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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Let’s be real: the words beer cheese potatoes should tell you all you need to know about this recipe.  Beer and cheese in Wisconsin generally make up for the fact of how cold it gets, but with it hitting negative fuckass degrees way too many times this year, it gets a bit debatable.  Either way, all of this in a cast iron skillet smells fantastic as it’s cooking, even though grating the 2.25 c of cheese necessary for this recipe takes FOREVER.

Beer Cheese Skillet Potatoes
Lasts appx 6 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 2/3 c IPA (or pale ale or black ale) (I used Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton)
  • 2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus .25 c grated (I used smoked cheddar from the dairy store down the block from where I work)
  • .5 c milk
  • 1 t salt
  • .5 t pepper
  • 1 t garlic powder (I used significantly more than that because garlic ❤ )
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2 T butter
  • 1.5 lbs potatoes, sliced (I used reds, they’re my favorite)
  • 1 c panko

Grate your smoked cheddar (all but the .25 c), and then put it in a blender with the beer, milk, salt, pepper, cornstarch, and garlic powder. Puree on high until blended and smooth (see pic 1 for what it should be looking like) and set aside.  Preheat your oven to 350 (325 if you’re me). 

Melt the butter over medium high in a cast iron skillet (or some other ovenproof skillet), and then add your potatoes, cooking them over medium high heat until lightly browned on each side (about five minutes each).  Spread them evenly throughout the skillet and then pour the beer cheese over them, simmering for ten minutes.

Once the ten minutes are up, pour the panko over the top, and then sprinkle the remaining .25 c smoked cheddar over the top, put it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

And then, enjoy, because you have beery cheesy potatoes!

This is another recipe I haven’t made in a while, but honestly, with the level of improvisation that I applied this time around, it’s a whole new recipe.  This recipe features the three Wisconsin greats: beer, cheese, and bacon; put your money and quality into these three ingredients, and honestly, it doesn’t matter what else you do to it, there’s nothing you can do to the recipe to fuck it up.  The bacon is from a local vendor who sells at our farmer’s markets, the cheese is from the University dairy store that’s literally a block down from where I work (and smoked and aged on top of it), and the beer is from a local brewer.  And the result is absolutely fanfriggintastic, and one I’d make again.

Ale and Cheddar Soup
Lasts 5 lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • .5 lb bacon (thick cut, if you can get it from a farmer’s market or a local vendor definitely go for it), sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • .5 t ground thyme
  • 2 T butter
  • .25 c flour
  • 1 12 oz bottle ale (I used Ale Asylum’s Madtown Nutbrown)
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 1 T Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • .5 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 c cheddar cheese (I used smoked aged cheddar from the university dairy store)
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

Cook your bacon over medium heat to desired doneness, and then put aside all but 2 T of the bacon grease.  Take your chopped onions and jalapenos, and cook about ten minutes, until tender.  Then add your garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant, which is usually one minute.

Melt your butter over the garlic, thyme, onion and jalapenos, and then sprinkle the flour over the top, until it coats everything and turns golden brown (see pic 5). 

Then, add your beer and chicken stock, followed by your bacon, cooking over medium heat for ten minutes.  Then, add your heavy whipping cream, the Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, and the smoked aged cheddar.  Stir continuously, until the cheddar is melted into the soup, but don’t bring it to a boil.  

Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and enjoy your little taste of Wisconsin.

This may just be one of my best decisions, ever.  Roasted garlic bread = good.  Roasted garlic bread + butter-oregano-garlic salt = even better. Roasted garlic bread + butter-oregano-garlic salt + smoked cheddar + marinara sauce to dip = YES PLEASE FOREVER. Especially good on a cool fall night.

Smoked Cheddar Pizza Bread
Lasts: dependent on how much you like bread + cheese and how many chunks you do at a time, mine’s looking like it’ll last 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of bread (I went roasted garlic, cause that’s what I do)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • half a block of good cheese, cut into thin strips (I used smoked cheddar)
  • marinara sauce to dip

Take your loaf of bread, and make three vertical cuts down the center, and six horizontal cuts, cutting almost to the bottom of the loaf (but not quite all the way). Melt your butter with the oregano and garlic salt for one minute, pausing after 30 seconds to stir a bit.  Preheat your oven to 350 (325 if it runs hot like mine).  Then, drizzle the herbed butter into the cuts you’ve made into your bread; don’t use it all, save at least 1 T.  Take your thin strips of cheese and stuff them into the cuts.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t look pretty; it’s all gonna melt anyways.  Drizzle the remaining herbed butter on top, wrap the thing in foil, and put it in the oven for a half hour. Then, open up the foil, and put in for another five minutes, until the cheese is completely melted.

Then, take your marinara sauce, and FEAST.

So, I’m 99% sure that Tumblr is working the way it’s supposed to be now (this will be the test), so I’ll be posting a bit more tonight to get caught up!

I’ve been pretty effing stressed this last week at work, so this ended up being something really nice to stuff in my face while trying not to murder people. Naan is good.  Garlic naan is even better.  Garlic naan stuffed with cheese is fucking fantastic. Thus goes the heirarchy of the naan.

Significantly changed the recipe for this this time around, as it kind of made me give the original authors a bit of side eye.  Go for the good cheese for this – I used fresh mozzarella (pre-sliced), and some smoked cheddar from the local farmer’s market.  And if it’s getting too chilly to grill by you, don’t be afraid to fry it on the stove.

