So the cleanse was coming to an end, and a week before I knew I wanted to make Mac and Cheese this weekend. This was just no ordinary mac and cheese. It came from the Balthazar Cookbook and literally is the most delicious mac and cheese I have ever had. The first time I had it, it was peters bday and his amazing mother cooked it for him. I fell in love instantly. I then proceeded to cook it for my own bday last year.
Let me just say, I was a kid who did not grow up with boxed meals. My mother was a chef and I was forced to eat mixed greens as a child and iceberg was NOT allowed. I just wanted to be a normal kid growing up, I just wanted the food that all the other kids were having at lunch. I didnt want fresh fruit, I wanted cookies and lunchables. Boy oh boy as I grew up, I cannot thank my mother enough for force feeding me mixed greens. I mean who would I be now if i grew up on iceberg and lunchables??! Well I wouldn't have such a divine palate as I do now.
Anyways back to the Mac and Cheese. Saturday was a good day. I woke up early, well I had to, my car had to be moved by 8:00 otherwise I wouldn't get another $45 ticket. So what did I do, I drove all the way to the Santa Monica farmers market and got some food for my dinner that night. I picked up some delicious Harry's Berry's (only the best strawberries around!) some other fruits and my greens for the night.
:::::Flash Forward past ikea (read blog below):::::
After setting up all the ikea furniture, it was time to get the place ready for the guests! Why were we having guests? Our friend was leaving us, from Los Angeles to San Fran. Though it may be close, there will still be no more crazy weekends with him around. Sad times are ahead, so we must go out in style!
After cleaning up the apt and setting the table, everything is ready for the guests, except the food! Time to start cooking! The menu, very simple: Mac and Cheese, steamed broccoli and spinach. If im having my cheese I must balance it out with my greens.
So the chef (me) starts cookin! I put peter on cheese grating duty (Gruyere and Parmesan) and then cleaning the spinach. I started browning the bacon (1/4 pound diced) and cooking the pasta (whole box of elbow macaroni) and then combining the two. Then the sauce, mmmmmm. Brought 5 cups of WHOLE milk to a foamy boil and in another saucepan melt the butter (1/2 stick). Make the roux by adding 1/2 cup of flour to the butter once the foam had subsided. Then ladle in the milk, one cup at a time, while whisking. The sauce will become thick and when it bubbles gently add in 2 cups of the Gruyere and 1 cup of Parmesan. The cheese will melt and the sauce becomes pure ecstasy, and I almost forgot to add the salt and pepper but I did just in time! Then tasting time!! oh man thick yummy cheesy goodness. I poured it all over the macaroni. This was my first mistake though. The recipe asked for a 10x14 inch dish, but I had a 9x13 dish. I poured in all the sauce when I should have left a bit out. I realized when I put it in the oven at 400 degrees, it was soaked so it could not brown. After ten minutes of cooking I added the last cup of Gruyere but still it did not brown. Oh well.
Anyways, I steamed the broccoli and spinach and doused it in lemon juice and salt and pepper and then everything was ready. Laid it out for our guests and we all dug in. Though the top may have not been brown, it was still tasty and delicious. Yea it was not perfect, it was still damn tasty! Overall the meal was a hit, everyone liked it, even the boy who doesnt like macaroni and cheese. So thank you Balthazar for puttin this amazing recipe in my life. And Michael, I owe you one, Im sorry I couldnt save any for you. But its just another excuse to make it again!!!
For dessert I kept it simple, and took a trick from my mother. Sliced up some strawberries, oranges and grapefruits. It was perfect, no sugar necessary and everyone loved it! They all couldn't believe how delicious the grapefruit was. I actually got to change peoples opinions on the grapefruit! You see when you slice it up and keep the pith out of it, Oro Bianco's are trully sweeeeet and perfect. So no need to be afraid of the scary sour grapefruits, its a thing of the past and dont you forget it!
The best part of the meal was definitely the company! Being able to use the dining room for the first time was so fun. At age 24, I got to throw my first dinner party and it was fun to act like a grown up, even though none of us really are. We proceeded to watch you tube videos of our favorite TLC videos and random 80's videos. The night ended in a blur with everyone passing out at the pad, which meant we all made delicious pancakes with bananas and chocolate chips in the morning. We used the rest of the whole milk which we all credit as to why the pancakes were all soo delicious. Thanks everyone who was at this event, it was super fun and you were all great guests! Oh and thanks peter to letting us use your apartment and bringing us all together!
I cant wait for the next one, or even just getting back into the kitchen and cooking.