Mac ‘n Cheese, Martha Style

Don’t compare this to the so-called macaroni and cheese that comes in a blue box and involves a mysterious cheesy powder. It’s not in the same ballpark. Not even close.

It’s not orange, and it doesn’t come in a blue box. It’s just really good mac ‘n cheese.

Martha Stewart’s Perfect Macaroni and Cheese recipe was the jump-off point. I made a couple of changes, one intentional and one accidental. The intentional change: adding a third cheese (sharp orange cheddar). The accidental change: adding an extra cup of milk (I was trying to count cups of cheese and cups of milk, and I got all tangled). The extra milk made the cheese sauce slightly thinner, but it’s not soupy at all. The orange cheddar added a nice kick.

Grated Gruyere. Not orange mystery powder.

Martha nailed this one. It’s easily the best mac ‘n cheese I’ve had yet.

However…there are some friendly little edits that might make it even better. Miss Roommate suggested (and I concur) that this might be improved by substituting the Gruyere with a sweeter cheese. Also? Gruyere and sharp white cheddar are not cheap. I’m going to give this another try with some cheeses that don’t cost over $15/lb, and let y’all know how that works out. And just for kicks, I might try it with some orange cheeses.

Also, the way it’s written, this is a 5-saucepan recipe. Something tells me that mac ‘n cheese should not be so complicated as to require that many saucepans (plus a casserole dish and a skillet). I went with a slightly-less-hassle execution of this dish. I love Martha, but she’s a little bit too intense sometimes. Reusing pans is good; so is reading over the recipe beforehand and figuring out which pans can be reused. Prep work, like grating the cheese in advance and cooking the pasta before working on the sauces, will save much hassle.


More Pretty Poms

Such a beautiful dark red. It’s all over my shirt, too. Oops.

This pom ended up flavoring some cider. We filled a tea ball with pom seeds, and let that float around in the cider while it heated up. The pomegranate flavor is noticeable but not overwhelming.

The Recipe:
Hot Apple Cider With Pomegranate

1 gallon apple cider (unflavored — the ingredient list should just say “apples)
1/4 cup Captain Morgan spiced rum
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tea ball filled with fresh pomegranate seeds (about 2 tbsp of seeds)

Do This
Pour the cider into a large stock pot, and bring to a boil. Stir in the rum and spices, and allow the tea ball filled with pomegranate seeds to float in the cider. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for at least an hour (or maybe all day). Serve warm.

It’s a really nice warm drink, and I’m a little bit bummed out that apple cider is considered a “seasonal” beverage. This is definitely a must-enjoy while it’s still cold out!

Buckeyes, Freshly Dipped

The chocolate is still melty.

THE Buckeye Recipe

As promised, buckeyes. This is a family recipe is courtesy of Amberance. It’s slightly modified, for two reasons. (1) I messed up and used more margarine than she uses because I totally did the conversion wrong. (2) The Boyfriend handed me a bottle of anise extract instead of vanilla extract, and by the time I realized this, it was too late. Lucky us, it worked out!

The Recipe:
Buckeye Candies

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 sticks margarine, softened
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp anise extract
1 lb confectioner’s sugar
6 oz semisweet chocolate

Do This

Mix together peanut butter, softened margarine, vanilla extract, and anise extract (this part was an accident, but I’m keeping it) in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar, and beat on low speed until the mixture is well-blended. It should be light brown in color and fluffy but solid.
Scoop out balls of the peanut butter mixture with a melon baller, and roll until smooth. Place on a foil-lined sheet, and refrigerate while the chocolate melts.
In a double boiler (or stainless steel bowl balanced atop a pot of boiling water), melt the semisweet chocolate. Remove from heat, and allow the chocolate to cool (but not solidify). If the chocolate is too hot, it will melt the peanut butter and cause the buckeyes to be misshapen. Guess who figured this out from experience?
Carefully dip each peanut butter ball in chocolate, leaving a small portion undipped (so they resemble real buckeye nuts!). Return to the baking sheet, and when the entire sheet is filled, place in the fridge to cool the chocolate.

Our boys might not have made it to the Rose Bowl, but they did a great job of crushing the team from That State Up North. It’s definitely okay to celebrate with buckeye candy.

We’re From O-hi-o

These little guys are going to grow up to be Buckeyes!

OSU-Michigan game tomorrow. GO BUCKS!

Just Gravy

Well, and some mashed potatoes.

The gravy was the first of the Fakesgiving foods to run out. It only made it to one plate of leftovers. For perspective, I have eaten no less than 9 plates of leftover turkey.

My gravy recipe requires a little bit of work, and it also costs you the turkey neck and giblets. It’s that dish that you have to remember is on the stove all day, throughout the entire turkey and side dish process. But, know what? It’s totally worth it.


Whipped cream!

Like pretty clouds. Except, you know, tasty.

Confession: we didn’t make a pie – or anything else that required whipped cream as a topping – this Fakesgiving. This whipped cream was actually a part of something else :)