Sunday, January 22, 2012

Brie Lobster Mac and Cheese

I have made mention of the specialty foods available at Aldi, including the whole Maine lobster for $9.99. Well, right now they also have brie rounds available. Any time we see the lobster, I buy a few of them. They are the same type of lobsters you see advertised on the streets of Boston for $10 by the bars trying to get tourists in. In case you are wondering, those ads totally work on Megan and I. The Aldi lobsters are not going to provide you with endless meat, but they are more than worth the price, and are a cheap way to have a fine lobster dinner (they also have lobster tails available at Aldi for $12.99, but these are warm water lobsters-read not as good-UPDATE-they are now Maine lobster tails).

If you are self conscious about shelling a lobster in front of your date while you eat, then I would ask you what kind of person even makes a lobster dinner for the second date. I mean, seriously, tone it down a bit. Trying too hard is probably why you're still single. If you are otherwise uncomfortable shelling lobster while you eat this kind of recipe is your friend.


8 oz. brie rind removed and torn up into little pieces ($2.99)
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (I used Dubliner $2.99 for 7 oz.)
2 oz. Parmesan cheese ($2.29 for 8 oz.)
16 oz. elbow macaroni (32 oz for $1.69)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream ($1.89 for 16 oz.)
1 cup milk ($2.99 for 1 gallon)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour ($1.69 for 5 lbs.)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter ($1.99 for 16 oz.)
5 oz. lobster meat (this is an 18 oz. lobster for $9.99 it yields about 5 oz. of meat but amounts will vary)
Salt and pepper to taste
Bread crumbs (optional)

First, prepare the lobster. For the frozen whole lobster you can make it according to the package instructions. Boil a bunch of water in a pot big enough to fit the lobster. You will boil this puppy from frozen. By puppy I mean lobster, please do not make this dish with boiled puppy (it is the wrong consistency). It says to boil the lobster in salted water, but it is unnecessary to salt the water as the lobster is frozen in brine:

Just dump the lobster in the boiling water, mesh bag and all. return the water to boiling and boil 12-15 minutes. Remove the lobster from the boiling water. Get rid of the lobster water, it stinks. Now it's time to get all the meat out of the shell. Get 3 bowls. Put the cooked lobster in one, use one for the meat and the other for discarded shell. The majority of the meat will be in the claws and the tail. Your hands are the best tools, but a kitchen knife and a rolling pin are good to have as well. By the way, you should let the lobster cool before you shell it. If you are currently burned, then I suggest reading the entire recipe through before cooking anything. Really, instant gratification only works if you want to be instantly gratified, or burned by hot lobster juice. Maybe that's your thing. Everyone has a fetish. I'm not going into how to shell a lobster as I am too lazy to write it and didn't take enough pictures anyway. This guy from the CIA has a lovely video on how to do it. I assume his lobster was water boarded.

Once you have all the meat out make sure there is not leftover shell on the meat. Set the meat aside. Cook the macaroni according to the directions (6-8 minutes) drain and set aside. While cooking the pasta, simmer the cream/milk in a pot, but don't boil. In a pan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour over low heat. Congratulations, you have formed a roux. Don't get too cocky. Just add the hot cream/milk to the roux and whisk until smooth. Add the cheese and stir until smooth. Add salt and pepper to sauce. Combine cheese sauce, macaroni and lobster. Eat, or if you like, you can combine breadcrumbs with some grated cheese and pop the macaroni under a broiler. Keep a watch on it and brown, don't burn, the breadcrumbs.

