Sunday, January 27, 2013

Broccoli & Cheese Macaroni

Still on the baking spree, I decided to share a recipe that I created today...because it was THAT good. I included metric measurements because everyone should enjoy this!

Cheesy Broccoli Macaroni

Rebekah’s Cheesy Broccoli Macaroni

1 - 16oz (.5 kilo)box of elbow (or small shell) macaroni.
2  - 8oz (.25 kilo) blocks of cheese sliced and set on a plate
– mix and match extreme flavors like Mozzarella and Extra Sharp Cheddar. Swiss and American. Münster and Emmentaler.
1 lb (.5 kilo) of broccoli (washed and stems peeled and cut into ¼ in pieces. Florets washed and picked apart)
1/3 of half a red onion diced
3 garlic bulbs diced
2 tablespoons (29.5 grams) of flour
3 tablespoons (44.4 grams) of butter diced
1 - 12oz (.3 kilo) can of evaporated milk

Set oven to 375°F (190.5°C). Lightly grease (or use a spray oil like PAM) the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking pan. (No access to a 13x9 pan? Use any 15 cup casserole pan.)  

In a large pot boil heavily salted water. Add the elbows and broccoli. Boil 9 – 11 minutes or until aldente.

While the water is boiling, in a sauce pot, melt over medium heat the 3 tablespoons of butter, add onions and garlic and let that simmer for a minute or two. Whisk in the 2 tablespoons of flour to create a roué.
Remove the sauce pan off of the burner and slowly whisk in the evaporated milk. Place back onto the burner. Keeping at medium heat, whisk in slowly the half of the cheese. Don’t stop whisking. The cheese will eventually melt and the cheese sauce will thicken. At this point, set the heat on low.

The pasta and broccoli will be aldente by now. I personally recommend using a hand strainer to remove the pasta, because the florets would have broken apart and may fall through the holes of the colander. Drain and set into a large mixing bowl.

Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni/broccoli mix and using a scraper, mix everything together. Then pour into the baking pan. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.  Serve hot. En Geute!

If evaporated milk is not available in your area, you can achieve the same results by using heavy whipping cream. 1:1 ratio. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Baking Away the Blues

So I guess everyone goes through different stages of grieving. Mine apparently are:
-A cynic's view of the world.
-Applying for Grad school.
-Thinking about how that goat farm is looking good right about now.
-Realizing I'm labeling myself in the wrong writing genre.
-Wishing I had friends who actually likes to talk about the weird crap I do. (Passionate one-sided discussion about the Caucasus region and it's culture = blank stares from co-workers)

So as I entered the Baking stage of grieving, I realized that I can do one thing (in the kitchen) really friggin' well - bake. If there's an oven (or flame, I can bake in fire), tinfoil and ingredients, then there will be something amazing.

So this week:
-pasta, mushroom and cheese casserole
-ooey-gooey cheesy bake (husband devoured half in one sitting)
-chewy "I can feel it in my toes amazing" dark chocolate brownies
-my lip-puckering lemon cake with lime glaze
-cheesy biscuits

I thank my father who taught me this. Of course, I can cook on a stove (mighty well, danke!), but he really inspired me to love the oven. I always helped him. He was the cook of the house and I was always there next to him. It will be the one thing I will miss the most.

One thing we could never figure out together was bread. If it has yeast - it will fail. So tonight, I gave it another shot after I gave up on bread making 5 years ago. This was my result:
Only edible 
Yup, that flat doughy thing was bread. It was only edible. I think I made the water for the yeast too hot so it didn't rise and my shoulder doesn't let me knead well enough. Oh well, next time.

So tonight, my husband and I enjoyed the Middle Eastern marinated olives I made yesterday. I make them extra garlicky because that the ONLY way to eat the olives!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Foul Prologue to 2013

...this is the first year we will no longer have matching DD/MM/YY...and twinkies, ho-hos, or anything made by Hostess (by the way, good job for closing yet another "made in the USA" source of jobs. Just what we need, more unemployment). I am having the same feeling I did when they announced Pluto was not a planet, and when I pulled the book from the shelf about Burma and replaced it with Myanmar. When I was flipping through the children's history book about Myanmar, no where did it mention that it used to be Burma. It goes straight from talking about its ancient history, skipping over its years as Burma, then to the present. It feels as incorrect as removing women, blacks or Jews from history books - as though they never existed or ever contributed anything. Oh wait, it already happens. *eye roll*

Gracious, Rebekah, where did the snarkiness come from today? Well, we kicked off the holidays with a death in the family (will not go into details) and fudge-awful backpain. Those two combos has turned me into a troll - you know, the kind that eats goat off the bridge. It's not the most pleasant way to start off a new year.
My crappy attempt at humor this week.

Last week was my official week back at work and it was difficult to look at people as they take up space and air and resources, zipping in and out on their wastful iPhones (but they cannot pay $.10 of their fines), hating their life and their kids. They have no clue how privileged they are. No clue how lucky that they can even come into a library and enjoy the free AC, browse books, use computers and have access to luxuries such as knowledge. In many countries, you cannot browse books in a library or even use computers...if there is a library at all. I watch parents treat their kids like animals (I wish I was exaggerating), grabbing, pulling and screaming at them to shut up and sit down - well, newsflash, you didn't give birth to dogs. (not saying that you should treat any animal like this either). And it sickens me that they have no idea how lucky that are to enjoy the miracle that is parenthood.

15 years ago, you only read about this kind of treatment in a newspaper from a 3rd world country or watched it on the news as the covered a story from some poor neighborhood here in the US. You didn't treat people and your kids like garbage or animals in public.

And when you tell people who you have lost, its funny how they look at you like you grew a second head, or they scowl. Either way, they offer no condolence or any sort of attempt to show one nuance of care. Instead they hate you or think you are making it up. I despise going out, I despise the idea of looking at another face of empty emotion. I wish people would just say something, anything. They can even wish my car good health, or even say "good riddance". Sounds dumb, but it's better than apathetic stares.

Nice to know that the world I considered to be fictitious exists. Scary when you've predicted all of this.  

The other night, when I was laying down, trying to fall asleep, a new character formed in my mind. He wanted to join my universe. I thought about how many other characters had come and gone, no longer serving a purpose in my world. They now sit at the karaoke bar (where all my shelved characters go). I told him that maybe there is a place for you, but the world I created 15 years ago, exists now and that you will not have a happy ending. He was and still is persistent and has given me his name and profession. We'll see.

Hopefully, the next entry will be less spiteful.