Thursday, September 11, 2008

BB: Grown Up Mac and Cheese

This months first Barefoot Bloggers pick, chosen by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl, was for Grown Up Mac and Cheese. I must say I was thrilled at this choice, I have been dying to make a Mac and Cheese, and I loved the grown up cheeses used!

My husbands immediate comment was: "oh my god, this mac and cheese is better than my mothers". Hehe. I said, no honey, its just VERY different. It was sooo good, though. I did not have a problem with the blue cheese being overwhelming. I thought the balance was perfect. I actually tasted mostly cheddar, then gruyere, and maybe just a hint of the blue. Any way you look at it, It was GOOD, as you can see by my GIANT side of the mac with my dinner. Boy was I full!! Also, notice the brocolli, I had to do something to feel healthy after all that mac and cheese!!

4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

TWD: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

I love peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chip cookies, so this cookie was for me!! I made them a few days ago, in a hurry, as I had company coming over, and they were GONE before I could get a picture! Sorry - I hate when that happens!

But they were good. Mine came out somewhat flat, but thats not a bad thing. They were soft, and chewy, with just a subtle peanut butter flavor, a hint of spice and a little crisp around the edges. I used chunky PB, and also added extra chocolate chunks! I was CRAVING chocolate like crazy while I was making them, and wanted them to be all good and melty, so I added extra.

Thanks to Stefany of Proceed With Caution for a great cookie pick, check out her blog for the recipe. But seriously, if you love to bake, Dorie's book is a must have. An investment well spent, I promise! Check out all the TWD bakers and blogs here.