Monday, October 21, 2013

Revisiting the Mac and Cheese

It was a perfect fall weekend and we decided some mac and cheese was in order. It really hit the spot and we updated our recipe a bit.

We previously made the recipe with the classic elbow pasta but got cavatappi this time. We always make our pasta by weight so it was surprising when the cavatappi didn't actually expand very much. At all. We ended up using all 16 ounces to get the same volume as the elbows got to from eight ounces. Huh. So the trick is to make enough pasta to fill up a casserole dish. We also chose not to do green chilis like before but I did jalapeño and Austin did bleu cheese. The baseline recipe can be changed easily so you can throw in whatever you have on hand.

16 oz. cavatappi pasta/8 oz. elbow macaroni, 2 c. 2% milk, 4 T butter, 4 T flour, 2 c. shredded cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste, jalapeños/bleu cheese to taste (not together though!), 3/4 c. panko breadcrumbs 1/2 c. P:armesan cheese, 2 T butter, melted

1. Boil the pasta until al dente. 2. Melt butter in your pasta pot while the pasta drains; add flour, salt and pepper and whisk together until well blended. 3. Pour in milk gradually, stirring constantly until thickened. 4. Gradually add the cheese, stirring until incorporated. 5. Add dash of cayenne to taste. 6. Combine pasta, mix-ins, and cheese mixture; pour into greased casserole dish. 7. Combine panko, Parmesan, and melted butter. Top macaroni mixture with the crumbs. 8. Bake at 375º about 25 minutes until bubbling and top is golden brown.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Good Things

Yep, I'm stealing Martha's line, but it works. It's beginning to look like fall around here and that makes me happy. I often walk past this little grove of sumac on my way to my office and I'm watching the color transformation. (Side note: I bought ground sumac berries and need a recipe to use them in. Any tried and true recipes out there?)

Rosie felt the need to check in when we were putting up fall decorations and had to approve the wreath. She has been lying on our front step regularly now, often meowing through the door if she hears us. So far Stinky hasn't noticed her there though they have had "words" through the back window screen. Watching Rosie hide under neighbors' cars and pop up out of nowhere makes me feel better about making Stinky an indoor-only cat, even if he doesn't realize it's for his own good.

The front stoop is decorated though we'll be changing it up just a bit for Halloween, then it will go back to this look for Thanksgiving. Our weather this weekend hasn't been terribly autumnal but the week will start off in the 70s then a front will bring some rain and highs in the 60s--I can't wait. We're also hoping for a calmer work week; from government shutdowns affecting Austin's work to a serious student issue impacting mine, the past week was a doozy. Fortunately we had an awesome weekend together which we kicked off with a faculty dinner party attended by really interesting folks (seriously, a guy who worked on a National Geographic boat for 15 years, a prof who regularly takes students to the Galapagos Islands, an engineer who designs headliners for vehicles, and more). There was also movie night, a brunch of pumpkin spice pancakes, and some football watching. Good things.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Shakespeare & Co.

While I was at the conference in Lexington, I stumbled upon Shakespeare and Co. and had to go in, both because I have been to the real thing in Paris and it had such an appealing exterior. I had a glass of wine and an appetizer then returned the next day to have brunch with colleagues. Marie-Antoinette joined us for tea.

I couldn't resist ordering a Meditarrean-style meal. My brunch was composed of grilled halloumi cheese, labneh (similar to Greek yogurt), halawa (a sweet nougat), and cheddar saj (a flatbread). It was delicious!

The ambiance was lovely and I got to know to colleagues better while at the conference.