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~! 

behind the scenes of #girlmeetsfarm

Girl Meets Farm has been out in the world for a day and a half now and life is totally different. I’m exhausted, dehydrated, disoriented, I have a headache... oh wait jkjkjk that’s just what I get for trying to keep up with all of the young people on this bachelor party romp. But actual jk, I’m fine, not hungover, and life isn’t different at all except that a lot of people have now seen my gold Buick boat and I feel exposed. I was like... should I rent a cooler looking car? And they said no, the Buick boat is great. And I think they were pulling my leg but it’s too late to do anything about that now I guess. 🤷🏻‍♀️

One of my favorite parts about this TV process has been learning what goes on behind the scenes. Starting from weeks before the crew arrived up through, well, now, I’ve been learning so much about what happens on the other side of the camera and it’s fascinating and cool! Except for my first gigantic teenage-style breakout since high school due to wearing way more makeup than normal. But other than that, I want to tell you about the behind the scenes of Girl Meets Farm!! In no particular order, here are some of my favorite tidbits:

Every item that has a logo or brand name written on it has to be “Greeked.” I suspected this would be the case because ever since being fascinated by the groceries on 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray, which looked like they were taken directly from the Kohl Children’s Museum fake grocery store, I have not seen one branded label on a cooking show. I never knew it was called “Greeking” though and it was cool to watch the art directors and culinary team find creative ways to cover labels. For the fridge, we printed out pictures from my wedding and grabbed a photo booth shot of Michelle and me and taped them over the Smeg label. Color coordinated washi tape and gaffer’s tape covered the KitchenAid label and book titles, and tiny dots of red nail polish covered up the Our Family logo on spice bottles. After the shoot I kept most of the Greeking on as souvenirs.

My kitchen got a facelift. In the days leading up the shoot, the art directors wove their magic wands all over my kitchen and turned it into the most put together version of itself. They completely decluttered it and arranged the open shelves using a mix of pieces I owned already and new pieces that they brought that fit in with the vibe. Even though they had taken photos of what it looked like before they rearranged so that they could put it back exactly how it was when they left, I had them leave it the way they arranged it because it looked too good! 

I was able to assemble my own wardrobe. I don’t know how this works on other shows but I am very picky about clothes so I was glad that I could waffle and hem and haw by myself in the Gap dressing room in the weeks leading up to the shoot. I had to get two of everything in case I spilled. Pretty much everything I wore came from Gap or Old Navy, and then I wore a bunch of new aprons from my friends at Enrich and Endure.

Each recipe was filmed twice. The first time going through the recipe was focused on getting clear lines from me describing the steps and talking about the dish, and the second time was focused on getting closer shots of my hands adding specific ingredients, mixing, chopping, etc. Before getting started on filming a recipe, we shot “grabs.” Grabs are closeup shots of my hands grabbing tools and ingredients. So if you see me say something like “I’m going to grab the harissa” and then you see my hand grabbing the harissa, those two shots were actually taken like 20 minutes apart. 

After filming a recipe, the cameramen took beauty shots of the dishes. These are the styled closeup photos that you’ll see in the recipe teasers and online with the recipes. Since I wasn’t in these shots, this gave me about 15 minutes to go outside, review my recipe notes for the next recipe, stuff my face with Trader Joe’s mini crackers, and hydrate.

Every morning I spent an hour in our guest room having my hair and makeup done by Jane! It was the best start to the day. We listened to Rex Orange County, I’d sip my coffee, and she told me all about working as a makeup artist in Los Angeles. She had the coolest stories. About halfway through hair and makeup, Kelsi, a production assistant, would come in with my breakfast, a green smoothie. I was such a Healthy Hannah compared to the pilot shoot, when every morning I got a breakfast sandwiches delivered to me. 

Dinner was usually leftovers from the shoot or takeout, often eaten in bed because we had nowhere else to sit. Our dining room was filled with cameras and monitors and our living room was set up with props. So we’d eat like meatball sliders and watch Mad Men in bed, cause that was another thing, we got to move the TV from our kitchen into the bedroom! Eggboy is completely against having a TV in our bedroom but because we had to move it out of our kitchen, I convinced him that there was no other logical place for it to go. I felt like a kid on a sick day watching The Price Is Right, it was the best thing ever. After dinner I’d get ready for bed and then review all of my recipe notecards for the next day. 

Ok so speaking of recipe notecards, I had a lot of fun organizing all of my notes. Like, straight up school-supply-shopping-on-steroids fun. The weekend before the crew arrived it occurred to me that the best way to keep my recipe notes in order would be to have them in a binder, so I went directly to Target and Michael’s and got all of the prettiest binder making materials. Omg it was so fun. I went with a pink and purple theme and got enough stickers to hand out to the crew in case any of them had any sticker emergencies. And then I bought Gelly Rolls for the first time in 20 years and nearly cried in nostalgic happiness. I made one binder section for each episode and at the beginning of the section I included a page protector for all of my notecards and stickers and then within the section I kept the script that had a flow of the episode all written out and any other related materials, like the sheet music for the Bach that I played with my dad for the episode where he visits. Each section also had a designated Gelly Roll color. During the filming I kept my binder in a designated spot on a table behind the cameras and then would bring just the notecards with me to the kitchen and keep them in a drawer close by so I could reference them at a moment’s notice. 

