bungalow to go: mac ‘n cheese ‘n collards

Mac and Cheese 6This week’s Bungalow To Go at Ocmulgee Traders is TOTALLY not Whole30 (see previous post for details), but lucky for me, I made it last week and enjoyed all the cheese and pasta I could.

While this dish is easily recognizable as one of the most popular comfort foods around, it also featured a local beauty: collard greens from Babe and Sage Farm. Collards are high in nutritional value, giving some much-needed vitamins and minerals to this decadent dish. Don’t worry, though: you’ve still got plenty of gruyere and white cheddar to satisfy your cheesy, ooey gooey needs.

I’m so proud of this dish, and I hope you’ll try it yourself by picking up the recipe card and ingredient box at Ocmulgee Traders this week.

Mac ‘n Cheese ‘n Collards
Serves 4, generously

8 oz. collard greens (Babe and Sage Farm)
1 stem of green garlic (Babe and Sage Farm)
8 oz. sharp cheddar
4 oz. gruyere
2.5 cups whole milk
4 Tbsp. butter
3 pieces of bread (rolls or slices)
8 oz. elbow macaroni
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

What You Need at Home:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
box grater
1 medium pot
1 small pan
1 large, deep pan
8×8 baking dish
1 knife

STEP 1: Assemble Ingredients
Read over each step to familiarize yourself with the process of the meal. Heat oven to 375 F. Fill the medium pot with water halfway and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and the macaroni, cook for five minutes (to al dente), then drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

STEP 2: Shred the Cheese
Using a box grater, shred the blocks of cheese on the large shred side.

STEP 3: Prep and Cook the Garlic and Greens
Cut the stem and bottom off the garlic, peel it, then mince it. Slice each collard leaf into 1/2 inch ribbons, removing the stems as you slice. Heat olive oil, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper over medium-high heat in a small pan. After about 1 minute, add the collard ribbons in batches, about 1/4 at a time, tossing with tongs. Once the last batch is added, toss for about 1 more minute, then remove from the heat and set aside. Collards should be slightly wilted, but should still retain some structure.

STEP 4: Prep Breadcrumbs
Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a small bowl in the microwave (about 40 seconds on high). Using your hands, tear the bread into small pieces, then mix with the butter, adding 1/4 tsp. salt, until all of the butter is absorbed in the bread.

STEP 5: Create the Sauce, Assemble the Dish, and Bake
In the medium pot you used for the macaroni, add the milk and heat over medium heat. Heat 3 Tbsp. butter in the large pan at medium heat. When it begins to bubble, slowly whisk in the flour; this creates the roux for the sauce. When the flour and butter are combined into a paste, slowly whisk in the warmed milk, taking care that the roux gets absorbed into the milk. Keep whisking until the thickened liquid begins to bubble slightly, then add in the nutmeg, cayenne, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Whisk, then add in the macaroni and sauteed greens. Whisk until fully combined, then pour contents into the 8×8 baking dish. Top evenly with the buttered breadcrumbs, then bake for 20 minutes.

STEP 6: Cool and Serve
When the dish has baked for 20 minutes, the edges should bubble and the breadcrumbs should turn golden brown. Take the dish out of the oven and let rest on the counter for about 5 minutes. This dish serves 4-6 comfortably as a main dish, so dip up as much as you like and keep the rest for lunch tomorrow.

meatless monday: spaghetti with garlic and oil with asparagus and tomatoes


Comfort food. A big warm bowl of pasta, delicious garlicky oil,a few veggies. It’s a wonderful complement to the mild weather we’ve had the last few days and it is very easy to make. Perfect for a Monday of work, especially the first workday after Springing forward…

This dish is a classic dish with a little fresh twist. Spaghetti olio e aglio is a fairly basic dish that is so easy to make and uses such standard ingredients that it has been dubbed midnight pasta. Typically, you won’t have to make a run to the store to make this supper. I had been wanting to make it ever since we re-watched the movie Chef (something that also led me to make Cubano sandwiches a couple of weeks ago) where Jon Favreau makes this pasta (it seems) for Scarlett Johansson.If you haven’t seen that movie, you should. It is very sweet and the food shots are amazing. It is fascinating to see what directors like Favreau and Joss Weedon do when “taking a break” from their blockbuster films. I guess in this case it has been literally inspiring.

It is amazing what just a few basic ingredients can do to brighten your day.

Spaghetti with garlic and oil with asparagus and tomatoes

1 pound spaghetti
Water and 2 tablespoons salt
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bundle asparagus, chopped
6 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Pinch red pepper
1/4 cup parmesan
Salt and pepper to finish

Bring water and salt to a boil. Add pasta and cook 9 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water before straining.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir frequently for 4 minutes, until browned around the edges, but not burned. Add the asparagus and toss in the oil. Pour in the pasta water and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer for about 5 minutes as the sauce reduces. Add red pepper flake and a pinch of salt. Add pasta and remove from heat. Toss in the oil until covered. Toss in cheese and tomatoes and let it sit for 5 minutes. Serve in bowls and finish with salt and pepper.

It will be gone soon after.

tasty tuesday: oxtail fettuccine

Oxtail Fettucine

Happy Tasty Tuesday, food fans. Tonight’s post is a tale in comfort food, if a little out of the box. This is a dish that is sure to warm and fill you up on a cold winter night and its a way to have a nice stew without hours of work. By using a rice cooker and some varied liquids, you can have a bold, savory stew in a fraction of the time.

If you have not had oxtails before, you are missing a treat. They are not scraps, but rather meaty pieces of beef vertebrae that have a similar cooking process and flavor to short ribs. They often have a little bit of marrow that blends with cooking liquid to add flavor to the stew that cannot come from any artificial flavor. It may be a lot of work, but it is worth it.

But it is not without some time to spare, which is why I paired my oxtail stew with homemade whole wheat fettuccine. Oxtail stew is usually served over rice or maybe mashed potatoes, not pasta. But why not? I don’t know. Probably availability of ingredients, but the pairing works well, giving the dish a stroganoff like comfort appeal. You’ll surely enjoy it.

Oxtail stew

2 lb oxtails
Salt and pepper to cover
2 medium carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
Salt and pepper
6 cloves garlic, 4 diced, 2 whole
1 small can tomato paste
1 12 oz beer
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
4 bay leaves
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp red pepper flake
Olive oil

In large pan, heat enough olive oil to cover pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot seasoned with salt and pepper and cook until it softens. Add garlic and cook 2-3 more minutes. Remove from pan.

Coat the oxtails in salt and pepper and sear on all sides in pan you cooked the vegetables in. Remove from pan and place in rice cooker.

Pour beer into hot pan with the meat drippings. Add the vegetables back to the pan and stir into the beer. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and seasonings and heat to a simmer. Pour the mixture over the oxtails in the rice cooker, cover and set to cook. This will need to cook for at least 45 minutes, until the tails a able to be pulled from the bone. Remove the meat from the pot and pull the meat and add it back to the pot with the bones and cook five more minutes.


When the pasta is ready, ladle spoon fulls of the stew into the bowls and toss. Top with Parmesan cheese and a whole oxtail if you choose. Oxtails are great for gnawing.

While the stew is cooking, you can make the pasta. Basic flour and egg mixture with salt, olive oil and basil for flavor. If you have a pasta roller, roll until it is almost as thin as it can go and then cut into fettuccine. I think making pasta is a lot of fun and has a great cathartic effect after a days work.

This is a great southern comfort dish with lots of great Italian flavors.Enjoy!