everything bagel mac and cheese

Ok, as long as no one we know gets surprised engaged and decides to surprise go to Hawaii and get married at the last minute, we are done going to weddings for a few good months, which I’m kind of sad about because the Rent the Runway dresses I’ve been finding have been off the hook. And I love a good dance party. And the far off destinations that we get to go to. This past weekend we were right on the Idaho/Wyoming border for an Eggcousin wedding at a ranch that made me want to go back and watch Hey Dude reruns. (Was that a good show? Or just an obstacle on the way to Bug Juice and Double Dare? Will we ever know?)

It was my first time in Wyoming and I gasped when I saw the scenery. Mountains are so good. On our first night we stayed at the adorable Anvil Hotel in Jackson and had a delicious and inspiring crispy honey chicken with creamed corn at Glorietta. I pretty much never order chicken at a restaurant unless it’s schnitzeled but our server said get the chicken so we got the chicken and it was one of the best decisions we’ve made at a restaurant all year. The next morning we hiked up Snow King mountain, ate an apple and peanut butter at the top, and then came down and drove across a Teton to the ranch in Idaho for the wedding. Wowee zowee, it was beautiful. We rode horses, saw a bunch of wildflowers, sat around a campfire, and Eggboy played music for the ceremony!! It was the best. 

Now we’re back, just in time for National Macaroni and Cheese Day!!!! Which is the only food holiday besides donut day that I take seriously for now. It’s on Saturday. And I know, it’s kind of dumb to have it fall in the middle of summer when we should be taking advantage of fresh summer vegetables, but I don’t make the rules. So here is a recipe that I’ve been making in my low key mission to everything bagel (v.) all of the things. It was partly inspired by Alex and Sonja’s Everything Bagel Pasta, which looks sooo good. And the things that make this mac bagel-y are: 

-Cream cheese in the cheese sauce, which adds a delicious tang 

-Chives, because chive cream cheese is the best cream cheese

-Just a tiny bit of barley malt syrup, a sweet sticky substance that’s a key ingredient in making bagels taste bagel-y 

-Tons of everything bagel seasoning on top. It seems like a lot when you’re making it but it gets all crunchy in the oven and adds perfect texture. (I’ve included measurements below to make your own seasoning but you can certainly use store bought. If you use storebought: sprinkle it on to taste because some of them, like the one from Trader Joe’s, are extreeeeemely salty.)

 

-And if you’re feeling extra, sub out the panko breadcrumbs for bagel crumbs!

-And for bonus points: add hot dogs or veggie dogs and then it’s bagel dog mac and cheese.

…And there is no bagel-driven reason for the ketchup. I just like it.


Everything Bagel Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 lb (226g) pasta, I prefer rigatoni
Olive oil
1/4 c (68g) unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 c (33g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c (590g) whole milk
4 oz (113g) cream cheese
4 oz (113g) white cheddar or gruyere or a mix of both, shredded
1 oz (28g) parmesan, shredded
1 1/2 tsp barley malt syrup, optional
Crushed red
Black pepper
1/2 c chopped chives or scallions
Bonus points: 2 cut up cooked hot dogs or veggie dogs

Topping

3/4 c (75g) panko breadcrumbs
1 tb unsalted butter, melted
1 tb each: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion
A few pinches of Kosher salt

Ketchup, for serving
 

Clues

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box, cooking for one minute less than directed. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside. 

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the milk and cook, whisking continuously, until thickened, and then repeat with another cup, and then the remaining 1/2 cup. Add the cheese and stir until melted, and then add the barley malt syrup (if using), a few pinches of crushed red pepper, a few turns of black pepper, and salt to taste. Stir in the pasta, chives, and hot dogs, if using. Transfer to an 8” baking dish or a dish that’s a similar size. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and melted butter and then distribute it over the top of the mac and cheese. Combine the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced onion, dried minced garlic, and salt in that same medium bowl and sprinkle it liberally over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool slightly and then serve with ketchup.
 


-yeh!

mac and cheese photo by chantell and brett


P.S. I have a few fun appearances on Food Network this weekend!! 

