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Apron Diaries

Hot and Cheesy 
Mar. 14, 2009 8:44 pm 
Updated: Mar. 16, 2009 6:47 am
To be a gardener in Seattle is to bundle up against the cold and the wet and work between the raindrops. Waiting for good weather is for the weak. So when today's downpour lightened up to merely a minor storm, I threw on the thermals, climbed into a pair of rubber boots, and zipped up my rain jacket. Even so, I was chilled to the bone after an afternoon of late winter garden clean up. I needed a steaming hot bowl of comfort to make all right with the world again.

I also needed to quickly feed two ravenous 14-year-old boys, one of whom is a vegetarian, and neither of whom helped me in the garden. Nevertheless, they needed to eat. So I needed to cook.

Now, I love a good homemade mac & cheese. You can keep it simple or you can add vegetables or chicken or tuna...but today I was in the mood for mac & cheese in its purity. Sure, I used 1/2 Gruyere and 1/2 Cheddar cheese in the sauce and topped it off with a generous layer of Parmesan, but that just gives it more cheesy goodness. And I also used an oversized, hearty elbow macaroni called chiocciole because I needed to make sure I filled those teenage tummies.

Make a butter and flour roux, wisk in hot milk, cook it until it thickens, add the Gruyere and Cheddar, pour the sauce over the cooked pasta in a buttered casserole, top with Parmesan, bake at 350 degrees (F) for 25 minutes, run under the broiler for three minutes. Done.

It was simple and delicious, and as comforting as a purring cat.

That's my comfort food in this final countdown to spring. What about you? What hits the spot these days? Tell me all about it...I'd love to hear from you.

Happy cooking!
Late winter mac and cheese
Photo Detail
Mar. 14, 2009 9:47 pm
I think you found the secret of the best mac and cheese,but then again your judges were teenagers! LOL I want your mac!!
Mar. 15, 2009 2:28 am
Your mac & cheese sounds so...cheesy. Now I want it. I'm also braving Seattle, getting purely tired of the cold - though I am among the weak and don't garden, ever. I've been feeling soupy, knowing we'll be putting it away for a couple of months soon - and while I love soup, I can't wait to work on some warm-weather food. Brrr. :)
Mar. 15, 2009 5:58 am
I have been enjoying experimenting with my new crock-pot. So far anything I have tried has gotten a big thumbs up around here. I will be trying a "Crock Pot Apple Brown Betty" next!!
Mar. 15, 2009 5:20 pm
Hi Michelle and SunnyByrd and Trishie! Thanks for the visit. Yesterday's mac & cheese went down well, but I'm not sure what to do with the leftovers. I'm going to experiment with heating it up, or I could completely reinvent it with a little tuna, spinach cooked with onion, and maybe a little more sauce to hold it together. I don't know. Any ideas? Cheers!
Mar. 16, 2009 6:47 am
Now I'm hungry for mac & cheese! My favorite cold weather food is soup! Yum, yum!
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Vanessa Greaves

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San Pedro, California, USA
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Nov. 2005

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About Me
Two working adults and a kid in school. Someone has to cook and that someone is usually me. *sigh*
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Whatever makes my family smile while they're eating.
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I cook, they clean up after me. It's the kind of tradition I can fully embrace.
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No one has asked me to stop yet.
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When I was 13, I made pecan rolls for my family. The recipe called for 8 refrigerator biscuits but the package held 10. My mom asked me what I did with the other 2. Judging from the look on her face, "I threw them away" wasn't the right answer.
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