This year has kinda sucked, so I’ve fallen back hard on recipes I already know how to make, and haven’t really pushed myself to try many new ones. But I saw this about a month ago, and felt like this would be a fun riff to try. And with the cold turn that finally came this weekend, this seemed like the perfect thing to make for the week. This is definitely getting added to my long term repertoire – it is the good shit.

A few variations: I used smoked cheddar instead of the recommended medium cheddar, used gigli from Trader Joe’s for the macaroni, held off on the cayenne, and didn’t quite get the toasted panko right. But oh man. Bacon, cheese, and a good kick from the kimchi that gets mellowed out by the dairy a bit. You could probably add a dash of shichimi togarashi for a more interesting kick. I’ll try it with the next batch.

Bacon and Kimchi Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon
  • .5 lb macaroni of choice
  • 5 T unsalted butter, divided into 4 T and 1 T
  • 4 T flour
  • 2.25 c whole milk
  • 1.75 c shredded smoked cheddar cheese (recipe recommends a medium cheddar, go with whatever cheddar your heart desires)
  • Pinch ground pepper and sea salt
  • 2/3 c chopped kimchi
  • .75 c panko
  • (1 t cayenne, gonna try shichimi togarashi next run around)

Heat your oven to 400 F, place the bacon slices on a foil lined baking sheet, and bake for appx 15 mins until done to your preference. Set aside and cool. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and while you wait for that to happen, chop up your bacon. Add your macaroni of choice and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside (pic 1).

In a large pot (possibly the same one), melt 4 T of unsalted butter over medium high heat, and once melted, add the flour and whisk constantly to make a roux (pic 2). Slowly add the milk to the roux in the pot, continuing to whisk until the sauce thickens. Once thickened, add in the cheese and stir until it’s melted and smooth (pic 3), followed by the salt and pepper, and finally the bacon and chopped kimchi (pic 4). Finally, gently fold the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce (pic 5), and pour it all into a 9 x 13 in baking dish (pic 6).

Meanwhile, melt the remaining T of butter in the microwave, and then stir together with the panko and sprinkle over the mac and cheese. Bake for 15 mins until the cheese is good and bubbly and the panko are golden brown (pic 7).

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So, this is my first attempt at using the app to write these up. We’ll see how this goes!

It’s been a hell of a year so far. Besides the death of my dad and grandpa, I’ve also changed jobs, gotten a cat, and moved apartments. I also went to the doctor in the last few months, and was told that I need to up my green veg intake, and that brussels sprouts would be the best way to do that.

This was my first attempt at cooking them, and I have to say, these turned out really well. Definitely going to have to make it again. Need to find a cheaper place for halloumi though – the local Trader Joe’s is out, and Whole Foods is double the price for half the amount. (Chicago folks, any recs?)

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Halloumi

Lasts appx 3-4 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 T olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • .25 c red wine vinegar
  • 8 oz halloumi, cubed

Heat a large pan over medium high, add the bacon, cook until it reaches your preferred level of doneness, remove the meat (but not the fat!) and set aside.

Add 2 T of the olive oil to the pan with the grease (and be careful of splattering fat during this process!!), and when the oil shimmers, add your halved sprouts, cut side down. Cook until charred around the edges (pic 3), and then cook another 8 to 10 mins until the sprouts are soft (pic 4). Then reduce the heat to medium and stir in the crushed red pepper and red wine vinegar (pic 5). Cook until the vinegar covers the sprouts (about 1-2 mins), then remove from the heat.

If your pan is still relatively clean like mine was, add the last T of olive oil, and when shimmering, add in the cubed halloumi and sear for about 3 mins a side, until golden on each side (pic 6).

Then, combine it all together and enjoy the resulting amazingness!!

Brie. Smashed potatoes. Together. Hell yeah. The stuffed here is more like topped, but man, these are still good.

Bless Tieghan, but pretty much everything after the brie in the original recipe I omitted, because FFS, white truffle oil??

Brie Stuffed Crispy Baby Potatoes
Makes 1.5 lbs of brie smashed potatoes. Hell yeah. 

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs baby potatoes (aka, one bag at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 T fresh chopped thyme (substituted dried)
  • 8 oz brie, cut into small wedges
  • (white truffle oil, pan fried sage leaves, crushed pink peppercorn if you want to go the full mile on garnishes)

Preheat the oven to 400. Take the baby potatoes, olive oil, and sea salt and pepper, and toss them together in a small bowl (pic 1). Put them on a lined baking sheet (pic 2), and roast for about 30 minutes (original recipe recommended 20, I found it took longer) until the potatoes are fork tender.

Just before the potatoes come out, combine the melted butter, crushed garlic, and thyme in a small bowl. Using a potato masher or a fork, gently press down on the potatoes and smash them until they’re about .25 inches thick (pic 3). Drizzle the butter mixture over the potatoes (pic 4), and then roast for another 20 minutes, until golden and crisp (pic 6).

Cut up the brie into small wedges (pic 5), enough for each potato, about five minutes from the potatoes being done. Then, take them out of the oven, top with brie (pic 7), and put back in the oven for 5 more minutes, until the brie melts all over the smashed potato (pic 8).

