Life, style & food in the District
(Save Our Sauce)
The day I don’t have to call my mother and frantically ask her for help/ advice in the kitchen is the day I will consider myself to be a somewhat successful cook.
Take for example, tonight. Kent wanted something cheesy to eat – Not a surprise… and I am also not one to complain. So I thought, “OK, let’s do some sort of alfredo/ mac & cheese-type thing.” Says the girl who has made alfredo twice before (maybe?) and has never made mac & cheese.
I should start out by saying – I don’t do recipes…. Or rather, I rarely do recipes – except when baking, of course. They always call for too many ingredients that I never seem to have on hand (shallots? champagne vinegar? seriously? these are definitely not on my bi-weekly shopping list), and seem so much more labor intensive than they should. Instead, I like to just cook, adding things to a dish as I go along – Sort of a trial by error process…. Mostly error.
So back to my cheesy pasta dish. This is what I had to work with: organic whole wheat fusilli pasta (ugh – hate whole wheat pasta, but I feel so guilty if I don’t cook with it), shredded mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano, milk, butter, olive oil, and some left-over panko bread crumbs.
So I start out by melting some butter and olive oil in a saucepan (ps: nothing in the world smells better than olive oil and butter cooking together), added a little garlic, and then added some flour to begin a bechamel-type sauce. But once I added in some warm milk to the mixture, I slowly realized that I added wayyyyy too much flour, and I was left with something that resembled play-dough more than it resembled a cream sauce. Awesome.
But never fear… It’s mom to the rescue!! Apparently I needed to whisk instead of stir (who would have thought?); add some more milk, slowly and over heat; add a little water (I figured this out on my own, thank you); and add the cream sauce to a separate bowl of already somewhat-melted cheese to avoid too thick of a sauce. Oh man, would I have been screwed if mom wasn’t home. But she was – and the sauce turned out OK, the pasta was cooked al dente, and the breadcrumbs browned up perfectly under the broiler.
So in the end, the meal turned out to be fabulous (or maybe it was the wine that was fabulous?), and I made one of my favorite sides – arugula with lemon juice and olive oil – to go with the mac. Yum! Let’s just hope it can be recreated one of these days, since nothing was written down or measured.
So once again, right when I start to think I am awesome at cooking, I am quickly humbled by having to call mommy to bail me out! Here’s to hoping I can make un-burnt toast in the morning…
Arugula and romaine with lemon and olive oil
The mac & cheese/ alfredo-thing
Monday night’s dinner, browning on the stove – Panko-breaded lemon chicken breasts