So last night was my first attempt at making homemade mac and cheese (This was in December of ’09). I am sad to admit that Kraft has bested me and France doesn’t sell Velveeta (lol). No, I can’t make mac and cheese on my own… wah wah. FAIL!
I did a very rudimentary search online for the proper fixin’s for homemade mac and cheese. From what I understand… homemade mac and cheese is made with:
Lots of butter
Also from what I read you can just make up your pasta and then melt the butter and throw in some flour and milk. Let that thicken a little and eventually you can add the cheese in – preferably after it has been taken off the heat. If you add a little white wine it will prevent the cheese from curdling.
This is how my catastrophe occurred: I had the pasta right. Butter – yes, flour – no. I assumed it would probably work just about the same. I melted some butter and added milk. It obviously didn’t really thicken. I also didn’t have white wine but I figured red would work just as well. Everything was going fine until I threw the first half of the cheese in (shaved). I turned the heat down super low (as low as our bad induction stove would go) and within minutes the sauce just snapped into something sad. Little ugly chunks appeared and i continued stirring vigorously and removed it from the heat before i threw the rest of the cheese in. It separated. The sad bits sank to the bottom and all I had left was a watery sauce on top.
We then attempted to bake it like as if we intended it to be a casserole. This ended up being an improvement but still pretty sad. The noodles tasted better and some of the cheese stuck. I basically just ate the noodles. By the end of this wonderful experiment we had a “cheese chop” sitting all lonely in a little dish on the counter.
I youtube’d after to try to figure out what the heck went wrong. I watched woman after woman cook cheese sauce like it was nothing! They didn’t take it off the heat or add wine or anything. I need to try this again and probably with flour. Failure is one of the best ways to learn!
I did like that one woman -rather than adding typical cheddar – threw in gruyere, goat cheese, and a few other tasty ones. It sounds delicious! When I discover how to do this properly I will let you know. I’m sure most of you who are taking the time to read this can probably make a cheese sauce already – if you can please share!
P.S. I have yet to post the picture of my wonderful obomination but once I get it you will be sure to see it!
I’m now back in Chicago. My vacation has ended and unfortunately I am still suffering from a sinus infection. At least now that I am home I can begin my job hunt. In the meantime, I have begun making my own bread. My sister-in-law showed me this great book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day that I have started producing bread with.
This is the easiest recipe that I tried out so far. If you get the book it shows you how to make all of these great varieties of bread. Definitely pick it up if you think bread-making is your hobby!
So the recipe is fairly simple. You just grab a 5-quart container, 1 1/2 packs of yeast or 1 1/2 tablespoons of active yeast, 3 cups of water, 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt, and 6 1/2 cups of plain ol’ flour. According to their rules you don’t even need to knead it! You just mix everything together until it’s wet, and let it rise in a covered – non-airtight – container for 2 hours or more and then after that you can start baking. I grabbed a grapefruit sized ball of dough, threw some flour on it, and then stretched it into a ball shape to rest. After it rests for about a half hour you need to slice a few cuts in the top and scoot it onto a baking stone that has been preheating in an oven to 450° – along with this you also want to put a dish to steam 1 cup of water near a boiler. Steaming the bread will apparently make the outside nice and crusty. After another half hour your bread should be done! My first one had some trouble – It looks like a volcano. The second one turned out much better!
Once you make this batch of dough you can keep it for at least two weeks and the yeast will continue to work. If you’re a dork like me you can give your dough a name (I read professional bakers often name their sourdough yeast). I named mine Louis I in tribute to all those French leaders I have read about in the past month. As you can imagine there are a few more to come soon. So far it looks like my batch makes about 3 loaves, but I think it depends on how warm your house is while cooking because my dough didn’t rise as much as Amy’s.
So here’s my first food entry. I have another that’s pending. I attempted to make homemade mac and cheese with some epic failure. Once I get that picture I will post for all of you mac and cheesers. Good luck with your bread dearies!!!
Also, if you’re interested in going further with your bread making I discovered a wonderful article written at a site I like called Chocolate & Zucchini. Here they go through how to create your own natural starter. Check it out if you would like: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2009/07/natural_starter_bread.php