Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Baked Mac & Cheese

I’ve never really been particularly good in the kitchen. I tend to need a recipe and to have all the ingredients, and generally to only work on one thing at a time. That and I’m never quite sure where everything is, and generally have to look in three separate places.

Nonetheless, recently, I’ve been making a particular dish multiple times, and am getting better at timing things to be ready Just In Time™: The Joy of Cooking (‘97 edition)’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese.

My friend Mason, author of the Tiny Kitchen iPhone application, swears by the Cook’s Illustrated version (the older, adult version), and I will have to try it eventually. Nonetheless, his app has helped me on more than one occasion to set up a shopping list so I can remember to get everything I need for it.

Towards that end, I am adding it here, in Tiny Kitchen form, sans Joy’s copyrighted description:

---begin-tinykitchen---
Title: Baked Macaroni and Cheese (Joy of Cooking)
Time To Cook (in minutes): 45
Tags: dinner

----
2 cups elbow macaroni
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
0.5000 - onion (minced)
1 - bay leaf
0.2500 tsp. paprika
2.2500 cups sharp Cheddar or Colby cheese (grated)
- - black pepper (freshly ground)
0.5000 cups bread crumbs (fresh)

----

Guid: 4EC3A73B-5A81-4EA2-A600-8C20A84AC72F
---end-tinykitchen---

I’ve tended to shop at Trader Joe’s for the ingredients, and use these specifics:
  • Like Cook’s Illustrated suggests, I use a blend of mostly sharp cheddar (extra sharp Celtic or extra sharp Wisconsin, for more orange-y look), and some Monterey Jack.

  • I use fusilli rather than elbow macaroni.

  • I use (organic) whole milk.

  • I also buy frozen chicken breasts, and broil two to add a little tasty protein to my fat and salt.

I’ve used Tiny Kitchen’s recipe scaling feature multiple times, having prepared it in a single batch only once. More often it’s in two or three times quantities. I’ve found it difficult to figure out what the right amount of time, or really, the right creamy consistency to reach before pulling it off the stove and adding the cheese. Also, trying to add salt and pepper to taste for varying quantities seems hard to get right.

I made it again this past weekend in a double batch, half for us, and half for our newly-parents-again friends S. Ben, Meghan, “little” Nathan, and now Eliza. From my own tastebuds, it was a good run.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Cooks Illustrated have on average, the best recipes around.