“Its diamonds in your pockets one week, macaroni and cheese the next.” -Jolene Blalock
I have a love and hate relationship with mac ‘n cheese. I have never tasted mac ‘n cheese that I absolutely loved. It was always either too bland or too cheesy for my liking.
Recognizing my lack of culinary skills, I decided I will have to learn how to cook food. And by cook, I mean excluding the usual stuff that I bake like cookies and muffins. I have put off learning cooking for a long time because I hate having to peel, chop, dice, fillet, grind or mince. You know, all those “preparation” steps that take forever.
A friend recommended that I start with the simple stuff. He shared me a recipe of mac ‘n cheese he found online and told me to try it out. Then, I could venture into trying cheeses other than just cheddar.
So, what did I get?
400 grams of elbow macaroni | 200 grams of cheddar cheese | 26 grams of mozzarella | 2 cups of milk | 1/4 cup of unsalted butter | 1/4 cup of flour | 1/2 tsp salt | a dash of ground black pepper
I started by cooking the macaroni. Then, I proceeded making the roux by melting the butter and then adding the flour. Once the paste was thick, I added the milk a little at a time. I seasoned it with salt and pepper. I slowly stirred the milk to keep it from burning. Once simmering, I added the cheeses a little bit at a time, ensuring that they have melted well. Finally, I added the macaroni to the pan and made sure to coat everything evenly.
For one, it was too pale. It looked so sad so I transferred it to a baking dish. I melted some 2 tbsps of butter and added them to around 6 tbsps of panko breadcrumbs. I added some Parmesan cheese for added taste. Then, I sprinkled the breadcrumbs and cheese mixture on top of the mac ‘n cheese and baked it for 15 minutes until the top browned a little bit.
Despite the amount of cheese I put in, it was still too bland. Yet the recipe had rave reviews from people who tried making it for their friends and family.
I decided to just make it into a cheesy bacon and mushroom the following day. We added a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom and a small can of milk (the macaroni has soaked up the cheese sauce) and bits of crispy bacon.
How did it go? I could distinguish the saltiness from the cream of mushroom but damn, it tasted too cheesy this time! Where did all the blandness from yesterday go?!
I guess I have not put an end to my love and hate relationship with mac ‘n cheese. Wonder when I’ll get to taste one that’s just right.