Sunday, May 6, 2012

Greek Macaroni & Cheese with Roast Garlic, Caramelized Leeks, & a Side of Greek Coffee, Plus a Giveaway!



I am going home in about two weeks to visit my family and friends for the first time since Christmas, and just thinking about it made me start craving my parents' home cooked Greek food again. I've already put in a  Pastichio request to my mom (thanks mom!) but my stomach has been shouting that two weeks is not soon enough. My mind tried to stay strong, telling me that all the baklava and fresh hummus would be worth the wait...but alas, I have little to no will-power when it comes to food, and so I buckled under the pressure and came up with this cheesey and gooey melange of my favorite Greek food components. Feta, spinach, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized leeks, oregano, onions, and my little cheat ingredient, Asiago Cheese. It's not Greek, but it's Italian, and in Italy they have a saying about the Greeks "una faccia una razza" which translates to "one face one race", and basically means that Greeks and Italians are one and the same, so now that I think about it, I am going to let my Asiago addition slide right on into Greeksville. To go with this rich and hearty dish, I decided to whip up a nice little cup of Greek coffee. Also known as Turkish or Arabic coffee, Greek coffee is very thick and is made by simply boiling very finely ground coffee (think powdered sugar in texture) with water and a bit of granulated sugar until it begins to boil. When it is served you sip it slowly, and don't drink all of it, because as time passes the grinds settle to the bottom of the cup and leave a about a quarter-inch thick layer of coffee grinds. It's a fun little tradition in Greece to turn your cup upside down onto the saucer (after you've drank all of the liquid), wait 5 or 10 minutes, pick up your cup, and try to read your fortune in the way the grinds have shifted.


You probably (okay, definitely, they're so gorgeous how could you not?) noticed the beautiful sugars accompanying the Greek coffee. These are from Chambre de Sucre and they are STUNNING. Each one is imported from Japan, where they're made by a 270 year old family-run business. They're like little works of art, so incredibly precise and delicate. I found the "About" section on their site very touching as well, being able to use products from your culture in another country is something that has been very important to my family too, my parents' deli's shelves were always stocked with products that reminded my Dad of the things they'd have at the market in Greece. Chambre de Sucre has a huge variety of sugars on their website; some specifically for coffee lovers, some all heart-shaped, gorgeous amber sugar crystals, more traditional decorative sugar cubes, and some even shaped like little elephants! I'm definitely going to order some to have at my bridal shower and wedding next year, they'll look so elegant in a little bowl on the guests' tables. I could see them being a great addition to baby showers, too, now that I think about it...





Getting a bit ahead of myself there. *Ahem* Back to the giveaway; the generous people at Chambre de Sucre have decided to give away a box of their Sucre Ronds, their beautiful 36-piece set of sugar spheres with decorative sugar flowers on top. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below about your favorite type of tea or coffee beverage. For extra entries, you can:

     - Follow me on Twitter and leave a separate comment on this post saying you did.
     - Like Adventures in Cooking on Facebook and leave a separate comment on this post saying you did.
     - Follow me on Pinterest and leave a separate comment on this post saying you did.

If you already do any of those things, just leave a comment on this post saying you do. The deadline for entries is 11:59 pm PST May 12th, and the winner will be announced May 13th. Only open to United States residents. Best of luck, and kali orexi (happy eating)!!!



Ingredients:

Greek Macaroni & Cheese

1 Head Garlic
1 Leek, thinly sliced (only the white and very light green part)
1/2 of a Sweet Onion, chopped
16 Ounces Dry Rigatoni Pasta
11 Ounces Feta Cheese (buy it packaged in brine, feta cheese that has been pre-crumbled is very dry and not as tasty)
1 Cup Asiago Cheese, shredded
1 Cup Fresh Baby Spinach, chopped
2/3 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, chopped
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Plus 3 Teaspoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Flour
1 Teaspoon Greek Oregano (not Mexican Oregano)
1/2 Teaspoon Rosemary
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper


Greek Coffee

2/3 Cup Water
2 Heaping Teaspoons Greek Coffee
2 Teaspoons Sugar
Pinch of Cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and a teaspoon of the olive oil in a large saucepan until the butter melts. Add the onions and the leeks and stir so that they're coated in the oil butter mixture. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and allow to cook for one hour, stirring every ten minutes, until it is golden brown in color. Then remove it from the heat and set aside.


