Tuesday, March 07, 2006

For the Mac & Cheese fans

Minimal knitting today -- but it was knitting in public, which ought to count for two. First I knit at the blood bank after my evening donation appointment. The volunteer cookie & juice helper was quite an accomplished knitter, lo these many years. We communed over the glory that was Stitches West. Then I buzzed up the Penninsula to meet up with the San Mateo Knitters at their movable feast of a knitting circle and enjoyed communing with Joanne and Ms Mel. Mel and I had been discussing gauge on a project we are both working on and tonight we finally resolved it with a swatch-off. Results: Mel 20, spinnity 18. Ah-HAH!. I also modeled the still-not-finshed 'Limpets Cardi, now with one more better sleeve and knitting in progress on the 2nd.

In my Fours Monday, I mentioned home made maccaroni & cheese as a favorite food. In fact, I love noodles in any form. My spouse-o is convinced that I will turn into a noodle some day. I like chow fun, pad thai, all forms of pasta with nearly any topping from marinara sauce to snow peas & garlic chips. I like peanut & cilantro sauce on spaghetti and lasagne -- meat or vegg -- and those slippery noodle rolls with sweet brown sauce and one lonely shrimp at dim sum. Mmm. Noodles.

So I was pleased to meet other closet Mac & Cheese lovers in the comments. Some even asked for my recipe. Mac & Cheese for me is a last minute creation every time, so it's not much, but here goes:

Made Up Mac & Cheese, by spinnity

Serves 1

Step one: Boil noodles in salted water & drain. I use about 1.5 cups of whatever pasta I like today. And I never measure. Sometimes I end up with too many noodles or too few. This enhances the made up quality. I estimate I'm using maybe 1/6 of a box? Sometimes I add more.

Step two: Make white sauce. Turn off the heat and using the hot pan, melt ~1 Tbs butter in the same pan & sprinkle in ~2 tsp of flour. I keep my handy flour shaker next to the stove.. so I don't measure much. Stir until it is smooth. It usually makes a paste. Now slowly in milk.. maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk. I start with a little dab of milk & work that in, then add more until it is all added. Turn the heat back on and cook for like 1 minutes while you find the cheese.

Step three: Cheese! I use a loosely packed 3/4th cup or so of grated cheese. Usually it's colby-jack, but I have used cheddar, gruyere, ementhaler, and manchego as the whim strikes me. Manchego works best in combination with some other cheese. Add the noodles back in and stir well.

That's it! Now just heat the whole thing on the stove until the sauce is nice & saucy and serve. No baking for me.. I don't like the grainy texture of the baked cheese.

I almost always eat mine with the same two toppings: toasted pine nuts (must toast!) and Pace picante sauce. Like a 1 TBS of pine nuts and 2 TBS or more of picante sauce. Mmm, tomato cheesey pine nut goodness.

Since the whole thing is done as the whim strikes me, all I need to do to scale the dish up to serve more people is boil more noodles. I don't usually give each serving a full TBS of butter.. it's just when you are trying to make it for one, you need something to work with. But once you know the consistency of the white sauce at each stage, you can just melt more butter, shake in more flour, make sure you get the paste thing going on, then add as much milk as makes sense.

Bon appetit!


Anonymous jeni said...

damn. now i'm hungry.

btw, can't wait to see the sweater all finito!

March 09, 2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Mmmmm...cheese...yummy...Thanks for the recipe!

~ Christina

March 09, 2006 9:42 AM  
Anonymous seltsame said...

Yummm....you know, you could always make it for the next potluck. ;-)

How late were you guys knitting? I was up in Foster City last evening actually...could have dropped by.

March 09, 2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger Bogie said...

I'm with Jeni... I'm hungry for some cheesy noodly goodness. mmmmmm.

March 09, 2006 1:55 PM  
Blogger Abigail said...

Yum, sounds delicious. Oh how I miss cheese. :)

March 09, 2006 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Mel said...

I'm so glad we worked out the size thing! And I've got to say again, your 'Limpets sweater is a thing of beauty so far. :)

March 09, 2006 3:58 PM  

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