August 25, 2008

Mess-aroni and Cheese

Alternative titles:
Disaster-oni and Cheese
Macaroni and Chee---oh hell, just forget it.
Macaroni and Chee---what the $*%& is burning now?!?

Can you already see where this post is going? It started off so innocently. Today I said to Alex: "Hon, it's your birthday. I'm going to make mac & cheese for dinner. Homemade!" His eyes lit up and that was all the confirmation I needed.

I found a recipe on WW online, entitled "Easy Macaroni & Cheese." Mistake #1 - anything labeled "easy" is rarely so. I also believe that I angered the kitchen gods by thinking "Oh, I can totally pull this off! It's mac & cheese for pete's sake!" That's when they looked down on me and said "HA! We'll see...."

The recipe calls for 1/4 flour as a thickening agent and I had a scant 1/4 cup left...maybe a near 1/4 cup if I scraped the flour canister. "Not a problem" I thought "I'll just use corn starch to thicken when I need to!" Mistake #2 - they are NOT the same. Oh...definitely not the same.

So I begin. Pasta begins to cook, no problem. That, I can handle. Then I start to cook the milk, flour and onion powder. Stirring, and stirring, and stirring...and stirring and stirring...
It's not thickening. Time for the corn starch! I thought I was such a kitchen genius.
Mistake #3 - if/when you are using corn starch, do NOT add it to hot liquid. It will immediately congeal and leave you with nasty little lumps.

Stirring and stirring and stirring...

Still not thickening and now it's lumpy. So I decide to strain it into another pot to get out all the lumps and when I do, out comes the nastiest looking congealed globby mass that was at the bottom of the pot. Ugh. Oh, and I scalded the bottom of the pot.

So I think that now I have a semi-decent base for my cheese sauce. Mistake #4 - never assume anything in the kitchen. I add in my cheese and while it flavors the sauce, it doesn't thicken up like it's supposed to. I add in every type of cheese I can find in our fridge and it's a little thick now.

Finally, I mix it with the noodles and taste it. In a word? Meh. It tastes like noodles covered in a thin cheese sauce. This recipe was supposed to take 10 minutes. It took me 45.

Sometimes, there are kitchen disasters that turn out to be delicious mistakes. This, my friends, was not one of those times.

Happy birthday Alex!


Valerie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Sorry about the mess. I make the WW Baked Mac and Cheese and it is phenomenal. Wanted to share a recipe from the NY Times that I made tonight; it's pareve and not too hard once you boil off all of the tomato juice. I took pictures for inspiration; they're on my Facebook page. Happy birthday, Alex!

Lisa magicsprinkles said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hysterical. My kids will. not. eat. anything but the Kraft Mac n Cheese. Now that IS easy. Now, believe me, I've tried to tuen them away from the dark side, but I just can't replicate that fluorescent orange color. For you, hey, this will be a memorable birthday! Love your blog, BTW.