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Archive for Top Pick Of The Week

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK & GIFT OF THE DAY: SuperSeedz Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds

Superseedz Super Spicy

Polenta With Pumpkin Seeds

Spaghetti With Pumpkin Seeds

[1] SuperSeedz is made in nine flavors, from sweet to savory to hot and spicy (photo SuperSeedz). [2] In addition to snacking, SuperSeedz make delicious garnishes and mix-ins; here, mixed into a vegetable garnish for polenta. Here’s the recipe for the polenta and the spaghetti from Taste With The Eyes. [3] Add some Tomato Italiano SuperSeedz—or Curious Curry or Somewhat Spicy—to your favorite pasta.

 

Over the past 12 years of nibbling, we’ve had lots of Top Picks Of The Week. All are wonderful foods, but some become part of our everyday lives—because they’re what we usually eat.

SuperSeedz, gourmet shelled pumpkin seeds that we first discovered in 2007, is one of those.

A better-for-you, nutritious, fiber-filled and very flavorful, crunchy snack, we also love it as a garnish.

At $4.99, the five-ounce bags make really nice Thanksgiving favors and stocking stuffers, and are great for everyday grab-and-go.

SuperSeedz are non-GMO verified, cholesterol- and trans-fat free, gluten-free, vegan and allergen friendly.

Each one-ounce serving has 7 grams of protein and a good hit of iron and zinc.

In nine flavors, sweet, savory and hot, there’s a choice for everything.

SAVORY SUPERSEEDZ

  • Curious Curry: beloved even by non-curry lovers.
  • Really Naked: totally plain.
  • Tomato Italiano: tomato, basil, garlic, onion, oregano, pepper, sea salt (the company calls it “bruschetta on a pumpkin seed).
  • Sea Salt: the original.
  • Somewhat Spicy: a just-enough-spice blend of aged cayenne pepper, garlic, sea salt.
  • Super Spicy: black pepper, cayenne, garlic, habanero, red crushed pepper, sea salt (be warned, it’s hot).
  •  
    Beyond Snacking…

    As A Garnish, Use Them On:

  • Dips, including hummus
  • Eggs
  • Fresh cheeses (cottage cheese, goat cheese, ricotta)
  • Grains and grain bowls, polenta
  • Grilled chicken and fish
  • Indian and Tex Mex dishes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pasta and pizza
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Vegetables (especially green beans and winter squash)
  •  
    As A Mix-In To:

  • Breads and corn muffins
  • Dips
  • Rice and other grain dishes
  •  
    SWEET SUPERSEEDZ

  • Cinnamon & Sugar, like cinnamon toast without the toast.
  • Coco Joe, following the trend of salted chocolate.
  • Maple Sugar & Sea Salt, new and noteworthy.
  •  

    Beyond Snacking…

    As A Garnish On:

  • Cake and cupcake frosting
  • Cold and hot cereal and granola
  • Fresh cheeses (cottage cheese, goat cheese, ricotta)
  • Fruit salad
  • Ice cream
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Puddings and mousse
  • Yogurt
  •  
    As A Mix-In To:

  • Carrot and zucchini cakes/breads
  • Chocolate bark
  • Cookie and brownie batter
  • Ice cream
  • Muffins
  • Trail mix
  •  

    Superseedz Snack

    Superseedz Tomato Italiano

    [4] Fill up a bowl for snacking. [5] Sprinkle Tomato Italiano on pasta, pizza or polenta. Or roll a log of goat cheese in it (photos courtesy SuperSeedz).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Epicurean Butter & Holiday Compound Butters

    Sophisticated cooks know how to make magic with compound butters.

    Many casual cooks discovered the joy of strawberry butter at restaurant brunches, and learned how easy it is to make at home (here’s more about compound butter, also called flavored butter and finishing butter).

    Epicurean Butter is a terrific line that makes anyone an instantly-better cook. But before we get to it, a seasonal message:

    Now that it’s holiday season, go for holiday flavors: brandy, cranberry, hazelnut, pecan, pumpkin spice, sage, and so on. We have a variety of recipe variations below, but we’ll start with one that few people can resist: Cranberry Orange Butter.
     
