Cheese

Cheese is the best way to consume dairy. Versatile and complex, cheese is my favorite food.

Three Ingredient Mac and Cheese

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If it's not yet clear from the seven other posts about mac and cheese on this site, I love Mac and Cheese. My current favorite recipe is my Cheddar Cheese Sauce, which is quickly built from a standard béchamel (milk sauce). But though practice makes perfect, and the skills needed to make the sauce are transferable to dozens or hundreds of applications, I'm always on the look-out for new recipes to try.

So, a few weeks ago, Serious Eats The Food Lab posted this recipe for 3-ingredient, stove-top Mac and Cheese. The three ingredients are: Macaroni elbow noodles, evaporated milk, cheese. It takes around 10 minutes. It's incredibly simple. It's wonderfully delicious. While this may not end up as my go-to recipe, it's certainly one of the best recipes I've tried.

After a taste test as-is, I decided to add some bacon and chipotle peppers to spice things up a bit. The smokey, chili goodness of real peppers is so much better than the chipotle spice I got from Penzie's (not knocking Penzie's, their spice is still amazing, but it can't compare to the smooth richness of the real deal).

3-ingredient mac and cheese in a bowl on a counter Mac and cheese with bacon and chipotle peppers

Bean and Rice Burritos

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Another one from the dawn of my culinary bachelor past. This dish is easy, cheap, nutritious, and delicious. It's so easy, I've lost the recipe, I haven't made it in 5 or more years, and still I was able to figure it back out from scratch.

This is a classic easy weeknight meal. Make some rice (20 minutes), build the burritos (5 minutes), and bake for 20 minutes, and you're done. The main ingredients, rice and beans, are pantry staples. The most expensive ingredient is the cheese, but it's good to keep some cheese around for cheese emergencies (though, in my opinion, the only emergency is not having cheese).

Get the recipe for Bean and Rice Burritos

bean and rice burritos on
a plate

Breakfast Burritos

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Over the last year and a half, I've been levelling up my basic cooking skills, like sauteéing and improvising. So, since I had some tortillas from the chicken lunch wraps, and some mushrooms from last night's chicken with white wine, I decided to try making another breakfast burrito.

Unlike the last breakfast burrito, this one had mushrooms and onions, and no rice. To get the most flavor possible, I sauteéd the onions and mushrooms until golden brown and delicious. Then, I turned off the burner, and with the remaining heat, scrambled the eggs. I assembled the lot into a warm tortilla, and for a finishing touch, added some salt, pepper, and tabasco.

I wish I could eat like this every morning. Having a nice, relaxing 30 minute, freshly-made breakfast. Maybe I need to start getting into the habit...

Breakfast burrito with egg, mushroom, and onion on
a plate

Gruyere Shrimp Risotto

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I love risotto. It takes some effort, but that effort is rewarded with a delicious, creamy, flavorful rice dish. I've been making risottos for a while. I made a mushroom parmesan barley risotto with poulet au vin blanc, a few months back.

This gruyere and shrimp risotto was a departure from the recipe I found, which called for asiago and a pressure cooker. I made mine in the classic way, on the stove, slowly. I had some gruyere left over from the potato dauphinois a few weeks ago, and some shrimp that were starting to get a little freezer burn (leftover from shrimp etouffee).

It turned out amazing. The gruyere is sharp but not overpowering. The shrimp lends a wonderful flavor. And it went great with the poulet, which I'm always a fan of.

See the gruyere shrimp risotto recipe

Gruyere shrimp risotto with poulet au vin blanc and roasted
cauliflower

Potato Dauphinois

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I had a bad day, so I decided to splurge on something special: A nice, expensive wedge of cheese. Gruyere, in fact, a cheese I've never tried before. I needed it for this recipe for Potato Dauphinois, a classic from Julia Child.

I've made a couple potato gratins previously, but this was by far the best. The gruyere was the perfect choice, though cheddar could do in a pinch. This time I used heavy cream instead of half-and-half from other recipes, which I think was the biggest improvement. I added some onions to the recipe, because why not? Potatoes always go great with a little bit of onion.

Make sure you use enough cream. When you press down on the center of the potatoes, the cream should come up to cover the potatoes. Also make sure you check the doneness: A fork should slide easily through the potatoes.

I served this alongside some basic roasted chicken. Nothing fancy there, just salt and pepper, and the resulting meal was excellent. I had to stop myself from gorging myself to save room for the pistachio gelato I bought for dessert (bad day, remember).

Potato dauphinois with roasted chicken and peas