Mushroom Mac and Cheese Wellingtons

Posted by Brian David-Marshall | Food, Uncategorized

Sometimes you get an idea stuck in your head and have no idea how it got lodged there in the first place. That happened to me recently when I found myself thinking about “macaroni and cheese wellingtons” and no idea what sparked the thought. I recently made individual beef wellingtons so that does explain how there came to be an extra box of puff pastry in my freezer but still fails to explain the impulse to stuff it with mac and cheese.

So I made them the other day for a Sunday dinner and they turned out to be something I am going to be asked to make again at Thanksgiving — and at random craving intervals as dictated by my aforementioned better half. I leaned heavily into mushrooms to connect them to the idea of the duxelle that is often found in Wellingtons but you can go whatever way you want with the filling.

Ingredients:

2 pound of penne pasta (you will have leftover mac and cheese and you will be happy about it.)

3 pounds of your favorite mushrooms (I used cremini and shiitake for this)
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
several sprigs of fresh thyme
Oil for sautéing

1 quart of milk
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of AP flour
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper

5 or 6 cups of freshly grated cheese (I used emmental and parmesan for mine)

1 package of thawed puff pastry
1 egg
1 tablespoon of water
salt and pepper

How to make it:

Cook the pasta in heavily salted water to a little short of al dente, tougher than you would serve it, since it is going to cook again in the oven later. I would say 5-6 minutes is a good estimate. drain and set aside.

Slice and sautee your mushrooms with some minced garlic and fresh thyme. No matter how much you have in the way of fresh muhrooms it is going to feel like you want more when they are cooked down. You can definitely up the mushroom ratio. Toss with cooked pasta and set aside.

Begin heating one quart of milk over low heat. Do not let it come to a boil. You just want it warmed through so you are not adding cold milk to the roux. In another saucepan melt six ounces of butter over medium heat and add the 1/2 cup of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. You want the flour to cook in the butter but not brown. When it starts to bubble it is ready for the milk. Throw in the nutmeg and cayenne and then add the milk while whisking. Cook until the mixture has thickened for two to three minutes. Remove from the heat and add the shredded cheese and stir until it melted in. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Butter the sides and bottom of a casserole dish with the remaining butter. Toss the macaroni and murshroom mixture with the cheese sauce and pour that into the baking dish. Refrigerate for at least four hours until the dish has firmed up and you can slice it into bricks. I actually divided my mac and cheese over two baking dishes so I could use one up for the wellingtons and froze the larger remaining one for Thanksgiving (when it may just be converted into Wellingtons again). You want the bricks to be around the size of a thick filet mignon — maybe 3 inches wide, 5 inches long and 2-3 inches thick.

Roll out your thawed puff pastry (you really want to look for one that is just made with butter and not other shortenings. I love Dufour Classic Puff Pastry which is always on hand at Whole Foods and online as well as a couple of other local markets) and slice it into four even sections. On each section diagonally place a brick of the mac and cheese. Brush the edges of the pastty with an egg beaten with one tablespoon of water to act as the glue. Fold up the corners to completley envelop the brick. There should be no gaps for cheesey goodness to escape during cooking.

Place the sealed bricks on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and brush the exterior with the remaining egg wash. I then added some flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper to the top. Set your oven to 400 degrees and chill the pastries in the refrigerator until it comes to temperature. You want the pastry to be cold and it will have warmed up some in the handling.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until gold brown and dry to the touch. I served mine with a fresh arugula salad.

Breakfast Pasta Achieved

Posted by Brian David-Marshall | Food, Uncategorized
Breakfast Pasta Achieved!

A couple of days ago I found myself in the throes of an idea. One Sunday later I managed to extricate myself through brunchery.

Ingredients:

1 package of orzo pasta
4 oz of diced pancetta
1/2 large sweet onion diced
1 1/4 quart chicken stock
3 or 4 Calabrian chiles minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
large handful of Italian parsley chopped
6 large eggs
4 tbs butter
Optional:
Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup pine nuts
More parmesan

Preheat oven to 375

Simmer chicken stock over medium heat (I added parmesan rinds to mine) and reserve warm. In a deep saute pan crisp up the pancetta over medium-high heat. Remove pancetta and reserve on a paper towel lined plate. Add diced onion to pancetta fat, (don’t forget to salt and pepper) and sautee until onion is transcluscent. Add the orzo to pan and toast the pasta, keeping it moving with wooden spoon, until it smells slightly nutty. Begin adding the warm chicken stock in three or four batches, only adding more as the previous broth has been absorbed into the pasta. Continue adding broth until the pasta is slightly slightly chewier than al dente. Remove from heat and stir in butter, pancetta, chiles, parmesan, and parsely.

