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 paris

Everything was miniature and everything was perfect. It was exactly the Paris I’d imagined in my mind, right down to the effortlessly fashionable couples walking home from work in the evenings, hand-in-hand with baguettes sticking out of their bags. All of the buildings were beautiful and boutiques lined the streets with clothes that didn’t really fit me but were elegant nonetheless. The bistros had great fries, the macarons were flowery yet not at all soapy, and street musicians played accordions! It was all like being in a movie.

Here is a list of all of the things I ate in Paris that I can remember. I ate them with Lily, Sarah, Christine, and Kelsi and Pia, the super awesome humans from Bonne Maman who organized this insanely delicious trip. Thank you 4ever, Bonne Maman!!!


A warm baguette with a lot of soft butter and a pile of perfect ham. A warm baguette with a lot of soft butter and a pile of perfect ham!!! Sorry, I just sit here for a few minutes and relive this experience in my brain. *Closes eyes and tilts head back* 

Chewy crunchy nests of kadaif topped with whipped cream and flavored with rhubarb, rose, halva, pistachio, and mastic, and shared with my all time favorite speed skater who just happened to also be in Paris, Sugar Todd!! 

An omelette that looked like a shiny yolky yoga mat but tasted like custard and cheese at Ladurée.

A large airy coffee flavored sphere of meringue and cream, a merveilleux, “like a structured Eton mess,” as Kelsi so perfectly described it. 

Rice pudding. Pardon, riz au lait. I like rice pudding now. Actually I love it! I’m turning into my dad. In fact as soon as I post this blog post I am going to get working on a replica of the kind I had at Chez Georges, which was very loose and vanilla-y. We also had some at L’Ami Jean which came with some crunchies and ice cream underneath it and it was delicious but it was much thicker than Chez Georges'. I like it loose, I discovered.

Chèvre chaud salad, my new favorite salad, and an instant newcomer to my arsenal of dinner recipes. Essentially fried goat cheese on mustardy dressed greens. Until we tracked one down, Lily wouldn’t shut up about them and their greatness. And now I refuse to shut up about them and their greatness. They’re peak simple and peak amazing. The one at Chez George had the best dressing, and the one at Les Antiquaires was covered in bacon and prosciutto. My ideal would have been a combination of the two but honestly they were both freaking ideal.

A crêpe from the street stand with a halo of crispy cheese.

Extremely thick white asparagus at L’Ami Jean that had some excellent salty crunchy business all around it, followed by a pot of pork that came with some flaming sticks on top that smelled like a campfire. 

One perfect soft doughy flaky croissant from Des Gateaux et du Pain

Cute miniature colorful snacky bites on the Bonne Maman boat! For two of the days that we were in Paris, Bonne Maman decked out a boat in the Seine with recipe demos, craft workshops, candle making, tea bag sewing, and manicures, it was like a fancy French summer camp! Complete with a David Lebovitz sighting! It was so fun. 

Bonne Maman preserves galore. We sat at a table on the Bonne Maman boat with every type of Bonne Maman preserve you could imagine (and even some unimaginable ones because half of them aren’t even available in the U.S., like rhubarb and black cherry) and a spoon. It was a dream! And then it was a very put-together dream when Sarah and Lily styled it all as I ate my raspberry crêpe. We got to try a delicious new line that is about to be released in the U.S., called Intense, which has even more fruit than their original preserves. I'm so excited for you guys to try it.

Cheese and lots of it. Duh. 

Tonka macarons!! Which moved me to smuggle back some tonka beans. Can I say that? Is that legal? And the aforementioned flowery non-soapy macaroons that made me want to track down the exact flowers/flower flavorings that Ladurée and Pierre Hermé use. And an asparagus macaron which didn’t taste asparagusy so much as just springy and fresh.

Eclairs and cream puffs and caramels and chocolates that were all just like little works of art. We got like one of everything and I tried the pistachio flavors first, the rose flavors second, and the hazelnut things third. None of them sucked. 

Things I Didn’t Eat

L’as Du Falafel- It was closed and I was very sad! But I am going back to Paris next month for my friend Rob's wedding so I will definitely be eating that falafel.

The fries at Bistrot Paul Bert- One day!!!!

Jam! I know, I thought all Bonne Maman made was jam, but brace yourself for a tidbit: jam is what happens when all of the fruit cooks down until it’s smooth, while preserves maintain the integrity of the whole pieces of fruit. So Bonne Maman doesn’t actually offer jam! Mainly preserves, and some jellies.


-yeh!

Thank you sooo much, Bonne Maman, for the most epic and delicious trip ever!!! 

