Wednesday, February 01, 2006

3 Touchdowns for Super Bowl XL

Click photo for enlarged view.

I know most of you reading this don't really give a rat's ass about the Super Bowl but hey, it's a good excuse to park yourself in front of the TV for hours and enjoy some great comfort food. Following are a few of my favorites recipes I thought you might enjoy:
1. The Best Macaroni & Cheese
2. Finger-licking 5-Spice Ribs
3. Flavorful Couscous with Olive-Raisin Relish

I actually made them for Cards Night at my house last night so I could include pictures for you. I always think it's easier to make something if you have a photo to aspire to.

Both the Mac & Cheese and the Ribs are baked at the same temperature which enables you to cook both at the same time, so you can have them hot for gametime or whenever you serve them. The Couscous can be made ahead of time so you can get that out of the way earlier if you want.

The Best Mac & Cheese
Mac & Cheese is all about the quality of the cheese you put into it. Don't skimp and buy pre-grated or cheap cheese. Invest in nice hunks of quality Swiss (gruyere or emmenthaler), Cheddar (no Kraft singles please) and some nice Parmesan to top it all off.

I got this recipe from a cheese class I took at the Boston Center for Adult Education. It's a keeper.


1/2 pound pasta of your choice (penne or ziti work well)
3 cups cheese, grated (a mixture of swiss, cheddar and parmesan is delicious)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
2 tsp. dijon mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (use a nice loaf of italian or french bread)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Cook pasta according to package directions
2. Melt butter over medium-low heat, add flour and stir constantly for 3 minutes (do not let it burn). This is known as the roux or the thickening base for the sauce. Gradually whisk in the milk. Add grated cheese in handfuls and stir to combine. Add the Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Combine milk and cheese mixture with the pasta and pour into a baking dish. I use a 12" round, deep quiche dish but you can use whatever you have. Top with breadcrumbs.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes just and then put the Mac & Cheese under the broiler until the breadcrumbs are browned. I drizzle a little Truffle Oil over the top which is over the top but oh so good!

If you like this mac & cheese recipe, you might love this hearty codfish & mashed potatoes recipe called Bacalhau. It's as good if not better.

Finger-Licking Five-Spice Ribs
This recipe is from the June 2005 issue of Bon Appetit and can also be found on I tweaked it slightly after making it a couple of times.

1 or 2 racks of pork spareribs

For sauce:
1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons Port or dry Sherry
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

For garnish:
1 bunch of chopped scallions (white part only)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional but adds texture and looks nice)

How to:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. Season the rack(s) with salt and pepper and roast on a rimmed baking sheet for 1 hour.
2. In a small saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients listed above and simmer until reduced to about 2 cups (about 20 minutes). It will thicken slightly.
3. When the racks are done, take them out of the oven and baste with the sauce. Place the rack(s) back in the oven and cook for another 25 minutes.
4. Cut rack into individual ribs, sprinkle with chopped scallions and sesame seeds and serve.

Flavorful Couscous with Olive-Raisin Relish
The recipe for the relish is from New York chef Marc Meyers, of Five Points Restaurant. Saw him on Martha Stewart the other day. He's very creative. I added the Couscous part to the recipe. Try this. It's an unusual combination of flavors. Give it a chance. It's really flavorful. The olive and raisin mixture can be used as a topping for simple baked or grilled fish as well as chicken. I ate it with some Cod one day and in the couscous the next.

1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 cup pitted green olives
1 tablespoon minced shallots (or garlic)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 cups couscous (I prefer the larger couscous but you can use whatever you like)
2 cups chicken broth (or water)

How to:
1. Place raisins in a small bowl, add boiling water to cover. Soak until plump and softened (about 1/2 hour); drain.
2. Stir in olives, shallots, olive oil and balsamic vinegar; mix well.
3. Bring the chicken broth (or water) to a boil, pour in the couscous, turn off the burner, cover the pan and let sit until liquid absorbs (5 - 10 minutes).
4. Mix the couscous in with the raisin and olive mixture. You can serve this warm, room temperature or even cold. It's a great side for the ribs and can be made ahead of time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:11 PM  
Blogger Lynne said...

let me know how you like these!

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Brother Jim said...

That mac and cheese was pretty sinful. So were the ribs.
Your Superbowl theme has inspired me to come up with something for the Oscars. A recipe that includes the instructions "just add water" and "stir occasionally" could work for me.
Capote Fruit Compote?
I'm open to suggestions.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Brother Jim said...

Oh, yeah. The couscous was really yummy too, although you know I hate olives. I tasted it before I realized they were in it and liked it a lot! Who knew?

10:42 PM  
Anonymous always bring tupperware said...

I had these ribs the next day and they were incredible! I let them come to room temperature and couldn't believe how amazing they tasted. Rock on, Lynne!

9:09 AM  
Blogger Lynne said...

thanks for the feedback. i love it! jim, great idea about oscar-themed treats. how about "Brokeback Babyback Ribs?" or "Walk the Lime Mojitos?"

10:27 AM  
Blogger sheri said...

I'm makin' the ribs. It says to reduce down to 2 cups -- there there is only about 1 1/2 cups of liquids in ingredients. Is an ingredient missing, or is it maybe reduce to 1 cup? I could not find this recipe on epicurious. i'm sure it will be delicious regardless!

4:35 PM  
Blogger Lynne said...

hi sheri. good catch. i left out the 1/2 cup honey. very important. recipe is fixed now. thanks!

8:03 AM  

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