Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Mac-And-Cheese-And-Mac-And-Cheese-And-Mac-And-Cheese-And-Mac-And-Cheese-And ...

OK, so at some point everyone needs comfort food.

Comfort food is the stuff that makes you feel safe and at home and supported. It may be real food, or it may be a memory of a food that does it, and at some point every cook wants to make that dream of comfort and safety and home come true.

In Canada we have KD. I won't tell you that KD is a bad thing ... it is not ... but after reading the list of ingredients, one might just want to make something a bit ... um ... better, with more real food in it and less chemicals. This is not hard to do.

Learn to make roux. Today I did a demonstration on how to make blond roux, which became bechamel sauce, later transformed into mornay sauce. Knowledge, technique and practice are what makes good simple food like home-made Mac-And-Cheese just a whole lot more than delicious.

Learn to make food with techniques that transform the simple into the excellent!

We made roux, then transformed it. While this was on the low heat, elbow macaroni was boiled in good, salty water and drained (but not rinsed!)
and returned to the cooking pot. Another team member was responsible to make the topping of breadcrumbs, cheese, butter and whatever else struck their fancy (could be seared vegetables, bacon bits, a different cheese incorporated into the topping mix).

The results were poured into buttered brownie pans and baked for about 30 minutes at 350 ... and the kitchen was transformed into a calm, quiet place as everyone smelt the odours and flavours coming out of the ovens. "Chef, how much more time?" was the question of the day. Like a car-trip with 6-year-old kids, the only right answer was 'soon'.

Then ... Magic! All that skill with simple ingredients had been made into wonderful food The smell was wonderful, the consistency perfect, the taste delicious, the flavours balanced and the satisfaction immense.

Tomorrow we will have a Mac-And-Cheese race ... timed ... and see which team can make the best-tasting, best-looking, most gooey, cheesiest Mac-And-Cheese in our kitchen

Please, Sir, May I have some more?

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