Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Pound of This, A Pound of That

Whipping up some mac-n-cheese.

With so much snow and bitter cold, what better thing to do than cook? Really in need of something different than my normal repertoire of take away fried something or other, I decided to see what was in the larder for a little meal.

Sadly, there was no Velveeta anywhere in the house so I had to go with some Kerrygold Dubliner cheese and a block of Cabot Private Stock White Cheddar. Chop them up in the processor, whip them into some bechamel, mix with cooked macaroni and voila! A little mac-n-cheese base for now or later.

Mac-N-Cheese out of the oven with a side of bacong and roasted chicken for good measure.

The nice thing about this mac-n-cheese is that you can refrigerate (and I guess freeze) the mix until you need it. Then when the time is right, press the mix into a serving dish, add some chopped cooked bacon, cover with the cheddar and dubliner cheeses, top with homemade potato bread crumbs and bake at 350F.

Forty minutes later, your piping hot mac-n-cheese is ready to rock and roll. Add steak, chicken or more bacon to taste.

Simple Pound Cake

Baking. Such a curious pursuit. I like to cook. I even fancy myself a cook. But a baker? No, i don't think so. Sure, I've dabbled in breadmaking in the past and have even tried my hand at pastry stuff, but I wouldn't say that I know what I'm doing.

Which brings us to the pound cake. I like pound cake. I like the frozen Sara Lee pound cake I grew up eating in the tin pan. I loved how the brown cap of the thing peeled off and how you could dig out the bottom crust of the bread with your fingers from the bottom of the pan. I was amazing. I could go to town on that pound cake.

But now that I'm older and supposedly more sophisticated, it was time to make my own pound cake, using the ingredients I love and adore. Like I said, I'm not a baker - which is good because the pound cake recipe is rather simple:

- one pound Butter
- one pound Sugar
- one pound AP Flour

Okay, and a little salt and a little vanilla extract - maybe half a teaspoon each.

Cream the butter and sugar, add the salt, add the vanilla, then slowly beat in the flour until it fully combines then stop. Bake in a 325F oven for at least one hour, or until its' done.

It took two hours for the thing to cook through.

So it took a long time, but how tantalizing it looked in that oven. I could see the butter boiling in the pan. Amazing. But it took two hours.

Finally the thing was done and it had to cool. By the time I tasted it the next day the flavor was lovely. Buttery sweet, crusty and just tasty. A far cry from Sara Lee but more robust. Good thing I brought it down to The Spro where I could enjoy my labors with a proper coffee - the Montes y Colinas Colombia from Origins Organic, of course.