This meal started a few weeks ago while grocery shopping. Kinsee asked me to grab some pasta as we were walking past it. Faced with the plethora of ordinary pasta, noddles like spaghetti, farfalla and macaroni, how could I not pick Figuras del Oeste? Adorned with smiling cowboy, a cactus and other images from the wild west, I knew this was the pasta for us.
Well, when we got to the checkout line and were unloading the cart, it was obvious Kinsee wasn’t as much of fan of the little boots, cowboy hats and cactus shaped pasta as I was. I knew I’d need to make something really good out of the cowboys to win her over.
I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of macaroni and cheese. Well, I should say I’m not a fan at all of Kraft Dinner, the boxed, powdered cheese-like-stuff that passes for macaroni and cheese far too often. The few times I’ve had home made mac n cheese I’ve loved it. So I thought I’d give it a try, but wanted to spice it up a bit. It was easy to make and turned out great (unfortunately the pictures didn’t. My camera’s batteries were dead so I had to use my cell phone).
1/4 cup butter
minced Jalapenos to taste
half and onion, minced
a few cloves of garlic, minced
black pepper to taste
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
200g Western shaped pasta
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Start by melting the butter in a pan. Then saute the onion, garlic and jalapenos for a few minutes.
- Stir in flour and both peppers, cook for a minute or two.
- Slowly add milk, mixing as you pour. Simmer while the pasta is cooking, stirring occasionally.
- Cook the pasta.
- Add a good amount of cheese to the milk mix. Stir until the cheese is melted.
- Put the cooked pasta in a casserole dish, mix in the cheese sauce. Top with some shredded cheddar and jalapeno slices.
- Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes, until the cheese on top is slightly crispy.
I think the last time I had Mac n Cheese was from City Deli and we had latkes as well, they went well together so I decided to make those as well.
One large Russet potato
One medium onion
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
- Clean the potato well, I like the skin so I left it on. Using a cheese grater shred the potato.
- Mince the onion.
- Combine the two and place in a cheesecloth. Press out as much of the water as possible. You can add the mixture to a colander and press even more water out. It’s important to get out as much water as possible.
- Beat the egg in a bowl, add some salt and pepper.
- Combine the egg with the potato and onion, mix well.
- Heat oil in a deep pan, get it really hot.
- Using a spoon, put a ball of the potato mixture in the oil, flatten with a metal spatula. Cook for about 2 minutes then turn over. Place on a paper towel to soak up some oil when cooked.
This made about four medium sized latkes. Pressing the liquid out is really important. First, so it doesn’t explode when it hits the hot oil, but also so the latkes hold together better and don’t break apart. As far as the oil goes, you want it to be hot, cooking them in oil that isn’t hot enough will result in greasy latkes (more so than you want, because just look at em, they’re going to be greasy no matter what — thats what makes them so good).
I’m told it’s traditional to serve latkes with applesauce and sour cream. We didn’t have any sour cream but I did get some apple sauce. I seriously considered making homemade apple sauce, it doesn’t seem hard, but it was late so I opted for the stuff in the jar. I’m gonna have to get better at taking pictures of these meals. But her it is.