Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I think Macaroni is a comfort food in every house, though more often than not, it's the good ol' American mac'n'cheese. While sometimes I crave that creamy, cheesey mess, I will never, ever turn down or avoid a bowl of macaroni made to my family recipe. It's called 'Dutch' macaroni for a couple of reasons; it comes from my oma, who is (funnily enough) Dutch. Plus, although the ingredients aren't necessarily Dutch, their combination is. I've noted quite a few Dutch families have their own variation of this kind of recipe - and it always involves lots of strong flavours. It's also really, almost ridiculously, easy to make. You don't have to worry about whether or not your cheese sauce will split, or anything.
I have given this recipe to so many people, and I know my mother has done the same, that I actually know what kind of measurements are required, despite the fact that I never actually use them myself. This was one of the first dishes I learnt to make, so if it was safe enough to do, and I didn't have a tendency to burn myself, I'd make it with my eyes closed. I do everything by estimation and sight. If it looks right, it probably is, is my theory.
Just a few notes on the ingredients. There is not an onion in my list, but that's because I was making it in order to feed my family, which involves my brother and sister who are mentally allergic to onions. That is to say, they're spastic and refuse to eat them. So if your family will let you, chuck in half a finely diced medium onion. Also, if for some reason, you have something against bacon, a mild salami (ie: dutch) works okay. Doesn't give you the same flavour, but it still makes a good flavour.
300 grams streaky bacon
100 grams tomato paste
1.5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 beef stock cube
1/2 cup water
1 packet of macaroni elbows
1 cup grated cheese
1. Dice up your bacon and fry until golden and cooked. I like to use streaky because it has heaps of fat without the rind, so you donm't have to get all fussy with the knife, and the fat has lots of flavour. Also bring a bowl of salted water to the boil and set your macaroni to cook.
2. While your bacon is cooking, dissolve your stock cube in the water.
3. When the bacon is cooked, add your stock mix, soy sauce and tomato paste and mix. The tomato paste will thicken the sauce, so don't worry. Let it simmer on a low heat until the pasta is cooked. You'll also need to grate your cheese.
4. Drain your pasta and put it back into the pot, then add the somewhat reduced sauce and the cheese and mix until everything is combined well, then put it in a bowl and eeeeat.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
It seems fitting that having abandoned this blog with cookies, that I should return to it with more cookies. However, these cookies were not the success that the snickerdoodles were. They seemed like they had it all going, and they probably do, and all the problems are human error, but I just didn't feel comfortable with this recipe. Putting it together was fine, it was the cooking process and the fact that it was a fiasco that has put me off these cookies. From this recipe I got three batches of twelve, and it wasn't until the last batch that I had finally got the cooking time down, and only by mistake. Intitally I wanted large, chewy cookies, but they didn't cook properly so I had to go down a size, which was fine I guess. Figuring out when they're cooked was initially difficult, because the dough is a golden brown to start with - finally I decided to pull the last batch out much earlier than the original recipe calls for, so that they were pretty much the same colour as when they went in. Poking the cookie straight out of the oven revealed a surprisingly firm cookie. It was weird. So thats how you know - they might be the same colour, but they'll be weirdly firm to the touch for a freshly baked cookie.
The cookies in question are derived from an Alton Brown recipe, which I was excited to try, because he's so cool, but I changed it up a little and went the browned-butter way (so inspired by Recipegirl) because if there is a browned-butter version, I can't say no. The raw dough was oh-my-god-delicious, the browned butter and the brown sugar giving it a little bit of spice flavour and if I make these again, I vow to eat more of it.
My verdict? Good, but not the chewy cookie I was looking forward.
Sister's verdict? Good, but not as good as the normal cookies (see here for said normal cookies). I have to agree with her.
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
230 g butter, browned
1/4 c white sugar
1 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 c chocolate chips
1. In a saucepan, melt your butter on a medium heat, and stirring regularly, keep it on the heat until it's nicely browned. In a bowl, place the sugars.
See those little browned milk solids? You want them.
2. When the butter is browned, pour it over the sugars, making sure that you scoop out all the little browned milk solid bits and mix with an electrix mixer.
3. Add in your milk, eggs, and vanilla.
4. Add your dry ingredients and chocolate chips, and mix to form a dough, then place in the fridge to chill for ten to fifteen minutes.
5. Spoon mounds onto your cookie tray, and flatten slightly. The second time around I used a dessert-spoon measurement, and was much happier with the result. The cookies should not darken much at all, otherwise they will be overcooked and the based a bit hard.