Sunday, May 21, 2017

Welsh Rarebit {Two Ways + Endless Variations}



Oftentimes, when I'm out for drinks, I find myself craving a little something cheesy. Nothing too heavy, but something with a little bit of heft to it, and usually a little naughty. This Welsh Rarebit is just the thing. Cheese, glorious bubbly melted cheese, served over toasty hearty bread and maybe even some veggies. It's just a thing of beauty, really.

Hugh shares three ways to add veggies and change up your rarebit: tomatoes, celery, and kale or broccolini. All of these are good choice, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and say you could easily use about anything hanging out in your fridge. Eggs of any kind, cooked peppers (bell or jalapeno), bits of meat, slices of apple or pear, spinach, artichokes, and even olives would be lovely. The sky is really the limit! Always feel free to make it your own!

This time around I opted to follow two of Hugh's recipes, tomato and kale. While I do believe that tomato is the most common, and also the most well-liked; I'm willing to say that I love the combo of greens with cheese way more than the tomato version. Either way you simply cannot go wrong.

There a couple of things worth nothing. First, use a really good English Cheddar. I used an English Cheddar straight from Dorset.  Next, do not worry when the butter, flour, and milk mixture resembles glue, or straight up paste. This is exactly what you want! When you add the cheese to the mixture you will have to use a lot of muscle to stir it into the "sauce" and get it to melt. The cheese sauce isn't going to seem very saucy when you spread it on the bread and that is exactly the texture you're going for! Don't worry, this is a thick and luscious sauce that is so dreamy and satisfying!  Slather it on some good toasted bread and enjoy as is or with veggies, bits of meat, and/or egg. This Welsh Rarebit is a real treat!




Welsh Rarebit
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Serves 4

1-1/4 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion
salt and black pepper, to taste
3-1/2 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 ounces fairly strong English cheddar, grated
1/2 teaspoon English mustard, or to taste
dash of Worcestershire sauce
4 slices of good bread or 4 small flat breads

Put the milk in a saucepan, with the bay leaf and onion if you have them on hand, along with a grinding of black pepper. Bring the milk to just below a simmer, then turn off the heat.

Melt the butter in another saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour to make a smooth roux and let it bubble and seethe for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat. If you've infused the milk with bay and onion, strain them out. Add the milk to the roux in three or four batches, beating well after each addition to create a smooth sauce.

Return the thick sauce to low heat and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in in the cheese until melted, then add the mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste, adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce if you like.

Preheat the broiler and toast the bread. If you're serving rarebit just as it comes, then spread the cheese sauce thickly on the toast. Alternatively, add your veggie extras before spreading on the toast.  Either way, broil the rarebit reasonably slowly, not too close to the heat, so the thick sauce is bubbling hot all the way through before the top gets too brown. Serve right away.

Tomato Rarebit: Top the cheese sauce with a few thick slices of tomato and sprinkle with pepper before placing under the broiler

Celery Rarebit: Thinly slice 4 celery stalks and saute them in a tablespoon of butter for 5 minutes, until tender but still a bit crunchy.  Season and stir into the rarebit mixture before spreading on toast and broiling.

Broccolini or Kale Rarebit: Lay some lightly cooked broccolini or kale across your toast before smothering with cheese sauce and broiling.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Favorite Bready Things!


This week over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are featuring all Bready Things! It just so happens that in my home we are carb-obsessed and so Bready Things are right up our alley! I didn't get around to making a dish this week, but I do want to shout out some of my FAVORITE BREADY THINGS!

Every single one of these recipes have seen repeated visits in my kitchen. They are tried and true favorites. Click on the recipe link to be directed to the original post, which includes the recipe!



A pizza dough crust with a creamy and dreamy sweet Mascarpone base topped with an array of fresh berries makes for a wonderful breakfast or dessert. In fact, this dish is so pretty it is perfect for bridal showers, baby showers, or any other kind of celebration where you need to take a dish!



You wouldn't think an English-born chef would be your go-to for one killer Chicken Po'Boy, but Nigel Slater really delivered on this sandwich. It is quite simple, just a few ingredients, but it is total perfection.  Just looking at that hot and juicy sandwich gets my mouth watering every single time!




Rick Bayless is well represented in this Bready Things roundup and these enchiladas are absolutely amazing!  Do a quick search on Cafe Tacuba-Style Creamy Chicken Enchiladas and you'll see that they were quite popular with several food bloggers. This is more of a casserole-style enchilada in that the corn tortillas aren't rolled, but layered.  A sauce is made from poblano peppers and spinach and layered in with corn tortillas, chicken, and Monterey cheese. This is an incredible dish!




Don't let the look of this one fool you! It isn't much to look at, but it is one of my favorites in this entire roundup. Just imagine a crusty telera roll smeared with black beans, chorizo, feta cheese, and slices of avocado. Some of my very favorite ingredients all coming together in one sandwich. It is absolutely crave-worthy!

 

Again, Rick Bayless comes through with another amazing torta. My mom loves this sandwich so much she asks for it for her birthday every year.  Now, this sandwich is a lot of work. You'll need a breading station for the crispy chicken and you'll also need to prepare the garlicky black bean smash, but once you've completed that you have one crazy-good sandwich that will have everyone asking for it again and again.



These corn muffins called my name for the entire six months that we cooked with Curtis Stone. The reason why: one of my favorite bready things is any type of corn muffin.  I just tend to gravitate to them and I knew, without a doubt, that these corn muffins filled with white cheddar cheese, corn, and bacon would be a huge hit in my home! We scarfed these down with some chive butter in record time. Now they've become a staple!




Sometimes I just crave bacon and Jamie Oliver's Bacon Sarnie is a fantastic, and easy way, to satisfy that craving. If you haven't made a Bacon Sarnie, then you need to!



Last, but not least, is my very favorite Banana Bread! Tessa's recipe for banana bread is a little different than other recipes I've tried. There are two different things about this banana bread recipe. The first is that this recipe only uses brown sugar, no white sugar whatsoever, and the brown sugar really shines. Not only can you taste the difference with the brown sugar, but you can also smell the difference and it is so much more complimentary to the banana bread. Secondly, Tessa has you add the baking soda to warm milk, which is a step I've never taken with banana bread, and I swear it makes a difference in both the texture and the overall rising power of the bread.  This banana bread rises so much faster and higher than any other loaf and the overall texture is so much better than others. If you're a banana bread lover, then this recipe is a must try!

Those are some of my favorite bready things! 

What are some of your favorites?