Showing posts with label Macaroni and cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Macaroni and cheese. Show all posts

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vermont Trip Epilogue

I realized there were a few things I didn't mention about my Vermont trip.

This picture was taken on the way back from Lazy Lady farm. It was a beautiful day to for a road trip. Also a beautiful day to avoid border patrol. My brother has a car that is not completely legal. Westfield is close enough to Canada that there is border patrol with check points up and down the roads. In order to not be pulled over and have the car impounded miles and miles away from anyone we knew we took the "hopefully not crawling with border-patrol" route back to Montpelier.

When I move back to VT one of the first things I'm going to do is get Thors' car legalized.

The most important thing about this trip to Vermont is that we had a macaroni and cheese contest at my folks' house. Pa, my brother Thor* and I went in a macaroni and cheese throwdown of epic porportions. Since I have access to a lot of fancy cheesy goodness, the number one rule was that I was not allowed to bring any cheese from Chicago, or to have it shipped either.

Pa was the heavy favorite. The man makes a fantastic mac n' cheese. For my birhday dinner I usually ask for macaroni and cheese. When I go back east to visit I ask for macaroni and cheese. I was sure that he would win. My brother is just getting into making mac n' cheese and according to his friends had been practicing some different recipes out.

In the end, just like in Highlander there could only be one winner. That winner was me. It was awesome. I believe this is going to be a new tradition that's going to get bigger and bigger within the family. I hope to wipe the floor with each and every challenger!

Thanks go out to my brother for spending hours upon hours in the car driving me hither and yon.

Special Thanks also to Arnaldo** for letting me use your shower, this would've been a funkier trip without your help.

*Thor is not that name of my brother, just a super cool code name that would be way funnier to you if you knew my brother.
**Arnaldo isn't his real name either, I just love coming up with code names. It's super fun!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe. Ever. Seriously.

A long time ago (at least it feels that way) I wasn't sick. I planned on making mac n' cheese. Then I got sick. I made nothing. I spent my days and nights with cold meds, tissues, the original theatrical release of the Star Wars trilogy and the LOTR extended edition trilogy.

Well, last night I got my spunk back. And I made mac n' cheese. And it was scrumptious! Possibly the best I'd ever made. Seriously. What follows is the single best recipe for macaroni and cheese known to mankind. My new name is "Egowench". It's only temporary I promise.

Please feel free to use this recipe and pass it along to people, I only ask one thing. When people ask you where you got this delectable awesome, sensual, sumptuous recipe from, tell them the truth: that your superior internet surfing and blog reading abilities are responsible for this Cheesy-wenchy dairy delight.


Panko breadcrumbs (4 oz.)
3T dried parsley
1T dried onion
2t dried thyme
2t dried oregano
2t kosher salt
2t dried minced garlic
4T butter, melted

You should make herbed breadcrumbs with the flavors you like, but they should be dried. Fresh hers are going to add too much moisture to the breadcrumbs resulting in a soggy mess more akin to french toast.

In batches (unless you have a huge skillet) lightly toast the breadcrumbs in the melted butter. You don't want them brown, just less Casper the friendly ghost looking. Set them aside to cool


I used a 16oz. box of whole grain rotini.

the spiral shape holds onto that sauce like nobody's business. Whole grain pasta is better for you, and sturdier. You can boil it for a while and bake it off and it doesn't go limp. Don't forget to salt your water before cooking the pasta.


8 oz. mixed mushrooms (shitake, portobella, button, oyster, whatever tickles your fancy)
1 whole onion diced
dried thyme, dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste
3T grapeseed oil

Heat up your pan and add the grapeseed oil. Then sweat the onions (cooking until soft, but not colored). Add the mushrooms when the onions are soft. then add your seasoning. Cook until all the moisture from the mushrooms is gone. Set this to the side.

Cheesy Goodness:

4T salted butter
1/2 head of roasted garlic
4T AP flour
4 c 2% milk
1/3# Pleasant Ridge Reserve (grated and at room temp) *If not available, use a high quality Gruyere in it's place*
1/3# Taleggio (cut in small chunks and at room temp)
2/3# Asiago Fresco (cut in small chunks and at room temp)

  • melt the butter in your pot.
  • squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the butter
  • whisk to break up the garlic and incorporate it into the butter
  • *that smell alone is to die for*
  • next add your flour and whisk it into the butter
  • keep whisking for a few minutes making sure the butter, garlic and flour are all well incorporated
  • slowly add your milk to the roux-whisking constantly
  • *I would not advise you to use skim milk, or 1%. 2% has enough substance to it while cutting a few calories. Mac n' cheese with skim milk always tastes watery. 1% isn't much better.*
  • keep whisking until the sauce starts to thicken
  • when it has started to thicken, take it off the heat-immediately
  • while whisking add the grated Pleasant Ridge Reserve in small batches until it is incorporated
  • next, add your cubes of Taleggio and Asiago Fresco a little at a time, whisking like crazy and waiting for each batch to be incorporated before doing the next batch.
  • salt and pepper the sauce to your taste
  • now that the sauce is done, add your mushroom mixture to the sauce
  • then add your cooked pasta
  • pour that into a casserole dish, pie tin or bread loaf pan, add a generous heaping of breadcrumbs to the top and put into a 350F oven for 20 minutes
  • turn the oven off, and put it under the broiler for a few minutes to toast up those breadcrumbs real good.
  • Enjoy!
I find that the biggest problem with mac n' cheese is that the sauce breaks. This happens because people use a super hot oven, and the mixture ends up boiling. That's when you end up with gritty, curdled cheese sauce. Not good. Never let the sauce boil. Not when it's on the stovetop, not when it's in the oven.

Did I mention that I got a new camera yesterday? I upped those megapixels a bit, and I think it's noticeable.

Oooh. The new camera is working for me. Oh yes it is.

This serving was taller. Then some noodles fell. Into my mouth.