"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it." ~Unknown

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mac' n' Cheese, Singlehanded

     Dad is out of town this weekend, in Anaheim for an annual produce industry conference.  Today, like the past week and the next several months, has been rainy and dark.  Mom, Cy and I spent it shopping for speech and debate clothes for me, and band clothes for Cy.  In the afternoon, Cy dressed up in his Halloween costume for the Monster March, a parade through the neighborhood which is led by the Sellwood Middle School band.  When he got back, his make-up had been washed off by the rain, and he was soaked to the bone.
    Since Dad's not here to lend a hand, I decided to hedge my bets with an easy, classic dinner, Mom's mac' n' cheese.  After an hour long whirlwind of work on the mac' n' cheese, grating cheese, mixing panko into the topping, boiling milk, whisking in cream, whisking in cheese, cooking pasta, I stood back for a few moments before mixing up a salad.

     This was a very basic mac' n' cheese, repleat in it's fatty, dairy-based glory.  The most notable part of the meal was that it may well be the most single-handed dinner that I recall making for Sunday Dinner. It was hard work for a simple meal, but well worth it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sweet, Tender, Juicy Pork

     This morning was the Sellwood Middle School 5k.  Mom and Dad ran a fundraiser for the school, selling bags of apples.  Cy and I ran in the race.  To make a long story short, I had a great race.  I won in a personal best time, edging out a Reedie who'd been sticking with me (and pushing me to go faster) the whole race.  Cy did well too, he thinks his time was about 27 minutes, which, by my foggiest memories, puts him around a minute faster than I was three years ago.
     After the race, Dad and Cy started working on dinner while Mom and I went to get flu shots.  We returned home to a rich pork smell wafting from the kitchen.  While it was not always clear what they were working on, or towards, they created a great meal for us.  There were two sauces to go on the pork.  The first, was very sweet at first, though it delivered quite the kick at the end of each bite.  The other, was garlic and ginger heavy, but defied expectations as sharpened soy sauce.
     The pork itself was sweet, melt in your mouth pork, and had been garnished in the pan with a third sauce and scallions.  The other thing about the pork, is that we had a huge chunk of meat to start with, and five people cannot eat a huge chunk of meat in one meal.  I think it'll make awesome leftovers, though that may just be my protein-hungry leg muscles talking.  For sides we had excellent crispy rice, and mustard greens.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Two-Sentence Recipe

     This morning when I woke up, I had no idea what I wanted to make for dinner.  After I had finished the New York Times Magazine though, I most definitely had a place I wanted to start from.  Mark Bittman, as any follower of this blog would know, a big favorite of Dad and I, had put together one of his ingenious "Many Easy Ways to Cook One Thing."  In this case, it was twenty-five different ways to have bacon.
     For us, bacon is usually something consumed as a side, for breakfast.  Probably with pancakes or waffles.  But in my personal experience with bacon, bacon is at it's worst on it's own.  I like my bacon chopped into baked beans, in twice baked potatoes, or in omelets, with eggs and cheese.  That amazing bacon flavor can be leveraged to take the whole meal to another level. All the recipes Bittman came up with looked really good to me, (though I don't think I'll try a few, namely the ones with tofu, or popcorn.)  Ultimately, I settled on the two-sentence bacon with grits recipe.
     Right now, the bacon is bubbling away in it's own fat, and the grits are simmering on the stove top.  Dad is grating kohlrabi roots, and I have washed the leaves and stripped the stems for a side Dad suggested during our shopping trip.  Once the bacon is done, we'll fry eggs in the left over fat.

     This was an excellent meal.  While it felt like the eggs, bacon and grits were all separate components, and that they didn't have to work together, they did, and they worked together well.  Then again, anything with that much fat will taste good, regardless.  The kohlrabi side worked out well, though I think the leaves got lost somewhere along the way.  For this meal, aside from Mark Bittman's two-sentences on the bacon with grits, there was no recipe.  It worked out very well.