Thursday, October 22, 2009

Comfort food at its best: Macaroni and Cheese

For years I've had my mother's macaroni and cheese recipe. The incredibly mild creaminess with crispy, buttery bread crumbs in every bite are still vivid in my mind and yet — I suppose because I was often cooking for one — I hadn't made it for myself until recently. Well let me tell you, now that I have, it has become a regular feature on our table and I realize that it's a really easy recipe to boot. Here it is with a little ham added for extra comfort:

Mom's Mac 'n' Cheese
Serves 4 to 6
2 Tb butter
3 Tb flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
2 1/2 c. milk
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 oz.)
2 thick slices ham, cut into cubes
8 oz. macaroni
1/4 c. buttered bread crumbs

In saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat and blend in flour, salt and mustard.
Add milk, return to low-medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens a little and is smooth. Add 1 1/2 c. cheese; heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed, drain. Combine with sauce and ham in a 2-quart casserole. Top with remaining cheese, bread crumbs and paprika. Bake at 375ยบ for approximately 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned and bubbly.

Pure comfort!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A walk through the neighborhood: Autumn flowers

I've been trying to fit in as many walks in our neighborhood before the weather turns and thought I'd share with you a few photos. My focus, as usual, has been the flowers, though I'm sure in the coming week it will turn to pumpkin displays. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoy my walks.

Last of the Cosmos

Japanese maple

Trumpet flower