Sunday, October 24, 2010

The way to a (wo)man's heart

The Hubs can cook. Like, really cook. He has that innate ability to throw a bunch of ingredients together and come up with a masterpiece. I'm not gonna lie, his culinary skills definitely earned him some major points when we were first dating. One of our first dates, he invited me over to his apartment and made me Rachel Ray's You Won't Be Single For Long vodka cream pasta -- yes, that's really the name. I guess it worked!

This morning, to mark our last Sunday morning living with my parents, he made us all banana crumb muffins, the highest rated recipe ever on I committed a major faux pas by whining that I didn't really like bananas in the first place. But oh. my. god. These muffins were awesome! I may have to rethink my stance on that mushy yellow fruit... (Oh, and not only does he cook for me, but for my parents too. Double points!).

Unfortunately for the Hubs, I'm a little culinarily challenged. Okay, a lot challenged. I hid it well, until he broke his leg two years ago, and I ended up having to do all the cooking. Throwing together ingredients and trying to make something yummy usually resulted in some kind of brown, tasteless mush. I even tried following recipes and was underwhelmed by the results. I finally managed to pull together a few good meals I could handle, like tacos. I make a mean taco. But, despite my mad taco skills, he was back in the kitchen as soon as he could hobble around on one leg.

Actually, there is one meal I can consistently make and it's always good, and it's homemade mac and cheese. I know what you're thinking: "Um, hello, melted cheese and pasta -- an eight-year-old could manage that." But trust me when I tell you this is the best mac and cheese you've ever had. Yes, I'm that cocky about it.

It's from the Pillsbury Kitchens' Family Cookbook, copyright 1979, and I learned how to make it from my mom in the way she cooks, which means kind of making it up. I loosely follow the recipe, but when it comes to the cheese, I have my own little mixture that includes 3/4 of a block of Hannaford medium sharp cheddar cheese, some Kraft American cheese and whatever else I have in the house -- mozzarella, taco cheese, colby jack. I don't really measure, but throw it in until it looks and tastes right. It never tastes the same twice, but it's always yummy. I made another recipe once with fancy Gruyere cheese and lobster, and the Hubs admitted he liked the Pillsbury one better. Which is good, 'cause Gruyere ain't cheap!

The real secret? Topping it with buttered pieces of regular white bread, cut up into little pieces, before baking it. I scoff at those silly bread crumbs!

I don't know if I won the Hubs over with my mac and cheese, but I don't think it hurt. I'm looking forward to doing some cooking together in our brandy new (to us) kitchen in only one week! Maybe we'll celebrate it with more of that magic vodka sauce.


Allison said...

Two things: "It never tastes the same twice, but it's always yummy" refers to much of what my mom makes, but definitely her spaghetti. I like this approach!

Secondly, "Which is good, 'cause Gruyere ain't cheap!" could not be more timely for us right now, as we just got back from Hannaford where we purchased Gruyere for the first time. We're making some scalloped potatoes recipe I found online (and by "we" I mostly mean "Ben"), and spent a good five minutes looking for a cheaper Gruyere. No dice, so fingers crossed that these are some awes potatoes.

Always love your blog! :)

Mindy said...

Thanks for your feedback, Allison!

I asked the deli at Hannaford for cheaper Gruyere, and they just stared at me. I hope your potatoes are fabulous. :)