Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rainy Day Mac n' Cheese


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.



Alton Brown's Baked Macaroni and Cheese


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

Topping:
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.

47 comments :

Merut said...

Making a quilt with lint? That is called talent (and having way too much time on your hands). I have super fine, limp hair, so part of me has no sympathy for your situation because at least you have some body to yours.
Your mac-n-cheese looks heavenly. I've never thought of adding paprika.

Heather said...

I have the exact same hair issues as you. There is pretty much nothing worse than spending 10 full minutes straightening your hair to walk outside and have it be completely undone by even the slightest amount of humidity. :p

On the upshot, this mac & cheese looks amazing.

Isabelle said...

As a girl with thick curly uncooperative hair, I feel your pain. Actually... wait... no I don't, because I'd kill to be able to straighten my hair in just ten minutes. It takes me at least an hour and a half-dozen products. Sigh.
Though, I'm pretty sure some of that mac and cheese would make me feel better about that, too. :)

Simply Life said...

Ha, you are too funny but this does look like the perfect pick-me-up!

Ameena said...

You poor thing! I do love San Fran but I do NOT love the constant rain. You need to invest in some Hunter boots! They are cute and classy and most importantly comfortable and waterproof. We can go shop for some while I'm up there!

Mac n Cheese is definitely a great way to end a chilly day. And Alton Brown can do no wrong!

nancy@skinnykitchen.com said...

I hear ya...I get bad rainy day hair too!

The Mom Chef said...

I second Ameena in the Alton comment. He's the man.

I'm sorry about your day, but I have to admit that it made me so glad that I work from home and even if I didn't, I live in a sedate area whose rush hour consists of 3 cars at a stop sign at the same time.

on the other hand, your solution to the soggy day was pure genius and looks entirely fantastic. I gave a sigh of contentment just from looking at the pictures.

themanhattanfoodproject said...

This is why I seldom bother in straightening my (naturally curly) hair: it takes FOREVER (think 45 minutes when a pro does it) and the second there's a drop of humiditiy out, hello frizzy halo!

I completely feel for your commute--I take a bus and a train every day and the bus is so unreliable, especially on lousy weather days. ARGH.

Totally a reason for macaroni & cheese.

Karen from Globetrotter Diaries said...

Ooo mac and cheese...I will never tire of it! Looks perfectly crusty and gooey

Shirley said...

And I thought the concept of making sweaters out of dog hair was weird. The prospect of mac and cheese at home would get me through a damp day too!

~Lisa~ said...

LOL dryer lint quilt business? Now thats funny. Sorry you had such a wet and yucky day. But your mac and cheese saves the day! Yay (= And that lady in the green, she best watch out now!

Nisrine | Dinners & Dreams said...

I feel the same about my hair when it starts raining :)

Lovely mac and cheese. My daughter would love it and so would I!!

Stay warm and dry!

BakingWithoutaBox said...

I would have thought the hair thing first too. Frizz makes me look a bit like Anne of Green Gables. Bless your heart. This looks like a perfect rainy day pick-me-up.

J+K said...

My rainy day advice: practical shoes.

You're making me crave mackie noonoos! May I suggest a little garlic in the bread crumbs?
~K

Chow and Chatter said...

lovely mac and cheese and sorry about your day

January said...

i love your mac and cheese and i really hope it made your day :)

angi said...

Oh Azmina. I hear you on the baby-hairs thing. Maybe that also means I need to console myself with some mac and cheese? By the way, I would buy your dryer-lint quilt. Just saying.

Heather said...

BTW - I gave you a blog award, which you can 'pick up' over on my site. Of course, you don't have to do anything at all with it, except know that I love your blog and think you're awesome! :)

Juliana said...

Yummie, your mac and cheese looks delicious, so creamy and lots and lots of cheese...very comforting :-)

lequan said...

I never even knew there was such a thing as craftgawker. Wow, I really need to get out from under my rock. I probably would've given lady in the green jacket the "I'm watching you" gesture. You know, the one with the two fingers pointing to your own eyes and then pointing at her. Lol. And "a couple of ramekins"? Now that's my kinda gal ;-). How can you resist this type of wonderful comfort food? Especially when they look as delicious as the Macaroni and Cheese you made. Hope your future commutes are much better, Azmina!

Monet said...

I have never explored craftgawker before this post..and I'm already hooked! What a great find. And even though you might have been a bit wet when you arrived at work...I'm sure you were still adorable! I love mac and cheese, and it is the perfect comfort food after a cold day. Thank you for sharing with me, week after week. Sending love and good thoughts your way!

chandana said...

those pics looks awesome, making me want to eat mac n cheese right now.

i can imagine the feeling of your hair getting wet after straightening it, i totally empathize with you, no one knows that better than me.
craftgawker looks very interesting.

thanks for stopping by my blog.