    COMPOUND BUTTER: SWEET OR SAVORY

    Sweet compound butters are delicious on breakfast foods: bagels, muffins, toast, pancakes, waffles etc. They also are delicious on crackers or biscuits for snacks or with a tea break.

    Savory compound butters are used to give flavor to proteins and vegetables, and to make quick pan sauces.

    All compound butters can be made in advance and kept in the fridge, rolled into a log and covered with plastic wrap. This is what professional chefs do. When they’re needed, you simply cut off what you need.

    The following recipe, by Baked Bree, was sent to us by Go Bold With Butter.

    Also check out Bree’s Cranberry Walnut Pie, another seasonal treat.
     
    RECIPE: CRANBERRY COMPOUND BUTTER

    You can make this ahead and store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
    Make extra to bring to family and friends.

    You can also make our version, Cranberry Maple Butter, with maple syrup. The recipe is with the variations below.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Zest of one orange
  •  
    Preparation

       

    Cranberry Compound Butter

    Cranberry Flower Arrangements

    [1] Cranberry butter, a sweet spread for the holidays. [2] Use the leftover cranberries to create eye-catching flower vases and tea candle holders (both photos courtesy Baked Bree).

     
    1. WHIP the butter and honey with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and fold in until combined.

    2. TRANSFER to a small serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature before serving.
     
    Variations

  • Brandy Butter: 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup superfine sugar, 3 tablespoons brandy, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the sugar a bit at a time. When the mixture is very white and frothy, beat in the brandy and vanilla. Makes 3/4 cup. Substitute rum or Grand Marnier.
  • Cinnamon Butter: 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup honey (substitute superfine sugar if you don’t like honey), 1 tablespoon cinnamon (add more to taste). Makes 1.5 cups.
  • Cranberry Butter #2: 1 cup butter 1/3 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen) 1/4 cup maple syrup 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional) Makes 1.5 cups. Great for pancakes and waffles.
  • Ginger Orange Butter: 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup orange marmalade, melted over low heat 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped.
  • Maple Butter: 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup maple syrup. Makes 1.5 cups.
  • Pecan Butter: 1 cup butter, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar or 1 teaspoon honey, 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans. Makes 1.5 cups. Substitute almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts. To toast nuts: Spread nuts in a pan or on a baking sheet and place in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes. Cool, remove any skin from the nuts and chop them. For a savory version for potatoes, vegetables and proteins, use 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest instead of the sugar. Makes 1 cup.
  •  
    MORE FLAVORED BUTTER RECIPES

     

    Epicurean Butter Flavors

    Cocoa Coconut Epicurean Butter

    Corn On The Cob With Flavored Butter

    [3] Epicurean Butter: We have several different flavors in our fridge right now. [4] Organic Cocoa Coconut Butter won the top prize in its category at this year’s Fancy Food Show (photos courtesy Deli Market News). [5] Beyond sophisticated uses, simply spread savory compound butter on bread and vegetables (photo courtesy Kraft).

     

    TOP PICK: EPICUREAN BUTTER

    We have long been enamored of Epicurean Butter, a line of compound butters created by a professional chef for the home cook.

    The flavors cater to both classic and contemporary cuisine, with butters in savory and sweet flavors.

    The home cook is now empowered to finish and present meals like a fine chef, just by taking the lid off the tub of butter. People who think they have modest cooking talents should not be surprised to hear applause at the table—just by adding a pat to a grilled protein or making a quick pan sauce simpy by deglazing the pan.

    Not to mention, serving the butters as gourmet bread spreads.

    The company makes an assortment of flavors:

  • Sweet Compound Butters: Caramel Sea Salt, Cinnamon & Brown Sugar, Coconut Lemon, Maple Syrup, Organic Cocoa Coconut, Pumpkin Spice
  • Savory Compound Butters: Chili Lime, Lemon Garlic Herb, 100% Organic Roasted Garlic, Roasted Garlic Herb, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Tuscan Herb, Black Truffle, White Truffle
  •  
    A few of these makes a great gift for a cook.
     
    Yummy With The Bread Basket Or A Glass Of Wine

    In addition to topping savory foods, savory compound butters can be used as a bread spread at the dinner table or with drinks.