All photos taken on this fancy contraption

 

olympics trip recap!!!

Ok!! I am back from the Olympics, and holy buckets, this has been the craziest wildest ride. I am so excited to tell you all about it!!! First I’m going to reel in the exclamation points because I’ve officially used up my allotted amount for the year but just know that literally every sentence here is said with 12 imaginary exclamation points. 

Prologue, four days before we left Grand Forks: I had just found out from the Olympic Channel that they were looking to have me do a few arts and culture segments in Korea but I had also just found out that my passport was going to be missing the expiration deadline by two weeks! It needs to be valid for six months after traveling from the United States to Korea and mine would have been valid for five months and two weeks. Oy vey! So I immediately flew down to Minneapolis to go to their passport office, crossing my fingers and toes that I’d be able to get a new passport in time, and also carrying Passport shaped cookies to hand out to the office. Duh. That all went swimmingly! Everybody at the office was so gosh darn pleasant, especially in explaining to me that they weren’t actually allowed to accept my cookies, and I was in and out of there with a new passport in an hour. It made me love Minnesota even more.

So then! We quickly figured out all of our details with the Olympic Channel which was bonkers with the 15 hours time difference between Grand Forks and PyeongChang, but we got it done and by Tuesday night we had confirmed flights. Seven hours later, we were on our way to the airport! 

We saw our friend Ben on the plane and I gave him a passport cookie. 

It was a 14 hour flight and my dad advised me to absolutely, under no circumstances, sleep on that plane so that when we arrived at night in Korea, we could just have a good night sleep on their local time and then ideally avoid bad jet lag. It took one movie for me to pass out for half the flight. But we still had time to watch Three Billboards (dark), Ingrid Goes West (also dark), and When Harry Met Sally (classic!), and then also eat bibimbap and a little ice cream sundae and quiche. We arrived just as the sun was setting in Seoul and then drove east across the country, through the mountains, to PyeongChang. 

When we rolled into town, we saw the opening/closing ceremony stadium, the ski jump thing, and a bunch of ski slopes all lit up. Our hotel was in a cute Alps-inspired area at the bottom of a ski hill, right next to the big luge slide. 

Day 1: In the morning we drove the hour or so over to Gangneung, where all of the ice rinks are (figure skating, curling, speed skating, and hockey each have their own arena there). It was the men’s short program for the team figure skating event, AKA NATHAN CHEN LIVE. From the moment he walked into the arena, I couldn’t stop omg-ing, I couldn't believe I was seeing him irl. Even just watching him warm up and skate in circles around the ice was magical and beautiful. Like, imagine Yo-Yo Ma playing scales, even the simplest things were incredible. 

We spent the rest of our day seeing the huge broadcasting center where the TV stations have offices, having our first sit down meal (an amazing sweet beef stew at a little restaurant near our hotel), and then going to the Opening Ceremony. 

My favorite parts about the Opening Ceremony were: the food (spicy rice cakes! chicken skewers! sweet yeasted pancakes!), the drummers, and then screaming my head off when Team USA walked in. “Gangnam Style” was perfectly timed for their entrance. Ooh and then we all lost our minds when the shirtless oily Tongan flag bearer walked in.

Day 2: I interviewed Tara and Johnny!!!!!! We talked all about food and you can see that video here. They were so sweet and I just couldn’t stop smiling the biggest smile. After that, Eggboy and I explored the Gangneung Olympic Park. We ate lunch in the spectator’s cafeteria, where I was really hankering for some bibimbap but it was sold out so I got the lasagna which was fine because it’s the year of lasagna 🤷🏻‍♀️. And then we traded some of our Olympic Channel pins for some gems from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics: funeral potatoes and bologna sandwiches. These pins were made for me. For dinner, we ventured outside of the Olympic park and found an adorable family owned BBQ restaurant where we communicated to the owner via a translation app that you speak into and the lady in the phone translates it and spits it back out. The owner’s mother grew all of the vegetables used in the side dishes and everything was delicious. 

That night we had our very first short track speed skating experience and it was mind blowing. Have you ever seen it?! I thought we were in the future. Or in space. Or in another galaxy. Starlight Express! Their speed and smooth movements were completely superhuman. And what made it even more exciting was that speed skating is huge in Korea, so the place was packed and loud and everyone was going nuts and the South Korean president was there. So were the North Korean cheerleaders. There was so much energy in that building.

