Sunday, April 7, 2013


I am a lifelong fan of macaroni and cheese, by which I do mean the real stuff, with cream and butter and shocking amounts of shredded cheese of all kinds. I am particularly fond of macaroni and cheese with a kick so smoky hot paprika and chopped pickled jalapeños often make their way into my beautiful old Pyrex casserole dishes.

Unfortunately, as I get older and my body adjusts to no longer being in a raging hyperthyroid state due to Graves' Disease I am no longer able to eat endless amounts of creamy, cheesy deliciousness. Suddenly those recipes calling for pounds of different cheeses just aren't looking so good or sitting so well. In recent months I've been drawn to versions of my favorite meal that, while still comforting and substantial, are likelier to be a bit lighter and contain more vegetables to offset the richness and up the nutrition. And of course thee days I use gluten free pasta. My favorite is a corn-quinoa blend made by Ancient Harvest which is an improvement over wheat-based pasta in terms of protein, fiber, and vitamins.

I'll be sharing a few of my new favorites with you in upcoming posts but I'm starting with this recipe for Pasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Pink Sauce which I found on the Saveur website. The only changes I made were to use gluten free pasta (and next time I would use larger tubes rather than the tiny shells I had on hand) and to substitute half and half for heavy cream. As you can see from the ingredients, this hardly qualifies as spa cuisine, but it does sit more easily in my system than a flour thickened, super cheesy macaroni and the addition of the cauliflower, tomatoes, and chilies bring a good dose of vitamins to the dish. Plus this stuff is great! While the kids weren't sold on it, the adults in the house couldn't get enough. Add a fresh salad and you've got yourself a nice, easy meal full of flavor. I haven't tried it yet but I am guessing this dish would freeze and reheat well and, as the authors recommend baking the pasta in smaller dishes, you could certainly tuck a couple away, well wrapped, in your freezer for a dinner emergency or a friend who could use a meal.

What about you? Are you a mac and cheese lover? Do you have a favorite variation? Do tell!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

School's Out and I'm back

 I am delighted to report that I  just finished a very intense 13 months in a graduate program during which my time was at a premium. A lot of things had to go, including food blogging. To be honest, I didn't do a whole lot of cooking and most of what I made wasn't all that remarkable. The whole purpose of my shiny new M. Ed. is to pick up more teaching hours but my hope is that even with additional work I will once again have time for things like reading for pleasure, taking photos, and blogging (not to mention spending time with family and friends-imagine that!). After months hunched over my desk alone in our chilly basement, it sounds like heaven.

We were invited to brunch this morning and I decided it was time to remake one of my old favorites in gluten free form. I got the recipe for blintz soufflé from an old Internet friend and there are many versions to be found on various Jewish food sites.  The only change I made initially I was to replace the cottage cheese with fresh ricotta which I find a lot easier on my stomach. There's only a cup of flour in the recipe so replacing with gf options seemed safe enough. My usual homemade blend uses corn starch but our host is sensitive to corn, too, so used equal parts brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, and tapioca starch which worked perfectly. 

This dish has all the lovely sweet, creamy flavors of traditional blitzes with a fraction of the fuss. It's a great brunch dish because it bakes for 50 minutes, leaving you plenty of time for other last minute preparations. Served with sour cream and fresh fruit or a lightly sweetened berry sauce, you couldn't ask for a better option on your brunch table.

You'll find the recipe here.