Friday, September 21, 2007

Everyone say Mac 'N' Cheese!!

Those poor kids on Kid Nation...if only someone there knew how to cook, their pasta wouldn't be so mushy! Didn't they know the water should come to a rolling boil before you add the macaroni? Sehr traurig, ja.

I LOVE CHEESE. I love it almost as much as I love bacon, and you know I love bacon. I think the beauty of mac 'n' cheese is that you can put ANY cheese you want into your might not always work so nicely, but at least it's your own creation.

I make my mac 'n' cheese with penne pasta, cooked a minute under al dente, and then let it finish cooking in the oven. I find the ridges in the penne really hold the sauce nicely. Starting with a basic bechamel sauce (more on that later...should the milk be hot or cold you might ask?), I added grated fontina, gruyere, and white aged cheddar on this particular occassion because I could, or maybe that's what happened to be in my fridge. Oh, and I like to add a teensy dollop of whole grain and dijon mustards. Then a little bit of the pasta water to loosen up the cheese and we're cookin'! I find that toastin' Panko bread crumbs in butter before topping off the dish really adds a deeper golden crust, and I love me some crispy crust set against a creamy backdrop of cheesy goodness. I suppose you could add cream if you wanted, but why the extra calories? A little time in the oven and the house is sure smellin' good.

Mmm mmm mmm...A simple salad dressed with Morgenster cold extracted olive oil from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa and some balsamic fig vinegar from upstate California and you've got yourself a complete meal! Oh, and don't forget the vino. This time--an Amarone della Valpolicella.

Wish you could have a creamy but also crunchy bite,

Friday, September 14, 2007


Apologies for being absent. I was up in Copperopolis. I kid thee not. There is a town about 2 hours east of San Francisco and it's called Copperopolis. No lie. Anyway, I was there for a whole week enjoying the 110 degree weather, the lake with the dead bodies in it, and being the only non-Caucasian person there.

Anyway, back to the topic of food--I made blueberry pancakes for breakfast recently and forgot how delicious blueberries are with maple syrup and pancakes. Usually I opt for strawberries, but thanks to all the frozen berries in my freezer, I was feeling a little blue that morning. A quick warming through of the frozen berries with some vanilla sugar and a touch of Canadian maple syrup and I was in business.

For the pancakes themselves, here is a recipe I've committed to memory for as long as I can remember...

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup buttermilk

Mix together dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk to the yolks. Whip the whites until stiff but not dry. Mix dry ingredients with buttermilk mixture until just combined. Fold in the whites. It's OK if it's not fully combined. The less combined the more ethereal and fluffy your pancakes! Cook your pancakes in some butter. Mine usually end up being about only 3 inches in diameter. Cute and delicious.

Please don't buy that prepackaged pancake mix. If you LOVE pancakes, you can place all the dry ingredients in a tupperware and just shake before use, but none of that boxed stuff...I beg of you!

Wish you could have a bite,