Lobster mac and cheese is great, but the lobster itself does not reheat well. This may overcook the lobster, so it's best to eat all the lobster in the first sitting and any left over mac and cheese can go in the fridge. I have to go now because there is horrible lightning and thunder. In January.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Honey Nut Peanut Butter Bars

So, these are awesome. I've been over the recipe many many times, and I still can't find any crack in there. I say this because I'm pretty sure there is crack in these treats, or heroin, or some addictive drug that makes things wonderful. Why else would they be so awesome? I know I didn't put in any crack when I made them (I save the narcotics for my spaghetti and methballs). I'm not sure what the chemical properties of crack are. I know it's made from cocaine, but maybe you can synthesize it with marshmallows and peanut butter. Anyway, I highly recommend you make these before the DEA bans them.

The ingredients are simple enough, but the mixing can be a pain in the butt. Working with hot marshmallows and peanut butter can cause a real mess. so be prepared.


5 cups honey nut cereal ($1.59 for 12.5 oz.)
6 cups mini marshmallows (this is one bag $0.89)
1/2 cups peanut butter ($1.89 for 18 oz.)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter ($1.99 for 16 oz.)

Coat a 13 x 9 inch pan with butter, then toss the rest of the butter into a LARGE bowl with the marshmallows and peanut butter. I put LARGE in all caps because this should be a bowl that can more than fit the marshmallows, peanut butter, butter, and cereal as the marshmallows will expand while heating and cause a mess. Use a bowl bigger than this one:

Put the bowl in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. This is when the marshmallows will go all Ghostbusters Stay Puft. Apparently marshmallows do not like being enclosed in a small area to await a fiery death.

After the 2 minutes are up, stir everything until smooth and mixed. Now add the cereal. Stir carefully and thoroughly. If at some point you feel that stirring isn't doing the trick, you can use your hands, but make sure the mixture has cooled down enough. Melted marshmallows will be hot and can burn you. Also, coat your hands in cooking spray before you handle the mixture. When everything is mixed form the mixture into the buttered pan, again coat your hands with cooking spray to keep the mixture from sticking to you. Once cooled cut and eat.

The time not spent eating these treats will be spent cleaning peanut butter and marshmallow that have inexplicably gotten on your ceiling and on the insides of your socks. It probably happened when you blacked out after freebasing these things and tried to make another batch while chanting something about being the Lizard Queen. That happens.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

S'more Croissants

Nothing starts a cold morning off right like a freshly baked breakfast. By morning I mean about 12:30 p.m. because we're being lazy, and by freshly baked breakfast I mean chocolate. It is cold, though. It's about 11 degrees and snowing. I took a picture:

It's that cold. Or maybe I just had my camera on the wrong setting. Either way, that's not far from what it looks/feels like outside. Luckily the Megan and I are not homeless. For now. I saw this recipe on pinterest, or I should say I saw a picture of the recipe, which with this is pretty much all you need to figure out the recipe.

Not what you would call difficult. We had some leftover croissant dough from some pigs in a blanket we made. I broke out the dark chocolate and some mini marshmallows and got to work.


1 tube croissant dough ($1.29)
1.5 oz. chocolate ($1.89 for 4.4 oz.)
Mini marshmallows ($0.89 for 10.5 oz)
1 egg ($1.59 for 12)

Preheat oven to 350 (or whatever the dough package you use says). Lay out the croissant dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Break up the chocolate (unless you are using chocolate chips) and place on the dough near the wide end. A few small pieces should do. I used the 70% cacao dark chocolate, but you could use milk chocolate if you wanted the croissants a little sweeter. Place 3-4 of the mini marshmallows with the chocolate. Don't put too much on the dough or you won't be able to roll them. Roll up the croissant starting at the wide end. You have to seal the sides of the croissants or else the chocolate and marshmallow will try to escape during baking. I should mention that I do not like premade croissant dough. I think all premade dough tastes pretty much the same. The croissants never brown right and you end up having croissant shaped rolls. You can avoid the browning problem by making an egg wash to go over the croissants. Beat an egg and brush over the croissants before putting them in the oven. Bake according to directions (mine were 350 for 15 minutes).