Butter a casserole dish and add the orzo mixture. Using the bottom of a ladle make six depressions in the orzo and break an egg into each divot. Make sure to salt and pepper each egg. Bake in the over for 15 minutes or until egg white has gotten opaque but the yolks are still runny.

Individual version heading into the oven…

To serve use a large spoon to scoop gently under each egg. You can also make these in indivudual baking dishes. If you do, don’t forget that the dishes will be scaldingly hot when you serve.

Optional:

I mixed toasted pine nuts and breadcrumbs with some chopped parsely and grated parmesan and topped the perimeter of each egg once it was out of the oven.

I love a chocolate cookie but was frustrated when I could not find a recipe for one that captured the experience of eating good, dark chocolate. It was this frustration that actually spurred my (relatively) recent interest in baking. I tinkered around with several different recipes I found, mixed and matched elements I liked and disliked from each and eventually arrived at Dark Chocolate Rituals which were one of the first recipes I shared on this site. I have made the recipe many times and have occasionally experimented with other versions that, instead of coffee beans, incorporate orange zest and dried cherries. It was good but the flavor profile was too close to my Sunburst cookies. I loved the combination of dark chocolate and cherries but wanted something else to bridge those two flavors.

I have recently started using gochujang — a fruity and spicy, fermented Korean chili paste — in my ever expanding arsenal of flavors. While rummaging through the refrigerator for stuff to empty into a fritter I did a taste spoon to see how it would go with the Mediterranean flavors in my egg dish (the answer was “not so well” but I fortunately had a jar of Calabrian chilies). I could not get the flavor out of my head and began to imagine how it would taste with chocolate and then with cherries. I fooled around with the recipe a little and just prior to Grand Prix Atlanta I had a batch of cookies that exceeded my expectations and is now my favorite chocolate cookie in my repertoire.

Molten Pinnacles

    Ingredients

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Dark Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 oz dark chocolate for melting (I used a 76% chocolate for this batch)
5 oz dark chocolate chunks for even more melting
1 stick unsalted butter (grass-fed butter really makes a difference)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons gochujang chili paste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup dried unsweetened cherries. I used bing cherries for my recipe.


Time to make the cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt 5 oz. of chocolate with one stick of butter in a double boiler or small metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the gochujang as the mixture melts and becomes smooth (I used an immersion blender to make sure it evenly dispersed through the mixture. Meanwhile add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Whisk together and set aside. You also want to halve your cherries.

Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of your mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate mixture and combine. With speed turned down to low add the flour mixture in stages until it is all incorporated. Fold in the chopped dried cherries at the end and mix until they are just distributed through the dough.

Scoop the batter onto parchment or Silpat lined baking sheets with a small ice cream scoop. Leave about 2 inches between each cookie. Gently flatten each cookie into a disc. Bake for 15 minutes and transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. While the cookies are cooling you can temper the remaining chocolate to put on top of them. I like to reserve a couple squares of chocolate and put the rest in a glass bowl and melt in the microwave on half power. I go in short bursts until the chocolate is mostly melted. I then stir it until it melted smooth. I add the reserved pieces of chocolate and stir them in as well until melted — this “reminds” the chocolate of what it is supposed to be like when it cools. I then drizzle the chocolate over the cookies in a criss-cross pattern and let them sit until the chocolate has hardened. Then transfer them to an airtight container.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen spicy cookies.

In the latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming we made four recipes to celebrate the release of my new deckbuilding game Emergents: Genesis. Each of the recipes reflected a different class of superpower in that universe. We are presenting those recipes here each day for easy reference. If you want to learn more about the game you can do so here. You can order the game online or urge your local game store to place an order with ACD Distribution.

In the world of Emergents: Genesis the acolytes are the most mysterious class of all the powered beings. Theirs is a mastery of the mental and martial arts. Mentored by The Abyss, Bookworm is one of his most promising young students. There is no knowledge that he cannot absorb from the written word and can often be found in the catacombs beneath The Phaeton Project poring over arcane texts.

Bookworm
Should the Bookworm want to learn anything about baking, I could recommend no better text to him than any cookbook by Christina Tosi of Momofuku and Milk Bar fame. Her corn cookies are one of the most luscious treats I have ever tasted. I took the basics of her recipe, which includes finding dehydrated corn powder that I actually just buy at Milk Bar, and added a burst of orange zest and the pop of tart cherries. It makes them into something new and exciting while remaining comfortable and familiar.

