Mac and Cheese with Kale, Leeks and Two Dutch Cheeses

-Melt 3 TBS butter in large pot over medium heat.

-Chop and add 1-2 leeks, sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

-Stir in the following:

3 minced garlic cloves

¼ cup flour

-Stir constantly 1 minute.

-Gradually whisk in 3 cups 2% milk.

-Cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture begins to boil, about 5-7 minutes.

-Grate the following cheeses:

2 cups Edam cheese

2½ cups Gouda cheese

-Add 1 cup of the grated Edam cheese and 2 cups of the grated Gouda. Reserve remainder of cheese.

-Stir until cheeses melt, about 2 minutes.

-Stir in the following:

¼ tsp cayenne

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

-Season sauce to taste with sea salt and pepper.

-Preheat oven to 350°F.

-Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.

-Remove stems from 1 bunch kale keeping the leaves whole.

-Cook the kale in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 1 minute.

-Using slotted spoon, transfer the kale to a plate and let cool.

-Reserve pot with water.

-Squeeze water from kale; chop finely.

-Return water in pot to boil.

-Add 12 ounces macaroni and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.


-Stir macaroni into warm cheese sauce.

-Place half of macaroni in buttered baking dish; smooth top.

-Top with the last cup of the grated Edam cheese, then chard or kale.

-Top with remaining macaroni mixture; spread evenly.

-Crumble/tear up 1-2 pieces of bread so that you have 1 cup crumbs.

-Melt 3 TBS butter.

-Place breadcrumbs in medium bowl.

-Drizzle butter over top and toss.

-Add the remaining ½ cup of Gouda cheese and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper; toss.

-Spread breadcrumb mixture over mac and cheese.

-Sprinkle 1 tsp whole cumin seeds over top, if desired.

-Bake mac and cheese until breadcrumbs are golden and edges are bubbling, about 40 minutes.

-Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pine Nuts

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

-Cut 2 large eggplants in half the long way.

-Place the eggplant cut-side up in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate them snugly.

-Brush the eggplant with 4 TBS extra virgin olive oil.

-Season with sea salt and fresh pepper.

-Roast for 20 minutes.

-Remove from the oven to cool slightly.

-While the eggplant is cooking, make the stuffing...

-Mix together the following in a small bowl:

1.5 tsp ground cumin

1.5 tsp sweet paprika

1 TBS ground cinnamon

-Dice up 1 onion.

-Heat 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan.

-Add half of the spice mix to the pan along with the onion.

-Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.

-Add the following to the pan:

1 pound ground lamb

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 bunch chopped cilantro or a handful of basil

2 tsp tomato paste

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper

-Continue to cook and stir until meat is cooked.

-In a small bowl mix together the following:

2/3 cup water

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

1 tsp tamarind paste

4 cinnamon sticks

1/4 tsp sea salt

The remaining spice mix

-Cover the pan tightly with a lid or aluminum foil, return to the oven and roast for 1.5 hours.

-Twice during the cooking, remove the lid/foil and baste the eggplants with the sauce, adding some water if necessary.

-Serve warm, not hot or at room temperature.