With the wardrobe sorted, I headed downstairs and put on a pot of coffee. I was a woman on a mission today. I spent the morning combing through my box of tricks looking for my favourite Thanksgiving recipes to share with you. Oh so many! I am trying to get it down to a reasonable amount from the current heap that it is.....and my family aren't helping. Just when I think I have the list settled one of them will remember a recipe and say "but what about....?" Told you this wasn't going to be easy. The mountain continues to grow.
I was feeling inspired, and now hungry after looking at so many recipes. I freshened up my coffee, cranked up my ipod and sliced and diced the afternoon away. The boys hung around long enough to have some of the macaroni and cheese I made and then went out to escape the kitchen concert I was having. Apparently they don't share my taste in music. Oh well.
So about the macaroni and cheese. A few pointers Dear Reader. Don't overcook the macaroni. You want it to be al dente. Still a bit firm, because it is going to bake for half and hour in the oven. It will be a mushy mess by the time it is baked if you overcook it. And don't skimp on the cheese. I don't mean the quantity of cheese. Buck up and get a decent piece of old cheddar, not the tasteless, rubbery grocery store varieties you find next to the butter. Wander over to the deli area and buy it there. You don't need that much of it and it won't break the bank. But it will make all the difference to your dish. Cheese is the star in the macaroni and cheese. Let it shine!
Alton Brown's Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, October 2013 issue
For the pasta:
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp mustard powder
3 cups milk
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp paprika
1 large egg
12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
For the topping:
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water, approximately 7 minutes. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, melt three tablespoons of the butter. Add the flour and mustard powder and whisk until there aren't any lumps. Keep whisking for about 5 minutes.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in small pan. Pour the panko breadcrumbs in and stir to coat. Spread panko crumbs over macaroni. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow macaroni to rest 5 minutes before serving.