What I’m Loving


I periodically don’t cook or photograph for whatever reason – I’m lazy, the food isn’t attractive, the recipe is just not INTERESTING enough. The usual. This is good though, it makes me think outside of the box in terms of content. This lack of food to post is a great opportunity to tell you about the things I’ loving or obsessed with right now.

Millet: A couple of weeks ago I found a bag of millet my mom gave me and threw it in the rice cooker while I prepped a bunch of other stuff and threw together a quick grain salad. I adored it – the texture was wonderful. It was a really nutty, wonderful change to the brown rice BF and I have been eating recently. I have really been obsessed with my rice cooker recently – it cooks grains perfectly and it is so remarkably simple to use. As an added bonus it doesn’t heat up the house either so I don’t have to stand over a burner in warm weather. This summer expect a few rice and grain recipes to pop up here.

My Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Maker: This little piece of plastic is a dream come true. I’ve been at home in the mornings and for a long time just did tea instead of coffee, but I LOVE coffee. The taste, the texture, the caffeine, so I finally caved a couple weeks ago and grabbed a pour over coffee maker. I am so thankful I did. The brew is delicious and it’s so simple to make coffee in it that I’m back to a cup a day and relishing it.

My Porch: Is there anything as great as sitting on your back porch early in the morning and drinking coffee while you check in on your social media? I thought not. The birds are all loudly awake and kittenish goes absolutely bonkers. I’ve taken to bringing my cat to the porch with me so she gets a little outside time and I don’t have to worry about her taking off. She gets a bit fearless, jumping up onto our porch railing two stories above the ground, but she loves to chase the squirrels out there.

Polar Seltzer: Everyone is talking about Polar’s Summer flavors right now, and they’re amazing. I’ve been drinking them pretty much non-stop since I found them on sale at my local star market. The cucumber-melon made a SUBLIME mojito (with Privateer Rum, no less) and I can’t wait to try more flavors. I also love that Polar beverages are all made locally (the Polar company is over near Worcester). Not a fan of the odd summer flavors? Go for the Ruby Red Grapefruit – it’s fantastic with a bit of gin.

Homemade Iced Tea: Ever since that first warm day in mid April BF and I have had a pitcher of Iced Tea in our fridge. I’ve been using mostly Celestial Seasonings “Zinger” teas for it, they have such a nice full body and no caffeine. All of the zingers mix well too so you can swap out and exchange flavors, this week we have Raspberry-Lemon.

This Swimsuit: My sister got me this for my birthday in April. I’m SO EXCITED to go to the beach in it this summer, and in general, for beach days this summer. I want to go to the beach, play in the sand, read books, and most importantly, play a bit of skeeball.

The Boys Club: This is a great blog that my friend Brian and a few other cocktail obsessed bloggers put together – go here for all of your cocktail needs this summer. With a new post every day they cover everything from glassware to delicious drinks to breaking down what you’re drinking. WONDERFUL.

CTC International: I recently went to a great presentation by the founders of this company and learned a lot. They built s special needs school in Kenya! They donate money to rhino and elephant preservation! They are a non-profit donating to other non-profits. Also, they have butts on their bags. I love that.

Summer Beer: In the summer I pretty much only want to drink light beer or saisons. With their fun fruity flavors saisons are such lovely drinks for this season and I can drink them all day. Currently I’m plotting the takedown of Ommegang’s Hennepin Saison tonight. Saisons also pair well with my porch. Trying to stay local with summer beer is a cinch too – anything out of Jack’s Abbey is worth the time and a nicely chilled Bantam goes a long way towards cooling anyone down on those warm summer eves. For the more creative flavors head to the crew over at Night Shift – from a Habenero to a white stout they’re doing really cool things in beer. And Chris over at Notch makes low ABV beer (around 4%) that is always a light summer refreshment and keeps you upright.

Candied Ginger

candiedginger_1There have been a few very fortuitous things happening for me recently – not in actual life, but here on Kathy Can Cook. First, my sister offered to write me a guest post on ginger, which I jumped at of course! Second, Jess asked me to help her make a cocktail with candied ginger in it. Third, I was invited to A Spoonful of Ginger at the MFA to help benefit the Joslin Center for Diabetes Research. So, obviously, there was a need for a BLOG SERIES.

candiedginger_2 So, candied ginger. Candied ginger is a perfect snack or palate cleanser, it’s a moment of sharp heat and sweetness when you need it most. It’s great in cookies, cocktails, and on it’s own. It’s basically magic (the ginger syrup that you get as a byproduct is pretty awesome as well). My sister had a couple of good comments on candied ginger on her post about ginger too – go read up on it!

candiedginger_3 I ended up making this because I just needed to. I read the recipe that Jess had chosen (she posted the full cocktail on her blog) to highlight, essentially a dark and stormy – but infinitely better. So I read the recipe and noted that there was A LOT of fresh ginger being used – two large hands is nothing to sneeze at. But I did it, peeled and chopped two hands of ginger, and got roughly a quart of peeled ginger that was BEAUTIFUL, bright yellow, and lovely.

candiedginger_4 I don’t know that I will buy premade candied ginger again – because here’s the thing, this was perfect. It tasted fresh and gingery, it had that sharp ginger flavor without a weird old ginger aftertaste and I totally could have made a small amount. I also loved that I didn’t have to coat it in sugar, and make it candy sweet, if I didn’t want to.

