2011/03/03

Perfect Leftovers (Savory Cheese & Chive Bread & Seafood Mac-n-Cheese)

Fast bread.  Slow bread.  Every where you go, bread... And cheese, please!


Bread is one of those things, I can just never get enough of.   (Or cheese).  I am usually a yeast bread kind of girl - I love the process, the feel, the smell.  I find it very therapeutic.  But I can also get behind quick breads.  And the instant gratification they bring.  Hey, anytime a recipe helps me clean out those little cheese-end chunks that seem to pile up in "that drawer" in my refrigerator before they turn green like a shamrock, I am a happy camper.  (I don't even want to talk about those times when I forget to take inventory for a few weeks... or longer - but I am doing better with that now, thanks for asking...)


Any hoo....This week's recipe had me mentally comparing and contrasting (yes, my mother was an English teacher) yeast breads vs. quick breads and the virtues & drawbacks of each.  I will spare y'all the thesis, but it did get me to thinking that teenage girls are a lot like quick bread.  (I just happen to have two of those - teenage girls that is, not quick breads)


It seems thrown together - after all, it is "quick" bread.  Minimal handling required.  You pop it in the oven and poof, it expands - quickly rising and releasing it's energy.  And then its done.  Kind of like a mood swing or an exploding emotional outbreak rooted in causes not yet known. 

Not there.  There.  Done.  Next. 


Like a teenage girl, you want to make sure you don't overhandle your quick-bread dough.  Too much handling makes things tough.  But you do want to make sure that there is sufficient handling & mixing so that everything sticks together.
 

At the end of the day, if handled right (like the teenager), you will end up with a final product that is enjoyable (and a few dirty dishes to clean up - this holds true for both the teenager & the bread). 


Back to FFwD...  Since it was just The Karate Kid & I, we opted to round out our Cheese & Chive Bread with Seafood Mac-n-Cheese.  No vegetables.  Just cheese & carbs.  Soooo bad.  But oh so right.   


Here is a link to Lobster Mac-n-Cheese from FoodNetwork.com.  I changed up the proportions on some of the items & edited some of the ingredients to match my personal taste. 

Seafood Mac-n-Cheese
Adapted from FoodNetwork.com, recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Ingredients:

Salt for boiling pasta
1 pound of orecchiette - or other small shaped pasta
3-4 cups milk (whole milk works best)
9 Tbs unsalted butter (6 Tbs + 3 Tbs)
1/2 cup unbleached AP flour
6 cups of good quality cheese, grated (I used 3-4 different cheeses - use what you like, just make sure its the good stuff - no Velveeta please...)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt to taste (I did not add additional salt - I thought the cheese contained more than enough for my liking)
1 1/2 lbs cooked seafood
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (I used leftover bread heels from the freezer that I ran through the food processor - whatever you have on hand is fine)

Directions:

Preheat oven - 375F.  Prepare pasta according to package directions - leave slightly al dente.  Drain well.  Reserve. 

Note: the key to the sauce is SLOWLY working in the ingredients.  This helps keep everything smooth...  No one wants to bite into a lump of raw flour.  Trust me... 

Warm milk in a medium sized sauce pan, be sure not to let it boil.  While the milk is warming, melt 6 Tbs of butter in a large pot.  Once melted, reduce heat to low and slowly add the flour - whisking until fully incorporated.  Once incorporated, cook for 2-3 minutes - constantly stirring.  Slowly add warmed milk - keep whisking!  Cook for a few more minutes - mixture should thicken.  Once it thickens - remove from heat & stir in cheese until melted.   Stir in pepper & nutmeg.  Add cooked pasta & seafood - stir to combine. 

Melt 3 Tbs butter and mix with breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle over top of mixture. 

Transfer to buttered casserole.  Bake for ~30-40 minutes until bubbly & breadcrumbs are browned.  Let sit 10 minutes before serving. 

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie - come check out the cheesy goodness everyone else has been up to!

39 comments:

  1. Thanks for the mac & cheese recipe - it looks fab! My own mac & cheese is very similar but I never thought of putting seafood into it. Very good idea.

    I just made the Cheese & Chive Bread...this is the first AMFT recipe that I won't be making again. It looked great (as does yours) but the flavor was a bit flat. I used sharp cheddar.

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  2. The expired cheese inventory. I know it well. In fact, I have a fair sampling in my fridge right now. :) I happened to come across Ina's Lobster Mac 'n cheese just yesterday - now that it has an endorsement of someone I know, I'll have to make it!

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  3. Loved the teenage daughter analogy as I have one of those myself.

    Your bread and the seafood look great.

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  4. Beautiful! My family suggested a fish or seafood dinner to go with this bread...great idea.

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  5. I'm not looking forward to the teenage years! I'm hoping my girls stay little!

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  6. Love the new look! Love the post too. The compare contrast was quite clever...as always. The bread is beautiful and the mac n cheese is downright sinful!

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  7. Looks like you enjoyed the bread as much as we did! As usual your post was very entertaining. :)

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  8. Expired cheese is such a heartbreak - non? I actually went through that today. I think in Canada it's worse b/c I have such great hope when I buy this cheap fancy cheese from Trader Joe's and then drive it across the border. No actual plan for when to use the cheese. Just the dream of a plan. And it was so cheap! Love your photographs!

