My baking in the daytime does not take away my preference of baking at night. It however dawned on me that baking in the day allows me to sleep better at night. I’m almost sure that there is empirical evidence to support this claim. Almost…
Today, December 25th 2016, the maternal unit and I baked some chicken glazed in our almost homemade sorrel, sweet and spicy glaze, Christmas ham in the same sorrel glaze and a macaroni & cheese casserole. I will, however, only highlight the macaroni and cheese casserole. This dish, like any other, tells tales of how one lives their life.
You live and thrive off a particular set of skills you’ve developed over a specific period of time. You know you know them and you know how to use them. But then, there come times you’re required to utilize the skills…And then some! After being called upon to showcase these skills, you somehow forget particular steps and/or take shortcuts to get a similar product.
In addition to that, you decide at intervals to add new ingredients to your master recipe in an effort to to make it more of a cut above the rest. A little of this, a sprig of that, pinches of this, tablespoons and teaspoons of that; just so you can add that oomph and pizazz. There will be moments after adding these new ingredients where you ask and beat up on yourself, “why did I do that?! I done spoiled the entire dish”. Little do you know that your masterpiece recipe has just become more adaptable and will yield similar or greater results.
Baking my mac and cheese casserole was no different.
Elbow macaroni (place in pot and bring to a boil)
Grated Cheddar cheese (real cheddar cheese)
Grated Cheddar cheese (the ‘fake’ gold looking cheese)
Butter (any brand will do)
White sauce :
Cheddar Cheese (the real kind)
Chopped Onion (1)
Chopped Escallion (1)
*Boil the macaroni ensuring that the elbows are tender.
*drain the water off and allow to sit in a colander or another utensil that allows for drainage.
*start the white sauce…
*add evaporated milk and flour to low heated sauce pan (measurements, I can’t give because I essentially poured according to my desire). You could try 2 parts evaporated milk to 1 part flour. Add 1 part water.
*add a square-cut of rectangular shaped stick margarine. add nutmeg, vanilla & almond essence, small amount of grated cheese, black pepper, garlic powder, chopped onion and escallion
*stir till it’s all mixed out
*layer casserole dish with white sauce. Place layer of macaroni then layer of cheeses and repeat till dish is full. Top with breadcrumbs sprinkled on top.
*Place in oven to bake for roughly 45 minutes.
So I won’t say which of the ingredients were never part of the master recipe. What I will say is that I boiled too much macaroni and had to increase the white sauce batch. I grated too much of both cheeses and I forgot the breadcrumbs (just for bit). I even forgot original ingredients all together (this happens when you refuse to make food ‘by the book’). You can imagine how distressed I was. I was sure that the dish was spoiled.
The point is that the recipe was altered, adapted and it all seemed like I spoiled one of my signature dishes. In the end, this macaroni and cheese casserole was the best one yet!!
The lesson: Never be afraid to try new things in your seemingly tried and tested solid plan of execution. Never be afraid to mess up. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. Like baking, life is not a science. As such, nothing is hard and fast. Do not look at the process as being a potential win or fail. You have to trust the process and allow yourself to experience the new and unheard of. This is the only way you’ll grow. Being imaginative and open-minded will lead you open up doors and windows for greatness. No need to follow all the rules as there are multiple ways to achieve said greatness.
With love and flour dust on my nose,
The Night Baker.