Friday, July 12, 2013

July 12, 2013

Our little patio garden is in full swing! Though the tomatoes aren't red and ripe yet, they are coming along.  The basil, thyme and mint is growing like crazy though, so a few of this week's recipes were inspired by those ingredients!  Once the tomatoes are ready I will be making the margherita mac and cheese again! It was a delicious keeper, and I can only imagine if I was able to use home grown tomatoes!

And the mint...who's in the mood for a mojito?  I am!  These are great with or without the alcohol, so go ahead and give these a whirl!  I must admit that the mojito isn't a new recipe, but it is a great version!  If you make your own simple syrup for it you could even add mint to that while it is cooking to add even more flavor to your drink.

New Recipes
Mac & Cheese Margherita

Tried and True

Mac & Cheese Margherita

* 2 or 3 ripe plum tomatoes, halved, cored and seeded
* 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
* 2 tsp granulated sugar
* salt and black pepper to taste
* 1/2 pound pasta
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter
* 2 large shallots
* 2 tbsp AP flour
* 1/2 tsp dried oregano
* 2 cups whole milk, warmed
* 7 oz mozzarella, grated
* 2 oz Parmesan, grated
* 1/2 cup firmly packed chopped fresh basil
* 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. 
3. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up in a rimmed baking sheet or baking pan.  Drizzle them with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, and then sprinkle them with the garlic, thyme, sugar, salt and pepper.  Roast the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes or until they are shriveled.  When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the peels and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Set aside.
4. Reduce the oven to 375.  Grease a 13 x 9 baking pan.
5. Heat the butter in a saucepan oven medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.  Stir in the flour and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until the mixture is bubbly and appears to have grown in volume. Increase the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the warm milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes.
6. Add the mozzarella and half the Parmesan to the sauce, about a half cup at a time, stirring until the cheese melts before making another addition.  Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and stir well.
7. Fold in the tomatoes and basil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and pour the pasta into the baking pan.  Mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining olive oil and remaining Parmesan.  Sprinkle this over the pasta.
8. Bake the casserole for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the crumbs are golden brown.  Enjoy!

Best Mojito

* mint leaves
* simple syrup
* Bacardi Limon (or light rum)
* limes or lime juice
* lime seltzer
* ice

Directions (per each drink)
1. Muddle 10 or so mint leaves in the bottom of the glass.  Fill the glass with ice.
2. Add one shot syrup and one shot of the rum.
3. Add the juice of one lime (approximately 2 tbsp).
4. Fill the remainder of the glass with lime seltzer.
5. Garnish with a lime wedge, and enjoy!