    We especially enjoy serving them as an easy hors d’oeuvre with aperitifs, spread on thin slices of baguette or fancy crackers and topped with a garnish (capers, chopped fresh herbs, olive or peppadew half, etc.).

    You can pre-spread the bread or crackers and serve them on a tray; or place the butter(s) in a ramekin in the middle of the bread/crackers and let people spread their own.

    that finishing and compound butters are what often take a normal at-home meal up to restaurant quality. Available in 3.5 oz. tubs and some in the newly introduced 1 oz. single-serve packets, these butters are all rBST-free

    Head to EpicureanButter.com for more information.

     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Lindor Pumpkin Spice Truffles From Lindt

    Lindt Truffles With Sprinkles

    Lindor Holiday Truffles

    Lindor Pumpkin Spice Truffles

    Lindor Truffle Cake

    [1] Glamorized Pumpkin Spice Truffles: Lauren of Climbing Grier Mountain tops the truffles with a bit of frosting and gold sprinkles. [2] Boxes of Lindor truffles are available at retailers nationwide (photo courtesy JunkBanter.com). [3] For larger sizes, head to LindtUSA.com. This bag contains 75 truffles. [4] You don’t have to be a professional like Becky Bakes to create a holiday cake with Lindor truffles. Tip: Use a simpler garnish!

     

    Last week was a big chocolate week for us, from the Big Chocolate Show in New York City to a media trip to Lindt’s U.S. headquarters in New Hampshire.

    Our favorite discoveries were at Lindt: not just the million-square-foot bean-to-bar plant, thick with chocolate aroma, but the ability to taste just about everything Lindt produces.

    We have many favorites, but one in particular is our Top Pick Of The Week: Lindor Pumpkin Spice Truffles.

    The milk chocolate shell has a creamy center of “smooth melting pumpkin spice filling.” We can’t get enough of them, and have stocked up on this limited edition (through the season, while supplies last) to get us through Valentine’s Day.

    Why?

  • To fill our candy bowl throughout the season.
  • For trick-or-treaters.
  • For dessert and dessert cocktail garnishes.
  • For sundaes or parfaits (chopped or sliced).
  • For coffee, hot chocolate and pumpkintinis (recipe below).
  • For no-bake dessert tarts (see the creation of Lauren at ClimbingGrierMountain.com).
  • Place settings for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Holiday gifts (they’re KOF-K, too)
  •  
    No wonder Lindt packages these truffles in jumbo sizes in addition to the standard 5.1-ounce and 8.5-ounce packages available at retailers nationwide (suggested prices $4.39 and $6.99, respectively).

    For larger sizes, we headed to Lindt Outlet Stores and Lindt’s online store at LindtUSA.com. There, you can find:

  • 75-piece gift bag, $28
  • 36-piece gift bag, $16
  • 550-piece case, $145
  •  
    A BIT OF LINDT HISTORY

    Before we move on to drinking the truffles, here’s a quick note on how Lindor Truffles came to be.

    In 1845, Zurich store owner David Sprüngli-Schwarz and his son, Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann, decided to be among the first confectioners in Switzerland to manufacture chocolate in a solid form.

    Prior to then, chocolate was a beverage, as it had been since Mesoamericans first began to use it around 1500 B.C.E. (the timeline of chocolate).

    Solid chocolate then was nothing like the product we know. It was a gritty, chewy product. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable, though. Some companies, like Tazo, still make this old-style chocolate.

    But progress marched forward.

    In 1879 chocolatier Rodolphe Lindt of Berne, Switzerland, indadvertently developed a technique, conching, that created the smooth, silky chocolate we enjoy today.

    Ten years later, older brother Johann Rudolf Sprüngli acquired the Lindt business, and the secret to making smooth, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. The new company was called Lindt & Sprüngli, but Lindt, the easier name to pronounce in different languages, became the brand name.

    Right after World War II, with time to re-focus on life’s pleasures, the creative chocolatiers at Lindt & Sprüngli developed the Lindor truffle, enrobing an even meltier center with its famed chocolate.

     
    Lindor is a contraction of Lindt d’Or, Golden Lindt. We heartily concur: These truffles are golden.

    Here’s the complete company history.