Cut the top 1/4 off of the head of garlic. Drizzle the other teaspoon of olive oil over the top of the garlic and then wrap it in tin foil and roast it in the oven for 30 minutes. Then remove it, and allow it to cool before squeezing the garlic out of the peel. Preheat the oven to the lowest broil setting. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a small frying pan and saute the spinach until it is wilted. Remove and set aside.


Cook the rigatoni according the the package's directions. When you strain it once it's done cooking, drizzle some olive oil over it and shake it a bit to help keep the noodles from getting stuck to each other.


Heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat until melted. Whisk in the flour until fully incorporated. Add the milk and cream and continue to heat until hot, but not boiling. Add the oregano and rosemary and mix well, then add the asiago cheese, crumble the feta into the pot, and stir until the feta is just beginning to melt.


Remove the pan from the heat and combine the cheese mixture with the rigatoni, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, leeks, and roast garlic in a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the black pepper over the top of the macaroni and cheese and then put it in the oven and broil it for 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned on the tips of the rigatoni. Remove and serve.


To make the Greek coffee, heat the water, sugar, and coffee grinds over high heat in a Greek coffee pot. The coffee will simmer and then will begin to boil rapidly and rise in the pot as if it is going to boil over. It is right at this point that you should remove it from the heat, sprinkle in the cinnamon, and serve it.




71 comments:

  1. the greek mac n cheese looks AMAZING.

    oh, and I love soy chai lattes :)

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  2. Lately I've been loving nonfat mocha joes - I love the coffee and chocolate combination!

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  3. I follow on Twitter (@catie_sparks)

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  4. Oh this looks just delicious... I am visiting greece for the first time this coming summer and look so forward to savoring the bountiful flavors of the land... This recipe is sure to wet my appetite! I look forward to giving it a try, thank you and enjoy your visit back home !

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  5. Is there a way to print out just the recipe? I've looked, but don't see "print" anywhere. I like you on Facebook. Thanks

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    1. Yes, sorry I hadn't added it in printable form yet, but I updated the post with the link for the printable version, and here it is for you as well :) https://sites.google.com/site/adventurescooking/home/greek-macaroni-cheese-with-roasted-garlic-caramelized-leeks

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  6. These sugars are work of arts! So gorgeous. My favorite tea is Hong Kong Style Milk Tea, strong black tea with cream and sugar, best for afternoon "pick me up"! Too bad I can't really find good ones in the States so I always make my own. :)

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

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  7. Following you on twitter.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

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  8. Liked Adventures in Cooking on Facebook

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

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  9. Following you on Pinterest.
    amy [at] utry [dot] it

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  10. indonesian coffee!

    blueblanket@hotmail.com

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  11. I've liked Adventures in Cooking on Facebook!

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  12. Chai Tea Latte...hot or cold...is always my favorite!

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  13. Yum, that mac and cheese looks incredible! Such great flavors...I definitely need to give this one a try!

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  14. It's summer, so nothing beats an iced coffee and WOW Eva this looks soooo good. I pinned it so that I won't forget to try it.

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  15. I followed you on Twitter :) @jazminemerald

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  16. My favorite coffee drink is a cinnamon dolce latte iced! Yum!

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  17. I like Adventures in Cooking on Facebook also :)

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  18. I adore Earl Gray tea
    -smilefanatic707@gmail.com

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  19. I like Adventures in Cooking on Facebook
    -smilefanatic707@gmail.com

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  20. I follow you on pinterest
    -smilefanatic707@gmail.com

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  21. Love both coffe and tea. My favorite coffee drink is a cappuchino with an extra shot. And my favorite tea is Jasmine Pearl Green tea, the tea leaves are actually rolled into a small balls and its mesmerizing to watch it unfurl in hot water.

