Comfort on a Plate

Creating “Wholey Experiences” is about living your life to the fullest.  This means there is no deprivation and all things are to be explored.  This means you treat yourself and others with love every single day with everything you do.

For me, one of the greatest joys I give and receive in this life is food.  I know…sounds too simplistic.  The reality is I get so much joy from creating new recipes, feeding others and enjoying something delectable myself, that I can’t imagine how the world doesn’t find the greatest joy ever in eating!  And is there anything more loving and joyful than our favorite comfort foods?  I think not!

Part of what makes our comfort foods so good is that they are usually super bad for you.  Well you can make them better for you without losing the flavor.  Are they still the picture perfect of a healthy dish…no.  But if you are using whole, organic ingredients, it is a much better experience for your body.  And if you are eating right ever day, the occasional indulgence certainly doesn’t hurt.  Live life!!

As a special thank you to a special person who has been a dear friend for 20 years now, I created a menu centered around the idea of comfort foods.  And more specifically a “surf and turf” of sorts.  So I created a recipe for a braised chuck roast with a very French cooking infusion and then created a hearty, comfort food favorite-crabby mac n’ cheese.  That’s right crab and mac n’ cheese!!  It was quite delightful.  So the recipe follows below.  Keep in mind I used organic cheeses, organic milk and an organic whole wheat pasta.  I also used white wine, 2% milk and half & half instead of heavy cream.  I also used an organic tapioca powder as a thickening agent instead of white flour (If you haven’t tried the tapioca powder, get it! You’ll love the way it works.)

So today, as we are at the beginning of the fall season and we suddenly crave comfort and heartier meals, remember that you can make your cozy favorites lighter and with organic ingredients, so for goodness sake-live a little!!

Crabby Mac N’ Cheese

1 box whole wheat organic pasta

18 oz. crab meat

1/4lb gruyere cheese, fine shredded

1/3lb  fonitna cheese, fine shredded

1/3lb colby cheese, fine shredded

1/4cp white wine or sherry

1/4cp half & half

1/2cp 2% milk

3 1/2tbsp butter

2 tbsp tapioca powder

1 1/2 tbsp old bay-type seasoning

Melt butter in the bottom of the pan, once completely melted add the tapioca powder stir well.  Then add white wine, stirring completely so there are no lumps.  Repeat this process, one at a time, with the half & half and milk.  Stir continuously until “milk” has thickened just enough that it will lightly coat the back of your spoon when you pull it out.  Then begin adding handfuls of shredded cheese.  Stir thoroughly so all is melted before you add the next handful.  By this time, your pasta should be about done.  When it is, drain and dump into a greased baking dish.  Once all of the cheese has been incorporated into sauce, add your old bay and crab meat.  Keep stirring!  (You don’t want the cheese sauce to scold to the bottom of the pot.) Let it all come back up to temperature and then pour over pasta and mix thoroughly.

Bake on 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  I like my top to be golden brown with “crunchies” so I leave in closer to 30 minutes, but you don’t have to.  Some alternatives are to also top the dish with extra cheese, bread crumbs, panko, or  whatever you like.


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