     

    DRINKING THE TRUFFLES

    Lindor truffles are not just for eating. You can drink them:

  • Melted into hot milk to create milk chocolate.
  • Melted into hot coffee to create hot mocha.
  • Hot chocolate and coffee Lindor drinks can be shaken with ice for iced hot chocolate and iced mocha; whipped cream optional.
  • Flavored truffles (coconut, mint, orange, raspberry, etc.) can be used to add extra flavor accents.
  •  
    When we visited the Lindt Outlet Store (here’s a store locator for both Lindt Chocolate Shops and Lindt Outlet Stores), we found a large cafe counter offering the choice of these drinks and more. We dove right in.

    Our recommendation: For a less sweet drink, use two Lindor truffles per 8 ounces of hot milk or coffee. For a sweeter drink, use three truffles. Whisk them in one at a time.

    We haven’t stopped drinking Lindt hot chocolate since!

    Pizzazzerei set up a party bar, an idea you may want to try for your own fall entertaining.

    You can also use Lindt truffles as a cocktail garnish, matching the different Lindor flavors (more than 20) to specific drink recipes.

    With Lindor Pumpkin Spice, the choice is obvious:

    RECIPE: LINDT PUMPKINTINI

    It’s like an alcoholic milkshake! Have it for dessert.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • ½ ounce cream liqueur
  • 2 ounces vanilla vodka
  • ½ ounce pumpkin liqueur or pumpkin spice syrup
  • Ice and shaker
  • Garnish: Lindor Pumpkin Spice Truffle
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Lindor Pumpkin Spice  Hot Chocolate

    Lindt Pumpkintini With Lindor Truffle

    [5] Add two truffles to milk, stir, and you’ve got Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate. [6] The best Pumpkinitini has a Lindor Pumpkin Spice Truffle garnish (photo courtesy Lindt).

     
    1. COMBINE the cream liqueur and vodka in an ice-filled shaker and shake well. Add pumpkin the liqueur or syrup.

    2. SHAKE and strain into chilled a martini glass. Garnish with the truffle. If you don’t have a cocktail pick, lightly notch the truffle and place it on the rim of the glass.

    See our article on pumpkin liqueur, and why you should buy a bottle while you can.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Babeth’s Feast Frozen Gourmet Food

    If you can’t cook or want to entertain but can’t be both cook and hostess, you can still serve a feast in your own home—no assistance necessary.

    As long as you can turn on the oven, you can serve a splendid repast any meal of the day, thanks to Babeth’s Feast gourmet frozen foods.

    You can serve them the day they arrive, or put them in the freezer for future feasting

    THE FEAST BEGINS…

    Elisbeth, founder of Babeth’s Feast, discovered premium frozen food while living in Paris. French people shop daily for fresh ingredients to cook.

    But they also frequent frozen food specialty stores. Elegantly prepared frozen foods enable them to serve more elaborate meals, just by turning on the oven.

    To eat at home and entertain friends in style, she began to purchase frozen hors d’oeuvres by the dozen to host effortless cocktail parties. On weekends, she created elaborate brunch buffets from frozen breakfast pastries, meats, soups, quiches and desserts.

    She became a champion of the power of flash-frozen foods to provide the flavor, quality, connection and convenience that busy people need.

    To these prepared foods she added her own salad and wine, and friends never suspected the food was ready-made. These Sunday gatherings became known as “Babeth’s Feast.”
     
    …BUT NOT IN THE U.S.A., UNTIL…

    Upon moving to New York, Elisabeth was chagrined that no elegant frozen-food store could be found. She—and the entire European expat community—really missed that easy option.

    Ordering in just couldn’t compare, and calling a caterer was cost-prohibitive.

    Wanting the ease, the spontaneity and the quality selection, Elisabeth/Babeth decided to bring a premium frozen food store to her new hometown. After careful sourcing and extensive recipe development, she opened Babeth’s Feast, a shop on the Upper East Side.

    And on the Internet.

    Whether for fancy entertaining or simpler dinners for every day, you can dine as if you had a cook. (You do: Babeth and her team.)

    A selection of 300 dishes span breakfast, brunch, lunch, cocktails and dinners.