And then, enjoy your ridiculously rich cheesy potato!

The version I made of this was severely parred down, as the boything doesn’t like mushrooms, I wasn’t sure about the beets in this, and honestly the pomegranate arils seemed more decorative than anything else. I’m probably going to try this again with the beets and maybe the mushrooms, not real sure about the pomegranate arils. (If anyone has insight on this, please feel free to chime in!)

The resulting pasta was, and is, still pretty amazing, and definitely something I want to try again. Please note below – parentheses used in this recipe will be used to indicate omitted ingredients, or instructions for the omitted ingredients.

Caramelized Balsamic Goat Cheese Pasta
Makes: pasta. However much you want. Look, it’s been forever since I made this.

Ingredients

  • 4 T olive oil (2 T if omitting the beets)
  • (4 medium red beets, quartered – omitted)
  • ((1 T chopped fresh thyme (substitute dry if you don’t have fresh), omitted bc not using beets)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lb long thin pasta (like spaghetti)
  • (8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced – omitted)
  • 2 T butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 T honey
  • .5 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • .5 c crumbled goat cheese
  • (pomegranate arils for serving – omitted)

(If using the beets – preheat your oven to 350, toss together the olive oil, beets, thyme, sea salt and pepper, put on a baking sheet, and roast for 25 to 30 mins, till tender and lightly charred.)

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring salted water for the pasta to a boil. Add your pasta, and cook according to package instructions until al dente, and then drain. Just before draining, reserve 1 c of pasta cooking water.

While you wait for the water to boil, melt the butter, and add 2 T olive oil in a pot over high heat. (If using the mushrooms, add them here and cook until just barely caramelizing on the edges, appx 5 mins.) Add the garlic slices like in pic 1, and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Remove the (mushrooms) and garlic. To the same pot, add the balsamic vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes, like in pic 2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, and then cook for 5-8 mins until the balsamic has reduced by about a third and is sticky to the touch – see pic 3 for the example of this in progress, and pic 4 for what this looks like towards the end. Then, reduce the heat to low and stir in the pasta and garlic(/mushrooms). Toss to coat. If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out with a bit of the pasta cooking water. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Serve the pasta immediately, topped with crumbled goat cheese, (roasted beets, and pomegranate arils).

This is one of those absurdly simple, “how in the hell did I not think of this thing sooner??” breakfasts. And yet, it took me stumbling across a photo of this somewhere for doing this to cross my mind.

I’m not kidding how simple this is. Take bagel. Put larger hole in bagel if necessary. Crack egg in bagel. Fry. Enjoy egg and bagel.

Egg in a Bagel Hole
Makes two bagel halves, enough for a good breakfast

Ingredients

  • one bagel, sliced in half
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, pepper to taste

Take a pan and melt half the butter in it. Take a bagel half, and, if you don’t think the hole’s big enough, make it a little bigger, enough so that an egg yolk can fit in the center. Place the bagel inside down in the skillet, crack the egg into the yolk, season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan, and cook until the egg yolk is done to your liking.

Do the same thing with the other bagel half.

Voila: breakfast.

Again, another simple, quick, and depending on the state of your pantry, reasonably cheap side dish. Farmer’s markets have lots of tender new potatoes for good prices this time of year, and if you live near a good Indian market (or, say, within a short train ride of Little India in Chicago), you can find ghee for reasonably cheap. From there, just add sea salt and pepper, and the sage to infuse the ghee with. 

Pan Roasted New Potatoes Browned with Sage Infused Ghee

  • 1 lb new potatoes (I believe these were red or fingerlings?)
  • 4 T ghee
  • ~20 fresh sage leaves, torn, if you have them – otherwise ~2 T dried sage
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add your potatoes in, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes (I went with 15), until fork tender. Drain the potatoes. 

In a medium sized pan (original recipe recommends a cast iron pan, this works just fine with a normal pan if you don’t have one/don’t want to get it out), melt the ghee, adding the sage as it melts. Add the potatoes in a single layer once melted, and cook over medium, turning/stirring the potatoes every four to five minutes or so, until they’re browned on all sides (which should take around 20 minutes). 

Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and then enjoy your crispy potatoes!

This is a great, simple recipe that also happens to be healthy and light on the effort. And since green beans are in season and in glut at the farmer’s market, this is also excessively cheap – all you should need is a lemon, butter, and sea salt and pepper besides the green beans. 

Lemon Butter Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb green beans, destemmed (I probably got closer to two lbs and doubled the recipe accordingly)
  • 1 T butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Take your green beans, and destem them. If they’re particularly long, halve or third them. Once destemmed, rinse the beans in a colander. 

Put your beans in a large pan, and add about an inch of water (it will likely just barely cover the beans). Cover the pan, and heat over medium high heat, allowing the water to just barely come to a boil. Steam/simmer the beans for three to five minutes, until bright green and just barely tender (see difference between pic 1 and 2). Remove the beans from heat, turn the burner off, and drain. 

Return the beans to the pan and the turned off burner, and add in the butter, sea salt, pepper, and a pinch of the lemon zest and juice. Toss to coat, and let the butter melt using the residual heat. Once melted, add the remaining zest and juice, taste, and add more sea salt and pepper depending on your taste.