On Saturday at 11am eastern I will be making peanut butter cake on one of my favorite shows, The Kitchen!!!!

👆🏼👆🏼Feeling very at home in the presence of Jeff Mauro and his great Chicago accent.

And on Sunday at 9pm eastern I will be a guest judge on Food Network Star!

Bobby and Giada were soo nice!!!! 

And on Sunday at 11am eastern on Girl Meets Farm, we will be celebrating Eggsister's baby shower!!! There will be donuts!! And ~walking tacos~! 

everything i ate in santa ynez

between my new bojack horseman obsession, a lifelong love of marzipan, and this desire to compare everything to summer camp, i am almost positive that the santa ynez valley was made for me. it's this cute area in the mountains in california, just past ojai, that consists of five itsy bitsy towns, all adorable in their own way. there are vineyards and roadside bakeries in farmhouses and, in one of the five towns, a teleportation device that brings you straight to a small danish fantasyland, complete with windmills aebleskivers. and by teleportation device i just mean that it was built that way, to be cute and danish and disneyland-inspired. on my way back from the la jolla summerfest, i stopped through santa ynez for a couple of days with lily and alana and we had the gosh darn loveliest time! here is just about everything we ate and drank:

fluffy hot pancakes, breakfast quesadillas, and a 2:1 ratio of coffee to hot chocolate in the mountains after a sunrise horseback ride, past coyotes and deer! my horse was called goose. he did not get along with lily's horse, blackjack. but i don't blame blackjack because goose kept farting in his face. 

just enough marzipan at olsen's bakery. which is to say that every single thing we got there had marzipan and i was in heaven from my spot standing on top of a chair photographing everything. that's one great thing about traveling lily and alana: standing on chairs to get an overhead marzipan shot in public feels less weird.

my very first shrub! at mad + vin at the landsby hotel. we had one of those long nice sunday meals where you have nowhere to be until the late night bonfire out back. it included lily's first fondue and a round of shrub cocktails. (shrubs are my new favorite, and i came straight home and bought two bottles of vinegar about it.) and the landsby hotel is right in the middle of solvang, it's great. being there is like being in an ikea if ikea had just received four promotions and a collection of quirky llama paintings.  

big plump gnudi and a table of other tasty things in the tiny tiny town of los alamos at a restaurant called pico, which occupies the old town general store. the entire town was one block, i wanted to put it in my pocket and take it on home. instead i put the leftover gnudi in a box and took that on home.

wine. ok i am trying so hard to understand wine. it's become a dire situation, because this is 10x harder for me than high school calculus. we visited beckmen and sunstone and i loved learning about the harvesting process, seeing what it takes to make biodynamic wine, and hearing about how many different types of grapes can be grown in the valley--all things that appeal to the agricultural side of things--but when it comes to tasting wine, it's like fashion, i am like whaaaaaa halllllllllp i'm mellllttttttinggggggg. 

aebleskivers! at solvang restaurant. girl, if the next time i see you i have gained 500 pounds it's because i've finally given in and bought an aebleskiver pan. 

peanut butter pie, baby corndogs, boursin on the porch, and a poolside cookie at alisal ranchalisal is like being at camp, but fancy camp! it's this big old ranch with chickens, horsies (including my friend goose), pigs, and a very old goat named goatie. and you get to dress up for dinner and there is no cell phone reception! it inspired me to start choosing my vacation spots based on where i can get no cell service because out of all the ways to relax, that is an increasingly important one. i loved alisal, it made me feel like a kid. alana said it reminded her of dirty dancing and that sparked a conversation about the borscht belt, which is one of my most favorite conversation topics. so yes, i'll definitely be back there one day.

biscuits out of a dutch oven made over hot coals by our friend in the cowboy hat! this was also at alisal but it was so cool that it deserved its separate list item. lily and alana and i woke up really early one morning to go take pictures of the fog and the horsies and suddenly the world smelled like freshly made biscuits and butter because suddenly 20 feet away, there was a man making biscuits. it was magic.  

a stunning tasting menu at a beautiful b & b in a town that consisted of a b & b, a church, and a schoolhouse. that's it! it reminded me of the town near me that consists of a grain leg, a church, and a strip club. but this was better for obvious reasons, not the least of which was the roasted corn soup that made me want to make a hot tub of roasted corn soup.

solvang's famous hot pretzels that come with a little cup of cheese. it was like eating o.g. auntie annie's and we got em fresh out of the oven. it was the perfect road trip snack for our drive back to l.a.


