Today, it started raining midway through my commute to work. Midway through my string of public-transport-none-of-which-is-ever-on-time commute. And what do I think when I feel that first raindrop hit my scalp? Not "Oh bollocks, I should have brought an umbrella" but rather "Awww darn, I straightened my hair today." I mean, I gave up ten valuable minutes of sleep in hopes that the millions of baby hair on my head would not create that fuzzy halo I so hate and what do I get in return? Rain which would most definitely result in halo head.
I know, I know. I should have looked up the weather online before leaving. Instead, I used that time to scroll through craftgawker and wish that I was crafty enough to weave a quilt with dryer lint. Then, I could have stayed at home crafting and making billions selling my dryer lint quilts instead of standing here in the soaking rain, with the bottoms of slacks soaking wet and my hair growing poofier by the second. And at my wettest (and crankiest), the street car buzzed right by because it was too full to stop. Except I saw a lady on the streetcar who had at least ten feet of space in front of her and the next closest person but refused to move so I and the other drenched commuters could get on the street car. I see you lady in the green jacket, I see you.
I finally forced my way on to a street car and got to work. Only to step in a giant puddle getting off the street car. You know those charming pictures of chubby little kids splashing in puddles, wearing their yellow rain slickers and cartoon character rain boots? Well let me just tell you there is no equivalent for cranky adults inadvertently stepping into puddles while wearing high heels.
When I finally got to my office, I was utterly devastated, not by the fact that I was late but rather, that I felt and most certainly looked like a wet, shivering chipmunk. And at that point I vowed to make something warm when I got home.
And throughout the day, every time there was a fleeting reminder of the mucky wetness, the image of warmth became clearer. Like when I felt the bottoms of pants damply stick to my legs, I knew warm wasn't going to cut it. Dinner was going to have to be warm and cheesy. And when I felt my toes squishing around my damp high heels, I knew it would have to warm, and cheesy, AND slightly crunchy. And when someone asked if I had naturally curly hair? Well that was the kicker. I knew it had to be mac n' cheese night.
So I made mac n' cheese. And ate it out of a ramekin. Ok, a couple of ramekins. And while eating, I looked at craftgawker. Because well, I just can't give up on my dreams of having a dryer lint quilt business. Especially because I know it's going to rain tomorrow as well.
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quartcasserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Recipe from the Food Network.