|The adult version.|
I didn't grow up eating mac and cheese. Nope. My mother had a terribly low opinion of noodles, and considered them to be filler — you only ate them to fill up if you had no other options. She grew up poor during the depression, and probably ate more noodles than she cared to remember. She scrimped and saved so her food budget would stretch to include meat on the nights my father was home for dinner, and chicken or fish on the nights he wasn't. The budget was tight, so she rarely bought junk food like chips or candy, and it wasn't until I was older that she allowed soda into the house. She was strict about what she considered 'healthy' foods worth spending money on. I remember once asking her to buy orangeade like I'd had at the neighbor's house, and she threw a fit about not throwing money away on sugar and water. If I wanted orangeade, she told me, I could add sugar and water to the orange juice we already had. I didn't. I asked often if she would please make spaghetti, but it was always a no. It wasn't until I told her my friend's mother made spaghetti one night a week, that she reconsidered. She thought very highly of my friend's parents, and I guess she decided if spaghetti was good enough for them, it was good enough for us. But mac and cheese? Never.
When my kids were growing up, and our family was vegan, I never thought about making mac and cheese. The only available cheese was 'cheese sauce' that I made myself, and I didn't make it that often. And for me, mac and cheese never registered as a comfort food; it was just not something I ever thought of.. For my grandkids, though, mac and cheese seems to be always on the menu. They eat dairy products, though, and I've never been able to make a mac and cheese that Miss E approved of — until now.
I made the insanely addictive queso from Naturally Lean, by Allyson Kramer. I added granulated onion and garlic to perk up the taste a bit (can't add actual onion because Miss E doesn't like to find onion bits in her food), and mixed about 3/4 of the cheese with 12 ounces of cooked noodles. I transfered some of the plain mac and cheese to a small baking dish for the kids before adding 1/4 cup chopped dried tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives and 1/2 cup chopped parsley to the rest, sprinkled it with bread crumbs, then baked it. Miss E loved it. She said, with enthusiasm, "This is good!" Her brother wouldn't taste it, but you can't win them all. I liked it, too, and plan to make it again.
In my last post I talked about making a bread from buckwheat groats, and not being completely happy with the texture. I've been experimenting with the ingredients, combining ideas and ingredients from several recipes, and I love the results. I was going to include a recipe here but I have another bread experiment fermenting as I type, and I think I'll wait to see how it turns out. Also, we're in the midst of a weather situation here, and 10,000 people in Seattle are already without power. I think I'll just post this while I still can, and hope I'll be able to bake in the morning. Hope everyone comes through the storm with minimum impact.