White Winter Truffled Mac & Cheese

White Winter Truffle Mac and Cheese

My very good friend and longtime roommate, Dayna, and I have a special wintertime tradition. Every single year, the first time it snows, we set aside the evening to drink a bunch of wine and make homemade truffled macaroni and cheese. It all started five years ago when I found this recipe online and we decided to whip it up on an especially chilly Seattle night—coincidentally, the first night it ended up dumping snow all over the city. It was such a perfect comfort dinner, we vowed that we would cook it together at the first snow of every winter. And we’ve kept our promise every single year!

We ran into an issue this winter, though. I moved to Austin in March 2012, and Dayna ended up moving down here (into my house! Roomies again!) Around a month ago, we realized we had made a grave mistake: there’s almost never any snow in central Texas! Well, obviously we decided that we would have to break the vow and make the mac any damn time we pleased down here. Our First Snow Mac & Cheese became White Winter Mac & Cheese (white because it refers to the snow of years past, and also because this recipe uses all white cheeses : chèvre, white cheddar, gruyere, and parmigiano reggiano).

I can’t emphasize this enough: this macaroni and cheese is amazing. It’s the best homemade mac & cheese recipe we have ever used. I originally found it on the lovely What We’re Eating, but over the years Dayna and I have tweaked it to our preferences. Feel free to do the same —amount of truffle oil, spice, types of mushrooms, and type of pasta can all be modified to your liking.

White Winter Truffled Mac & Cheese

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Gridiron Grub: Southern Seven-Layer Dip

The beginning of fall is always bittersweet for me, because I love summer with all my heart. The silver lining to this new season, though, is that fall equals the return of football, which equals daydrinking, snacking, and of course, tailgating!

I love tailgating. Lounging outside in the sun, downing beer, and chowing down on indulgent snacks? Hell yeah. Now that I’m a Texas transplant, I have fully committed to the southern tailgate lifestyle, and I am here to tell you it is way more intense than anything I experienced in Washington. Here in Austin, a city with no pro sports teams, college football reigns supreme. It doesn’t matter if you attended UT or not, on game days you proudly sport all the burnt orange you can muster and hook ’em horns with the best of ’em. My boyfriend, Rob, is a born-and-raised Austinite and a huuuuge Longhorns supporter with a reserved tailgate spot and season tickets to all the games, so I knew it was important to make a strong “I’m committed to this, y’all!” statement among the other fans at my first UT tailgate.

Mulling over all the traditional choices got a bit tedious. Chips, queso, pulled pork, chili, salsa… I couldn’t make up my mind and didn’t want to just settle for one of those cliché (albeit delicious, don’t get me wrong!) choices. Suddenly it dawned one me: why not combine all my favorite fatty football foods in one epic dish?! If people can do that with Mexican food, why couldn’t I do that with Southern food?! And thus, the Southern Seven-Layer Dip was born.

Southern Seven-Layer Dip

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Bring It On, Fall: Healthy Lobster Mac and Cheese

You know how I was complaining about the end of summer here?

I’m over it.  A couple more hot days and I was done.  Bring it on, fall. Bring on the crunchy leaves and cable knit sweaters.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Bring on the comfort food!

I’m probably going to upset some ES-ers with a healthified recipe, but I’m okay with it.  Because my jeans fit when I eat stuff like this.  And yours can too!

Now, this was my first attempt at lobster, and I was sort of intimidated, but it turned out pretty simple and doable (yay!)  I just used tails.  I’m not sure I could handle an entire lobster.  These tails were frozen because fresh lobster is not available around these parts.  Use fresh lobster if you have access to it, of course.

Healthy Lobster Mac & Cheese

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Plate It or Hate It

Recent food world discoveries the ES crew is loving and hating…

Plate It: Peanut Butter & Jelly M&Ms

Why in the world aren’t these limited-edition babies sold year-round? BUT we have discovered they are available online.

