Well, we made it. I feel a bit as if I’ve just emerged from a food-coma-induced cloud, only to discover that someone filled my fridge with delicious leftovers.
Since this is my third annual Biggest Little Thanksgiving, I thought I had this down. I thought that making a ton of food was making a ton of food; because it is, isn’t it? I failed to take into account two important factors: 1) the size/quantity of the bird(s), and 2) people, and therefore time.
On Thanksgiving Eve, Caitlin and I decided that if we were really going to make this incredible edible feast, we’d better get a move on. So we checked the inventory to see what we could make ahead that would reheat the best. We determined that mac and cheese (recipe specially selected for left-over quality) and corn pudding (time-tested reheatability) were the best choices – we were also planning to make cookies, but if you’ve been following along, you’ll know that we never got around to it. Surprise surprise…
We got home from the store at about 4:30, exhilarated and ready to go. So we sat around and had a few beers with Calin before we got started, and before we knew it it was 6:00 and we hadn’t started. So then, of course, we had to eat something. Mom came over and brought some extra ham (how can it be extra if you haven’t made the main course with it yet?) and some incredible rolls she’s picked up, so we sat around eating those for a while, and then it was 7:00 and we still hadn’t started… Are you beginning to see why the cookies didn’t happen? At that point we realized that we really had to buckle down and cook already, or we’d end up with no feast at all, so we dove right in.
Extravagant Thanksgiving 2011!
Last year, my sister and I cooked the Biggest Little Thanksgiving in her tiny kitchen in Baltimore. We had such a ball that we wanted to do it again this year – but this time, we decided we needed a bit more space. So we told everyone that we were posting up at my house this year, and anyone who wanted to could come by, but we were not going to leave until everything had been cooked and eaten.
I invented this recipe because I wanted mac & cheese for dinner but I didn’t want to bother with a box. I also decided it was a chance to use up some of the cheese remnants in my fridge before they go bad. (I do eat ricotta with a spoon, but generally not an entire container of it. Fresh Parmesan, on the other hand, will never be allowed to go bad.) My general complaint with boxed mac & cheese, even the quality kind like Annie’s, is that the powdered cheese mix that comes with it doesn’t make enough cheese. I frequently add frozen veggies to my macaroni, and when you double the volume, the cheese pack just isn’t going to cut it. So I usually find myself subsidizing the cheese sauce anyway, and it’s always a challenge to find interesting things in the fridge to do it with.
This time, I decided not to bother with the box at all. I had elbows (weird), and I had all sorts of interesting things left over from lasagna and other cheese-related cooking projects, so I figured I had enough to work with. I also decided that since I happen to have black truffle oil left over from the super secret Birthday Mac & Cheese, I should probably go ahead and use some of it. So it doesn’t feel neglected. Yeah. (more…)
Calin turned 30 today, and when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner (since we do very low key birthdays, and dinner is really all he gets) he said “Mac and cheese!” so fast that I knew I had to cook him the best mac & cheese ever made. And in order to do that, I knew I had to turn to my friend Ed, who holds the recipe for The Best Mac & Cheese Ever Made. (The title is not TM, but it should be.)
The recipe isn’t mine to share, but here are the pictures:
I will tell you a secret. See all that oil bubbling happily away on the surface of the pasta? That there is black truffle oil. Oh yes. We went there.
There is some seriously cheesy goodness going on here. In case you hadn’t noticed. Omnomnomnomnom.
We let my dad have some, too, and he said about three times during the meal “This is the best mac & cheese I have EVER had.” So, way to go Ed’s miracle recipe, and way to go me, making it for the first time successfully, with a few tweaks, and way to go having tons of leftovers.
This Thanksgiving, for the first time, my sister and I decided to thwart family tradition and strike out on our own. We, and two friends, and three dogs, created our own outrageous feast of astronomical proportions. And considering that we weren’t planning to feed the dogs, the volume of food in the house that day was verging on true madness.
Also madness was our well-intentioned plan to make things we’ve never made before. Fortunately (Thankfully?) the fates were on our side, and nearly everything we tried worked out well. We learned how to halve Cornish Game Hens; I learned how to make a pie crust (which, with a food processor, was a cinch); we discovered that neither of us really like our new green bean casserole recipe, but that it works…; and we failed, as usual, to discover the outer limits of our gastronomic abilities. Clearing your plate (or the table) runs in the family.