brown rice macaroni & cheese with love

It’s a hard day of this and that and it was just a weekend of non-stop work so I decide to make a comforting creation that I have depended on for generations, mac ‘n cheese. These days I eat less gluten, or at least try to, I find it hard to be gf full time as I like beer after a long day, I love warm baked bread & I cannot resist Neapolitan style pizza. (((It’s sinful to in my opinion))) However, I found there is a great alternative for pasta, Brown Rice Pasta by Tinkyada. I enjoy all their pastas but find the penne & shells work best for this recipe.  

Serves 6

Preheat oven to 375°.  Use a little olive oil to grease a 8″ square glass or cast iron pan.  

1 Bag Tinkyada Brown Rice Penne or Shells

1 Tbsp Salt

4 TBSP Butter

1 onion, yellow, coarsely chopped 

8 Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced thin

2 Tbsp Gluten Free Flour 

1.5 C Milk (Goat Milk, Sheep’s Milk, or home-made Almond Milk will work, as long as there is no sugar), warmed slightly 

1/2# Cheddar Cheese, grated

2 oz (1/4 C) herb Goat Cheese

4 oz (1/2 C) fresh grated Parmigiano, separated in halves (half is for the top of the casserole) 

Salt & Pepper to taste

Bring 8 Cups of cold water to boil with salt.  Once at a boil, gently add pasta package and set timer for 7 minutes.  You don’t want to fully cook the pasta as you will be baking the macaroni later.  Once ready drain in colander but do no rinse.    

While water comes to boil, chop your onion and warm a cast iron pan or stainless steel saute pan, over medium heat.  Add butter along with 1 TBSP evoo to coat pan.  Stir occasionally & once onion is translucent, add shiitake mushroom with 1/4 tsp salt, cook until mushroom is evenly brown.  

Add the flour and stir for 30 seconds to create a thick paste (roux).  Add warmed milk and stir until a creamy Bechamel sauce appears. Once sauce is thickened add grated cheese in hand fulls and stir to incorporate.  Once all but 1/4 C of Parm is added, add salt & pepper to taste, you can try the pasta at this point, the pasta will be a little more than al dente but you want to taste for salt & pepper. Pour macaroni and cheese into prepared glass or cast iron square dish. 

Top with remaining parmigiano (1/4 Cup) & bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  If you are like me and crave a crispy top layer, set the broiler on high for an additional 3 – 5 minutes (broilers vary greatly).  When broiling things I sometimes sit in front of the oven with the oven door ajar to watch the bubbles and make sure nothing burns.  

Many of my personal chef clients are gluten & cow dairy free.  If that’s your case, easily substitute the cheddar and parmigiano for some goat alternatives (make sure to find a harder goat cheese as the harder cheeses generally add a nice element of salt & complexity).  

Enjoy on a cold & rainy evening or just cause, it’s macaroni and cheese. it’s never bad. Image

mother’s day braised short ribs

my mom had a bottle of some well gifted chocolate balsamic vinegar in the fridge and we thought they’d be a beautiful addition to a braised short ribs recipe i adapted from Alison Ladman’s Balsamic Braised Shortribs from the Seattle Food & Wine Magazine. I changed a few key cooking techniques but the measurements are roughly based on Alison’s recipe. These short ribs are delicious w/ cheesey polenta or creamy mashed potatoes. I chose to pair them w/ some parmigiano smashed potatoes and butter roasted parsnips & carrots.

Chocolate Balsamic Braised Short Ribs

Serves 9

  • 1.5 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 9 bone in short ribs (about 4.5 lbs)
  • 3 leeks (white parts only), halved, washed, rough chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, quartered
  • 3 carrots, peeled & rough chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed, green shoot removed
  • 3/4 teaspoons red crushed pepper
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1.5 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 4.5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chocolate balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1.5 quarts beef stock, preferably home-made w/ gelatin
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 water (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium. Liberally salt your short ribs. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, sear the short ribs for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until well browned. Transfer the short ribs to a plate.
  2. While the short ribs are browning, puree 1/2 the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a paste. add puree to bowl and puree the second 1/2 of the vegetables, strain some of the onion water out of the vegetables. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, (otherwise you will have a huge fat oily layer on top of your short ribs). Coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 12-15 minutes, make sure to watch the pan as it will burn if you walk away. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Add the red pepper flakes, brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the Dijon mustard, rosemary sprigs, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return the short ribs to the pot, then add the beef stock. Bring the mixture up to a low simmer and cover.
  4. Place in the preheated 375 degree oven for 2.25 hours, flipping the ribs half way through the 2.25 hours. remove lid after the 2.25 hours and cook for another 45 mins in the oven to reduce the cooking liquid.
  5. Carefully transfer the meat to a plate. Cover awith foil and a couple kitchen towels to keep warm. Bring the liquid to a low simmer on the stovetop and using an immersion blender carefully blend into a finer consistency. using a wooden spoon, add wine and bring up the heat to let it cook off. If you feel like the sauce could be thinned out a bit add water in 1/4 c increments. taste for salt. 
  6. Add the ribs back to the gravy and serve. The short ribs can be held at a low low simmer for up to an hour, lidded, before serving. serve atop your favorite creamy starchy comfort food.