Friday, November 14, 2008

Mac and Cheese redux, a.k.a. Bacon makes everything better.

I would have sworn by my old Mac and Cheese recipe. Macky, cheesey, vegetably, crumbly crusty, what's not to like? the only thing that could possibly be missing starts with "b", and ends with "acon".


Better Mac and Cheese
4-5 slices bacon (turkey bacon is OK)
olive oil
1 lb shell pasta
6-8oz Muenster cheese, sliced very thin (use that Mandolin!)
1 cup shredded mixed cheese (it's ok, buy the bag of mixed shredded cheese at the grocery store. I did)
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 bunch of green onions, sliced thin
6-8oz mushrooms, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Start salted water boiling for pasta. Cook bacon in a skillet with a little oil till crispy. Remove and chop. Cook pasta until just al denta, drain and leave it in the colander in the sink. in a big soup pot, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium-low heat, and toss in chopped bacon. slowly wisk in the flour. keep stiring! don't let it burn! the mixture will start to turn brown. this is good. slowly whisk in the milk, then add the green onions, bay leaf and maybe 1/2 tsp paprika. let this mixture simmer and thicken for about 10 minutes, stirring often, as it will form a skin otherwise. It will thicken, and get a slightly foamy look to it. turn the heat off, and stir in the shredded cheese. Stir in all your cooked pasta. Stir in mushrooms and peas, and season with salt & pepper.

Grease a 9x9 baking dish, or other shallow caserole of similar volume. Spoon in enough of the cheesy pasta mixture to just cover the bottom of the dish. now put down a layer of thinly sliced muenster cheese. Spoon in another thin layer of cheesy pasta, and cover with a layer of sliced muenster cheese. Continue till you are out of cheesy pasta and muenster cheese. Remove the bay leaf when you find it.

Put another tbsp of butter in a microwaveable dish, and melt in the microwave. stir 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs into the bowl until well blended with the melted butter. sprinkle this mixture as evenly as possible on top of the pasta. bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Let sit for about 5 minutes before you eat it.

you will never want baconless Mac & Cheese again. and let's not even talk about that blue box abomination.

If it makes you feel better, just go read that whole passage again. i think i will.

On to some books, that are nearly as yummy, but with less saturated fat. Been getting a lot of reading done lately - blew through volumes II and III of Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics. I know he's putting together some epic plot line, but after volume one, it's kind of going down hill for me. Read volume III of Deathnote, and Yup, still morbid and fascinating. Should have been embarassed that I could identify the black and the white shinigami action figures that were on sale with the anime at Best Buy? If i think about it, the best part of this series is the sweet nearly loligoth fashions of the Shinigami. Maybe i should go get Paradise Kiss or Gothic Sports. Same fun fashions, less death.

Picked up my first Robert Sawyer book, Mindscan. I'm about half way through it, and definately enjoying it. Kind of pre-Stross-singularity, when the technology to copy your brain has just been invented, and it marketed to eldery people who don't have much time left. Copy your brain into a younger mechanical body, and let your old body life out any life it might have at the nicest retirement home ever on the far side of the moon. Kind of six million dollar man with a twist. But what happens when your old body doesn't die? which one is the real you? You both have the same memories up until the moment your brain was copied, you have the same fingerprint, the same genetic code. Most of the book deals with the philosophical definitions of personhood, through a legal battle. Double fascinating.

Finished Tony Horwitz's A Journey Long and Strange. Was really good, and I like his spry writing style. If all history books were this sarcastic and humorous, I would have been a history major. I suddenly have the urge to hop in my car to road trip to all the places mentioned in the book. If that's not a sign of a good regional history book, than I don't know what is.

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