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  9. Yum!
    I like bread, but I adore cheese, and can never get enough...

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  10. I'm still laughing! That is so funny and true! But back to the bread...
    I was trying to work out what the bread would go with, great idea!
    You're photos look delicious!

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  11. @ Karen - I really liked Ina's recipe (of course, I have a mini crush on Ina's cooking). My biggest buggaboo with this recipe was when she said to add salt when you stir in the cheese - uh, cheese is already salty...
    @ Christina - don't be afraid (well, be a little afraid). As much as I miss the sweetness of their youth, I am appreciating them becoming functioning mini-adults and all that comes with that.

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  12. Great analogy! Both your bread and lobster mac n cheese look so tasty!

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  13. Ahhhh...carb overload. Looks wonderful! I enjoyed your analogy of the bread to your teenage girls - so cute!

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  14. Seafood mac & cheese sounds awesome, even at 9:00 in the morning. I have a laugh at the reference to dishes, quick breads, and teenagers. Glad you enjoyed the bread!

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  15. What a decadent combination, Cher!

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  16. I'll have to give your Seafood Mac and Cheese a try, looks so good! Your post is quite funny…having been the mother of teenagers…boys and girls..I definitely get your comparison! Bread looks very good!

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  17. I love your new background photo. I enjoyed this bread too. Funny, my usual way to use up the cheese odds-and-ends is mac-and-cheese. I never thought to put seafood in it. Yum! I'll have to try it.

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  18. Nice post! Sorry you have no spring yet....I'll be envying your weather when we're in the middle of summer. Don't worry ladies, most of us survive the teenage years and grownup children are a lovely thing.

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  19. Loved this post! Perfect dinner and one I MUST try! That cheesy mac stuff is really upstaging the bread here! I inserted "premenopausal" in place of "teenagers" in your wonderful analogy--it fits. Just ask my husband.

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  20. Carbs with a side of carbs are my kind of meal :) Excellent analogy too! I can always appreciate a recipe that uses things up and tastes delicious at the same time. Big hello from Syracuse!

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  21. Funny post! It reminds me of my nieces, but only at times. Love the seafood mac 'n cheese recipe - I'll have to try it.

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  22. Cute post...love the teen analogy! And great idea to pair this bread with seafood mac and cheese (especially since you shared it with us!)...yum.

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  23. May your teenager turn out as well as your quick bread! Love your sense of humor, Cher!

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  24. Hi thanks for visiting my blog and your words of encouragement;-) I enjoyed seeing your bread, it looks good with your seafood mac and cheese.
    My teenagers are all grown up, it just happens, one day they become adults with children of their own;-) Bread and Teenagers, sounds like a cute name for a blog!

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  25. Love your bread and the mac-n-cheese looks decadent. I enjoyed making this bread and know that I will make it again with different ingredients; I keep thinking about adding sundried tomatoes to it like Dorie suggested. Great post. My teenage girl just turned 20 - I love your analogy!

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  26. Oh my. New blog layout, no ? Looks gorgeous ! And your photos are really amazing. The opening ones looks like a pro shot- GREAT job. I chuckled along as well about the teenager analogy and I too was home with only one this time. Since it is not yet Spring....we too enjoyed the warmth and guilt of cheesy carb overloads. Love how you combined with the seafood mac and cheese(and glad my son is not reading this- he would be bummed that HIS mom didn't have her act together to do this :)and big thanks for sharing the recipe. Nana's bread turned out "prettier" than my white one but we both enjoyed the flavors.

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  27. My teenager turned out great, with just the right amount of handling:) We'll see how it goes for the pre-teens.
    Nice looking bread you have there! But I was looking at the oozing cheese all the time (lobster mac-n-cheese? seriously? We would LOVE it!)

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  28. This combination looks wonderful- thanks for sharing!

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  29. I love reading your posts. They're always entertaining :) You and I sound quite a bit alike. I too am a bread baker at my core. Yeast breads are my favorite (they speak to my soul) but a good quick bread is always a nice addition. This bread was a winner in my book. Yours looks super delicious, especially paired with your lobster mac and cheese. Oh Mmmmmmmm :)

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  30. Looks fantastic! I love lots and lots of chives in that bread:)

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  31. The bread and mac-n-cheese both look great! Leave it to Ina to make what is normally a budget recipe cost $30!

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  32. I really did enjoy this post. Your bread is delightful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  33. I served my bacon-cheddar-chive bread with bacon mac'n'cheese. Sooo good :) I've never had seafood mac'n'cheese, gotta try making that soon!

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  34. ohh, that mac and cheese looks delicious! I'll keep the quick bread/teenage girl analogy in mind for when Ella hits those years. Can't wait!

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  35. Cheese and more cheese - I like the way you think!!

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  36. Your bread looks great. And I love you rounded it out with Lobster Mac n Cheese. Wow. That's some serious yumminess!

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  37. Oh, cheese (sigh). I can tell it inspired you...such a creative post! It all looks delicious!

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  38. What a yummy combo. Looks divine.

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  39. Your bread looks great and I'm sure was delicious paired with the Lobster mac and cheese. Pure decadence!

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