Day 3: Sunday broke down into two parts, part 1: watch figure skating, part 2: eat everything at the food market. I can’t possibly imagine a better way to spend a day, can you?? The skating included seeing Bradie’s clean Olympic debut, the Shib Sibs in the sparkliest sparkle outfits I’ve ever seen, and the Knierims’ beautiful long program. I couldn’t stop bouncing up and down, being in shouting distance of these skaters and seeing a lot of the things that you can’t see on TV, like their talks with their coaches, the reactions of their team members as they’re skating, and all of the warmups were so cool. And I got to meet Ashley Wagner, who was so sweet, and explained to me that, yes, all of her super awesome Nike warmup outfits are available to the public.

Even though we were trying to save room for the food market, we got so hungry during the skating and needed a snack, which, at the ice arena concession stand, meant our options were Pringles or bunless hot dogs. Lol. We ate so many bunless hot dogs throughout the various skating events that I'll probably associate live figure skating with bunless hot dogs for a really long time.

After the skaters crushed it, we went to the Gangneung Central Food Market and ate a bunch of tasties!! Olympic Channel posted a facebook live of their editor Marc and me eating some of the most popular things there. Check it out here.

On Sunday night, my friend from college June visited!! It’s been at least like six years since we’ve seen each other, way way too long. June is the best! <3 <3 

Day 4: More skating!! And I really shouldn’t have worn mascara because between Mirai nailing her long program and Adam being his stunning self, I was so weepy. It was amazing. The Shib Sibs, of course, were totally great and clean, and then what happened at the end was that I was completely won over by Virtue and Moir, from Canada. I mean, I’ve always known they were good, but usually when they’ve been on TV in the past, I’d be busy tweeting about the Shib Sibs or, before that, Meryl and Charlie. But seeing them live, they had this globe of energy around them that radiated throughout the arena. They didn’t just compete, they performed, and I couldn’t not fall in love with them right then and there. (And like, they’re definitely in love irl, right?? right?!!!)

In the afternoon, we went to the Olympic Village to interview Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureaux who are on the Team USA hockey team and from Grand Forks!!! I’d heard their voices on the local radio station tons of times but never actually met them so I was soo excited to meet them. They were so nice and cool and they also love cheesy pickles :) Watch the full interview here

I tried so hard to sneak into the dining hall when I was in the Village, I desperately wanted to see what the athletes were eating and show all of you but only the athletes were allowed in and I’m really awful at trying to sneak into things. But I was able to see the Village snack shop where I found coleslaw flavored popcorn, chocolate bamba-y things, Emmental cookies, and things called “mayo shower potato sticks.” Obviously I bought them all and so far I’ve only tried the mayo shower potato sticks, which were light crunchy salty sticks that tasted like mayonnaise and onion, I loved them.

That night we ate BBQ with Ben and Josh in Gangneung. We talked about all of our hot takes on the ice skating and ate spicy crab and bulgogi.

Day 5: On Tuesday we explored Yongpyong, another area in the mountains, where the alpine skiing takes place. The Swiss hospitality house is there, which is set up like a little Alpine village where you can eat Rösti and Raclette and shop for Swatches. And the Swedish hospitality house has a Swedish meatball stand set up outside, it's so cute. The Team USA house is there too but we weren’t allowed in because we weren’t athletes and finally that was our cue to start brainstorming sports that we could try to qualify for in the next Olympics in. Do you think that Pita from Tonga would want to be on a Curling team with us?

I made a new friend, Rosie, who is competing in the cross country 30k on the last day!! She told us to go to the cross country sprint that night so we put on all of our layers of clothes (it was so windy!) and made our way to the other side of the mountain that was right outside of our hotel window, which required a whole lot of schlepping against the wind. We thought, “ok, we’ll cheer on the Americans for a few events and then we’ll go warm up and get bbq in town” but then when we arrived, it was like we had found the best party in PyeongChang and we never wanted to leave. The K-pop was blasting, the Norwegian fans were decked out in Viking outfits and being rowdy, everybody was drinking, and we found pork buns at the concession stand!! It was totally insane. And I suddenly felt really short because the place was packed with really tall Scandinavians. Eggboy, who is half Norwegian, blended right in and we cheered for the American and the Norwegian skiers. It was so fun, it made me want to go to Norway and also learn how to cross country ski.

We ate late night dumplings that night, it was the best Valentine’s day eve ever.

Day 6: We visited our new friend Brett, who is a nutritionist for the ski team and their chef, Adam. We learned about how the skiers eat (lots of good fat and protein!) and what they have on their birthdays (healthier cupcakes). And Adam told me about a corn dog casserole that he made a few Olympics ago for one of the athletes. I’m going to make it.

