Cooking Doesn't Have to be a Chore.
If you're like me, you tend to avoid as many mass-manufactured processed products as you can. Those convenience foods often consist of artificial colours, flavours, emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sugars, salt, palm oil, GMO's, and shelf extenders. What we get for convenience doesn't make up for the loss of nutrition, taste, or quality. Making something from scratch more often than not tastes better than any box you can find on the grocery shelf.
Cooking doesn't have to be a chore. With a few basic recipes and techniques, you can create a variety of different dishes with just a little bit of advanced planning. The next time you are craving macaroni and cheese, try this recipe for a homemade version (with plenty of options to change the flavours) instead of that little blue box of KD. To get the recipe, continue reading.
Make Your Own Cheese Sauce Using Bechamel
Béchamel sauce also known as white sauce, is made with a roux of butter and flour cooked in milk. It is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine and is used as the base for other sauces. One of these variations, Mornay sauce, is Béchamel with cheese added- this is what we will use to make the sauce for macaroni & cheese. I've added lobster, tomatoes, basil, and used white cheddar is this dish, but feel free to substitute some other ingredients to suit your mood or to use what is seasonal and available. As long as you follow the basic steps to making the mother sauce (flour+ butter --> roux + milk = béchamel), the possibilities are endless.
Lobster Mac 'n Cheese with Tomato, Basil, Lemon, & White Cheddar
Serves 10 as a main course but recipe can be halved for smaller quantities.
1/3 c butter
1/3 c flour
5 1/2 c heated milk
5-6 c shredded white cheddar cheese (or whatever you prefer- Crossroads Cheese is a local product)
1 c heavy cream (optional)
salt & white pepper to taste
1 pound dried pasta noodles (macaroni, shells, penne, or bowties)
1 c seeded and chopped tomatoes (1/4-inch dice)
1/4 c chopped fresh basil leaves
1 T finely grated lemon zest
2 c lobster meat cooked (1/2" to 1" size pieces if possible)
Other variations: use chicken or shrimp instead of lobster, use gouda instead of cheddar, use sundried tomatoes instead of fresh, add sauteed mushrooms, use tarragon for basil, use spinach for broccoli, etc.
I have yet to try a Béchamel sauce made with gluten-free flour such as coconut or tapioca, but I will post results as soon as I do. There are some great tasting gluten-free noodles now available and this meal could easily be adapted for special diets.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.