The munchkins here at Crowded Earth Kitchen recently finished reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Whenever they reach the end of a classic bedtime story such as this, we try to do something fun in keeping with the theme Continue reading
Yellow summer squash have taken over my garden – what a delightful problem! Alas, yellow summer squash doesn’t seem to freeze as well as zucchini. We need to enjoy these sunny little veggies fresh, or cook them into something delightful before freezing. This recipe for Summer Squash Fritters accomplishes both – you can enjoy these as Continue reading
Asparagus is at it’s lowest price of the entire year right now, at least where I live. I bought a few bundles and used some to make a pot of this amazing soup. If you’d like to stock up (this soup really is that good), simply follow the directions below and stop at Step 3. You can freeze the partially prepared soup well into autumn, then thaw and continue with the last few steps. So easy!
Ingredients (Serves 4) Continue reading
This tasty weeknight supper is easy enough for children to prepare, and they’ll feel proud to serve the family! Cheesy Tuna Casserole is not a “from scratch” recipe, but then, not every meal needs to be. By starting with an ingredient familiar to children everywhere – boxed shells and cheese – you’re more likely to have cooperation from even the fussiest of pint-size diners. The added vegetables and protein aren’t so… suspicious… when the noodles and cheese are already a sure hit.
As long as an adult handles the boiling water and oven transfer, the kids can do the rest. Sit back and let them cook you dinner for a change!
Ingredients (Serves 6; recipe can be easily cut in half) Continue reading
First things first. A few hours after arriving in Salem, we ventured into a cute little restaurant right off of the touristy Essex Street pedestrian mall. We were able to escape the bright sun while still enjoying the open air, grabbed a quick bite to eat (grilled cheese with fries) and listened to some really excellent live music.
If we weren’t jet lagged, we might have realized before we asked for a table that restaurants in touristy areas also have touristy prices! We passed on the $25 lobster roll. Seriously – who charges $25 for a lobster roll when you can practically see the ocean from the restaurant kitchen? I digress.
Time to contact my good friends GOOGLE and UBER!
A quick web search for the best local lobster roll and where do Salem locals eat pointed us squarely in one direction – Dotty and Ray’s Restaurant. Located about a mile from The Hawthorne Hotel, Dotty and Ray’s is across the river from the touristy town center in residential Salem, where locals live and eat. Google says it’s a 16 minute walk. Uber says it’s a $4 ride. Take your pick, but GO!
For $12.95 you’ll get a lobster roll that’s so generously portioned and delicious, I dare you not to go back the very next day for more (we did!). Look! Look and imagine how delicious this is!
Casual, delicious, regional home cooking with great service and very reasonable prices -what more does a hungry tourist need? It was fun to watch the staff visiting with other diners in a familiar way; Dotty and Ray’s is clearly the place to catch up on local news over lunch. Even as outsiders, we were welcomed and enjoyed a bit of conversation with our server. It felt a bit clandestine to be the only tourists in a beloved local establishment, as if we’d discovered something too magical to share.
(Magical… Salem… see what I did there?)
Their scallop roll was amazingly sweet and also generously portioned. We substituted the fries for mashed potatoes, which were buttery and wonderful. If you’re in the Salem area, don’t miss out on lunch at the tucked away gem that is Dotty and Rays.
Mac ‘n Cheese is the ultimate Midwestern American comfort food. If you’ve been following Crowded Earth Kitchen for a while, you know that we have a big old foodie crush on Paris… but not even Paris does Mac ‘n Cheese as well as the American Midwest. We’ve been experimenting with recipes for Ultimate Mac ‘n Cheese for a while, working to create a recipe that just simply doesn’t need to be improved any further. This is it. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup light cottage cheese
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 teaspoon sweet curry powder
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound box of medium shells or macaroni noodles
Step 1) Pour chicken stock into a large saute pan and boil for 10 minutes or until reduced until only about 1/2 cup of liquid remains. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Step 2) Add shells or macaroni to a large pot of boiling water. Cook until al dente, or just a bit chewy – don’t overcook! Drain when al dente is reached.
Step 3) While pasta is cooking, add mild cheddar, Monterey Jack, and sharp cheddar cheeses to the saute pan with the reduced chicken stock. Heat on a low setting, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted.
Step 4) After shells or macaroni are cooked and drained, add the cottage cheese, sour cream, and curry powder to the melted cheese mixture. Stir over low heat until thoroughly blended.
Step 5) Combine the cooked, drained noodles and the cheese mixture. Stir until noodles are evenly coated, and transfer the mixture to a greased deep dish pie plate or casserole dish. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
Step 6) Cover with foil and bake your Ultimate Mac ‘n Cheese in a preheated 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately with a fresh green salad.
Ingredients (Makes one big pot) Continue reading