Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bacon and broccoli mac and cheese

The Kitchen Witch is SO happy fall is here!  Food is always better in the fall; slow braises, oven baked casseroles, yes, this is when comfort food reigns king.  Speaking of comfort food, did you read the title of this one?  Bacon mac & cheese??  Yes, I'm serious.  And dude, it's goooooood!!  There's an unholy amount of cheese in this recipe, which only compliments the pound of bacon that's in it.  I said it was comfort food.  Not healthy food!

The smokey bacon enhances the sharp cheddar, Parmesan adds it's strong flavors as background support, cream cheese makes it velvety smooth, feta adds bites of sharp salty goodness.  Broccoli is only made better by cheese so it's a natural in this dish.  The bacon makes a return appearance in the crumb topping which is delicately herbed and provides a nice crunch to the soft texture of pasta in cheese sauce.

Bacon and broccoli mac and cheese
makes about 6 dinner size portions, 10-12 side dish size portions
1 package bacon, sliced into small pieces, cooked crisp, reserve fat
1 head broccoli florettes cut into very small pieces
1-2 T fine minced onions
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c feta cheese
4 cups milk
1/4 c reserved bacon fat
1/2 c flour
1 lb shell pasta cooked al dente (use your favorite shape!)
3 slices bread OR1/2 sleeve butter crackers, crushed to crumbs
3/4 t thyme
pinch paprika
kosher salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cook bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan and set aside.  Reserve about 1/4 c bacon bits for topping.

In the bacon fat sautee the onions until they start to brown and caramelize, about 2 minutes.  When onions are at desired brownness add the  flour and whisk to incorporate.  Stir flour roux over medium to medium high heat until slightly browned and toasty smelling.  Slowly whisk in the milk, sauce may clump at first, keep whisking and slowly adding milk, it'll work itself out.  Bring sauce to a simmer, cook for 2-3 minutes stirring very frequently to avoid scorch spots.

Remove from heat, add the cheddar, cream and parmesan cheeses, stirring until melted.

While cheese sauce is cooking cook pasta.  When there's about 4 minutes left in the cooking add the broccoli to the pasta water.  Cook pasta according to manufactures instruction until pasta is al dente.  Drain well and add cooked pasta and broccoli to the cheese sauce, stir well then add feta cheese and bacon, mix to combine.

Pour into a sprayed casserole dish.  This will really fill up the dish so I'd recommend putting the dish on a baking sheet to catch any spill overs.

Make crumb topping by combining the crackers or bread with the thyme, paprika, a pinch of salt & pepper in the work bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until you have medium size crumbs.  Add the reserved bacon bits, pulse a few more times to chop bacon & distribute the bacon's fat to the crumbs.

Top the casserole with bacon crumbs and bake for 20-30 min or until crumbs are toasted and cheese is bubbling on the sides.

Nutrition Facts calculated at SparkPeople recipe calculator 6 meal size servings Amount Per Serving Calories 1,013.2 Total Fat 53.5 g Saturated Fat 30.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat 3.1 g Monounsaturated Fat 17.0 g Cholesterol 174.6 mg Sodium 1,620.4 mg Potassium 851.2 mg Total Carbohydrate 87.5 g Dietary Fiber 5.2 g Sugars 7.7 g Protein 47.5 g

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese bread

Earlier this summer the Witch found this pin on Pintrest.  You all know Pintrest, right?  It's the latest & greatest in social media.  Anyway, it was about 100F outside when I found this bread.  It took all my will power NOT to make it then.  It looked SO good, I had a can of pumpkin in my pantry & everything.  However, I resisted.  Even an avid pumpkin lover like the Kitchen Witch can't justify turning on the oven and making pumpkin bread when it's 100F outside.  No, a bread that's earthy and spicy like that needs fall.  It requires cool weather, maybe even some rain.  Am I the only one who has specific scenarios about weather & what you should be eating?  I'm strange, what can I say!  Imagine my delight when in the 2nd week of September I got my weather wish!  It was cold, 50 was the high of the day, and it rained.  Oh boy did it rain!  I had to make the pumpkin cream cheese bread, the weather won't get more perfect for it!  So I did.  And it was delicious, perfection with a cup of coffee on that dreary afternoon.

