Monday, March 26, 2012

Grown Up Mac and Cheese with Blue Cheese and Swiss Chard

I made this bread video and I was going to post it on Thursday no Friday okay on Saturday, for sure on Saturday. And on Saturday I tried. Youtube and I are having some issues. And it’s not even that interesting, five minutes of bread making. But maybe I think that because I’ve seen it so many times I don’t need my recipe anymore. So that’s coming, I want to take some still shots so I need to bake some more bread. But in the meantime we still have to eat and I’m trying out a homemade lightbox in an attempt to up my game photo wise.

Blue CHeese Mac and Cheese with Garlic Swiss Chard
Tangy Grown Up Mac and Cheese with Swiss Chard and Spring Rabb
Ever since I baked that Spinach Tart I have been craving Macaroni and Cheese.  I resisted until I couldn’t resist anymore. This take has tons of veggies and was made with high fiber pasta. The Swiss chard tucked in the middle is a pleasant compliment to the tangy blue cheese. Served with spring rabb lightly sautéed in homemade chicken broth.

The recipe is a guess- based on recollection. I used ingredients in the fridge and pantry.

Blue Cheese Penne with Swiss Chard

Grown Up Mac and Cheese

2 ½ cups low fat milk
2 tsp butter
2 TBSP flour
1 heaping tsp country style Dijon mustard (a recipe for this will follow at some point)
About 1 cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup American cheese (the secret cheese at a restaurant I worked at where everybody raved about our Mac and Cheese, it adds a creamy consistency you just can get from ‘real’ cheese)
½ cup blue cheese crumbled.
Fresh ground pepper to taste

1 bundle Swiss chard including most of the stems, chopped up fine
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 TBS homemade chicken broth

14-ounce package of Trader Joe’s high fiber penne pasta, cooked a minute or two less than instructed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sautee garlic, chicken broth, and Swiss chard over a medium-low heat until chard is tender and most of the liquid evaporates- about 7 minutes. Set aside.

Melt butter, add flour and whisk until flour is completely coated. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until smooth and sauce like. Add cheeses one at a time stirring until incorporated and creamy (reserving a little bit of blue cheese and mozzarella to sprinkle over the top) Salt and pepper to taste.

Add sauce to cooked pasta (I return the pasta to its cooking pot, you want a vessel large enough to stir it together easily)

Pour about ½ the coated pasta into a lightly oiled or non-stick 8X11 pan. Top with cooled Swiss chard mixture, then add the remaining pasta and any left over sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining blue cheese and mozzarella over the top and bake until bubbly and melty- usually about 15-20 minutes.

A layer of Swiss Chard adds color and tempers the bold flavor of the blue cheese.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ridiculously Healthy Spinach and Mushroom Tart

Spinach and Mushroom Tart with Olive OIl Crust
Spinach and Mushroom Tart Topped with Briny Kalamata Olives

Yup- no butter, no bacon but the yogurt lends a pleasant tang and the olives provide a briny burst. She ain’t pretty but she’s good.

Enough for a 9inch tart pan

Preheat oven to 400

½ cup AP flour
½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbs Ground Flax Seed
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup cold water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Ground pepper to taste

Mix first five ingredients in a bowl, add water and olive oil. Stir until incorporated. Knead briefly. Dough should be soft and wet, almost like cookie dough. Roll out or press into tart pan. Dough is pretty thin, about the thickness of a nickel. Refrigerate until filling is ready

Olive Oil Crust with Whole Wheat and Flax
Olive Oil Crust with Whole Wheat and Flax Seed with a curious cat


About 15 mushrooms, cut into matchsticks
¾ lb leafy greens(I used frozen spinach because it’s what I had but the recipe is based off of a Provecal Swiss Chard tart)
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
Garlic to taste
1 egg
¾ cup yogurt
¾ cup shredded Romano cheese
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
16 or so Kalamata olives pitted and cut length wise

Sauté mushrooms in a little olive oil over medium heat until liquid is released and dissipated. Add well-minced garlic during last few minutes of cooking.

Chopping mushrooms for Spinach Tart
Crimini Mushrooms

Meanwhile puree thawed spinach (or blanched fresh Chard or Kale) and onion in a food processor.

Set mushrooms aside and sauté spinach to remove excess moisture- about ten minutes over med-low heat. Remove from heat.

Sheeps Milk Reggiano and freshly grated Nutmeg

Combine yogurt, egg, nutmeg, and cheese together in a medium bowl. Add spinach and thoroughly combine. Add mushrooms and mix until evenly distributed.

Uncooked Spinach Mushroom Tart
Dark Kitchen + Bright Green Spinach = Picture that looks like it came from the fifties

Spread filling into awaiting tart shell, top with olives and bake for about forty minutes until crust looks brown and has begun to pull away from the sides of the tart pan and the filling is set.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pitted Kalamatas top this savory SPinach and Mushroom Tart

I just learned that I have high cholesterol- I do love cheese and butter and eggs and bacon... I think I could live quite happily (if not quite as long) on a diet of breakfast food and macaroni and cheese. 

But I also love my leafy greens (really! thanks Dad!) and avocados and garlic and ginger and onions and spicy peppers- in fact I love almost everything on the heart healthy diet- except for nuts but they don’t love me either so we’re square. 

Why did I resist?

Two weeks in and I feel great (though that mention of Mac and Cheese has got me yearning). I’m still eating things I like all I’ve done is flip the ratios around, add a salad course. Even if six months from now the medical community changes its mind yet again and decided that there is some other X factor that causes heart disease I’d still make this tart again, only this time with Kale!