Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the Bitter and the Sweet

At the end of a year, you mostly find a lot of reflection. Sorry, but you won't get that here. With just two days left, I would like to say "so long" to the year that is 2010. Sure, there was a lot of great, along with a sprinkling of wonderful.

And then there was the other stuff. For some reason, this year seems to have been filled with the other stuff. And I mean filled, from Day 1 to Day 29.

In response I will:
  • Clean house (my parents' and mine) with extra vigor;

  • Find a way to pop some firecrackers in the mainland;

  • Appreciate more;

  • Take for granted less;

  • Find some patience.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mac and Cheese With Bread and Ham

The recipe is actually called Croque Monsieur Mac and Cheese. Basically, it is mac and cheese (gruyere and parmesan)with diced bread and ham. Hence, the use of "croque," which translates to "crumbs," or "crunch." But I have no idea what "monsieur" means other than "mister," or "master."

This is yet another yummy recipe for people who love a slightly fancier version of mac and cheese like I do. It's also easy.

I do have a few adjustments:
  • I would do is melt butter over medium low heat, rather than high. At this point in the recipe, you are pretty much making a bechamel sauce, and Giada's way has worked better for me. In other words, I don't burn my saucepan with her way like I did by following the recipe's directions.
  • The recipe calls for freshly grated nutmeg, and I totally missed "freshly grated" and used my regular nutmeg.
  • I added the garlic after the onion had browned because minced garlic cooks so quickly.
As for the "deli-boiled ham", this is something you can find at the deli counter. I worried that Safeway would not have it, but they did! The lady behind the counter even knew what I was talking about.

Enjoy all the cheesy goodness, and don't forget a bottle of wine!

Croque Monsieur Mac and Cheese
by Food Network Magazine

  • 1/2 pound ziti
  • 2 C milk
  • 2 C coarsely grated gruyere cheese
  • 1 C finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 slices white sandwich bread, roughly diced
  • 2 T unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced deli-boiled ham

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ziti and cook until al dente, about six minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; toss with 1/4 cup of milk.

Meanwhile, combine both cheeses in a bowl. Beat 1/4 cup milk and the eggs in another bowl; fold in the bread and add half of the cheese.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook, stirring until just brown, about two minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, cayenne, nutmeg and one teaspoon Kosher salt; cook, stirring, about two minutes. Slowly add 3/4 cup water and the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk; bring to a boil; stirring until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk to cool slightly. Whisk in the remaining cheese, then add the pasta and toss.

Butter a shallow casserole dish. Add half of the pasta, top with some of the ham and cover with remaining pasta. Top with the remaining ham, then cover with the bread mixture. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Yikes December is Here

Here I sit, on December 10, 2010, and I realize that I have neglected the blog. Oops. I blame December.

This month is always crazy, and I think one of these years I may go on mental vacation and not give into the nuttiness that has become "the Holidays." This is not the year for my hiatus. I have so much to do, and on the long list of to-dos is to [finally] knit something for Seth and me.

As you can see, I have taken care of me. It had to be for me since this was my first attempt. Believe me, Seth does not want his name on the Version 1.0 (conveniently, this photo does not show the project in its entirety). He wants Version 1.2, the one where some bugs are worked out.