Chorizo Corn Mac & Cheese

Ok, I would never recommend having this every day, but it is a SERIOUS indulgence.
One that you should definitely make, eat, and ponder one when will be the glorious next moment you’ll get to have it again!

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CHORIZO CORN MAC & CHEESE

  • 3/4 lb. of your choice of tube pasta (I prefer to use Cellentani … I love the long curls and texture!)
  • 1 lb. chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8-tbsp (1 stick) of butter
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 lb. extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 3 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut off cob
  • chopped cilantro (optional, but I feel it rounds it out and gives a lil boost)
  • Kosher salt

 

  1. Set up a large pot, filled halfway with water with a handful of salt and a heaping spoonful of olive oil, over a high heat, in preparation for cooking the pasta.
  2. Lightly coat the bottom of a dutch oven (about 5-qt.) or large saucepan with olive oil for about 3-minutes.
  3. Once heated, put in your chorizo sausage to cook until browned, but still tender. Move onto a plate lined with paper towels, and set aside. Turn off the heat, and drain out the excess grease from the pot.
  4. Once your water in your pasta pot comes to a boil, drop in your pasta, and have it cook for about 5-minutes, or until al dente. (don’t worry if it’s not tender enough, it will continue cooking in the cheese sauce) ** take a cup and reserve some of the pasta water before draining!
    Drain the pasta, and set it aside.
  5. Turn the heat back on to medium, and then melt the butter. Let it heat for approximately 3-minutes.
  6. Once heated, drop in your chopped onion and garlic, and have them cook until they are tender and translucent (a little brown caramelization certainly doesn’t hurt either.) Then, put in the tablespoons of flour and mix it into the butter as well, making sure it is completely combined to remove the raw flour taste.
  7. ** A tip before using your milk, let it sit out for about 10-15 minutes before using, so it isn’t too cold.
    Gradually add in your milk, little by little, combining it with the flour. (it will become pasty, but don’t fret, just keep adding milk and stirring until it is all completely combined.) Then, add in your spices – mustard powder, white pepper, and a pinch of Kosher salt, along with some black pepper. Stir and combine all ingredients together.
    Let the mixture heat up until it is bubbling on the edges (but not boiling) then, lower the heat to a medium-low temperature.
  8. Handful by handful, add in your shredded cheeses, stirring each time to make sure it’s fully combined with the sauce (if you add all in one go, it will become one giant, gooey lump!)
  9. Once the cheese sauce is ready, gradually add in the pasta, stirring to make sure all of it is immersed in the sauce. Drop it a few spoonfuls of pasta water to help it bond well with the sauce.
  10. Put the heat to low, and fold in your cooked chorizo, along with your fresh-cut corn. Once everything is in, and combined, put the lid on your pot, and let it cook together over the low heat for about 10-minutes.
  11. After 10-minutes, stir the mac & cheese up again, so that the corn gets cooked, evenly. Put the lid back on, and let it continue simmering for about 5-7 more minutes.
  12. Garnish with a bit of cilantro (or not!), and EAT!!!

Like I said, the ultimate indulgence.
Pick the day, make, eat, and dream about it until the next time. 😉

Lemon Tea Cakes

I’ll admit to not being the hugest fan of fruit desserts (I’ll almost always choose another), but this one definitely sent me salivating. I kid you not, when they come fresh out of the oven, you CANNOT resist the temptation of popping a few in your mouth. They are light, tasty, and in our house when the husband is going to share, DAIRY-FREE!!!!!!! and still fabulously delicious.

(and ps, still tastes as buttery with the coconut flavor able to enhance the lemon flavor.) Top it off with a little lemon juice & powdered sugar, a la fresh crepes off the street in Paris, and the moisture from a raspberry … you won’t be sorry!
A little cake to go along with your tea.

PS – to my girl, Rachel Khoo, raspberries instead of chocolate to lemon pastry.. genius. It brings more spring to your step, literally! Total props to her for this idea.

So without further ado …

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LEMON TEA CAKES

  • zest of 2 lemons (save 1 lemon for later)
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil (melted) + 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • Confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)
  • fresh raspberries (optional, but oh-so-good…)
  1. Combine your dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt, in a mixing bowl. Add in your lemon zest, and mix together lightly, with a rubber spatula.
  2. In another mixing bowl, crack in the eggs, add in the sugar, and get ready to WHISK! (of course, you can just have your stand or hand mixer do this too, on a medium-high speed. But if not, exercise that arm strength!)
    Continue whisking, until the sugar is completely combined and the eggs become a pale, smooth mixture that expands, nearly doubling in size.
  3. In a small bowl, combine your wet ingredients – melted coconut and olive oils, along with the vanilla and honey, and combine together using a fork. Then, add the wet mixture to your eggs and beat them together.
  4. Gently fold in your dry ingredients to your egg mixture with a rubber spatula (do not mix, FOLD, as you worked hard to fluff up those eggs! and will take out the air in them if you mix) When it’s completely combined, cover the bowl in plastic wrap (or you can do what I do with a small fridge, pour / spoon it into a Ziploc bag and seal) and leave it to chill in the refrigerator overnight, or at the very least, an hour.
  5. When time’s up, preheat your oven to 375-degrees F.
  6. Grease and flour a 12-count cupcake tin, shaking out the excess flour (I use a square-cakes tin, but a regular one works just fine!) Put a heaping spoonful of the lemon mixture (or if you want to be exact, about 3 or 4 tablespoons) into each cup, pressing a raspberry into each one’s center.
  7. Put the prepared tin in the oven, and bake the cakes for about 10-minutes, or until you prick one with a toothpick and it comes out clean.
  8. When the cakes are done, take them out from the oven to cool for about 10-minutes, then remove them each, carefully, to a cooling rack over a tray or paper towels.
  9. Once on the rack, slice and squeeze the juice of one of your zested lemons over all of the cakes.
  10. Dust the cakes lightly with confectioners’ sugar, using a hand sifter (or however you’d like.)
  11. EAT!!! (they’re so delicious when they’re warm.)