Alight, those are all of the things I can think of for now! If I think of anything else, I’ll tell you in my upcoming Girl Meets Farm posts, where I plan to share recipe outtakes!! And if you missed the premiere on Sunday, that same episode will be playing again tomorrow! Check your local listings!

-Yeh!

All photos except for the cell phone photos by Chantell and Brett!

#girlmeetsfarm peanut butter cup cake

My show is premiering on Food Network on Sunday and even just typing out those words makes me wanna vom and cry. But like in a good way!!! It’s really weird how there is no word to describe equal parts nervous and excited, or is there? Maybe it’s just this string of emoji 🤗🙈 over and over and over 🤗🙈🤗🙈🤗🙈. 

I wonder what Sunday will be like. I’ll be in Amsterdam, celebrating Rob’s bachelor party with a bunch of dudes. We’ll probably ride bikes and then eat fries and drink beer and I’ll probably have nervous tummy until the evening time when it’s 11 am eastern, and then I’ll probably do a shot. Is that the move? I won’t be able to actually watch Girl Meets Farm so I feel like the second best option would be to do a shot with my bridesmen, Rob and Brian.

At any rate, I made a cake to celebrate the premiere and it’s in my deep freeze right now waiting to be thawed for episode four, the first episode I’ll actually get to watch from home. It is a peanut butter cup cake! It’s very similar to the crazy moist party trick peanut butter cake from Molly on the Range and it’s covered in sweet milk chocolate frosting, cookie dirt, and marzipan vegetables. When articles came out recently defending milk chocolate I rejoiced because milk chocolate tastes good and has nothing to prove. The frosting requires melting chocolate, which, in the past has been one step more than I’ve been willing to take on the journey to frosting (I’ve historically stuck to dumping cocoa powder in with the powdered sugar to avoid dirtying up a chocolate melting pot), but adding melted chocolate makes the frosting like a luxurious rich chocolatey mousse. The cake itself is wildly easy to make and only requires two bowls and a whisk, making up for all of the work I’m making you do for the frosting.

Also (!) my friends made viewing party snacks for the premiere!!!! They are the sweetest most supportive fronds a girl could ever ask for and I’d give anything to have them with me in Amsterdam for my celebratory shot. I am so touched that they spent the time to make these delicious treats and can’t wait until the next time we can hang out irl and eat these and take mirror selfies all together.

Stephanie made a donut version of the grapefruit olive oil loaf cake from Short Stack Yogurt, which I will definitely be making soon. That loaf cake took me about a thousand test runs to master and it was worth it. A donut version is next level!

Lily made a surprise thing that I don’t yet know about but there’s tahini in it! She also interviewed me in the most Matt-Damon-Poop-Centric interview I’ve ever participated in. 

Alana made a stinkin beautiful plate of all of my favorite foods. Give me that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for the rest of my life and I will be happy.

And Michelle made tahini magic shell!!!!!!!! On a hangover!!!!! 


Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Makes one 4-layer 6” cake

Ingredients

Cake

2 c (400g) sugar
2 c (260g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 c (240g) buttermilk
1/2 c (100g) flavorless oil
3/4 c (178g) water
1 c (270g) creamy unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter

Frosting

6 oz (170g) milk chocolate, chopped or milk chocolate chips
1 c (225g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 c (360g) powdered sugar
A good pinch of kosher salt
2 tb heavy cream

Assembly

Crushed chocolate cookies, optional
Marzipan kneaded with food coloring, optional
 

Clues


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease four 6” round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. If you don’t have four pans you can bake this in batches. You can also make two 8” layers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, buttermilk, oil, water, and peanut butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour into the pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

Cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes and then remove to the rack and cool completely.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave, heating for 30 seconds at a time and stirring between each increment until it is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly until it is no longer hot to the touch. Meanwhile, combine the butter, powdered sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until smooth and combined. With the mixer running, gradually drizzle in the melted chocolate. Lastly, mix in the heavy cream and continue to mix, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until smooth.

To assemble, stack up the layers with a layer of frosting in between each and then frost all over. Decorate with crushed chocolate cookies and marzipan molded into your shapes of choice. Enjoy!
 


-yeh!

Photos by Chantell and Brett! Top from Of A Kind

P.S. I hope you guys like the facelift on this site! If you haven’t already, scroll over the logo at the top to see some sprinkles :) Also, the logo is now my handwriting and not a free font! This design was created by Hello Cereal!! 

