Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Mac+Cheese Cookbook

The Mac+Cheese Cookbook

Most of us share a childhood memory of macaroni and cheese, most likely of the unearthly orange-hued mix from Kraft (nothing more disappointing than having it served to our kids at a restaurant). For years, we've tried to create one of the luscious, creamy, and cheesy versions that you get served in a restaurant that understands it's a comfort food. HOMEROOM, a restaurant in Oakland, CA, appears to be just such a place, serving primarily mac and cheese plates with some sides and desserts. Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade decided to share their secret recipes, with some of their sides and desserts, and also present new recipes like patatas bravas mac, shepherd pie mac, four-cheese mac and more. Delectable.

Unfortunately for me, while we were able to make amazingly tasty dishes, I'm still struggling to master the texture of the sauce, but more practice (yes, please!) will hopefully ameliorate the situation. Texture aside, there may not be a more perfect dish than Smoky Bacon Mac, the basic recipe improved. A failed side, Roasted Carrots with Citrus Vinaigrette (nobody liked the vinaigrette) and a new fave, Crispy String Beans were the extent of our attempts to add veggies to these meals. Laima did make Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and this is a recipe sure to remain in the mix for quite some time.

One interesting thing the authors do is to suggest a wine and beer pairing for each of the recipes. The Classic Mac, for example, is paired with a Nut Brown Ale, very tasty. The Smoky Bacon Mac's Red Ale falls a bit short, though the Cabernet Sauvignon was quite good. Nice to try their recommendations and try to come up with some of our own.

The beauty of this cookbook is that mac and cheese is, for the most part, really simple. There's a recipe in this cookbook for every taste and, if you don't find any of the variations appealing, simply try some experimenting with the amazingly delicious basic recipe. And here's the kicker -- even if the texture doesn't come out quite right (as it hasn't for me), the taste is so good that it just doesn't matter.

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