Hate It: Mad Men Cocktails/Tasting Menus

Already more tired than getting “Zou Bisou Bisou” stuck in your head. Sure, everyone loves Don Draper, but we don’t actually want to adopt his diet.

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Crazy Savory Breakfast of the Day, Part II

I thought we had found all the crazy ways to eat mac and cheese, but then this happened.

Mac and cheese pancakes. Spotted at Wonderland Ballroom, Washington D.C. Delicious.

More: Top 10 Ways to Eat Mac and Cheese Before You Die
Bacon Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
Macaroni and Cheese Hot Dogs. Seriously.

Macaroni and Cheese Hot Dogs. Seriously.

Here’s a shocker for everyone: I’m here to report yet more breaking hot dog news! Two of my favorite trashy bar foods, mac & cheese and hot dogs, have found each other at last. Then they found my mouth.

We’ve covered the existence of macaroni & cheese hot dogs before on ES, but I’d never seen them in the wild… until now. During one of my many bar-hopping benders last week, I cruised into Po Dogs in Seattle for a late-night meat fix, and discovered the accurately named Mac ‘n’ Cheese Dog: Homemade macaroni and cheese topped with Tillamook cheddar cheese. As a professional food writer, I advise you to order barbecue sauce on this as well.

For those of you who demand yet more cheese-drenched meat options, feel free to order the Dub-T Dog: creamy cheese sauce, crushed potato chips, topped with mustard and ketchup.

I mean, why not? Frankly (no pun intended!), I would like to cover most of my meals in melted cheese. This is a step in the right direction.

Previously: Peanut Butter Bacon Hot Dogs. Seriously.
Octopus Hot Dogs. Seriously.

Top 10 Break-Up Foods

For some, Valentine’s Day is a time of magic and romance. For the rest of us, it’s a pain in the ass. I’m not a big proponent of feeling pressured if you’re dating someone, or sorry for yourself if you’re not. Come on, we’re all gonna get laid sooner or later, who cares if it’s on V-Day, right? And most romances end in heartache, so let’s just indulge ourselves and talk about something more realistic than the perfect confections to buy your sweetheart.

Maybe you’re feeling bitter because you got dumped right before Valentine’s Day, maybe you found out through Facebook that your high school lover is engaged, maybe you just realized that every dude on this season of Mtv’s Real World/Road Rules: The Challenge somehow resembles one of your ex-boyfriends. (I mean…hypothetically, of course.) At least there is always food and sweet, sweet alcohol.

Just in time for everyone who is feeling bitter over this “holiday,” we present Endless Simmer’s Top 10 Break-Up Foods.

10. Bananas

I know, we’re starting off with a weird one, but bear with me. For a lot of us, when we’re upset or depressed or convinced we will die alone, sometimes it’s hard to see the point of eating. (If you are in this heartbroken place, don’t worry; in my experience, this unwillingness to stuff your face will pass soon enough.) While you might feel dramatic and slightly excited by the possibility of effortless weight loss, you need something to provide you with energy, or at least keep you from fainting at your desk. I read somewhere that the human body could technically live off bananas. I don’t know if this is actually true, but this “fact” stuck with me, and now whenever I’m depressed and have to force myself to eat, I choke down a banana.

9. Coffee

You might be waking up alone, but at least you have a daybreak companion to look forward to: coffee. If you’re been up until 4am crying, or maybe writing angry emails, or pathetic “I am so lonely without you” texts, it’s gonna be a rough morning. You need to force yourself to get out of bed and face the day somehow. What is the answer? Caffeine, of course. There is something about a sober, steaming mug of black coffee that is bleakly comforting.

8. Pizza

You’re in no mood to cook. Everything is too much effort. Nothing says “I’m lonely and lazy” like some cheap pizza. Plus it’s oily enough to soak up a boozy hangover if you’re been drinking away your sorrows. Whether it’s local delivery, late-night drunken desperation, or a cold slice out of a greasy box you find in the back of the fridge, pizza is a tried-and-true break-up binge classic.

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