WDA Staff Recipe
WDA Staff Recipes: Kristin’s Spiced Pumpkin Soup
This month’s featured recipe is from our Director of Dairy Curriculum Development/Activation & Training, Kristin. It uses canned milk and greek yogurt as a garnish and features fall’s favorite flavor: pumpkin.
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Mac and Cheese – as American as Apple Pie
Lou’s Food Bar Mac & Cheese
When it comes to comfort food, it seems as if everyone can agree on at least one dish on the list – mac and cheese. Whether you were raised on mom’s homemade version of the dish or a packaged version from a certain blue box, mac and cheese is universally loved, right along with another cheese-laden favorite – the grilled cheese sandwich.
Perhaps its popularity is due to the fact that despite its birth in Italy, mac and cheese has become as American as apple pie. Thomas Jefferson is said to have returned from Italy with both a recipe and a pasta machine. Although it’s unclear whether he actually used cheese in the “macaroni pie” he served at the White House state dinner in 1802, he is credited with bringing some form of it to the table. But it was Mary Randolph, who wrote a recipe for mac and cheese in her widely popular 1824 cookbook called The Virginia Housewife that disseminated the recipe further. Randolph’s recipe combined macaroni, cheese and butter in a casserole dish, similar to what we would do today. And of course, Kraft made mac and cheese a household name with its boxed variety in 1937, which could feed four people and satisfy adults and kids, at a Depression era price of 19 cents per box.
Although purists want their comfort food to stay a basic combination of their childhood favorite (that’s why it’s a comfort food), cheddar is just one of the choices in today’s market. Cooks can use a combination of cheeses – from pepper jack to brie to Gruyere to smoked Gouda to add new dimensions of flavor. Add some sophisticated ingredients such as sun-dried, tomatoes and Kalamata olives, Andouille or turkey sausage; a hint of truffle oil and mushrooms; vary the pasta shape and voila, a mac and cheese for the 21st century.
This recipe from Frank Bonanno and Chef Mike Peshek has hot summer nights written all over it (or for that matter busy winter nights): No turning on the oven, no slaving over a hot stove for a taste of comfort food. Instead it’s made on top of the stove and takes about five minutes to mix and serve.
Peshek is the chef at Lou’s Food Bar, 1851 W. 38th Ave., in the Highlands, one of Bonanno’s group of Denver restaurants. Mac and cheese is a staple on the menu although Peshek likes to change it up every couple months for the season. His fall harvest mac and cheese included butternut squash and pumpkin seeds.
Feel free to improvise on the recipe below. Peshek sautés leeks and adds them into the mix at the restaurant. You could add peas or even sautéed bell peppers and onions. Chop the cream cheese into small pieces before adding it and use low heat for melting. Prepare the pasta separately and don’t combine the pasta and the cheese mix until you’re ready to serve. And, by the way, no one – not even your kids – will ever guess that the subtle flavor boost comes from horseradish.
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Serving Vegetables is a Snap with Cheese Sauce
If your kids are picky eaters, you know the drill: Serve the veggies, beg them to “try just one bite,” watch them refuse, feel like a bad parent.
But, guess what? That picky kid may just be doing what comes naturally. Research indicates that pickiness might be in the genes, right up there with brown hair and blue eyes. Experts have found that children have a built-in aversion to bitter/sour foods – and certainly lots of vegetables would qualify. Originally, that kept little cave toddlers out of trouble, but even today, some kids seem to be more genetically averse than others. That might explain why some kids will eat anything – and have the beaming parents to prove it – while other kids won’t even try.
There is no end of advice out there on how to please a picky eater, but there’s one surefire way: a warm, velvety cheese sauce. Make vegetables more exciting – and add a double helping of nutrition – with a cheese sauce. Not only are you upping the nutrient count for calcium and vitamin D and other good-for-you vitamins and minerals, but few kids can resist something so comforting and familiar.
Mastering a cheese sauce is easy. Combine flour with butter and cook slowly. The resulting mixture is called a roux. Next add warmed milk a little at a time, and finally remove the pan from the heat and add shredded cheese. This basic recipe comes from Chef Jackson Lamb, Director of Hospitality Management at Metropolitan State College’s Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events. “This basic cream sauce,” he says, “serves as a base to which you can add the shredded cheese of your choice. Cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack and Havarti are fun choices. Additionally, you can use either whole milk or non-fat milk, depending on your specific diet. You can also substitute the full flavored cheese with a reduced-fat variety. The sauce is a great addition to the vegetables of your choice, as well as chicken, salmon and shrimp.”
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Are You a Plain Vanilla or a Salted Caramel Bacon?
According to the International Ice Cream Association the top five flavors are vanilla, chocolate, cookie ‘n’ cream, strawberry and chocolate chip mint.
Be sure to dish up your favorite flavor as we celebrate ice cream month. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day.
If you can keep from eating it, ice cream may be kept up to two months if stored at 0 degrees or below. Tightly closed cartons and a piece of plastic wrap or foil on top of the ice cream prevent drying, shrinking and ice crystal formation. Return it to the freezer as soon after use as possible because ice cream becomes grainy as a result of thawing and refreezing.
This summer, put a new spin on your coffee. Forget the heat, and serve it cold – ice cream cold.
When you make iced or chilled coffee drink, start with a brew strong enough to hold its own when it’s chilled and diluted with other ingredients. The potent pungency of espresso id well suited to this. If you use regular coffee, brew it at least twice as strong as you normally drink it.
Vienna Café de Creme
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