Sunday, December 18, 2011

I will take that as a compliment!

For those of you who know me well you know it is a dream of mine to write my own cookbook.

A little history some of who do know me might not know about me.

I won my first and only ribbons in 4-H for two recipes at the age of I believe 10 for coconut macaroons and deviled eggs. The ironic thing about that is my mother won with the same recipe for macaroons at about the same age in 4-H and we never thought about it until years later. The funny thing is neither of us can remember ever using that recipe again after winning each of those awards! I don't even know where it is. However, even though I do not use a recipe for my deviled eggs they are a request when I am going to be bringing food at any of my social gatherings!

That was just a little background on how long I have been cooking. My Mother is a very patient person in the kitchen when it comes to learning! Every question I had she answered, every mistake I made she could tell me why, every time I needed to know how to do something I had never done before I could go to her and she was my answer.

While I still rely on my Mother when I get in a bind or need a question answered I have gotten a more adventurous side in my later years! I will now try something without a recipe just because I know those flavors will compliment each other and will work together.

So many people are so afraid to go out on a limb like this! It constantly amazes me how people ask me, "Well how did you come up with that?" or "How did you know that was going to taste good together?" to which my answer normally is "I didn't know it was going to taste good?" or "I came up with it because I wasn't afraid to try something different?"

My motto is if it doesn't work the way you tried it don't do it that way again! Nine times out of ten even if I don't like the way it turns out everyone else does and it gets eaten but I still change the way I do it the next time! That is all about learning to be a "good cook"

Something else some of you might not know about me was I was able to cook full meals from scratch by the age of 13. When I say from scratch I mean fried chicken, homemade cornbread, peas from freezer to table, buttermilk cakes that would make your hurt yourself or someone else trying to get to another piece, the whole nine yards. This is just a short list.

 I had supper ready every day by the time Mom and Dad came home from work and keep the clothes clean and the house as kept as I could. I was never asked to do this I just did. I also kept my homework done and my grades at  more than a passing level sometimes higher, I wasn't that huge a fan of some aspects of school. The appreciation of school came with later years.

Why did I learn to do this at such a young age other than having a willing teacher? Because I loved to cook and still do! I hope and pray this is a love that never goes away! It is a very strong passion of mine and I hold being known as a "good cook" in very high esteem! While I still have not realized my dream of producing a cookbook Mother started me on my way a couple of years ago for Christmas she made me a binder with pages in it to divide my recipes up and cards for me to record new recipes. So it is still a work in progress and still a dream.

Today however I received what I consider to be a very important compliment!

While I am not professionally trained as a chef and most likely never will be my cousin Justin is. We had our family Christmas today on my Father's side of the family and I chose to carry macaroni and cheese, a cheesecake pecan pie, and brownies (my uncle Lenard's favorite).

Justin's wife Misty is the one who issued the compliment. I didn't hear it but I heard about what she said from two different family members!

She wanted to know who made the mac-n-cheese and asked for whomever it was to give the recipe to Justin so he could make it in the restaurant!

This friends took me a little aback!

I told my aunt Martha that I would have to tell him what I used because there was no way I could tell the amounts with as much as I had made for today. All I could do was tell him how to make it for a crowd!

See I do a great deal of my cooking by taste and memory so when it comes to giving someone a recipe I have to really pay attention the next time I make it and measure things out so I can tell them how to make it properly. This can be really hard for a cook that is a cook by taste or memory. This is also what I run into for recipes to but in the cookbook.

But having her say she thought her husband needed to serve mac-n-cheese just like mine in a restaurant made my day!

Let me see if I can give you a list of ingredients if you need to make mac-n-cheese for about 25 people I guess is what this would serve, maybe less if there isn't as much food as we had today to surround it. lol

Three packages store brand mac-n-cheese with the pouch cheese not powder
I jar of processed cheese
I stick of butter
3" chunk of Velveeta cheese cubed
2 cups sour cream
1 lrg can evaporated milk
little salt
little pepper
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheese for topping
I put in Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic JUST A DASH
Disposable 4" deep metal pan with lid

Cook the macaroni until it is a little over done

(if it needs to be drained you can or you can turn it off before it is actually done and let it absorb some of that liquid. This is my preferred method.)
Start by melting a stick of butter in a sauce pan that is big enough to hold about 4 cups of liquid or more for stirring room. Once the butter has started to melt you can start adding the Velveeta cheese. Let that start to melt as you begin adding in the pouches of cheese from the mac-n-cheese. Add some of the milk to make it a little more smooth and then add in the cheese from the jar. You may not need the entire jar, I used about half the jar. Let that get well mixed and then add in the seasonings and more milk. If everything is well combined add the sour cream and rest of the milk and stir until all are blended and everything is warm.
Place pasta in a metal pan and evenly distribute over the length of the pan. When the sauce is ready you can poor it over the pasta. Use a fair amount at first, mix and then asses as to whether you will require the entire cheese mixture. I had a little left over. This is good in Mexican casseroles too or Chicken Cheese Spaghetti!
Sprinkle top with grated cheese and cook in a 350 degree oven until the cheese on top has started to melt and the pasta has heated through. About 30 minutes. Do NOT let the edges start to brown because that is cooking too long and the pasta will no longer be as cheesy as you want. Serve hot!

I don't have a picture to go along with this but when all was said and done and there were two different dishes of macaroni present my pan was half empty!

If you happen to have questions about this recipe just post a comment and I will try and answer everything I can. It's Good! and as I always say "You'll See I Promise!"

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