Joanne said...

This is exactly why I never straighten my hair. The weather is too unpredictable here. Even when I look at it, it steers me wrong.

mac and cheese is definitely the solution to frizzy hair. Because then, you'll be so high off of the deliciousness of it all, that you won't even notice that your hair is frizzy. I swear it. This is luscious.

Tamanna said...

oh dear. what a weird coincidence, i was really craving for mac n cheese today, and i somehow ended up here! that looks cheeseilicious!!

Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy said...

Reading your post, I rememberd my SF vacation which was spoiled by rains.Looking at those ramekins, I had instant urge to reach out and pick one..too good.

She's Cookin' said...

Two words: Keratin treatment. (Similar to Brazilian Blow-out and worth every penny). Hope that mouth-watering crunchy, cheesy mac & cheese made you forget about the cold and wet and naturally curly hair :D

Megan said...

Perfect story of a miserable day. But thank goodness for mac and cheese! Craftgawker just makes me sigh and sigh and wish I had a smidgen of the talent shown there. Siiiigh.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I am going to love reading your blog. Too funny!! Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog. I really enjoyed my visit today.

Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear said...

Mmm, mac and cheese is perfect for a rainy day!

For some reason I never check the weather forecast and always forget my umbrella..

The Mom Chef said...

Consider yourself awarded. You have to come to my blog to pick it up, but I'd hand deliver it if I could, just to hug you and thank you for making me laugh when I read your posts. Cheers!

Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels said...

I used to have crazy hair issues when I lived in Florida. My mama called me Lion because my hair would just go insane and stick out everywhere.
Mmmm that mac and cheese looks perfect! I seriously wish I had some homemade mac and cheese right now. It's been such a rainy and cold day here. This beautiful dish would be perfect for dinner! I'm going to have to try it out. It sounds amazing! :)

sophia said...

I try not to wash my hair more than once every two days, so I don't like getting it wet. But I rarely do anything to it, so I don't go crazy over it.

I hate this rainy weather now. It was fine when it was mildly drizzling, but its been pouring for the whole day now! Mc & Chz would make me feel so much better though! :D

Spiceaholic said...

Mac and cheese sounds like the perfect cure for the rainy day blues!

Wouldn't you know, the days I actually try to straighten my hair are the ones where it's humid or rainy outside?

Jean said...

If it would help to further your quilt business, I would be happy to provide truckloads of dryer lint, my dear. :-)

I don't blame you for making this delicious mac-n-cheese after the rough day you had. Glad you enjoyed two ramekins worth!

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

Ha! Yeah, craftgawker always makes me feel like an under-acheiver. But this--I could do! It looks incredible!

The Duo Dishes said...

Oh the rain! It's been crazy with rain here in LA, but what can you do? You eat mac & cheese. And enjoy it.

Lana said...

Yes, we are also drowning here in Orange County, but at least I do not have to face the dreaded public transportation!
When I lived in Ohio and Michigan, humidity was my biggest enemy - I hated to see the curls slowly appear after I spent precious time straightening my hair. So I commiserate:)
Alton Brown is someone you can always trust, and I love his recipe for mac 'n' cheese. That kind of warm, comforting, cheesy dish is the right pick for this weather.
And your photos are amazing:)
Good luck with your move - I hope it stops raining:)

Bria @ West of Persia said...

Ahhhh, I know what you mean about days like that. Insult to injury and all that jazz. UGHHH!

Glad you found comfort in a ramekin ;-)

Jackie said...

Awww! The image of a wet, shivering chipmunk was too much. You deserved that mac 'n cheese, girl! I hope you had more than one. Or two.

Jax x

Kristen said...

You definitely deserved macaroni and cheese after a day like that. Shame on you lady in the green jacket. We ALL see you now!!

Mina said...

Oh my kids are gonna love this mac and cheese. Thanks

Sprinkles of Parsley said...

I absolutely LOVE mac n' cheese and haven't made it yet this year... your post has inspired me to make it immediately after the holiday!

Charmaine @ Speakeasy Kitchen said...

I'm a big fan of multiple-ramekin mac n cheese.
P.S. You should embrace your curly hair.

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

Dryer Lint, LOL! I have to explore this, what there is a craft I don't do! He He

Hoping you are enjoying the end of the year and wishing you Happy Holidays.

-Gina-

Kelsey said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Neo-Homesteading said...

Yum. I made some mac and cheese for Christmas eve lunch. It was so yummy.

The flavorings you used sounds so good. Paprika, bay, mustard? Im so lazy I just make bechamel and toss in cheese, maybe hot sauce and nutmeg. I want to try this next time.

Amnah said...

This looks so good. I put homemade mac and cheese into my meal plans for next week. I'm going to try this version.

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