12 September 2009

Pesto mac & cheese

I love mac & cheese, especially my mother's from-scratch mac & cheese. Lately she's been baking it with three cheeses! Anyway, I was craving mac & cheese but wanted to be creative. Recently, I purchased some potted herbs including basil. Aha! Pesto mac & cheese. I searched the web for a recipe and combined two; one from Land O'Lakes (I know!) and the other from chez us.


  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • about 4 oz cheddar cheese, grated (reserve some for crust)
  • parmesan for crust
  • about 2 cups pasta (your choice)
  • fresh oregano (to taste), chopped
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • pesto (homemade using basil, parmesan, olive oil, walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper)
  • buttered ramekins


Prepare pesto (I used a blender). Boil pasta. Reserve some pasta water. Saute chopped onion in oil and butter. Add milk and the grated cheese to the onion. When cheese is melted, add cooked pasta and enough pasta water to achieve desired sauce consistency. Stir in oregano. Portion into buttered ramekins. Top with cheddar and parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 F. oven.

11 September 2009

Dinner party eggplant

Last Saturday, I prepared soy-glazed eggplant modified from a recipe by Scott Lorenz published in Sunset magazine. The original recipe uses miso, not soy, but I did not want to purchase an entire package of miso. I always have soy in the pantry. Anyway, the dish was delicious, so much so that I prepared a few days later. I made a mistake during the second preparation: I used baby eggplant. Do not use baby eggplant; it's a thicker eggplant that will be bitter if not cooked long enough. Luckily, some slices were thinner than others so we were able to enjoy the redux. Stick with Japanese eggplant. My version of the recipe is below.


  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 4 Japanese eggplant (baby eggplant are shown in the photographs)
  • 1 teaspoon soy, not miso (1/3 cup miso = 1 tablespoon miso = 1 teaspoon soy)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sushi salad vinegar, not white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) chile flakes
  • basil instead of cilantro
  • no sesame seeds

Preparation: Follow instructions in the original recipe. Serve with rice pilaf.

06 September 2009

Apple-walnut cobbler

With only apples and walnuts in my pantry, I searched for an apple-walnut cobbler recipe. I found one here and the result was well-liked! The cobbler topping is so easy to make and requires few ingredients; the only thing I did not have was the half-and-half. Sorry, no photos.