       

    Babeth's Feast Brunch

    Babeth's Feast Appetizers

    Brunch with your favorite dishes, and no effort except heating. [2] Fine hors d’oeuvres with cocktails couldn’t be easier (photos courtesy Babeth’s Feast).

     
    The recipes range from popular crowd pleasers and kid pleasers to more sophisticated foodie fare.

    And it’s proof that you can’t tell the difference between flash-frozen foods and made-from-scratch (we challenge you, Gordon Ramsay!). They deliver flavor, quality and convenience to fine dining* at home.

    So claim full credit for yourself, or let guests in on your secret. Babeth endorses both options.
     
    ______________
    *It doesn’t have to be “fine.” There are plenty of choices for people who prefer mac and cheese, burgers and fries.

     

    Babeth's Feast Dinner

    Salmon Dinner

    Did you make this rack of lamb dinner? Or this family-friendly salmon? Sure you did: You turned on the oven, didn’t you? (Photos courtesy Babeth’s Feast).

     

    WHAT WE ATE

    We received the gift of an entire feast for THE NIBBLE team:

  • Hors d’oeuvre, four types warm from the oven
  • Carrot and coconut soup (so popular, it’s currently sold out)
  • Sea bass with miso sauce
  • Rack of lamb with red wine sauce
  • Desserts: chocolate soufflé and lemon tart
  •  
    For dinner alone, there are 15 meat and poultry choices, 10 fish and seafood choices, numerous sides from prepared vegetable dishes (Butternut Squash Crumble, Cauliflower Gratin), 10 different types of potatoes, 13 plain vegetables and 11 grains.

    Desserts are individual portions, from American favorites like lava cake, chocolate soufflé and lemon meringue tartlets, to French pastries like Opéra Gâteau.

    There are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options.
     
    Can’t decide?

    There are samplers in every category with the three best-sellers.

    You can get servings for one, for a group, and kids portions.
     
    HOW TO ENJOY YOUR OWN BABETH’S FEAST

    NYC store: 1422 3rd Avenue between 80th and 81st Streets, Manhattan

    Website: BabethsFeast.com

    Phone: 1.877.968.3327

    See more food photos at Facebook.com/BabethsFeast.

     
     
    GIVE THE GIFT OF BABETH’S FEAST!

    It’a a terrific gift for birthdays, anniversaries, new baby parents, new movers, and anyone who’d enjoy fine dining at home.

    Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentin’s Day, and other times when you want to spend time with people instead of the stove.

    And as a holiday gift?

    Just yesterday, as we were describing Babeth’s Feast to a friend, she said: “Give me the URL. [The adult kids] send us Omaha Steaks every year for Christmas and we’d like something else.”

    And yes, we’d like MORE!

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Cracker Barrel, The Best Boxed Mac & Cheese

    Why do so many American households make macaroni and cheese?

    It’s easy, cheap, fast (9 minutes!) comfort food—at least in modern packaged form. But in the many centuries before boxed mac & cheese, it was as laborious as most other cooking.

    THE HISTORY OF MACARONI & CHEESE

    The first written known record of pasta and cheese casseroles dates to medieval cookbooks of the 14th century.

    The first modern recipe for the dish was published in Britain, in Elizabeth Raffald’s 1769 book, The Experienced English Housekeeper.

    Raffald’s recipe calls for a mornay sauce—a secondary mother sauce that’s a béchamel sauce with cheese—in this case, cheddar cheese. The sauce is mixed with cooked macaroni, sprinkled with parmesan, and baked until golden.

    The recipe from scratch requires cooked macaroni (now referred to by its Italian name, pasta); plus milk, butter and flour and cheese to make the cheddar or parmesan sauce.

    Almost a century later, in 1861, the popular Victorian cookbook Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management offered two recipes for the dish, one topped with the bread crumbs still used today. Both books are available in reprints: Just click the links.

    Thomas Jefferson encountered pasta in Paris while Minister to France (1885 to 1889), and in his travels to Italy. Back in the U.S., he imported both macaroni and parmesan cheese in order to enjoy cheesy macaroni.
     
    Mac & Cheese Gets Its Name

    The first recipe called “macaroni and cheese” was published in the U.S. in 1824, in Mary Randolph’s influential cookbook, The Virginia Housewife. More American “macaroni and cheese” recipes followed, in the 1852 Hand-book of Useful Arts, and the 1861 Godey’s Lady’s Book.

