Tag Archives: sauce

Improving Grandma’s Recipe

Obe Won Ken-Child-obi

Julia "Obe Won" Child/Kenobi

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a ‘What the hell?’ attitude.” – Julia Child

Several weeks ago, I went to Pinch & S’Mac , a place in NYC specializing in pizza and mac and cheese with a twist. Offering a variety of cheeses, veggies and meats paired with my favorite  comfort food made the whole experience seem inexpensively gourmet. But still not cheap enough to eat as much as I crave.

So with a craving and a what the hell attitude, I attempted to jazz up things with my mac and cheese. Rather than devouring it immediately as usual, I decided to try something different, but not drastic. I merely transferred the dish into the oven. I set the broiler and anticipated how good my version would be.

Culinary FAIL

...looks can be deceiving...

Despite how good this looks, I can still taste it now and I’m dry heaving a little. Yes, it was that bad. The sauce became globs of rubber, buried beneath pasta as crispy as the bacon on top.  I couldn’t even cut the damn thing with a  steak knife and I made a butt load of it too. So I was stuck with an unsatisfied craving and a bunch of pasta I would not want to eat again.

So in the words of Ms. Child, what the hell? And, how do I not do that again?

Perhaps, by doing layer(s) of pasta, sauce, milk and shredded cheese; adding more pasta after the shredded cheese? My theory is the extra liquid may help keep the pasta from drying out and the added cheese could make tht ooey-gooey effect when cutting into it.

Or, perhaps by simply broiling the pasta for less time?

…ideas? suggestions? failures of your own?

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Grandma’s Homemade Mac & Cheese

Grandma's Mac and Cheese

Grandma's Mac and Cheese

I love mac and cheese like a fat kid loves cake. I have tried every boxed variety, and nothing compares to my grandma’s recipe. Every week during my summer stays with her, we would sweat together in the kitchen making this dish. While it takes a couple extra minutes more than adding milk, butter and powder to pasta, the result is a creamy, homemade taste that satisfies those blue box blues. Kraft can kiss my…apron.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 tblsp butter
  • 2 tblsp flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use 1%)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 block of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 box cooked rotini pasta, 3/4 if broiling, or just enjoy lots of sauce

Optional:

  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Step 1: Take large saucepan and melt 2 tblsp butter over low/medium heat. Add flour and mustard and mix until butter takes on a thicker, milkier appearance.

Sauce base (aka: a roux)
Sauce base (aka: a roux)

Step 2: Add milk, 1/4 cup at a time into the heated pan. Increase the heat VERY slightly. The milk needs to bubble NOT boil. Like this:

IMG_1247

Step 3: Begin to add the shredded cheese, constantly stirring.  It will be normal for your sauce to look like, or slightly more disturbing than this.

IMG_1248

Yes, I know that it looks like a total potentially regurgitated mess. Trust me, just keep stirring. The cheese will be melt, the lumps will disappear and voila, you have cheese sauce, almost.

Step 4: Let the sauce begin to bubble (again, not BOIL) a little bit, stirring occasionally every minute or two. This will allow the sauce to thicken up. After five minutes, add your pasta to the saucepan and mix.

IMG_1251

ENJOY!

Or…if you enjoy a casserole style Mac and Cheese, broil the mac and cheese in an oven-safe dishes  with 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese and 1/2 tsp. paprika spriknled over the top.  Cook at 450 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes, or until brown.

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