Candied Ginger
Note: This recipe is adapted from a recipe that Jess got for a Goslings Rum and Ginger Cocktail, created by Ming Tsai. I am sharing only the recipe for candied ginger, because it was AWESOME, you can see the cocktail over on Jess’s blog.

  • 2 cups ginger, roughly two medium hands or one large one
  • 4 cups sugar, plus 1 1/2-2 cups for sugaring
  • 2 cups water
  • Peel and cut your ginger. I find ginger is easiest to peel with a spoon, you can run the tip of a spoon right over the skin and it’ll fall off, this also works for those little nubbins and nooks where a peeler or knife wouldn’t fit.
  • To cut the ginger cut it unto 1/8 inch thick rounds or strips, either will work one way you’ll see the fibrous ends of the ginger and it’ll be a little bit rougher and with the grain you’ll get smoother pieces but they’ll be tougher.
  • Combine the chopped ginger, 4 cups of sugar, and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring this to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low and allow the ginger syrup to simmer for 10-15 mins, until it is about 1/3 reduced
  • Preheat the oven to 200 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the syrup into a heatproof bowl. Reserve this syrup, it’s great in club soda as homemade ginger ale.
  • Combine the strained ginger and the rest of your sugar in a large bowl – gently toss the ginger with the sugar until it’s sparkly with sugar and mostly separate pieces. I found that a pair of gloves would be ideal here.
  • Spread the ginger in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet and put it on a middle rack in the oven.
  • Bake the ginger for 3 1/2-4 hours, rotating it occasionally. The ginger will be mostly dried out after this.
  • Allow the ginger to cool completely before touching it. MOLTEN SUGAR IS HOT. I left mine in the cooling oven overnight, and it was perfect the next day.
  • Break the ginger apart gently, this is easily done using a gentle pressure and pinching the piece of ginger between your fingertips – they should fall right apart.
  • Enjoy! I love to add a touch of the syrup and a couple slices of the candied ginger to lemon tea, or club soda (with a splash of rum).

What I’m Loving Right Now

I’ve been having a lot of remarkable experiences recently – and not cooking much, so my blog fodder has been light (sorry about that!). But in the meantime let me share some stuff I’ve been loving recently:

Boston Organics – I started getting a Boston Organics box every other week back at the beginning or April, I love it the way no ordinary person should. They have the BEST customer service I’ve ever experienced and the magic of opening my box is like a present. Boston Organics also lets me create a “no-list” so I can opt out of the bitter greens and things I just don’t want in my box (like avoiding yet another pound of carrots). They also have really neat Add-Ons program – this week I have “added-on” 1 pound of strawberries, half a pound of garlic scapes, and 3 lbs of rolled oats from Maine (look for a granola recipe soon). It’s grocery love.

Fat Toad Farm Goat’s Milk Caramel – A friend recently found a Woot deal for Fat Toad Farm caramel and sent me the caramel as a gift (becasue I am super spoiled, thanks Seth!). It is some of the best caramel I’ve eaten in a long time, I want to put it on a wedge of brie with some pears. Decadence.

Hyper Local Brew Fest – This is an amazing event I’ve helped to organize and put together to benefit Sustainable Business Networks of Boston. It’s going to be on Saturday June 16th and I am so looking forward to it. I’ve met and experienced some amazing craft brewers because of it and can’t wait to meet more! Want to come? Grab a ticket here: http://tinyurl.com/hlbrew

The Bloggess – I had barely heard of her before Friday, now I can’t stop. I added her to my Google Reader, have been reading her back posts, and broke down and bought myself a BRAND NEW hardcover copy of her book, something I never do, She is witty, wonderful, and writes about Nathan Fillion (and calls him Nater-Tater, WIN). Go check her out.

Boston Area Beer Enthusiasts Society (BABES) – My friend Kristen runs this great beer group, they meet once a month at Meadhall in Kendall Sq and pair delicious brews and snacks. This month the pairings are a comparison of west coast and east coast beers paired with east/west coast cheeses. It will be FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC.
Garden Strawberries – There has been a strawberry takeover of my backyard. I love it. A quarter of the yard is covered in strawberries. I will cut them back after the fruit is gone but until then there are perfect strawberries for munching.

Craft Beer Cellar – I went in here Saturday and it is a magical wonderful space full of well curated craft brews. I wonder if they would mind if I just moved in and hunkered down?

Warm Weather and Sun Dresses – I live in sundresses in the summer, it’s how I roll. I don’t like shorts so an arsenal of good comfortable dresses is key. I’ve been loving the Lace Affair for inspiration and fun sales. I totally got a fun pin-up dress from them which I am going to wear to this little event!

So those are a few things I’m totally in love with. Hope everyone’s beginning of summer is going well and I will be back soon with a recipe, I promise!

Update: I’ve also been watching this video on repeat. It makes me ridiculously happy.