    By the mid-1880s, midwestern cookbooks included recipes for macaroni and cheese casseroles. Labor-intensive, the dish was enjoyed by the more affluent [source].
     
    Mac & Cheese Gets A Box

    Once it became available in dry packaged form in the first half of the 20th century, mac and cheese became affordable to the masses—and thus less interesting to the affluent. Launched in 1937 in the midst of the Great Depression, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese advertised that a family of four could eat for 19¢, the price of a box. Consumers bought eight million boxes in the first year [source].

    A whopping 50 million boxes were sold during World War II, when meat and dairy were in short supply, and one food ration stamp could be exchanged for two boxes of macaroni and cheese.

    Today, the original packaged form is joined by frozen heat-and-eat versions and cheddar cheese sauce is sold in jars. The dish can be cooked on the stovetop, in the oven or in a microwave.

    In the United States, July 14th is National Macaroni and Cheese Day. Now that we’re up to date…
     
     
    WELCOME, CRACKER BARREL MACARONI & CHEESE

    Up-front disclosure: We’re really picky about our food, and have never enjoyed powdered cheese sauce. Our mom made mac and cheese from scratch, grating cheddar, gruyère or parmesan into her béchamel.

    She used bricks Cracker Barrel cheddar, her brand of choice. Back then, specialty cheese stores were few and far between; and even today, it’s not easy for many people to find the finest farmhouse (artisan) cheddars (and if you found them, the best use would not be grated into a cheese sauce).

    So we were more than interested to see what Cracker Barrel would present as a packaged mac and cheese.

    It’s the cheese that makes the biggest difference in preparations, and Cracker Barrel does not disappoint. Its cheese sauce is not mixed from powder, but is ready to eat, squeezed from a package onto the cooked elbow macaroni.

    Smooth, creamy and full of flavor, it has a distinctively superior taste, creating what you’d expect from a casual restaurant instead of a boxed product.

     

    Macaroni & Cheese Breadcrumbs

    Macaroni & Cheese Broccoli

    Lobster Mac & Cheese

    BLT Mac & Cheese

    Cracker Barrel Macaroni & Cheese

    [1] A bread crumb topping was suggested in Mrs. Beeton’s 1861 cookbook. [2] Sneaking in broccoli and riced cauliflower. [3] Go upscale with added shellfish; here, lobster (photo courtesy Blake’s). [4] BLT mac & cheese (photo courtesy WMMB). [5] The best boxed mac and cheese, new from Cracker Barrel.

     
    And while it comes in a box, Cracker Barrel is not meant to compete with other boxed mac and cheese (Kraft owns Cracker Barrel as well as the number-one brand, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese) but with prepared dishes from the refrigerated section of the grocery store, and with restaurant dishes. (Kraft, which owns the Cracker Barrel trademark, has no relation to the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.)

    People with sophisticated palates will notice the quality. Yet, the price is not much more than other boxed meals.

    There are four varieties of Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese, featuring different cheese options:

  • Cheddar Havarti
  • Sharp Cheddar
  • Sharp Cheddar & Bacon
  • Sharp White Cheddar
  •  
    You can dress up the dish with anything you like. We enjoy it plain with fresh-cracked pepper and some grated parmesan, but also loved:

  • Bay scallops and toasted crumbs—shades of Coquilles Saint Jacques.
  • BLT-style, with a topping of bacon, baby arugula and diced tomato.
  • Ham and cheese—we had some baked ham as well as serrano ham. We julienned the former, shredded the latter and snipped some fresh herbs on top.
  • Veggie supreme, made with all our leftover vegetables. Tip: put the veggies on the bottom and they’ll be coated with cheese sauce.
  •  
    DOES MAC & CHEESE REQUIRE ELBOW MACARONI?

    No: You can use any pasta. Elbow macaroni most likely became the standard because it was easy for children to eat with a spoon.

    We heard one of our favorite chefs—Gordon Ramsay—chew out a chef on TV for making mac and cheese with penne, insisting that it must be made with elbows.

    Not so, chef!

      

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