Wednesday, January 21, 2009

in my usual way...

Well hello, how are you? It has been too long, lets go out for coffee. (Go make yourself a cup of coffee, and then come back to the computer, we have a lot of catching up to do.)

Ok, now that you have your coffee, we can catch up...

It was my fault. I've been busy, bla bla bla... I really have been up to quite a bit and have been a tiny bit stressed. (As the blemishes on my face can well testify.) My blog has been bumped down on the priority list, in the region with organizing my bathroom closet and vacuuming my car. You see, lately I've been working on survival and dearest readers I hate to say this but, blogging was not necessary to my survival.

But I really think blogging is necessary for my sanity's sake!

Let me fill you in... There was the after-Christmas madness, full of parties and feasting and cooking. I cannot tell you how glorious the whole season was!

Then there was the wedding. Chase and Gigi, you remember them right? They got hitched! Brandon and I were both in the wedding and were booked up with pre-wedding fun... Us bridesmaids threw a lingerie shower (giggle) and then we had a lovely bachellorette party at Mollie Fontaine Lounge (uh-mazing place, I want to visit again soon, so I'll write more about it then.) We had all the normal primping and fun girl stuff that ladies do before weddings. They had a beautiful wedding. I'll try to give you some photos later.

Then there was the baptism! My friends Murphy and Beauvais' daughter, Lillian Elisabeth, was baptized this Saturday night, and I was her godmother. It was the most perfect baptism ever! She didn't cry at all, which I assure you is quite the accomplishment for an Orthodox baptism. It's long and the babies are actually immersed 3 times! I can't wait to show you the pictures. Lillian Elisabeth's patron saint is St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, who as you know, is one of my favorite Saints!

And, drumroll please, I'm back in school! OK, you probably didn't know I took a semester off, but I did. I was not proud of it, and I tried not to talk about it too often. I've never been more excited about going to school. It was a hassle to get enrolled again, but I think it was totally worth it! I have one of my favorite professors and I'm actually excited about my classes!

This weekend Brandon and I are heading to Nashville for a day. Nothing too big planned, just visiting a few of our favorite places and relaxing.

Oooooo, I think you'll like this. I was introduced to a new friend back around January 1, and I think we'll be the best of friends! Her name is "Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese." Yes I just plugged a Martha recipe, I never thought I'd do it! It is absolutely to die for, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

You know I've always thought of Mac-N-Cheese as a real tester for a cook. And sadly I've never actually liked one I made! I have the right technique, I just never have the right proportions or the best cheese. So when Margaret introduced me to Martha I was hooked. I made it for our New Year's day dinner and everyone agreed, it was good. You know the superstition says that whatever you're doing on New Year's is what you'll be doing for the rest of the year and if it involves making and eating this Mac-N-Cheese, I'll have a good year!

Martha Stewart's Perfect Macaroni and Cheese:

Serves 12
6 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere
1 pound elbow macaroni

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into the bowl with bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

2. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.

4. Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer's directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup pecorino Romano; scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.

Ciao dear readers.... it was nice to see you again!


jccvi said...

In our house, this recipe has two names. Usually we refer to it ask "$40 Mac and Cheese" because that's how much it costs to make.

Unofficially, and only in certain company, we call it "Crack and Cheese" because you keep coming back to it in spite of your better judgment.

elizabeth cameron said...

did you know that was the same mac and cheese i made for pascha? it is oh so delicious! and just a little fyi..i use pepperidge farm white bread because it's a little firmer and easy to cut into the little cubes. happy eating!

BillyandMarjo said...

yes, i had Liz's at Pascha! so delicious. can't wait for another taste. Caitlyn--so glad you finally updated.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I can cheat on good ole Paula Dean, but maybe I'll give it a try :)

Corinne said...

I think this is the same recipe that is Elizabeth Cameron's in the St John Cooks cookbook.....I made it for our Christmas Dinner :-)