Cheddar-Beer Mac and Cheese


I love comfort foods – mac and cheese, beef stew, chicken soup, anything slightly salty and full of butter. I tend to reach for them when I’m having a bad day or just because. I turn to comfort foods in times of celebration or when I’m in need of comfort. This mac and cheese is no different. It’s something I have been perfecting for about two years. Tweaks and modifications have led to a perfect mac and cheese – one with body that isn’t too rich. This particular flavor combination comes from my love of Saus’s cheddar duvel sauce. Though, it’s evolved from there. Something that started with cheddar and beer became more – I added mustard, I experimented with different beers – stout, reds, i.p.a.s, lagers, you name it I probably tried it in this mac and cheese. I made this particular mac shortly before St Patrick’s day so I had a nice Harpoon Celtic Red around, and it was (and is) my favorite.

Beer + Bacon + Cheddar Cheese= LOVE

I make macaroni and cheese pretty regularly – pasta, milk, and cheese are ingredients I always have on hand so it makes a quick meal pretty much any night of the week. I think that’s one of my favorite things about mac and cheese. It will work with most any cheese and will accept any additions. It’s always familiar and different, which I love. But this mac and cheese is a special one; BF and I use it to celebrate – jobs, raises, pretty much anything positive in our lives means I make this mac and cheese. The beer makes it rich and the mustard adds a great sharp flavor. Also – the benefit of being able to drink a beer while you’re cooking is AWESOME.

There’s something so comforting about that beer at the end of the day, and pairing it with cheese and mustard basically makes it a much more filling pretzel. And we all know how I feel about those.

Cheddar-Beer Mac and Cheese

Adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, though at this point it’s really all my own. I also crisped a handful of homemade bacon lardons to add to mine, but that’s totally optional.
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (sharper=richer)
  • 2-3 Tbs spicy mustard (I use Gulden’s, because it’s what I typically have on hand but your favorite will work just as well)
  • 1 cup beer (lighter is better, this isn’t great with stout)
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked to a bit less than al dente (I like a curly tube pasta, like cellantani or campanelle because they hold a lot of sauce and their shape)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2-3 Tbs melted butter
  • 1 tsp crushed mustard seed (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat your oven to 350 and oil a large ovenproof bowl.
  • In a medium, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat melt the butter and mix in the flour until it becomes a paste. This is a basic roux and can be used for thickening in lots of ways.
  • Add the milk to the roux and let it come to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese and stir to melt. The sauce will be quite thick.
  • Stir the mustard into the cheese sauce. Gently add the beer, if the bottle is fresh it will be quite foamy. The sauce may slightly curdle at this point – don’t worry. Keep stirring and it’ll come back together.
  • Add the cheese sauce to the cooked pasta and stir well. Pour the cheesy pasta into the oiled bowl
  • Mix the panko crumbs, melted butter, and crushed mustard seed together. Spread the crumbs evenly over the cheesy pasta.
  • Bake the mac and cheese for 30-40 mins, until the panko is crispy and lightly browned.
  • Remove the mac and cheese from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 mins before eating.
  • Enjoy with a beer!

Irish Cream

Irish Cream

Irish cream, it makes me think of college and ill-formed ideas, a chilled liqueur poured over ice and sipped on a spring evening and, of course St. Patrick’s Day. As long as I’ve been old enough to drink I’ve loved Irish Cream, mostly Bailey’s but occasionally St. Brendan’s or another slightly lower shelf product. Last year, or was it two years ago?, BF started to develop a taste for irish cream as dessert. Pouring himself a small glass over ice in lieu of sweets or baked goods.


So in January while reading the Eat Boutique website I came across a recipe for homemade Baileys by Maggie and immediately started plotting – as far as I could tell I had all the ingredients on hand and it seemed like a perfect afternoon pick-me-up. So I made it. It was a resounding success and a perfect Friday afternoon snack.


So, now it St. Patrick’s Day and all I want to do is share this recipe with you. It’s 4 in the afternoon, but I’m in Boston and drinking early on St.Pat’s is totally respectable, right? This has rapidly become my go to in lieu of Bailey’s, and it means I always have an excuse for good irish whiskey to be kicking around. And I have zero problems with that!

Irish Cream

Adapted from Eat Boutique by Maggie Battista


  • 4 eggs (I use pasteurized or very fresh eggs)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp instant espresso
  • 1 tsp boiling water
  • 1 tsp Irish Whiskey
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup Irish Whiskey (I like to use a good whiskey, like Jameson or Bushmills)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (1/2 and 1/2 works too, it’s just not as rich)
  • Combine the boiling water, the instant espresso, and the 1 tsp whiskey together in a small bowl and set them aside to cool (I like to make this in batches of 1/4 cup of each ingredient and use it like extract in everything).
  • In the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the whisk attachment combine the eggs, extracts, sweetened condensed milk, and cream or half and half.
  • Whip on medium until everything is frothy and fully incorporated.
  • With the mixer on low (on my KitchenAid I use the 2 setting) gently stream in the whiskey and continue to mix everything until fully blended.
  • Enjoy over ice, preferably with a friend, preferably today.