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsweetened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup corn flour
2/3 cup dehydrated corn powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large orange zested
1 cup dried tart cherries

Time to make the cookies:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment whip together softened butter and sugar for 2 to 3
minutes. Add in the egg and let the mixer go for 7 or 8 minutes, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as you go. Add in all the dry ingredients and zest and mix until combined. Add in cherries and mix briefly to distribute throughout batter.

Using a 1/3 cup ice cream scoop portion out 12 cookies onto cookie sheets lined with parchment or Silpat baking mat. The cookies will spread out considerably while baking so you can only fit 6 per sheet. Freeze the cookie dough for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 16 to 17 minutes until cookies start to turn golden brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.

IMG_1672

I am making a batch of these when I get back from Barcelona that uses lemon zest and dried blueberries, instead of orange and cherry, for Mike James with whom I had a World Series wager, to honor his KC Royals. I have also made them with an assortment of citrus zests and a mix of berries for a true sunburst flavor.

In the latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming we made four recipes to celebrate the release of my new deckbuilding game Emergents: Genesis. Each of the recipes reflected a different class of superpower in that universe. We are presenting those recipes here each day for easy reference. If you want to learn more about the game you can do so here. You can order the game online or urge your local game store to place an order with ACD Distribution.

Professor Helios is the most famous Firesculptor in the Emergents universe but the class of powers he possesses can extend to manipulation of almost anything. There are emergents who can sculpt steel, ice, or — in my case — pasta.

Firesculptor

This is a recipe that I have recreated from idealized childhood memories of my grandmother’s macaroni pie. It was a dish she would make with leftover pasta, hamhocks from the butcher, and whatever vegetables she had laying around. It remains my favorite food of all time and I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to recreate it over the years. Perhaps the biggest obstacle was never having any leftover pasta.

Ingredients:

1/3 pound pancetta sliced
1 sweet onion sliced thin
1 pound mushrooms sliced thin
Salt and pepper
Thyme
Olive oil
1 1/2 pound of linguine cooked just short of al dente
32 oz container of ricotta cheese
6 whole eggs
2 lemons zested
1 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Time to Sculpt the Pasta:

Cook the pasta, drain, and set aside.

Crisp the pancetta in a pan and set aside. In same pan cook the onions with some salt and pepper until they are soft and set aside with pancetta. Finally, cook the mushrooms in some olive oil in the same pan. Toss all three ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Mix the ricotta cheese with six beaten eggs, 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan cheese, black pepper to taste, lemon zest and thyme. Mix in the onion, pancetta, and mushroom mixture and pasta.

Pour the whole mix into a oiled springform pan with tube insert. Mix remaining Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, 2 tbs olive oil, thyme, and black pepper and sprinkle over the top of the pie. Bake covered with foil in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes until the breadcrumb topping turns brown and crispy.

IMG_9225

Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from springform pan. Cut into wedges and serve with Non-Stop Tomato Sauce. Can be served warm or cold.

In the latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming we made four recipes to celebrate the release of my new deckbuilding game Emergents: Genesis. Each of the recipes reflected a different class of superpower in that universe. We are presenting those recipes here each day for easy reference. If you want to learn more about the game you can do so here. You can order the game online or urge your local game store to place an order with ACD Distribution.

Look…I know I use Grade B maple syrup and lemon zest somewhat compulsively when I cook but trust me when I tell you they are essential to making this quick tomato sauce recipe that is almost too good to be true. I grew up with my grandmother’s sauce that would cook all day long, burbling away on a back burner in a vessel that was half silo/half cookware. I loved it but I also love being able to whip up a quick sauce for pasta and this can be made in under 30 minutes — depending on how fast you are with a knife.

When I was trying to settle on the recipes for this latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming I knew I wanted something that reflected the speed and time manipulation of the Non-Stops. In the world of Emergents: Genesis they are led by Billy Stopless, an irrepressible speedster who would certainly appreciate the double takes that saying you put maple syrup in your tomato sauce earns you.

128_faster_than_the_eye

Ingredients:

1 large onion finely chopped
Several cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of red pepper flake
Salt and black pepper
Olive oil
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
Fresh basil leaves, torn

Time to make the sauce:

Finely chop one whole onion. I generally prefer a sweet Vidalia onion but you can use red onion (pictured above) or a Spanish onion — I have even made it with the white part of scallions in a pinch. Finally chop the peeled cloves and grate the zest of one lemon with a micro planer, careful to avoid zesting too deep and hitting the white pith. Pile that all in the center of a pan and add generous pinch of Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, and the crushed red pepper. Drizzle two tablespoons of good olive oil over the mound and turn on the heat to medium high.