Pour yourself a cup of hot tea, and enjoy them.
I challenge you to eat just one!

CC’s Jambalaya

I had the pleasure of finally visiting New Orleans a few months ago, to help one of my best friends celebrate her impending nuptials. A happy time, indeed!

I must say, I fell in complete love with the city of New Orleans for SO many reasons, but one of them being truly: JAMBALAYA.

What is there not to love about a good dishful of jambalaya? full of flavor, a kick here and there of a wonderful hand of spices, and the enjoyment of everything great in one place. And the perfect way to bring everyone around one big dish!

In the end, everyone (and I mean, EVERYONE)has their own way of making it. I had the pleasure of teaching this recipe to a few folks (two young ones whom had New Orleans lineage, talk about nerve-wracking to make it memorable!), and each time it was the leftovers that perhaps made the bigger impact. Definitely a loving dish that goes a long way! And here is how I make it:

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CC’s JAMBALAYA

  • 1 c. uncooked long grain white rice (I used Texmati), rinsed
  • 1/4 lb of bacon, sliced
  • 3/4 celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 7 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I use yellow to have less acid)
  • 1 lb. Andouille sausage, diced
  • 1 2-lb rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 lb. shrimp, shelled & deveined
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 2 c. crushed tomatoes (16 oz.)
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or however much heat you prefer!)
  • 1 bunch of green scallions, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  1. In a large dutch oven (at least 5-quarts) over a medium-high heat, lightly coating the bottom of the pot with olive oil. until it is hot, then reduce the heat to moderate. Let it heat for about 3-minutes.
  2. Once the oil is heated, gently put in the cut bacon with the andouille sausages, cooking them down until they are browned but still tender. Remove the bacon and sausage from the oil and onto a plate, using a spider spatula, and set aside for later use.
  3. Add your chopped onions, celery, and peppers to the pot and allow them to cook together for about 7-10 minutes, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom with a wooden spatula. Stir in the garlic, and continue cooking your vegetables for about 3-minutes. (do a pattern of stirring around the vegetables ever-so-often just to make sure they don’t burn, but also to ensure they all cook evenly.)
  4. Add the rice, and stir it all around so it becomes fully combined with the vegetables.
  5. Then, add in your spices and seasonings: smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, a pinch of Kosher salt, and a few dashes of black pepper. Stir to combine with the rice and vegetables.
  6. Once everything is combined, add in your crushed tomatoes and chicken stock, continuing to stir everything together. Raise the heat to high, and let the liquid come to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a medium-low, close the lid onto the dutch oven, and let everything cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Once time has passed, remove the lid off the pot, and add in the shrimp (season with a little Kosher salt beforehand, if you’d like) your cooked sausage and bacon, and your shredded chicken. Fold the meat in carefully, keeping the heat on low under the pot, placing the lid back on, and letting everything continue to cook in the hot covered pot for an additional 10-minutes.
  8. Remove the lid, add your sliced scallions on top for garnish, sprinkle with a bit Kosher salt and black pepper, and for goodness sakes, ENJOY IT!!!

And yes… it is even BETTER the next day!

Pasta Aglio E Olio

 

When in doubt to prep a meal that won’t steam up you nor your kitchen, a no-fuss meal that we love is Pasta Aglio E Olio: pasta, olive oil, garlic, a lil touch of parsley and parmesan cheese (but works very well without it too!)

To get it to the flavor I love, I usually add a touch of white wine to help bring out the garlic in the sauce a bit more. The simplest of ingredients definitely make for a dish that won’t be taxing on you, your wallet, or your time. It earns its stripes all on its own, with the simplest of ingredients.

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PASTA AGLIO E OLIO

  • 1 lb. spaghetti (I like to use thick-cut but regular will do. Mixing in spinach noodles are also great)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 7 garlic cloves, (4 sliced thin, 3 minced)
  • 1/4 c. white wine
  • 1/2 c. pasta water (reserve it after spaghetti cooks)
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Fill up a large pot with water about halfway, seasoning the water with a small handful of salt and a two tablespoons of olive oil. Pot on the stove, and bring the water to a boil.
  2. Put in the  spaghetti to cook, according to the directions on the package for al dente texture.
  3. Meanwhile, pour your 1/3 cup of olive oil in a saute’ or sauce pan big enough to hold the pasta. Put all of the garlic into the cold olive oil and turn the heat to a medium low (this will help slowly infuse the flavors into the oil.) Stir after every minute. After about 3 or 4 minutes (or when the garlic starts turning golden brown) turn the heat up to medium, and add in your white wine, scraping the bottom for any bits of garlic that might have gotten stuck. Add in a pinch of salt, and let it continue cooking for another 3-minutes.
  4. Back to the pasta. Once the pasta’s done cooking, turn off the heat, reserve your 1/2 c. pasta water (use a ladle to avoid burning yourself.) * PS –  After gathering your pasta water, you could choose to drain your pasta or, using tongs, extract the pasta from the hot water and add the noodles directly into your garlic olive oil sauce in the pan. 
  5. Gradually add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss with tongs.
  6. Carefully add the reserved pasta water to the garlic and oil sauce, and let it cook for another minute. Lower the heat, and continue tossing until the sauce has been absorbed up by the pasta (about 3-5 minutes.)
  7. Turn off the heat, add in the Kosher salt, black pepper, chopped parsley (and Parmesan if you choose to have it.) and toss together until it’s evenly distributed. Let it stand and cool for about 5-minutes.
  8. Serve up, and enjoy.