My cream cheese layer didn't stay on top like it did for An Edible Mosaic, but she also made hers into 3 demi loaves.  I don't have demi loaf pans so I made one regular sized one.  The cream cheese sunk into more of a tunnel in my bread, which was pretty darn delicious, like a cheese danish surrounded by pumpkin bread.  Mmmm!  When you test this bread for doneness don't go for the center, you're likely to hit a cream cheese pocket.  Rather, go closer to the edge where the bread layer lies.  The bread is spiced and earthy and super moist with out a ton of oil, something that is rare in quick breads.  I made extra pumpkin batter (the recipe easily doubles, and really who wants 1/2 a can of pumpkin kicking around the fridge?) and baked them into muffins with chocolate chips.  They turned out fantastically as well.  This is my new go to pumpkin bread recipe for sure!  Thank you to An Edible Mosaic and Pintrest for leading me to this bread.  Now go make some for yourself!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese bread
source:  An Edible Mosaic
makes 1 loaf, approx 8 servings per loaf

Cream cheese batter:
8 oz cream cheese at room temp
1 egg at room temp
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract

Pumpkin bread batter:
3/4 c brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 c pumpkin puree (about 1/2 a can)
2 T canola oil
1 t  vanilla extract
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 t baking powder (aluminum free preferably)
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg if using preground.  If grinding fresh nutmeg reduce the amount to approx 1/8t.
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t ground cloves

Make the cream cheese batter first by mixing the ingredients together with a mixer until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.

Make the pumpkin batter next by combining the brown sugar, oil and eggs together.  Mix until lightened in color.  Add vanilla and pumpkin and mix until incorporated.

Combine the dry ingredients together and slowly add to the pumpkin mix in the bowl.  Stir until just barely combined.

Spray a loaf pan with non stick spray and line with parchment to make a sling.  Pour the pumpkin batter into the pan and top with the cream cheese batter.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 45 minutes or until the edges are golden browned and it tests clean with a tooth pick.  Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator 8 Servings per loaf Amount Per Serving Calories 327.7 Total Fat 15.5 g Saturated Fat 7.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g Monounsaturated Fat 5.6 g Cholesterol 100.6 mg Sodium 380.9 mg Potassium 199.9 mg Total Carbohydrate 49.0 g Dietary Fiber 1.2 g Sugars 32.0 g Protein 6.7 g

Friday, September 14, 2012

Roasted garlic and tomato zucchini galette

The Kitchen Witch hasn't done a galette in a while.  It's been too long, really.  One bite of this delicious pie and I remembered why it is that I adore a galette so much.  Rich.  Flavorful.  Simple yet bold.  It's just so darn good!!  This particular galette has a cream cheese base, flavored with roasted garlic and is topped with vine ripe tomatoes and zucchini.  I reduced balsamic vinegar to a thick syrup and drizzled it on top, crowing the glorious thing with a chiffionade of basil.  It was amazing!

The balsamic reduction really hit some amazing notes, the sourness of the vinegar is toned down by reducing, bringing out a lot of sweetness.  Yet enough of the tart vinegar remains to help cut through the rich buttery crust and cheesy filling.  And the deep color of the balsamic syrup was very pretty against the golden crust, red tomatoes and green zucchini.  Fresh basil adds the much needed herbal addition as well as burst of fresh green color.

Roasted garlic and tomato zucchini galette 
makes 8 slices
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c butter cut into cubes
1 t table salt or 1.5 t kosher salt
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 c ice cold water
juice of 1/2 lemon (2T)
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
2 tomatoes
kosher salt & pepper to taste
4 cloves roasted garlic
3 T grated parmigiana cheese
1 egg yolk
approx 1/2 c balsamic vinegar, reduced to2-3T syrup
10 leaves basil chiffionade

Make galette dough
Combine the flour, salt and cubed butter in a bowl.  Place bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill ingredients.  Mix the sour cream, lemon juice and ice water together in a separate bowl.  In the work bowl of a food processor add the flour & butter.  Pulse 5 times - using 1 second bursts of power.  Add the liquid and pulse 5 more times.  Pour dough out onto plastic wrap, form into a round, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum.

Prepare the cheese mixture next.  In the work bowl of a stand mixer add the cream cheese,2T  parmigiana cheese, garlic cloves and a pinch of S&P.  Beat with flat beater for about 2 minutes until cheese is light and fluffy and the garlic has mashed into the cheese.

Slice the tomatoes and zucchini very thin.

Roll the galette dough out to a 14 inch round (approx).  Spread the cream cheese mixture in the center, leaving about 3 inches of dough on the edges.  Layer the zucchini and tomatoes in a fan pattern around the galette.  Fold the dough edges up and over, covering some of the tomatoes and zucchini.  Brush crust edges with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining 1T parmigiana cheese.  Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 45-60 minutes, until the sides are browned and crisp.

While galette bakes reduce the balsamic vinegar by boiling it until it reduces by half.  The syrup will thicken as it cools.

After gallette is baked chop the basil.  Drizzle the balsamic syrup on top of the galette and top with basil chiffionade.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator 8 Servings, 1 slice each Amount Per Serving Calories 357.7 Total Fat 26.1 g Saturated Fat 16.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g Monounsaturated Fat 6.8 g Cholesterol 96.0 mg Sodium 467.7 mg Potassium 212.1 mg Total Carbohydrate 24.2 g Dietary Fiber 1.3 g Sugars 0.6 g Protein 7.8 g
Related Posts with Thumbnails