Let the onions and garlic soften and turn translucent — maybe even a little caramelized — before hitting the pan with the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Let that cook down a little and then put the can of tomatoes in. You can cut the tomatoes beforehand — I sometimes just take kitchen scissors and go to work on them inside the can — or you can just mash them up with your spoon or a potato masher. Add a the grade B maple syrup to counterbalance the acid of tomatoes and lemon juice. Let that cook for about 15 minutes. Tear in fresh basil at the end.

In the last episode I made a tomato confit with heirloom tomatoes. I have made this sauce using an equivalent amount of peeled and chopped heirlooms and it is one of my all-time favorite things but it does not possess the pantry-readiness of this version. I always have onions and garlic on hand and I try to have several cans of San Marzanos in the queue at all times.

This is the perfect accompaniment to my grandmother’s macaroni pie but I love it on linguine (or any pasta really).

In the latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming we made four recipes to celebrate the release of my new deckbuilding game Emergents: Genesis. Each of the recipes reflected a different class of superpower in that universe. We are presenting those recipes here each day for easy reference. If you want to learn more about the game you can do so here. You can order the game online or urge your local game store to place an order with ACD Distribution.

The inspiration for this drink was Moxie, the strongest person in the Emergents universe. She calls the students who share her gifts of strength, StrongHarms, and I wanted a drink that packed a punch equal to her skills.

Moxie

Ingredients:

Bourbon
Prosecco
Several sprigs of thyme
Orange pieces
Cherry juice
Bitters
Grade B maple syrup (You can use simple syrup if you prefer)

Time to Mix the Drinks:

One day head put one or two orange pieces and thyme sprigs into large cocktail ice tray. Pour
cherry juice into tray and freeze overnight.

Cherry juice ice cubes

Place one cherry juice ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Add maple syrup and a couple of
dashes of bitters right on the cube. Pour one shot of bourbon over the cube and then add three parts Prosecco. Serve.

For the show I made the drinks individually but you can do this a classic punchbowl drink by following the same ratios. Instead of ice cubes make a larger ice mold using a bundt pan or something similar. You can have a lot of fun with your drinks using fruit juice ice cubes. My wife uses grapefruit or orange juice cubes for vodka drinks and I am looking forward to rum drinks with watermelon ice cubes this summer. They are even great without alcohol; you can add the cherry juice cubes to ginger ale or even plain ‘ol club soda for a lovely mocktail during the holidays.

Kitchen Table Gaming returns with a new episode around BDM’s new game, Emergents: Genesis! Anthony Conta and Matt Ferrando join for good eats and GGs

Emergents: Genesis is a brand new deckbuilding game that combines my two things that have occupied huge swaths of my professional life — comics and gaming. The game is an interactive deckbuilder in which you use a superhero avatar to fight with up to three other players. The game was designed by Anthony Conta around a world of superheroes — called Emergents — created by me. The artists who worked on the images for this game are all professional comics artists who have created mainstream titles in the superhero genre.

You have probably seen our Kickstarter (and might even have supported us). If you missed our Kickstarter but still want to support the game, you can do so at Urban Island Games. If you want to see the game in your local game shop you should tell your retailer to order it from ACD Distribution while supplies last.

This episode of Kitchen Table Gaming is all about Emergents: Genesis. This game features 13 different characters but for today’s episode I have honed in on four of them and made food (or drink) that ties into each of the four classes of powers that those Emergents possess.

I’m joined in this episode by two of the game designers who helped make Emergents: Genesis possible, Matt Ferrando and Anthony Conta. Punches are thrown; punch is drunk!

Check it out:

Check back all week long as I will be posting text versions of each of these recipes here on Fetchland. Enjoy!

Italian Poutine

Italian Poutine

Posted by Brian David-Marshall | Kitchen Table Gaming

Poutine… Italian style? We dress up the french fries favorite “consumed by drunken people” late at night with a classy Kitchen Table Gaming version

The origin of Italian Poutine is pretty similar to that of the Elvis Banana Pudding. Except it takes place across a couple of days instead of decades and across international borders instead of mere blocks.

I was having lunch in Renton on a visit to the Wizards of the Coast offices with former New Yorkers Elaine and Kieren Chase. We were eating at Red House which is easily the best food within a reasonable radius of the offices. There is a tremendous food scene in Seattle but it has not quite made it to Renton. That said Red House is excellent and I always look forward to their polenta fries appetizer. I always think about how to make the food I am eating and it occurred to me that I have rarely, if ever, deep-fried anything. I opened up a mental folder for polenta fries and went about my business.