    - aznfdgrl@gmail.com

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  22. This is a healthier version of my favourite comfort food! Wish I lived in the US to enter. These are so innovative.

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  23. I like chai, but it makes me hyper.

    polkaostrich at gmail dot com

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  25. I love earl grey with a little sugar. also, indian chai.

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  26. I love either a nice vanilla spice tea, or an orange clove spiced tea. They are fantastic in the winter!!

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  27. Wow your photography is outta this world. Your recipe sounds absolutely delicious - perfect for spring. So glad to have found your beautiful blog!
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.com/

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  28. There's this little Lebanese restaurant in my hometown of Renton, WA that serves a stunningly good Lebanese coffee. I always have to go back for it.

    Also, I'm planning to make this Greek macaroni and cheese right away - it looks really delicious.

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  29. Eva this looks sooo good! Just saw that Real Simple pinned it too. Cool!

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    1. Thanks Heather, and ahhhhhh! That's so neat!!!! :D

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  30. I love both coffee and tea but.....my favorite is that first cup of coffee in the morning, a deep rich columbian with a wonderful aroma!
    By the way, you mac and cheese looks delicious and is a must try!

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  31. I love tea, especially green teas and earl grey with bergamont.

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  32. I just did all three. And pinned this recipe. And now I'm going to the store for the feta, spinach, and leek.

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    1. Wonderful! Make sure to get the feta in brine if you can, it makes all the difference. So much more moist! :)

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  33. The mac & cheese looks amazing! My favorite coffee drink is probably a mocha, although I'm trying to branch out and try new things.

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  34. Following you on Pinterest.

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  35. Following you on pinterest! Love love love the sugar sprinkled around the coffee cup! michelledavis300@yahoo.com

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  36. I really like dark teas. There is an oolong tea from TeaSource that I have been drinking a lot lately.

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  37. Your site is delightful and so tummy looking

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  38. Your site is delightful and so tummy looking

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  39. Your site is delightful and so tummy looking

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  40. Wow this looks sooo yummy. And those sugar cubes are so lovely! My favorite tea is probably darjeeling <3

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  41. I follow you on twitter! (@lindsayharmony)

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  42. favorite coffee drink - anything with hazelnut in it :)

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  43. also, following your Pinterest

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  44. and liked you on facebook!

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  45. I. love. your. blog. I happened upon it a few months ago, and I swear, every time I see a new recipe on my igoogle page from you, I slap my thigh and say, "Man! That sounds good!"...or something of the like. Great recipe - can't wait to try it.

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  46. OMG. Made this tonight. So sinful but absolutely delicious (I omitted the cream and just went for a full cup of milk, but still... all that delicious cheese...). Thank you for this - it's a make-again!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm so happy you liked it!!

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  47. Hey Eva!

    How many people does this recipe serve?

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    1. I'd say about four or five people depending on how hungry everybody is :)

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  48. Made this last weekend, it was so delicious and unique for a mac n cheese! Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Awesome! So happy you enjoyed it! :D

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  49. Your blog is beautiful, your pictures are really great - thank you for sharing it's awesome !

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  50. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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  51. Hi Eva

    The lowest setting on my oven is 100 degrees, will the leeks and onions need more than 1 hour to cook on that setting.

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  52. This looks absolutely gorgeous! I didn't know macaroni cheese could get any better but I think you've done it...

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  53. Made this for dinner tonight....totally worth the hour of work! SO DELICIOUS! Thanks for this awesome recipe :)

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  54. Just wanted to let you know I made this for dinner tonight and LOVED it! I added artichoke hearts and lots more spinach, and loved the results. What a great cheese sauce, so tasty! :) Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe! :)

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  55. There's nothing like Earl Grey tea...especially pure peppermint.

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