This is going to come across pretentious, but I’ve never been a fan of boxed Macaroni & Cheese, even the Kraft stuff. So, ever since the girls have been old enough, I have been trying to master a homemade version that surpasses anything you can get off a grocery store shelf.
Since it’s such an important part of the recipe, if not the most important part, I use Tillamook Black Label Sharp Cheddar Cheese. The cream mixture is made with whole milk, eggs, dry mustard, unsalted butter, salt, and pepper. I’m not quite to the point of making my own homemade noodles, but I’d love to get there at some point.
The result is a super creamy and rich mac & cheese that’s filled with great flavor. And honestly, it takes maybe 2-3 minutes longer to prep than the box stuff, but those 2-3 minutes are completely worth it.
This morning I made up some Blueberry Cream Muffins, a recipe out of Stacie’s family cookbook. This is one of the best muffin batters I’ve ever tasted. It’s a favorite here at Helm’s Deep.
We got to try a new place tonight with some of Stacie’s fellow House Supervisors at the hospital she works at. They’re all about small plates and sharing. We decided to go with the Tavernas, which included Lamb Chops, Pork Mignon, Rosemary Potatoes, Beef Skewers, Vegetables, Calamari, Croquetas, and House Salad. We finished dinner with the Dark Chocolate Brownie a la mode and the Pot of Chocolate.
Great food, great company, and great wine as well.
This is the first year I’ve been responsible for Stacie’s family’s traditional side dish, Rainbow Layered Jello. Despite running out of room in the pan for the final 5 layers, rendering it only half a rainbow, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
Now I’m just waiting for the brine to cool down enough to put the turkey in it, then it’ll be time to make the dinner rolls, the pie crusts, and the cinnamon rolls for Arwen’s birthday breakfast on Saturday morning (her birthday is actually on Sunday, but we will be in serious birthday party prep that morning).
Hope everyone has had a lovely Thanksgiving thus far.
The Helm’s Deep 2013 Thanksgiving Feast is in full prep mode starting today. We’ll be celebrating on Friday since Stacie works today and tomorrow, so it’s up to me to get some of the pre-production done over the next couple of days.
Above, Skillet Cornbread, which will be the base for our stuffing.
Below, the easiest and tastiest 3-ingredient Cranberry Sauce you’ll ever have. It’s basically fresh cranberries, rinsed and strained; orange zest + the juice of the oranges; and pure maple syrup.
Bread is already in the oven and the bird is thawing.
Still to do: pie crusts today, and Layered Jello tomorrow.
Hope your Turkey Days are shaping up to be belt busters and stretch pants worthy.
I wanted to say real quickly how thankful I am for all of you in this rag-tag Tumblr community. I am truly blessed to genuinely call many of you friends, and that is something that I cherish. You folks are good people.
This is the epic Bacon Royale Burger. Commence your drooling. (at Royale)
I’ll…I’ll be in my bunk.
Pizza-ing @ Helm’s Deep 101
Someone asked me last week in a message (that I can now not find) how we do our pizzas at home. These are just some basic rules of thumb that we’ve used to make Pizza Night @ Helm’s Deep© a success.
- A super-hot oven. Crank it up as high as it will go. You’re not gonna get a home oven up to the temps that a large pizzerea can (1000-1500 degrees), but most will go up to at least 500.
- Place oven rack on its highest setting and preheat your pizza stone when you turn on your oven. If you don’t have a pizza stone, I strongly recommend you get one. This also helps mimic the large pizza ovens they use in restaurants.
- Get yourself a pizza peel and flour it well. It makes putting the pizza in and taking it out so much easier. We picked ours up on Amazon.
- Don’t weigh it down too much with toppings, sauce, and cheese. Our pies come out at about 14” (one Fassbender if that’s how you measure things), and we put 1/2 cup sauce, 1 cup cheese, and then I try and distribute the toppings as evenly as possible. I then usually shred about 1/8-1/4 cup of Romano or Parmesan cheese on the top before throwing it in the oven. If I’m using tomatoes, I’ll wait until the pizza has about 5 minutes left before adding them. And, if I’m adding basil, I always sprinkle it on immediately after the pizza has come out.
- Use bread flour. Just trust me on this. The consistency and flavor of your dough will be so much better if you do.
Those are just a few of the main things we make sure to follow every week. To whomever sent the message to me, hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions you have.