Thursday, May 14, 2009

Buttermilk Macaroni and Cheese

Here's a great way to lighten up mac and cheese a little bit, while improving flavor and giving it a little extra tang: buttermilk. Even the very low fat buttermilk has a thick, creamy texture, so you get a nice sauce without having to resort to a lot of whole milk or cream. Maybe not so great for drinking (people do that, really?), but great in this application: because I'm sure as heck not gonna skimp on the cheese!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thomas Keller's Lemon Tart

What a fantastically, easy dessert: a lightly crisp crust, that crumbles easily but stays in shape while you cut slices, a sweet-tart lemon filling that is light, creamy and a snap to make. The crust is a pat-in-the-pan crust too - so no rolling, no patching, no fighting with the dough, and the filling takes 15 minutes to make, and sets up quickly.

I did make a few minor changes to the recipe - I added a little salt to both the crust and the filling, I increased the filling by 50%, so that it filled the tart completely, and I skipped the broiling part, opting for a smooth, glossy finish.

This is something I'll definitely make again and again.

Here is a link to the original recipe.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Land of Beer and Honey

I've been absent lately, I know. I've been busy, and I have been cooking! But oft forgetting to take pictures. But I also spent a few days in my favorite city, our smaller, cooler neighbor to the south: Portland, OR. Portland has the most breweries of any city in the world! And to those that know me, it should come as no surprise that I love Portland, in good part because of the beer.

We did a lot of walking, drinking and eating, a lot of great food, and a lot of great meals. This time we were most excited for Deschutes - overall, my husband's favorite brewery. While the new-ish place in the Pearl District in Portland is a little cavernous and impersonal, overall, it did not disappoint, and their XPA on tap is quite possibly the best Deschutes brew I've ever had. A very hoppy pale ale, a baby IPA, whatever you want to call it, it was crisp, refreshing, and very well executed Northwest style ale. We came here twice, and left with Deschutes gear as well (we're beer nerds, what can we say?)

We also made a couple stops at Bailey's taproom - a newer taproom, from what we can tell, that has a good foundation - good beer list, good location, good layout - but sadly suffered from lackluster and inattentive service. However, because of the close proximity to our hotel, the sofas with games, and the very well thought out beer menu, we made our way back despite service hiccups.