One of the things on the “to find” culinary list is a recipe for the perfect gourmet macaroni and cheese and the perfect recipe for mango pineapple smoothies. Tonight was a chance to make a go at both of these things.
[mainbodyad]Ideally, a great macaroni and cheese would be smooth, rich, and complex. Aaron has been discussing this with Jocelyn. (You met her before when she was an extended house guest in March of last year – we had dinner with her at Ruth’s Chris and then embarked on a week on culinary indulgence; I shared pictures of her fresh salmon with a tomato bruschetta on a bed or orzo pasty with tasty reduction, her white chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with cranberries and cherries, her strawberry peach cinnamon sugar baked french toast with an apple butter glaze (which I put under the wrong blog entry so you can ignore the title), and her balsamic chicken pizza with ricotta cheese and sautéed onions. We also saw her back in May during our trip to New York.)
Jocelyn had a theory that the macaroni and cheese Panera Bread Company has perfected, which was close to the flavor profile we were pursuing, was based upon one of the five “Mother Sauces”, in this case, the béchamel sauce. Tonight, Aaron wanted to test that theory and asked for my help. (For those of you who aren’t foodies, béchamel is a white sauce normally made by whisking scalded milk slowly into a mixture of white flour and butter, the latter in equal proportion by weight. You can modify how thick you prefer the sauce by the total ratio between the flour / butter portion and milk.)
Following some planning and a trip to the grocery store, we figured we could make a family size portion for roughly $21 using the fresh cheeses, milk, flour, shell style pasta, and a few other ingredients. Though we included both white cheddar and yellow cheddar, those only really count as one cheese since they are the same other than color.
The final product was good but I’m not going to post the recipe because it still isn’t perfect. It had a great flavor profile but the texture was a bit too floury as opposed to a smooth liquid. We need to find a way to bind the sauce together, so more research and testing needs to be done. The same for the dessert. The pineapple mango smoothies turned out good but not as great as the one we had at Narcoossee’s. Overall, a useful experimentation but still not there.