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Marston’s

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Food Network Magazine named Marston’s Restaurant in Pasadena the “Best Breakfast in California”.  This cutesy converted house is a few blocks from the heart of Old Town Pasadena and easy to miss.  But it’s also a shame to miss.  You’ll eat in tight quarters but there’s such an inviting and warm vibe to the place.  Then there’s the food….

Corn Flake Encrusted Sourdough French Toast!

Spinach Omelet with Hollandaise and Fried Potatoes!

There just needs to be an international proclamation that all French toast be made with sourdough.  The tanginess of the bread is such a wonderful counterpoint to the sweetness of the batter and syrup.  The corn flake crust is not only a textural delight, but it also imparts a subtle flavor without being overwhelmingly sweet.  This is an amazing treat!  And this is coming from a food nerd who can make some mean French toast.  My only complaint is that the maple syrup came cold.

The Fun Wife went with the omelet, which was bursting with filling and flavor but a tad overcooked.  The egg was a bit dry and tough.  The Hollandaise sauce was bland.  Not bad, but it just didn’t really add anything to the plate.  The big star of our whole breakfast was, surprisingly, the side of potatoes.  These are not your everyday, run-of-the-mill, breakfast home fries.  They’re incredibly savory, an explosion of butter, garlic, onions, and herbs.  “Best Breakfast” is still debatable in my mind.  But these are easily the best breakfast potatoes I’ve ever had.

I look forward to sleeping each night just for the possibility of dreaming about those potatoes.

Marston's on Urbanspoon

Categories: Restaurant Reviews

Money Mac

October 2, 2010 6 comments

I got rave reviews at a recent “cooking gig” for the following baked mac ‘n cheese recipe.  My clientele literally came from four different continents, both children and adults.  I wanted to include mac ‘n cheese for the kids, but it turned out that the adults were the ones most impressed.  The kids liked it, but they probably would’ve been happy with the bland blue box.

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 stick butter
6 TBS flour
4 cups half and half
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
8 oz colby jack cheese (shredded)
8 oz Velveeta (cubed)
Topping:
1/2 a bag Goldfish crackers (crumbled)
1/2 stick melted butter

Boil the pasta to “super al dente”. The box directions suggest to boil for 9-11 minutes. I found eight minutes to be perfect. The pasta will still have a bit of a bite, but will absorb the cheese sauce nicely.

Speaking of cheese sauce, the key is to think cream gravy. The half and half will make it rich and creamy, while the addition of a bit of chicken stock adds nice flavor. Make a roux with the butter and flour, add the half and half and stock and simmer over low heat until the mixture thickens (whisk frequently and use a heavy bottomed pot to prevent scorching). Off the heat, gradually stir in the cheese. Velveeta, while just about as fake as margarine, is a fabulous melter and will help stabilize everything. Colby Jack also melts nicely and has decent flavor. Sharp cheddar is all about flavor but isn’t a great melter. I think combining the three is the best way to rich, cheesey goodness. Mix the cheese sauce and pasta together and pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with buttered Goldfish crackers and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

I suggest doubling the recipe to insure leftovers. Allow the mac ‘n cheese to sit in the fridge over night and it will set up like polenta. Slice into strips, bread with seasoned flour, and deep fry! Chicken fried mac ‘n cheese! That’s money, baby!

Categories: Recipes