I was a bit disappointed in my first full week off from work, because I didn’t get as much accomplished as I intended. Maybe I set my goals a bit high. I was going to figure out what I was going to do with my life, get started on my novel and lose 10 pounds. Instead, I made chocolate-chocolate cookies (from a tub, not from scratch, but buying it helped some schoolchildren somewhere and it was still yummy), did not gain any weight (a real accomplishment) and worked on this freaking blog. As for figuring out what I am going to do with my life, I understand from several informative websites that there is an easy way to make thousands of dollars working from home for just minutes a month, and all I have to do is give them my credit card numbers.
Seriously, next week I start coaching, which should be interesting, since I have never been one for team sports. No, not that kind of coaching. I mean the kind where I actually learn how to deal with life and people and stress, so I feel like leaving the house every once in a while.
Best Recipe of the Week
The highlight recipe of the week was Family-Style Macaroni and Cheese. This was the ultimate Mac & Cheese, the kind you may have had in a really good Southern-style restaurant or diner: creamy, cheesy, fat-laden, comforting, with a slightly crispy topping and just dissolving on the tongue. I followed the recipe straight from Cook’s Illustrated without any adaptations, so I’m not going to reproduce it here because I respect copyrights and don’t want to get sued, but I will share the two important things I learned from making it:
The best way to make Mac & Cheese is on the stovetop, not in the oven. This preserves the creaminess and the cheese doesn’t get all gummy. Only put it under the broiler for a very short time to crisp the topping.
I have discovered that putting a piece of Pepperidge Farm white bread in the food processor with 1 tbsp. of butter and pulsing it a few times results in the best bread crumbs for topping casseroles like Mac & Cheese. The bread crumbs crisp up nicely under the broiler, but they still retain a certain tender mouthfeel that melds well with the cheesiness of the dish. And it was so easy. So goodbye, store-bought bread crumbs.
Worst Recipe of the Week
I tried Tortilla Soup, also from Cook’s Illustrated, but was disappointed in it. I have a certain work-to-result ratio when I cook, i.e., the more work a recipe takes, the more fan-fucking-tastic it had better taste. I’ve had really good chicken-lime tortilla soup in Santa Fe, and that was the recipe I wanted to re-create. This version was too tomato-y and too spicy, even with only half a chipotle chile. There were too many fiddly steps for a weeknight supper, and the quantities were difficult to cut down for two people. So that one went into the reject pile. Send me your recipes for Tortilla Soup if you think you’ve got a good one. There are only about a million of them, right?