Thursday, December 3, 2009

Disaster averted...kinda....

So I decided that I would help around the house with some cooking.  Back when it was just my partner and I, I handled the cooking responsibilities.  It was not that he couldn't cook, but he had cooked his entire life in France, so of course there were bound to be differences there.  We'll also mention the fact that his days sometimes began at 5am and didn't end until midnight.  I also loved to cook/bake and would have no problem being a stay at home dad. 

But anyway, I figured out why it is that it's important to realize that cooking in a foreign culture is just an adventure.  I made Macaroni and Cheese.  All was well that ended well, so I can't sit here and act like it was a disaster.  Well, at first, yes, yes it was.  I can't in all honesty say that it was some sort of horrible nightmare world from which there is no waking or anything, but well....suffice it to say, I will only use the cheeses I know work with it, and make sure I have a buttload of them.

The pasta was different, but of course, it's pasta.  We're not talking about a real difference other than the shape.  All that really effects is just the cooking time really.  I don't think there was any sort of difference  really.  However, there was the fun of asking my partner how much I should make.  He said, "Well, there's six of us, so I would say three-quarters, to a whole bag.  Just to give you an idea, we're talking about a kilogram of pasta.  For those of you with the conversions at home, we're talking a little over 2 pounds of pasta.... Yeah, 2 pounds....  So well, I went with it. It was a lot in the pot, and I was terrified of it boiling over, just because of how much pasta it was.  I did take out insurance on it though.  I put in salt to flavor, of course, and added a little oil so it wouldn't boil over.  That may have been a mitigating factor in my later work.

Now, after the pasta was ready, I decided that I would start on the cheese sauce, because I didn't think I had enough cheese to make the sauce first.  I had about a half bag of emmenthaler, a quarter bag of comté, and a half bag that was a mixture of mozzarella, mazdam, and, yeah more emmenthaler.  So I used almost the whole of all three just on the sauce.  I held some back though.  Now, I had thought that maybe I should make a béchamel sauce, as well, it's a standard for a good sauce and I would just well, go from there. 

I came to the disheartening realization, before I started of course, that I had no idea how to make a  béchamel sauce and I didn't want to risk burning milk in the bottom of a pan...harumph.  So oh well, I guess I move along.  Then I remembered, whenever I made it before, I never made the sauce on the stove.  I always made it in the microwave before so I would never have to worry about scorching the milk.  So I switch to the microwave.  It finally starts to come together.  Of course, I think I microwave it for too long or something, so well, the uh, whey is separating from the curd of the cheese.  Goddamn!  What the hell am I going to do?

So I say fuck it, I pour it over the pasta, and cover it with cheese!  Then I cover that with seasoned breadcrumbs.  And everything's fine.  I am nervous as hell, because I think it's going to taste like shit.  Luckily in the stove, I must have just had too much milk in it, and not enough cheese.  It all came together in the oven, and turned out great! 

It was not exactly the same, well, that's not a surprise though.  I didn't use any cheddar or colby cheese, but it turned out decent.  Everyone liked it, and there's plenty left over for tomorrow.  I am satisfied. 

That was my night though.  I think we're going to Tours this weekend.  So that's going to kick ass. 

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