Friday, December 05, 2008

Comfort me with Bacon and Melted Cheese...

My husband's face this morning said it all: blood shot eyes, hunched shoulders, uncombed hair. It looked like he been locked away working on a dissertation for months. Finally emerging from his cocoon, he foraged the shelves searching for his morning sustenance.

As he slowly moved a spoonful of 'Life' to his chin and pushed further to reach his mouth, I recognized his cry for help. I was observing while hovering over 20 pounds of curry chicken salad (that's a different story).

If you ask my husband what his favorite food is, he'll say stuffing. But we just ate 4 days of consecutive Thanksgiving meals and we're stuffed out.

And then it came to me...three cheese macaroni with bacon! And pecan pie! The non-baker in me forged ahead and made a pecan pie with a homemade crust! Okay, that was my intention, but I wimped out and bought a pre-made one. At least they were on sale from the overstock from Thanksgiving.

Here's the recipe I used for the pecan pie.

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark Karo syrup
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a saucepan, melt the butter but don't let it brown. Mix in the sugar and corn syrup and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the eggs. Mix well. Stir in the pecans. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 1 hour or until firm when shaken.

This was idiot proof. Seriously. Hit the spot. I did use salted butter and added a little vanilla.

For savory dishes, I don't use recipes. I'll either work off of a pictures or concepts in my head. I'll give some estimates here, but don't hold me accountable for it. For the mac n'cheese, choose your favorite cheeses and go for it.

8 oz. bacon, diced and sauteed
1 lb pasta, cooked and drained
5 oz. shredded extra sharp cheddar
5 oz. shredded Gruyere
5 oz. Monterey Jack
Grated Parmesan
Fresh parsley
Cayenne, to taste
Panko bread crumbs
5 TB unsalted butter
4 TB AP flour
3 cups, whole milk
nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. To make the bechamel, melt the butter over low heat and then add the flour. Cook, with a wooden spoon or whisk until the flour scent is gone. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pot. Slowly stream in the milk into the roux and whisk. Once the sauce has come to a boil, cook for another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
3. Add half of each cheese (Cheddar, Jack and Gruyere) to the bechamel.
4. After draining the pasta, add the rest of the cheeses to the pasta
5. Combine the cheese sauce with the pasta and stir gently to combine. (When you think you've added enough sauce, add a little more). Check seasonings. Add fresh parsley, cayenne and bacon.
6. Transfer to a casserole dish. Top with panko and then Parmesan and bake until heated through...about 30 minutes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That mac n' cheese has our bellies quivering. We'd love to stick a serving spoon in that dish for a big 'ol helping. The parsley probably lends a fresh, light kick to the dense, lovely cheese and thick bacon. Yikes! We need to try this asap.