A lazy Sunday afternoon, warm enough to make a fresh batch of sweet tea, with fresh curly mint from the garden.
What is sweet tea?
Sweet tea is southern style iced tea, where you brew the tea with the sugar in it. I also add the mint at this stage and tie it with a tiny piece of kitchen twine so I can fish it out after the tea cools, prior to adding the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon. I am a bit of a tea snob and I like one of two teas for brewing homemade iced tea: American Classic Tea from Charleston, SC or PG Tips from England. Those are the two black teas I drink, hot or cold. Good tea is worth the extra money.
So dinner is semi-homemade without Sandra Lee (she’s kind of annoying I think). I have a pre-marinated Smithfield pork loin (Teriyaki), but I can’t just serve that with a salad (even if it is the beautiful red leaf lettuce I bought this week at the East Goshen Farmers’ Market), or there might be a revolt.
Since the 12-year-old loves pasta, I thought a spin on mac and cheese was in order. Now I made this pasta up today, and truthfully, it is rather tasty.
Side Stuff: Ziti with Mushrooms and Swiss Cheese Sauce.
Cook a small box of Barilla Ziti, drain, do not rinse.
2 cups of grated swiss cheese (I used a blend today that contained Gruyère)
4 oz of fresh Queso
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
Dash of Tabasco
Couple dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
salt & pepper to taste
4 oz. of sliced white button mushrooms*
4 oz. of sliced baby bella mushrooms*
(*it’s what was in the ‘fridge – you could use shiitaki or whatever fresh mushrooms you have handy except canned. Canned mushrooms are rubbery and gross.)
2 or 3 scallions minced
3 tablespoons of butter for mushrooms/scallions
4 tablespoons flour for sauce (rue)
4 tablespoons butter for sauce (rue)
zest of fresh lemon
small dash nutmeg
squeeze of chilis in a tube (Gourmet Garden Chili Pepper Spice Blend)
Fresh flat leaf parsley
Melt butter for cheese sauce with flour. Create a rue. Add a dash of tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and whisk in.
Add milk, whisking constantly over medium heat, until the temperature comes up to just about a boil.
Add the Queso, whisking constantly until blended. Add the swiss bit by bit, whisking until blended.
Using a small grater or micro plane, give like three runs of a lemon across the blades over the sauce so the lemon zest goes right in.
Salt and pepper to taste. Nutmeg (seriously not much) Set aside.
Using a small saute pan, take the other butter and melt. Toss in the chopped scallions, salt to taste and cook until almost transluscent. Add the mushrooms, cook down.
Return cheese sauce to a medium to low flame and incorporate the mushroom and scallian mixture into it. Add a squeeze of the chili peppers in a tube, check the salt and pepper.
Pour over ziti in a medium dutch oven on the stove top, mix around a bit, throw in flat leaf parsley rough chopped. The sauce will be hot, but if the pasta is not warm enough, warm gently to your desired temperature on VERY LOW so as not to burn.
This is literally something I just did for the first time, so you might have to tweak it to your taste. This is not a stick a spoon in it and it will stand up in the cheese sauce either.
Of course, Murphy’s Law of 12 Year Olds was triggered and he went to the neighbors’ house to have dinner with some other kids….and order take-out Chinese.
I am sure the left overs will entice him at some point later this week, and grown-ups will eat this too, incidentally.