Monthly Archives: January 2013

Delilah’s Mac and Cheese

I’m in the kitchen, and I hear shuffling in the mudroom. It’s a frosty week, and we’re all huddled up at my parent’s house. They were all out sledding, so, I figured my sister-in-law, native to Los Angeles had gotten cold, and was ready to cozy up and read her book, or work on her novel. I turn the corner and am shocked to see my brother, who never gets cold, removing his snow pants, kicking off his boots, nose sniffling. “Hey, why are you back?” I ask. His reply: “I was asked to leave”. What? I was giggling. He had been out sledding with my nephews, and, quite frankly had just gotten too bossy. We’ve only had about a minute and a half of snow so far this year, and lucky for us, it was the week my brother and his family were in from California visiting. My nephews rarely get to sled, they stayed out for hours! My brother was banished from the fun because of bad behavior. He only managed to stay away for 30 minutes before he got the nerve to go back out and sheepishly return to the hills. Happy Birthday A!

While they were out, I stayed warm, helping my mother prepare for the feast to come. This recipe was introduced to our family years ago by a cousin of ours.  And, what a perfect Super Bowl Sunday dish!

Since 1985, Delilah’s Southern Soul Food cuisine has been a staple at Philadelphia’s famous Reading Terminal Market.

She even battled it out on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds elbow macaroni
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup cubed Velveeta cheese
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 6 cups half-and-half, divided
  • 4 cups grated sharp yellow Cheddar, divided
  • 2 cups grated extra-sharp white Cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Asiago
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack
  • 1 cup grated Muenster
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until slightly al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to keep warm.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy.

Add the Velveeta, butter and 2 cups of the half-and-half to the large bowl of eggs. Add the warm macaroni tossing until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining half-and-half, 3 cups of the sharp yellow Cheddar, the remaining grated cheeses, and salt and pepper, tossing until completely combined in the large bowl.

Pour the mixture into 9 by 13-inch casserole or baking dishes (approximately 3 (3-quart) baking dishes) and bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of sharp yellow cheese and bake until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes more.

Kitchen work is messy…clean it up! Yes, we spilled half the macaroni all over the counter while transferring it to a larger bowl.

Serve hot.

Notes: The recipe says that this dish serves 10 to 12 people, but, more like 24 people. So, unless you are serving dinner to 10 pro-football players or sumo-wrestlers, I suggest you cut the recipe in half. Grating the cheese is definitely a labor of love. It wore out my mom’s 20 year old cuisinart, so, I had to manually grate the rest. This is a special dish, incredibly rich and scrumptious, and should be made and had!

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Lime Margarita Cupcakes

How about this to Brighten up your Monday?
This is a favorite at the cupcake workshop that I run. What’s to complain about…? lime, sugar, flour, and tequila. This is a super fun treat to bring to a party, you will be the biggest hit! I hope you bake these up for Cinco de Mayo this year! If so, let me know how it goes!

This was the first ‘Booze’ cupcake I ever made. A woman hired me to host a baking party for a bunch of her girlfriends. I had seen the recipe somewhere on-line. I asked her if she’d like to make a batch of margarita cupcakes with her friends. Unbeknownst to her, I’d never made booze cupcakes in my life. Well, we couldn’t get enough of them. We gobbled them up, and I was hooked. Cocktails and Cupcakes? You don’t have to ask twice! Since then, I’ve been on a cocktail cupcake journey, or binge might be a better word.

Enjoy! And, do me a favor, wash these down with a nice cold corona, even if it’s the middle of winter.

Margarita Cupcakes- 12 Servings

Yield: 12 cupcakes – Bake at 325 for 15 to 18 minutes.

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Bake Time: 25 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes (or as we call it at the cupcake workshop, “poke and soak”:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:

So, this is an approximation of this frosting, keep tasting as you go.
½  cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
Zest and juice of one lime
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt, if desired.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

2. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined.

6. Reduce the mixer speed low. Add in dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.

7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point. If you are baking mini cupcakes, they’ll need to be in the oven for about 10 to 14 minutes.

8. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Now, poke and soak the cupcakes. By this I mean, poke a bunch of holes in the tops of the cupcakes with skewers. Take a pastry brush and slather those bad boys with some more tequila.

9. To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer until the butter is light and fluffy.

10. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

11. Add the 2 Tablespoons of lime juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Sprinkle the cupcakes with margarita salt, cupcake confetti or crushed pretzels.

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