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Chefs with Kids: Donna Moodie's Noodles & Choc Chip Cookies



Donna Moodie of Marjorie's on Capitol Hill.

 

All year long, the Jamaican-born Donna Moodie is the warm public face of Marjorie, the busy restaurant on Capitol Hill. When the December holidays come, Moodie's focus is still on food – but this time at home. The days around Christmas are a rare chance for her to enjoy a table for two, just her and 15-year-old son, Max. "We focus on a lot of our favorite meals that take a little extra time to prepare and have some special ingredients...and spend a lot of time just relaxing and cooking," she says. Here, she shares her recipes for cheesy baked noodles and perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

 

Max's Noodles

Ingredients

1 box pasta (preferably cavatappi, shells, rigatoni or penne)

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup butter (½ for béchamel, ½ for croutons)

½ cup flour

1 quart whole milk

2 teaspoons salt

1 lb. grated cheese (preferably raw milk cave-aged gruyère)

½ loaf crusty white bread, cubed (preferably ciabatta)

salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

 

To make croutons, melt ¼ cup butter, and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the cubed bread in the mixture. Bake on a sheet tray for 10-15 minutes, until cubes are light golden-brown. When croutons are done, remove from oven and turn oven up to 375 degrees.

 

Cook pasta to an al dente texture (not too soft, so it still has some bite). Drain it, salt to taste, and toss in the olive oil. Set aside.

 

On stovetop, melt 1/4 cup butter. Add ½ cup flour, stirring continuously until pasty. Heat milk until hot but not boiling; slowly whisk into butter-flour mixture. Stir in the two teaspoons salt, cook on stovetop for 5 minutes, stirring continuously, and set aside. This is the béchamel sauce.

 

In a casserole dish, toss noodles, béchamel, and cheese. Top with toasted croutons.

 

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, covered. Remove the cover and cook 15 minutes more.

Serves 8-10 as a side dish, 4-6 as a main dish.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

½ lb. butter, room temperature

¾ cup dark brown sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup turbinado sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips

 

In a small bowl, sift flour with baking powder and salt. Set aside.

 

In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy and well incorporated. Add eggs and mix well (1 minute). Add vanilla, mix well (30 seconds). Add flour mixture, mix to blend (four 15-second pulses).

 

Add oatmeal and mix to blend (four 15-second pulses).

 

Stir in chocolate chips.

 

Roll into logs that are 1.5 inches in diameter, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until chilled.

 

In a small bowl, sift flour with baking powder and salt. Set aside.

 

In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy and well incorporated. Add eggs and mix well (1 minute). Add vanilla, mix well (30 seconds). Add flour mixture, mix to blend (four 15-second pulses).

 

Add oatmeal and mix to blend (four 15-second pulses).

 

Stir in chocolate chips.

 

Roll into logs that are 1.5 inches in diameter, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until chilled.

 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic, cut into slices ½-inch thick.

 

Bake 7-9 minutes on a sheet tray.

 

Makes 2-3 dozen depending on cookie size. Wrapped dough will keep 3-5 days in the refrigerator or a month in the freezer.

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