Aaron was out of town on business on Sunday and I had to spend the night in the hospital, so I was looking for something I could put together quickly. On Sunday morning I woke up very early so I could take a nap in the afternoon. I decided to go to Studio City Farmer’s Market near our house. It’s an impressive little farmers market. Has anyone heard of actor Ed Begley, Jr.? He has been in many movies/TV shows and is one of Hollywood’s leading proponents of living a “green lifestyle.” He lives in Studio City and has a stall set up every week at the farmer’s market that sells his eco-friendly cleaning products called “Begley’s Best.” It’s kind of funny. It was such a nice morning, it was a little cool and foggy (which is a nice change from Southern California’s ever-sunny weather), believe me, it gets annoying, especially at this time of year. I went to the market and bought a croissant from the local French bakery setting up a stall, a legit Parisian flaky croissant and a freshly squeezed lemonade from another stall, it was heaven! I sat down and people watched for a while and then did some of my shopping, both for Sunday dinner and Thanksgiving. There are plenty of vendors: fruits, vegetables, pasta, baked goods, ready meals, jewelry, handmade soaps, clothes, etc. They even have animal rides and walks for toddlers, it’s really cool, and every Sunday all year round.
To my food, how good!
Macaroni and baked cheese
An especially good interpretation of a timeless classic. The sauce can be prepared ahead of time and mixed with freshly cooked noodles before baking, or the whole casserole can be assembled a day in advance (I made it in the morning and baked it after waking up from my nap)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 1 1/2 quart deep baking dish. Bring to a boil in a medium saucepan
cups water 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Add and cook until tender:
elbow macaroni (8 ounces)
Drain and remove to
a large bowl. Have ready
: 2 1/4 cups
grated Cheddar or Colby cheese
Melt in a large saucepan over medium-low heat
: 2 tablespoons butter Beat
and cook, beating, for 3 minutes
cups whole or skim milk
2 medium onion, chopped
bay leaf 1
/4 teaspoon sweet
paprika Simmer gently, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add two-thirds of the cheese. Season with:
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Stir the macaroni. Pour half of the mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese. Top with the remaining macaroni and then the remaining cheese. Melt in a small skillet over medium heat
Add and mix to cover:
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Sprinkle on top of macaroni. Bake until breadcrumbs are lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
look so blurry on my camera, oh good
This can be thick or soft. A mixture of 2 or 3 apples makes the sauce taste better. Start with a sweet and sour apple like Gravenstein or Newton-Pippin, then mix spicy McIntosh with Gravensteins or Staymans with Pippins. Golden Delicious adds sunny sweetness to any blend. This recipe doubles easily (this makes 4-6 servings):
Place in a large,
heavy pan or pan:
pounds of cooked apples, peeled if desired, without a heart, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice, depending on the acidity of the apples 1
large cinnamon stick
Cover and simmer, stirring often, over low heat until tender but not soft, about 20 minutes. Stir:
Scarce 1/2 cup white or
turbinado sugar or 6 tablespoons soft honey (used white sugar) 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional-skipped
teaspoon ground mace (optional-omitted) 1/2 teaspoon
Cook, stirring, until sweetener dissolves and mixes for about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Discard the cinnamon stick. For thick applesauce, break the apples with a wooden spoon. For a medium texture, crush with a potato crusher. For a mild sauce, go through a food grinder or thick sieve. Serve hot or cold. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Again, I need to work on close-ups.