-yeh!

thank you so much to visit santa ynez valley for inviting us to explore this gem of a place!! all accommodations were provided by visit santa ynez valley, alisal, and the landsby. and all opinions are my own and i would 100% recommend a visit to this area! 

challah donuts + australia

it was like i had traveled in time to get there! from sweaty picnics at ravinia with fresh tomatoes and basil to cozy mountain evenings by the fire with hot mugs of soup. so bonkers! but very welcome because you know how much i love the cozy indoors. 

each morning, pip and haddy and sophie were bustling about the kitchen by sunrise, roasting pumpkin and lighting the fire place. the smells, the energy, and the way the air felt were all identical to thanksgiving morning, i was in heaven. ooh and on one morning, maggie the farm dog and i took a little stroll to go find kangaroos! i saw three at a distance, hop hop hopping away. i squealed and giggled.

we spent our days in sweaters and scarves with cameras glued to our hands, outside was crisp like an apple, and when sufjan came echoing through the dining room i fully submitted to autumn and no amount of tweets out of new york with kvetchings about the heat could hold me back. 

should i get a summer home in australia so that i can have sweater weather all year round? i’ll add it to the chrismukkah list.

what surprised me most about my time in australia, however, were the similarities between here and there. the architecture i saw was so similar, and the surroundings in the city felt like san diego and boston and in the mountains, like wisconsin. the workshop attendees came from all over the country and it struck me how much we aligned with our values, backgrounds, ambitions, the things we liked and our humor… you know how sometimes you meet someone in another country and even though you might understand the words that they’re saying, you feel that they’re just speaking another language and culture entirely? it’s not a bad thing at all, but this was the opposite of that and completely unexpected. i wonder if it’s because our countries are about the same age and melting pot-y. i guess there’s the whole british history too.  it was just such a pleasant surprise to feel so at home so far away. 

ugh i’m getting so mushy, i know. but i really felt like australia was part of the u.s. and the u.s. was part of australia. with vastly different pronunciations of "tahini." 

of course, however, this whole cozy at-home feeling is also because of sophie and luisa, the masterminds behind the local is lovely workshop, who are two of my new favorite people in the whole wide world. they are so kind and smart and generous and the dynamic they created with the whole group of participants was so darn lovely. if you ever happen to be in the market for a food photography workshop, i would recommend theirs 110%. (skye mcalpine will be there in october!!! go go go!)

you know that maya angelou quote about how it’s not what people say that you remember, it’s how they made you feel? i’m going to have the best memories of this weekend because of all those warm fuzzy happy feelings fluttering about. so so great. 

one thing i loved about this workshop was the small group hands on time where all of the participants rotated through luisa’s tapas scene, sophie and pip’s bread and butter scene, and my donut scene. it was citrus season there, so i went wild with blood oranges and made a curd and glaze. the heart of this recipe is the challah dough, though, which can be fried and filled with any curd/custard/cream you’d like and topped with powdered sugar or any glaze. it’s a choose-your-own-adventure donut that can be adapted to the seasons, no matter where in the world you are.


challah donuts

makes 12

ingredients

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable, plus more for frying

filling:
i used this citrus curd, but you can also use buttercream or pastry cream or just leave them plain!

glaze:
2 c powdered sugar
2 tb cream
blood orange juice (or other juice)

clues

in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. 

meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, and remaining sugar. in a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil.

when the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary (but try not too add too much), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. 

fill a large heavy pot fitted with a thermometer with 2” of oil and heat over medium high heat to 360º f.

on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2” thickness. use a biscuit cutter to cut out 3” circles, re-rolling scraps until the dough is used up. cover the circles with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 more minutes. fry in batches for 1-1 1/2 minutes on both sides and use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a wire rack. let cool.

use a piping bag to pipe the filling into the donuts.

combine the powdered sugar, cream, and a splash of juice and mix until the glaze is a spreadable consistency, adding additional splashes of juice as needed.

dip donuts into glaze, add sprinkles or other decorations, and let the glaze set for a few minutes. serve and enjoy!