Cheese and Garlic Naan
Makes appx 10 naan, I switched sizes halfway through making them

Ingredients

  • 1 c warm water
  • .25 c sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 3 T milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T garlic (original recipe says 2 t, vary however much you ❤ garlic)
  • 4.5 c flour
  • olive oil for frying
  • two different types of cheese (the cheeses you use are up to you, I did fresh mozzarella, appx 8 oz, and a block of smoked cheddar from the farmers market)

Take a bowl, and mix your sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved, and add your packet of yeast.  Let it sit for 10 minutes, until foamy like in the first picture. While that sits, whisk together your milk, garlic, and egg in a large bowl.  As soon as the yeast mixture is ready, add that, and then your flour, half a cup at a time, until you have a single ball of dough. If your ball of dough can’t absorb all the flour, don’t worry, add a bit of warm water to help it fully incorporate.  Knead in the bowl for ten minutes, and then cover with a towel and let it sit for an hour, until doubled.

After an hour, punch the dough down, and pinch off either pool ball or golf ball bits of dough, and roll into balls, and put either on a lined baking sheet, or a small container, with a few fingers’ space between each ball.  I started out with golf ball sized bits, but increased to pool ball sized about halfway through frying.  Cover with a towel, and let rise another half hour, till the balls double in size.

Meanwhile, prep your cheese!  If you’re using solid blocks of cheese, cut them up into small cubes.  For mozzarella, depending on if you use presliced or not, you’ll need to slice the cheese, and then depending on how large of a ball you use, either use the full slice or a half slice. 

Once your dough balls are risen, create a little divot in the middle, and then stuff your cheese in (see pic 5 for an idea of what I did with the smaller balls, just double that for bigger balls).  Reroll the dough to make a ball again, and then roll out into a circle to make a decent sized flatbread.

Heat your olive oil over medium high, and then add your dough circles, and fry!  The cheese may bubble up, so be careful of that, but otherwise, these are ready to go after five minutes a side, and fantastic besides.

So, sometimes I question the recipes I come across.  Like this one.  Velveeta for the beer cheese.  Velveeta.  REALLY?  Happily, the farmer’s market was this morning, and I found a WAY better substitute.  Don’t ever be afraid to substitute things you think would be better in the recipe (so long as it doesn’t inherently alter the recipe, and even then a quick Google can save you). 

Also, I ended up screwing up the first batch by baking them too long, so be careful of that.  The dough was a lot stickier than it probably should’ve been, too, but that’s because I ended up adding a bit too much water after the fact to dampen it, and then adding more flour to compensate.  First times trying a recipe usually involve this sorts of interestingness.

Also, if Hayley reads this post, I’m sorry.  😛

Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese
Makes at least 9, screwed up first batch, and enough beer cheese dip to fill a medium Pyrex bowl

Ingredients

Pretzel Bites

  • 1.25 c warm water
  • 4 t active dry yeast
  • 5 c water
  • .25 c white sugar, plus 1 t
  • .25 c brown sugar
  • 1.5 t salt
  • 4 T butter, split in half and melted
  • 2 egg whites
  • sea salt to top

Dissolve your yeast and 1 t of the white sugar in your water, and let stand for about 10 minutes.  It should get a bit foamy during this time.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine your flour, sugars, and salt.  Add your 2 T of melted butter and the activated yeast, and stir until you have more or less one big ball of dough.  Then knead for about 6 to 8 minutes until your dough is smooth.  (You may need to add more water if it’s too dry, or more flour if it’s too wet.  If this happens, you may not be able to hit a perfect balance.  Just accept this.)  Cover your bowl, and let it rise for about an hour.

Towards the end of the dough rising, heat your oven to 450 (425 if it runs hot, I actually turned it down to 400 cause it was so ridiculously hot in my kitchen).  Also, prepare two separate bowls – one with a combination of 4 c water and ½ c baking soda, and the other with the remaining 2 T melted butter and your egg whites.

Once your hour has passed, punch down your dough and knead for another minute.  Tear off chunks, and roll into appx 1 inch balls, dip the balls into the baking soda water, and put on your lined baking sheet (I used aluminum foil).  Once your sheet is filled, brush the balls with the egg white and butter wash, and sprinkle with sea salt.  

Put them in the oven, and cook appx 10 minutes, until the part of the pretzel that has the wash on it is browned.

Beer Cheese

  • .5 c cream cheese
  • .5 c beer (I used New Glarus’ Spotted Cow)
  • 1 T horseradish sauce
  • .5 t garlic powder (I used closer to a t)
  • .5 t cayenne pepper
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 1 c cheese, cut into cubes to make it easier to melt (use something that will compliment your beer well – in this case, smoked cheddar from my farmer’s market)

Microwave your cream cheese in for 30 seconds in a glass proof bowl large enough to hold your entire recipe. Then add your beer, horseradish sauce, peppers, and garlic powder, and microwave another 30 seconds, and stir until smooth.  Add your cheese, and microwave until melted.  This will likely take longer, the better quality cheese you use – mine took closer to 2 minutes.  Once melted, stir again to combine.

And then, dip the pretzels in the beer cheese for the best snack evar.