Week & End

tumblr_n3n73wHzYe1s79rl8o1_1280Happy Friday from the best coast! A full recap of my time in California will come soon, but for now, enjoy some fun links! Have a great weekend.

I loved this wine & food pairings post. My favorite combination is one that James and I enjoy frequently – macaroni & cheese + Chardonnay!

I adore all things Clare Vivier, so I really enjoyed this tour of her Los Angeles studio. Isn’t it gorgeous? It also makes me want to add several more bags to my ever-growing collection, stat.

I’ve recently been learning more about Paul Quinn College, a school based in Dallas, and it was neat to see Michael Sorrell featured in this list of America’s ten most innovative college presidents. The school’s vision, as summed up in the piece, is so fascinating:

“[Sorrell] disbanded the football team, no easy task in Dallas, and literally turned the field into a farm. The team had been costing $600,000 a year, according to Yahoo Sports, and Sorrell said it would have cost $2 million to save. The farm is operated by students (who are paid for their work), and the resulting produce is sold to local grocers and restaurants, used at the college, or donated to local charities. Students aren’t just picking vegetables—they’re working on the business end, too, getting paid professional experience with a service twist. It’s all part of Sorrell’s vision for what he calls the “New Urban College Model”—a work school that emphasizes local businesses rather than manual labor (like at rural counterparts).”

This post totally affirmed my belief in never washing my jeans. Hurray!

This book keeps popping up everywhere and I’m totally drawn in by the premise: the author cooks her way through recipes featured in wonderful books (think everything from The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Gone Girl). It’s a combination of two of my favorite things – reading & cooking – and while I super love using my library card to check out books, this title might just be one that I have to purchase.

Image via Topo Designs

Sriracha Mac & Cheese

As a native Chicagoan, I didn’t eat a lot of spicy food growing up, but that all changed when I moved to Texas. Over the last few years, I’ve started craving spicy flavors in my food – as far as I’m concerned, the hotter a dish, the better. Hot sauce is a staple in our pantry, and we think it goes with everything from eggs and breakfast tacos to quinoa and pizza. Sriracha is one of our favorite hot sauces so I was super excited to try this macaroni & cheese that calls for the condiment in the recipe. James and I ate this treat alongside grilled steaks, steamed broccoli & icy margaritas – delicious! We’ve been living off of the leftovers for several days, too – this recipe makes a ton of mac & cheese. Enjoy!

Sriracha Mac & Cheese

Adapted recipe & image via Life Tastes Like Food

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (+ 2 tablespoons butter for bread crumb topping)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 4 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
  • 3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (a pinch  more is always encouraged)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta for about 2 – 3 minutes (or a few minutes shy of what is instructed on the package – the pasta will finish cooking in the oven). Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and combine until it’s lightly bubbling and just starting to smell a little nutty.
  4. Whisk in the milk, 1 cup at a time, and turn up the heat to medium. Let the milk come to a simmer so that it can thicken up a bit. (A great way to tell if it’s thick enough is if it coats the back of a wooden spoon and it doesn’t run down the spoon.)
  5. After the mixture has thickened, add the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, jalapeño, and Sriracha.
  6. Remove from heat and mix in 3 cups of cheese, 1 cup at a time.
  7. Put the pasta into a 9 x 13 baking dish and then pour the cheese sauce over it. Incorporate everything together with a spoon.
  8. Place the panko bread crumbs in a small bowl. In a separate, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and then pour over the bread crumbs. Mix well and then spread evenly across the top of the pasta and cheese.
  9. Place baking dish in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and the bread crumbs start to turn golden.
  10. Drizzle extra Sriracha over each plate before serving.