Fun fun fun! The other day I decided to take a whole evening to cook. Not go to the gym, not clean, not get ahead on work for the next day… just cook. I got to use new cookware and new recipes, and everything turned out wonderfully! Enjoy!
Brian’s mother Diane found the Dutch oven (right) in a hole-in-the-wall shop in Baltimore and bought me one for a gift. I purchased my first and only piece of Le Creuset ware (left) on Rue La La, my daily temptress.
Skillet Cajun Spiced Flounder with Tomatoes (from SkinnyTaste)
Flounder fillets (I used 2 large, 8 oz. pieces of fish – any other flaky white fish would do as well)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, diced
5-6 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
Approx. 1 tbsp. cajun seasoning (I made my own: paprika, cayenne, oregano, garlic powder and S+P)
Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet large enough to hold all the fish comfortably. I got to use my new Dutch oven!!! Cook the garlic and onion for a few minutes until soft and fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, peppers and spices and saute until the tomatoes and peppers begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
Next, add the fish fillets and submerge in the sauce as completely as you can.
Let the fish simmer for 12-15 minutes until done. It will easily flake with a fork.
Enjoy! Here’s the original recipe from SkinnyTaste.com.
Macaroni and Cheese (from What to Cook and How to Cook It by Jane Hornby)
I was SO excited to make this. I’d been staring at the recipe in the cookbooks for over a year and decided it was high time to give in.
1 medium-sized onion
1 bay leaf
3 cups milk (I used 2 cups whole and 1 cup 2%)
1 tsp salt
12 oz macaroni (any tube-shaped pasta will work fine)
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
scant 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
7 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
fresh nutmeg (optional)
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the macaroni. While the water heats up, add the milk, the onion (roughly chopped) and the bay leaf to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium hit until little bubbles just start to form (see photo). Remove from the heat and let sit and infuse for 10 minutes or more.
Add the salt to the pasta water and then the macaroni. Return to a boil and cook until almost done (8 minutes or so) then drain, reserving about a cup of pasta water.
Once the milk has infused, remove the onion and bay leaf with a slotted spoon discard. Then stir the butter and flour into the milk and cook over medium-high heat, stirring with a whisk until sauce has thickened (the cookbook says 5 minutes, it only took me about 3).
Preheat the oven to 350. Add the mustard, nutmeg (if using, which I did… yay Penzey Spices) and about two-thirds of each of the cheeses to the sauce. Stir well and season to taste. If the pasta has stuck together, add a bit of cooking water to loosen, then pour the pasta and sauce into the baking dish, stirring well.
Sprinkle the remaining cheeses over top and add the tomato slices. Top with a bit more salt and pepper and then bake for about 30 minutes.