake and want the ultimate creamy dish, just serve and top with the bacon.

Drizzle it, just a little bit…2013 Mac and Cheese Throwdown at Renegade by MOD

I officially have a mac and cheese food baby after last nights 2013 Mac and Cheese Throwdown.

I was fortunate enough to be voted as the third judge for the competition. I met two great food influencers in the Valley, Aaron from go lb. salt & Joanie from Restaurant Live AZ, who were the other two judges of the night.

2013 Mac & Cheese Throwdown Judges

2013 Mac & Cheese Throwdown Judges

After being told by our Judge Nazi, Susie (Girl Meats Fork), that we had to sit and eat, I got into my mac and cheese swing. There were 10 chefs and we were not told who created which dish. The judging was based on taste, cheesiness, consistency and creativity.

Here were the entries:

1. Rusconi’s American Kitchen: Chef Michael Rusconi

White truffle scented with San Joaquin Gold Mac & Cheese.

White truffle scented with San Joaquin Gold Mac & Cheese.

White truffle scented with San Joaquin Gold Mac & Cheese.

2. Renegade by MOD: Chef Michael O’Dowd

Rangoon style mac and cheese with chinese sausage, foie, edamame, dried cherries, cream cheese and veleveeta. It came with a cheese dipping sauce as well as a drizzle of cherry sauce.

Rangoon style mac and cheese

Rangoon style mac and cheese

3. 5th and Wine: Chef Joshua Yazzie-McLean

Fried onion string & chorizo mac and cheese

Chorizo mac and cheeserg427k

Chorizo mac and cheeserg427k

4. Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market: Chef Kevin Janeski

Three cheese mac and cheese

3 Cheese Mac & Cheese

3 Cheese Mac & Cheese

5. EVO: Chef Jeff Caswell

Prosciutto, Scallions and Parmesan mac and cheese

Parmesan mac and cheese

Parmesan mac and cheese

6. Cafe ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho, Chef Richard Garcia

Southwest mac & cheese with hatch green chilies, smoked corn, oven-dried tomatoes, double-cream gouda, shepard’s hope cheese, and a squeeze of lime, topped with a cheddar cracker crumb.

Southwest mac & cheese

Southwest mac & cheese

7. AZ Food Crafters: Chef Eddie Castillo

Jalapeno Bacon Mac N Cheese Pie Poppper: Jalapeno, mini pasta, cheddar cheese, pepper jack & cream cheese all stuffed in a buttery crust

Mac N Cheese Pie Poppper

Mac N Cheese Pie Poppper

8.  District American Kitchen & Wine Bar, Chef John Marchetti

Mac and Mole Short Rib with micro cilantro

Mole Short Rib Mac and Cheese

Mole Short Rib Mac and Cheese

 

9. Twisted Rose Winery & Eatery: Chef Nicholas Galakatos

Twisted mushroom mac and cheese

tumblr_inline_mwhohnyieO1rg427k

Twisted mushroom mac and cheese

10. Stacey’s Smoke Dem Bones: Chef Paul Williams

Red pepper mac & cheese

Red pepper mac & cheese

Red pepper mac & cheese

There was a clear winner in my book with a close second. The golden macaroni dishes triumphed as follows:

1st Place: Cafe ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho, Chef Richard Garcia (Green chili)

2nd Place: Renegade by MOD, Chef Michael O’Dowd (Rangoon style)

3rd Place: EVO, Chef Jeff Caswell (Prosciutto and Scallions)

Peoples’ Choice: District American Kitchen & Wine Bar, Chef John Marchetti (Mole Short Rib)

There wasn’t a category, but if there was, my homemade golden mac and cheese headband would have for sure been in the lead:

Finally meeting Chef Michael O'Dowd!

Finally meeting Chef Michael O’Dowd!

Thanks to all the chefs who participated and rocked the event! I can’t wait until next year!

Rainbow Valley Farms Cheese Gnocchi with Fresh Peaches & Pulled Pork

Quiessence at The Farm at South Mountain

Quiessence at The Farm at South Mountain

Quiessence at The Farm is a magical place. Hundred year old trees line the property, and it’s as if you’re transformed into another state. A farm literally in the middle of the city.

Quiessence at The Farm Tasting Menu

Quiessence at The Farm Tasting Menu

I was lucky enough to snag a reservation for the last dinner service that Quiessence’s previous chef was cooking. Chef Greg LaPrad has moved to Sonoita and opened his own restaurant in wine country. Before he did, I was able to experience a lovely dinner that included 7 courses, with my favorite being the Rainbow Valley Farmers Cheese Gnocchi with Fresh Peaches from Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek and Pulled Pork from the Meat Shop in Phoenix.

Rainbow Valley Farmers Cheese Gnocchi at Quiessence

Rainbow Valley Farmers Cheese Gnocchi at Quiessence

Usually when you think Gnocci, you think a heavier, sauce filled dish. Just having in Italy, it was a refreshing surprise to eat this lighter take on the pasta. The juices from the peach created a light sauce with the sage and butter.

The best part of the dish is that the gnocchi is made entirely of cheese – there is no potato.

The dish paired perfectly with the Gruet Blanc de Noirs from New Mexico.

Gruet Blanc de Noirs from New Mexico.

Gruet Blanc de Noirs from New Mexico.

Tonight we will be back at Quiessence for it’s soft opening as we experience the new menu, look and creations by Chef Dustin Christofolo (formerly Head Chef of The House at Secret Garden) and Chef Sacha Levine (formerly Sous Chef of Rancho Pinot and FnB).

 

 

Spicy Red Sauce and Tattooed Arms

The agony continues back in the states; missing wandering the streets of Italy, drinking wine from decanters any hour of the day and basking in course upon course of pasta and cheese.

With my husband begging for a glimpse of this bittersweet memory, I decide to treat him to his favorite meal – Baked Eggplant Parmesan. If you would have asked me 3 years ago if I would eat the green, slimy vegetable, I would have scrunched my nose faster then you could finish the question. Alas, for love, I have learned how to cut the vegetable, get most of the goo off, cook it and dress it on a plate for an hour (or usually 10 minutes) of smiles while he devours.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

If you have the time, it’s a great meal to fill the house with smells of Italy. What has made the dish even better, is finagling the secret recipe from my husbands’ family for a red, spicy sauce.

Cheese you ask? Only the best fresh mozzarella to complete this dish.

I’ll give you my recipe for baked eggplant, but you’ll have to kill me for the sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Large eggplant
  • Salt
  • Italian Bread Crumbs (or breadcrumbs, basil, red pepper, salt, pepper, etc.)
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Pasta sauce (hint: use fresh garlic and some red pepper please)
  • Slices of mozzarella (I use a whole log from Trader Joes)

Directions:

Slice the eggplant so you have ¼-in slices of circles. Lay out on paper towels and soak excess water from eggplant for about 20 minutes (more time is better to get crispier).

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.

Mix breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and red pepper in one bowl. Beat eggs in another bowl. Lay out more clean paper towels to begin frying.

Dip eggplant slices into the egg, then breadcrumbs and drop into the oil. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes or until a golden brown.

After all pieces are fried, layer a casserole/baking dish with red sauce. Add four eggplants. Top with mozzarella slices, red sauce and another eggplant slice. Continue until all eggplants are in the dish. Layer with leftover mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan.

Place in oven at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes until the dish is bubbling and the cheese is fully melted, sliding to the sides.

Thank Ashley later.