Mac and cheese with ham and oyster mushrooms

Yes, it’s just that humble yet crowd-pleasing mac and cheese. But now it’s all dressed up for the holidays. For flavor, I added chopped sweet ham and oyster mushrooms. Carrots, red bell peppers, and green peas added the festive colors. For creaminess, lots of grated Monterey Jack cheese. For garnish, chopped flat-leaf parsley and shaved Parmesan cheese.

I know that the immortal baked mac is the most popular pasta recipe in this blog but if you feel like trying something new, I suggest this mac and cheese with ham and oyster mushrooms. Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is bubbly, add the vegetables. Start with what takes the longest to cook carrot, bell pepper, onion, and peas, in that order, with three-minute intervals and lots of stirring.

Pour in the milk. Stir in the grated cheese and finely chopped parsley. Once the cheese melts, turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and toss well. Ladle into shallow bowls, top with shaved Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle with coarsely chopped parsley. Serve with buttered crusty bread.

Mistletoe Magic

I baked macaroons, packed them, and tied the containers with festive ribbons. In the background, my 18-year-old daughter Sam is demanding where her gingerbread men are. Well, they’re not going to be born today. Gingerbread cookie dough has to be chilled, rolled, and chilled again before cutting and I just don’t have the space in the fridge for rolled cookie dough. Maybe tomorrow. The 16-year-old, Alex, wants… oh, I forgot. Was it chocolate chip cookies that she was asking me to bake?

The original name of the cocktail drink is Mistletoe Martini but since Speedy substituted lime juice cordial for the bitters, which we don’t have, I have taken the liberty of changing the drink’s name. It’s bright green like a fir tree under the morning sun. And it’s delicious.

To make mistletoe magic, you will need coconut rum, lime juice cordial, melon liqueur, and unsweetened pineapple juice. In case some of you decide to ask where you can buy these mixers, you can get them at any decent-quality liquor store and supermarket. Here’s how they look so it’ll be easier to search for them.

To make a glass of mistletoe magic, pour equal parts of coconut rum, lime juice cordial, melon liqueur, and unsweetened pineapple juice into a shaker.