Saucepan Macaroni and Cheese

Kosher salt for boiling pasta, plus ½ tsp. for seasoning
1 lb. dried macaroni elbows, shells, or penne
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. flour or cornstarch
3 c. milk
⅛ tsp. grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. prepared Coleman’s mustard
8 oz. cheddar cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp. Parmesan-Reggiano, freshly grated
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta to al dente, and drain in a colander; set aside.

Melt butter in the pasta pot over low heat; add the flour or cornstarch and whisk for one minute, until the mixture bubbles.   Raise the temperature to medium and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to blend.  Add the nutmeg and bay leaf and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly.  Turn the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for about 10 minutes; the sauce should thicken.

Remove the pan from the heat and discard the bay leaf.  Stir in the mustard, then add the drained pasta and grated cheeses.  Return to very low heat and stir to melt the cheese.  Season as needed with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

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Roast Tomato Soup

12 large tomatoes, halved
1 head garlic, whole and unpeeled
2 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
3 c. chicken stock
2-3 tsp. sugar or equivalent in sugar substitute

Preheat the oven to 180º.  Place the tomatoes and garlic on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 40 minutes or until very soft; allow to cool slightly.  Squeeze the garlic from the skin and process in a blender with the tomatoes until smooth.  Cook the tomato mixture, stock and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Serve hot.

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Microwaved Fish and Asparagus with Tarragon Mustard Sauce

10 asparagus spears
2 tbsp. sour cream
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
¼ tsp. dried tarragon
½ tsp. Dijon or other spicy mustard
12 oz. fish fillets – whiting, tilapia, sole, or any other mild white fish

Snap the asparagus spears; place in a large glass dish, add 1 tbsp. water and cover; microwave on high for 3 minutes.

While the asparagus is microwaving, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, tarragon, and mustard.

Remove the asparagus from the microwave; lift from the dish and set aside.  Place the fish in the dish and spread 2 tbsp. of the sour cream mixture over them.  Cover and microwave for 3-4 minutes on high.  Arrange the asparagus on top of the fish and microwave, covered, for another 1-2 minutes on high.

Place the fish and asparagus on serving plates; top with the reserved sauce and serve.

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Slow-baked Potatoes

4 baking potatoes, well scrubbed but not dried

Prick potatoes with a fork and wrap them individually in aluminum foil.  Place the wrapped potatoes in a slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until soft.

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Chicken Seasoning

3 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. black pepper

Combine ingredients thoroughly, and store in a shaker.  Sprinkle over chicken before roasting, and use at the table for seasoning.

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Creamy Spring Vegetable Soup

40 g. butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour or cornmeal
2 c. milk
2 c. chicken stock
2 c. cream
2 c. chopped broccoli florets
3 zucchini, finely chopped
2 c. shelled fresh peas
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped
¼ c. finely grated parmesan cheese
⅓ c. chopped parsley
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour or cornstarch and stir for one minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, stock and cream.  Return to heat and stir until the mixture boils and thickens, around 3 minutes.  Add the vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in the parmesan cheese and parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with croutons.

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Chocolate Pavlova

For the meringue:

4 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ c. dark brown sugar
¾ c. superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

Dark chocolate cream:

4 large egg yolks
¼ c. sugar
½ c. plus tbsp. heavy cream
½ c. whole milk
¼ tsp. coarse salt
8 oz. dark chocolate (70% cacao), finely chopped

Milk chocolate curls:

4 oz. milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

Make the meringue:  Preheat oven to 300º; line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Draw an 8-inch circle on the parchment, then flip.  Mix egg whites, sugars, and salt in a mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until sugars dissolve and mixture is warm, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, and whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes; beat in vanilla.  Sift cocoa powder over meringue and fold until barely any streaks remain.  Spread meringue onto the parchment, using the circle as a guide (meringue will spread during baking).  Bake until dry to the touch, about 1 hour; let cool on wire rack.

Make the dark chocolate cream: Prepare an ice water bath.  Whisk egg yolks and 2 tbsp. sugar in a medium bowl.  Bring cream, milk, salt and remaining sugar to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Pour a third of the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking until combined.  Pour yolk mixture into pan with hot cream.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 6-7 minutes.  Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.  Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate and whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.  Strain through a sieve into a medium bowl, then set in an ice-water bath, stirring often, until cold.

Make milk chocolate curls: Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally.  Spread evenly onto an upside-down rimmed baking sheet; refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.  Using a sturdy metal spatula, scrape chocolate at a 45-degree angle to form curls.

To assemble pavlova:  Spread dark chocolate cream evenly in the center of the meringue, leaving a ½ inch border from the edge.  Spread whipped cream over chocolate cream, if desired.  Garnish with chocolate curls and serve immediately.


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