-yeh!

walnut feta kibbeh, a stone fruit blender cake,

and all of these other silver lake good times...

for one week last month i lived in a little house on a hill in silver lake, los angeles, and cooked the days away.

a work-cation of sorts! done in a kitchen equipped with: a blender, some forks, no mixing bowls, and a very cute old oven. 

every morning i picked herbs and tomatoes from the garden and every night brought something new and bright and bursting with the glee of **california produce**

there were eggs in a basket made with rainbow potatoes from the hollywood farmers' market, salads upon salads upon salads galore, and in a moment of small triumph: lily and alana guided me through my first ever fish cooking experience, a pair of branzini, stuffed with herbs and lemon and olive oil we found in the cabinet. 

heather came over with maple butter and cheddar scones, alana brought poke bowls and that fancy matcha bread, and then there were those two 105º days spent with the freezer and our popsicles. (i tried to run it all off but, you know, in silver lake, that's just kinda like huffing and puffing and walking up hills.) at the end of the week, lily brewed up some rye dough onto which we dumped all of the leftover vegetables and petaluma cheese, and that was my pizza friday pizza, enjoyed on the redeye out of town.

the whole thing was like living in a secret clubhouse up in a tree and to get in you just needed to bring your appetite and a vegetable. it was all so fresh and delicious. 

today i'm sharing two recipes that can be made in even the most bare bone kitchens: a vegetarian version of kibbeh, which is a levantine meatball made with bulgar, and an interpretation of huckleberry's blueberry cornmeal cake, made with stone fruit and a blender and a slightly paired down ingredient list that allowed me to buy a few less groceries for my one short week. i did a lot of eyeballing in my rental kitchen, and used a literal tea spoon (meant for tea, not baking) for all of the small measurements. but that's ok in both of these recipes! the kibbeh, especially. you really just want it to be a consistency that will hold its shape when fried, past that you can add any seasonings or herbs or cheese that you please. and for the cake, obviously feel free to use a regular electric mixer instead of a blender. i was just so excited that multiple respectable cakes came out using this method. so, idk, make these in your home kitchen or bring them on the road the next time you vacation somewhere with a kitchen!  


walnut feta kibbeh

makes about 4 servings

ingredients

3/4 c cooked bulgar
1 c toasted walnuts, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh mint, finely chopped
1 c crumbled feta
2 large eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
A few turns of black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin

oil, for frying

for serving:

yogurt or tahini, a salad, more feta, fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon 

clues

combine all ingredients.

heat a layer of oil until shimmering (if using olive oil, take extra care not to let it smoke), fry up a test patty of the mixture and taste it. adjust seasonings as desired. roll the mixture into small balls and fry, in batches, turning until all sides are golden brown.

serve over a salad and drizzle with yogurt or tahini and a squeeze of lemon. top with additional feta and fresh herbs, if desired.


stone fruit cornmeal blender cake

adapted from huckleberry's blueberry cornmeal cake

makes one 10" cake

ingredients

1 1/2 c flour
3/4 c cornmeal
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 c coconut oil, at room temperature
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 c olive oil or canola oil
3 tb maple syrup
1 tb vanilla
2 c full-fat plain yogurt
A bunch of stone fruit, sliced
chopped fresh rosemary, if you want
2 raw sugar packets, if your airbnb host has any to spare

 

clues

preheat the oven to 350ºf. line a 10" cake pan with parchment and set it aside.

in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

put the coconut oil and sugar in a blender and blend it all up. add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each. blend in the oil, syrup, and vanilla. add the dry ingredients and blend a little and then add the yogurt and blend to combine. pour into the cake pan, top with stone fruit, rosemary (if using), and raw sugar (if using) and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 1 hour. let cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then serve. 


-yeh!