These would be awesome with some hot chocolate, which when I make it is basically a thin ganache. That's right, heavy cream and chocolate. Nothing like a chocolate heart attack to keep you warm on a winter's day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chocolate Eclair Cake

My aunt brings this every year to Thanksgiving dinner, and there is all but a fist fight to get the first, and last piece. One year, I killed my twin just for looking at the cake longingly. To this day we do not speak of him in my family, going so far as to claim I never had a twin and that I am making this story up. To those of you who claim that chocolate eclair cake is not worthy of grizzly siblicide using a pie server, it is obvious that you have never had this cake.

Another wonderful thing about this cake is that it is so easy to make. There is no baking, which is my kind of cake. My aunt gave me the recipe to this cake, and I decided to start making it with my favorite ingredient, heavy cream. The use of heavy cream makes the filling like pastry cream, and the ganache icing is actually much easier to make than normal icing. The recipe here is for a 8 1/2 inch square dish.


3 packets instant vanilla pudding ($0.49 each)
51.25 oz. heavy cream ($1.89 per 16 oz)
7.2 oz graham crackers ($1.49 per 14.4 oz. box)
3.5 oz dark chocolate ($1.89 per 4.5 oz)

Combine the instant pudding mix with 5 3/4 cups (47.75 oz) heavy cream. beat on low for a few minutes or until proper consistency is achieved. Set aside beater for licking (this is a very important step). This is more liquid than is suggested for a filing on the box, but when you beat the cream and pudding mix it will become firmer than if you use milk. When the pudding is ready, line the bottom of the dish with graham crackers. You may have to break some of them up for full coverage. Spread 1/3 of the pudding on the graham crackers. Alternate layers of pudding and graham crackers until you run out of pudding (your last layer should be pudding).

Place the cake in the fridge while you prepare the ganache. Break the chocolate up into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl (I used the dark chocolate bars, but you could use any chocolate you wanted, like chocolate chips). Heat the cream over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk to combine. Let the ganache cool at room temperature for a bit and then just pout it on the cake and spread. If you let the ganache cool too much it will become more difficult to spread. Set aside ganache bowl for licking.

There you have it. You have now made a dish that will both satiate your family's sweet tooth and inspire them to commit great acts of violence against one another. It's a win/win.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gorgonzola Grapes

Well, the holiday season is now over. There will be no more holidays the rest of the year. Except St. Patrick's Day. Any holiday that involves drinking at 8:00 a.m. is still on. Cinco De Mayo as well. Oh, and Halloween, I really like Halloween. And Flag Day.

Ah well, we have a respite from holiday nonsense until February anyway (unless you plan on celebrating Chinese New Year's, which we will, by doing absolutely nothing). I bet you were hoping I would post some wonderful and easy appetizer or nibbles of some sort that you could make for your or someone else's party. Well, I would have, but I was too busy getting ready for our NYE bash. Now that you have already made the food and either had or gone to your New Year's Eve party, here's a recipe for some party food that would have been perfect for that special night. Megan and had something like this at a Brazilian steak house and loved it, so I figured out how to make said dish. This recipe has Gorgonzola, but it could be made with blue cheese just as easily.


4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese crumbled room temperature ($2.99 for 5 oz.)
7 oz. cream cheese room temperature ($0.89 for 8 oz.)
1/4 cup cream 1/2&1/2 or milk ($1.89 for 16 oz. heavy cream)
1 lbs. red grapes ($1.59)

Rinse the grapes and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix. Drop the grapes into the mix and get them good and covered. Plate or store for up to 3 days.

We couldn't stop eating these while we made them. When the people who didn't come to your NYE party ask about it, you can tell them you made these, and they were AMAZING. Since you're lying, you can also say some celebrity showed up to your party. Not an A lister, someone believable who hasn't done much in a while, like Bruce McCulloch. "Oh yeah, Bruce McCulloch was there, from "The Kids in the Hall." Yeah, he's Jeff's cousin. Apparently he does puppet theater now. Weird, huh?"