Then we ate bulgogi pizza and booked it to the airport! I slept almost the entire way back and now we’re home. We avoided norovirus, which I attribute to excessive usage of hand sanitizer and A+ hydration, and terrible jet lag, which I attribute to limiting my coffee intake (sounds counterintuitive, but my quality of sleep and ability to fall asleep when it was night time in Korea was suddenly remarkable).

And there it is! I truly didn’t think it’d be possible for my excitement for the Olympics to grow, and yet here we are. It’s so cool watching the broadcasts now from home and being able to spot the seats that we sat in, and of course our new bffs Tara and Johnny hehe. 

For more of my photos and vids, check out the Olympics highlights stories on my Instagram. And of course, I cannot thank the Olympic Channel enough for this insanely awesome opportunity!!! Check out their site for tons more Olympic vids and pics :) 

-Yeh!!

february adventures

luckily my effed up valentine’s day cake experience didn’t dictate the tone for the other parts of february because i squeezed in so many fun adventures for such a bite sized month! i got to hug old friends, eat schnitzel with cool new ones, play loud music, and jump a whole delta airline status!!!! i like you, february. come back again soon. 

let’s make a list:

photos 1 & 2: i spent a whole entire weekend at the grand forks ice arena watching the synchronized ice skating sectionals competition and i only left to get jimmy johns across the parking lot. i got to cheer on my old team!! it was sooo fun! it was sad when they didn’t win but the team that beat them was from north dakota so i still got to kvell. eggboy joined me for a few of the divisions but he got a lil bored so he left and did taxes.

photos 3-14 &16: i went to canada! which is a thing that you can do quite successfully in february if you live in the north pole already. my first stop was toronto where i stayed at the *coziest* bed and breakfast, ate at fat pasha, gave a couple of tahini covered #mollyontherange demos with hillel students and at their palatial jcc, and made ras al hanout hotdish on the marilyn denis show. i tried to make a ketchup joke because i thought that canada was the land ketchup, but either i’m incorrect about that or my delivery sucked? come on, ketchup chips, ketchup on mac and cheese, right??

in montreal i stayed with my bb and lead monkey bread inspiration, talia, in an apartment filled with hudson’s bay stripes and st. viateur bagels. we ate poutine and smoked meat and wore patagonia quarter zips for a majority of the time. my friends from the wandering chew put on the most magical #mollyontherange dessert party at the museum of jewish montreal. so many wonderful humans came out and we all ate so much sugar so naturally we needed to disco it off after. also in my two days there we managed to have one of those late-night perfectly boozy meals at maison publique, followed by some thick babka and schnitzel the next morning at hof kelsten

photos 15 & 17: kittsona, the town boutique, put on a cookie decorating #mollyontherange signing. i substituted the almond flour for hazelnut flour in these cookies and they were so tasty.

photos 18-22: conrad is a beast of a pianist and the last time we performed together, he was seven and soloing with our youth orchestra and i was 13 and putting on lip gloss and waiting for my triangle note. so it took a while, but we managed to perform together again in aspen this month with the aspen music festival! i decorated dobos torte and made cheesy spätzle while he played beethoven and jason eckardt music. from now on i only want to listen to beethoven while being covered in chocolate frosting. 

photos 23-28: proud of myself for not exploding from happiness during my 36 hours in new york, but somehow the stars aligned and i found myself in selfie distance from my all-time favorite podcast hosts, my all-time favorite ice dancers, three of my all-time favorite college homies, and i made my all-time favorite food on the today show. i also acquired a pair of comfy cool shoes called blog. i also got to eat hummus with rob and brian and they didn’t even fart when i was in the room. such mensches they are.

photos 29-36: then i went to florida! my friends george and sam have a new music group that was playing a david t little quartet (and u know how i love the loud music of david t little), so i dusted off my vibraphone mallets and brute forced some notes out. it was such great fun. i also got to see my tampa family and my old roomie and eat some fresh tomatoes which are in season down there, which felt so weird but so awesome! 

not pictured: eggboy and i went to see the town choir perform in a warehouse, it was so hip, it was like we were in brooklyn! i made suuuuuuuch a good chicken and dumplings (here is the recipe, next time i’m going to start with 2 tsp salt in the stock and work my way up and maybe not use the whole 4 tsp that it calls for). i acquired a love of matcha lattes and neck scarves. ooh and i watched this lucius, over and over and over.

tomorrow i leave for kentucky for the iacp conference! i'll be leading a cake workshop, talking on a panel, signing #mollyontherange, and seeking out the best kentucky dance clubs!! see you there??

-yeh!