Carrie and I discussed doing a Tasty Tuesday posting several weeks ago. I must admit that I was SO excited about having an excuse to try new recipes! I usually pick something out of my Julia Child "The Way to Cook," but tonight I needed some comfort food. My favorite being mac and cheese. Pasta snob, I am, but one of my guilty pleasures is Kraft Mac & Cheese. I think that the reason I love it so, is that my mother is an AMAZING chef and never allowed us to have that "boxed junk." Tonight, I'll agree with my mother: Let's go gourmet!
Sniff Sniff, tonight my fiance left me for "the field." Heartbroken though I am, instead of moping around (though, I am doing my fair share of that) I chose to host a competition between two Mac & Cheese recipes that I found on the Food Network. The contenders are Paula Deen's The Lady's Cheesy Mac and Alton's Baked Mac & Cheese.
I may as well warn you, I do not recommend attempting this feat. With two very similar recipes (both halved) under simultaneous preparation with no sous-chef, it is a miracle when it turns out right!
Luckily, success. Both turned out great! Now, obviously both have there good points. There really are no bad points. Paula's recipe is much simpler than Alton's, and tastes simpler. If Mac & Cheese could have a delicate flavor, Paula's would be termed delicate. Alton's has a lot more zest and spice. I'll admit that I was skeptical of the ground mustard, not being a mustard fan in general. However, his Baked Mac and Cheese had great flavor and was much more of a carnival in your mouth than anticipated.
Being not a fan of onions, I removed them from Alton's recipe. Note that many of the comments on the recipe also advise either their removal or reduction. And, instead of panko bread crumbs, I used my own homemade bread crumbs (which are pretty darn simple to make).
As an aside, I started making my own homemade bread crumbs in order to save perfectly good bread that my absolutely amazing fiance bought stale and on sale. Often we'll buy french bread and we can't finish the whole loaf, which is not awesome left over. Since joining the McKean clan I have been on the look out for savings. Surprise surprise I found another efficiency: baking/spicing and food processing. Voila! Bread crumbs. I do hope Allen is proud of me...