P.P.S. For those who were wondering how to watch GMF without cable, you will be able to watch online at watch.foodnetwork.com or on the Food Network app on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung, Android TV, and mobile devices. You just need to log in with a provider (or your mom's provider like I do for HBO).

girl meets farm!

Ok! I want to tell you more about Girl Meets Farm! I have been sooo tickled by your support and excitement for this show, and that has made me even more excited and also a little bit more nervous because now that I know you know about it, it feels more real. For a long time I only talked about it with Eggboy and my family and it was just one of those things where if it happened, cool!! awesome! lightning bolt emoji!, if it didn’t happen, well then it wasn’t meant to be and it would be tossed into the bag of other things that weren’t meant to be, like my fancy cotton candy concept and raising a pet pig. 

When Molly on the Range came out two Octobers ago, I went to New York for the launch and my agent Jonah told me that the Food Network would like to have a meeting. My first thought was Sweet! We can have lunch at Dizengoff!!! It had just opened in Chelsea Market, right below the Food Network offices. And the meeting was so fun! Everyone was really nice and cool, we talked about food and at some point Back to the Future came up for some reason. (Any conversation with Back to the Future involved is the best conversation.) And then a few months later, the Network sent a production company out to shoot some scenes of me cooking and going around about town. Just like my first date with Eggboy, I honestly had no idea what the rating of this was on a scale from very casual hang to very official date, but I cooked some hotdish and cookie salad and had a great time. Josh, the producer, was basically every guy I went to summer camp with combined so we got along well!

Then a few months later Jonah very casually mentioned that the Network would like to shoot a pilot. And I thought, that’s fun! After a few months of working through details, Josh came back to the farm along with a crew of about 25 people, including camera people, sound people, a showrunner, lighting people, a culinary team, an art director, a hair and makeup artist, and production assistants. 

We filmed a delicious menu with flavors that are staples in my life and on my blog: Shakshuka, everything bagel grilled cheese, pistachio pop-tarts, a few sides... I felt great about it and I felt like myself. And I loved working with the crew, everyone was so cool! I introduced them to cheesy pickles at the Toasted Frog and the Happy Pig nachos at Rhombus Guys. We filmed during Hanukkah and because the arrival of the production crew pretty much quadrupled the amount of Jews in East Grand Forks, we lit candles together and it was the best. One thing that Eggboy and I learned was that because our house became a set, with cameras, lights, ingredients, and utensils set up in very specific places, and our couch and dining table out of commission, we couldn’t really use it for actually having dinner at night. The only thing we “cooked” that week was a couple of tater tots as honorary first-night-of-Hanukkah latkes. The rest of the time we went out to eat or brought takeout to the Eggparents' house and just plopped on their couch. 

I was sooo sad at the end of the week when everyone left, it was like the last day of camp. Luckily it was right before the holidays though, so I had parties and Arizona to look forward to.

For the next couple of months, we all had a March premiere date in mind. I kept a few weeks of my calendar in March flexible so that I could have freakout time. I also kept a microphone nearby because every so often Josh, who was editing the pilot, would ask me to record voiceover lines, like anything that I didn’t say clearly while we were filming or anything that I needed to say with a different inflection, things like that. At some point in early March, Josh called and I thought ughgggghghghghg, he’s gonna ask me to mail the microphone back, I don’t want to go to the post office today, so I almost didn’t pick up. But then I did and it was a good thing because he was calling to deliver the news that the Network decided to order six more episodes!!! We were to film the remainder of season one immediately and then air the whole season this summer. Yay! I texted Eggboy and then we ate celebratory cheesy pickles.

The showrunner, Jen, and I got right to work planning a menu that pulled from all of my favorite sources of inspiration: my Jewish and Chinese heritage, the upper Midwest, the farm, New York, and sprinkles. We put together themes that included family and friends and pretty much all of my favorite foods. If there is one thing that I feel particularly excited about with Girl Meets Farm, it’s the menu. Followed closely by my apron wardrobe. 

In mid-April, right after our last big snow storm, the crew came back and set up camp for a little over two weeks so that we could film six more episodes. The crew kept telling Eggboy and me that we were going to get so sick of them by the end of the shoot but nope, we love them and miss them. We ate lunch with them every day in Eggboy’s workshop, where the crew had set up work stations and a huge table of snacks. And at the end of the shoot, we had a wrap party at the Blue Moose and it was just like the last day of camp all over again!! 

The next day I went back to working on recipes for my blog. That’s it! Now we wait until June 24th when it premieres, right after Pioneer Woman. I’ll be in Amsterdam for Rob’s bachelor party. 🙈 

Over these next few weeks, I’m going to show you behind the scenes tidbits! And I’ll also soon have the answer to the questions of if/how you can watch if you don’t have cable or live in another country. More soon!!!! Don’t forget to set your alarms for June 24th at 11am eastern/10am central/11am pacific

-Yeh!

Photos by Chantell and Brett!!!