A couple of days later I was in Vancouver for Pro Tour Magic Origins and it was impossible to not see, hear, smell, or generally think about poutine. Poutine is a dish where French fries are put under the broiler with cheese curds and brown gravy and consumed by drunken people late at night. In Brooklyn growing up we called them disco fries and they could feature cheddar, American, or mozzarella cheese with brown gravy.

I had found my mission for the polenta fries and once I thought about using a tomato confit in place of the gravy I knew I would be making this immediately upon getting into my kitchen. You may not want to go through all the steps I have here and you could certainly use a jarred tomato sauce but you could also forgo the polenta and just make the confit. There is little in this world better than these tomatoes on a wide pasta like a tagliatelle with some pine nuts and shaved Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients

Prepared polenta cut into sticks
Vegetable or canola oil for deep frying

6 medium heirloom tomatoes
10 cloves peeled garlic
Olive oil to cover
Salt

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup crumbled insalata ricotta

Handful fresh torn basil leaves
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

Let’s Make Some “Poutine”

Slice the stem ends off of the tomatoes and make an “X” incision in flesh on bottom. Blanch tomatoes in a pot of boiling salted water and remove after two minutes and shock them in a large bowl of water and ice. When they have cooled peel the skin off and place each tomato sliced side down into a deep oven proof baking dish (you may need additional tomatoes to fill dish). Nestle the garlic cloves down in between tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and cover with olive oil. Cook dish for 2 hours at 250 degrees. Scoop tomatoes and garlic into a bowl and mash into sauce with a fork.

Heat your frying oil to 365 degrees and in small batches fry the polenta sticks until they are a dark golden brown. Transfer to paper towel lined plate and add salt. When all the “fries” are ready arrange them in an oven proof dish and spoon some of the sauce onto them. Top with the mozzarella and insalata. Spoon a little of the tomato oil over the mound of cheese. Place the dish under the broiler and let the cheese get browned and bubbly. Top dish with torn basil and pine nuts and serve in the baking dish.

Elvis Banana Pudding

Elvis Banana Pudding

Posted by Brian David-Marshall | Food, Kitchen Table Gaming

I LOVE Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding. Yes the place is super touristy and is in the regular rotation for the Sex in the City bus tours that infest New York… but that pudding! I have been obsessed with it since the first time I tried it and historically I have never cared much for that desert. I was more than a little shocked when I found out how easy it is to make. If you look on the back of a Nilla Wafers box (an essential component to ANY banana pudding) you will find one that is roughly 1000 times more complicated and not nearly as good.

Many, many years ago I would go to a West Village restaurant called David’s Potbelly and one of the items on their menu was an Elvis Burger. It was a plump, juicy burger topped with a generous dollop of creamy peanut butter, sliced ripe bananas, and some crispy bacon. It was a perfect burger and something of a problem for me at 200 AM after a full day of normal meals to top off with a midnight snack befitting the King himself.

Anyway… Magnolia Bakery is not far from where the ghost of David’s Potbelly haunts my waistline. I was walking by there fully immersed in a pint of creamy non-Elvis’ed banana pudding and it struck by an almost religious vision. I should do unto the pudding as was done unto that burger.

This is the result…

Ingredients

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
Small box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
8 tablespoons of PB2 (dehydrated peanut butter powder)
1 tsp of Kosher salt
6-8 thick slices of bacon
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 cups heavy whipping cream
Box Nilla Wafers
4 sliced bananas

Time to Make the Pudding

In the bowl of a mixer, beat sweetened condensed milk, PB2 and water for about a minute. Add the pudding mix and mix for two to three more minutes. Strain into a smaller bowl to remove lumps of PB2, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight) so the mixture can set up.

Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and lay out strips of bacon and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for around 20 minutes or until bacon is crispy and sugar has caramelized. Allow to cool and reserve bacon for later.

In a large bowl on medium speed, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form — I put my metal mixing bowl and whisk mixer attachment in the freezer for five minutes prior…the cream always whips up very quickly this way. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the pudding mixture until fully combined and no streaks of pudding are visible.

In a large bowl, layer wafers, bananas, and pudding. Ideally, you want three layers but if you go with a larger baking dish you might only have two. Top with a liberal sprinkling of the chopped bacon. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 8 hours before serving. It is actually best about 48 hours after being made.