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Archive for October 9, 2012

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Gourmet Mac & Cheese From Cucina Fresca

America loves mac and cheese. But too much of America is content to eat reconstituted powdered cheese sauce poured over boiled elbow macaroni.

That’s the equivalent of a glass of Tang instead of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

If your palate demands a gourmet version of mac and cheese, Cucina Fresca is ready to fill your freezer with four different varieties:

  • Sharp Cheddar Mac and Cheese, made with two-year aged white Cheddar
  • Smoked Gruyère Mac and Cheese, made with a blend of aged Gruyère, Swiss and Fontina, and a touch of lightly smoked Spanish paprika
  • Tangy Gorgonzola Mac and Cheese, a mellow Gorgonzola cheese blended a tangy blue cheese and Fontina
  • Creamy Fontina Mac and Cheese, a blend of Fontina, aged Asiago and imported Parmesan cheeses

    Not exactly orange: what real mac and cheese looks like. Photo courtesy Cucina Fresca.


    You can bake the frozen entrées for 30 minutes or microwave them for 10 minutes. At the end, you’ve got great comfort food.

    Read the full review, and start stocking the freezer.

    It includes suggested toppings and mix-ins to make your mac and cheese even more gourmet.


  • Award winning gourmet mac and cheese recipes.
  • Macaroni and cheese history, and Ronald Reagan’s mac and cheese recipe.
  • Cooking video: Chef Marcus Samuelsson demonstrates his recipe.


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    COOKING VIDEO: Chef Marcus Samuelsson Makes Gourmet Mac & Cheese


    To make mac and cheese from scratch, there’s no better demonstrator than the buoyant and charming Marcus Samuelsson, one of America’s most popular chefs.

    Chef Samuelsson grew up in Sweden. There he had meat balls with noodles, but didn’t discover macaroni and cheese until he moved to the U.S.

    “You learn a dish, and then you want to do your own take,” says Samuesson. He tweaked the recipe into a hearty entrée: creamy, crispy and crunchy. “This is not a side dish, this is a meal by itself,” says the chef.

    Samuelsson’s take on mac and cheese includes red onion, white Cheddar, Parmesan and toasted bread crumbs, a dish seasoned with garlic and marjoram. And bacon: “It just adds something to this dish that makes it smokier, a little bit saltier, a really nice flavor.”




  • Award-winning gourmet macaroni and cheese recipes
  • The history of macaroni and cheese, and Ronald Reagan’s recipe

    We recently read Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef.

    It’s an inspirational book for anyone who aspires to cook professionally and for foodies who admire the work of fine chefs. For those who are early in their careers in any industry, it’s packed with many teaching moments about hard work and a can-do attitude.

    Get your copy.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Edamame, Snack & Ingredient

    Habitués of Japanese restaurants know edamame (pronounced eh-dah-MA-may), the young, green soybeans full of flavor and nutrition.

    They’re available nationwide in the frozen vegetables aisle of supermarkets. These baby soy beans are not only delicious; they’re rich in vitamins and minerals. In fact, edamame are the only vegetable that offers a complete protein profile, equal to both meat and eggs in its protein content. A bonus: They’re inexpensive.

    And they’re a fun snack: Veggie-averse kids and grown ups will enjoy squeezing them from pod to mouth. They can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. (We warm them in the microwave.)

    In addition to snacking, add edamame to casseroles, salads, stir-frys and soups. Make a healthy dip. Garnish: Garnish just about any savory food, from baked or mashed potatoes to steaks and chops.


    Edamame: the pods hold delicious baby soybeans. Photo courtesy Seapoint Farms.


    Pick up edamame the next time you’re at the market. And check out:

  • Edamame Facts—all about edamame
  • Edamame Health & Nutrition
  • Seapoint Farms Edamame Products Review
  • Edamame Recipes and More Recipes
    You can find edamame frozen in the pod, frozen shelled and dry roasted, in conventional and organic varieties.


    Edamame are traditionally served with coarse salt. But you can garnish them as you like. Some of our favorites:

  • Hot sauce or chili flakes
  • Lemon juice or lemon zest
  • Rice vinegar or soy sauce
  • Spices: chili powder, curry, paprika or, most appropriately, the Japanese seven-spice blend shichimi togaroshi
  • Toasted sesame seeds (add sesame seeds to a dry skillet and toast over a medium flame for a few minutes until they start to pop)

    Find more of our favorite veggies and recipes.


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