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Homemade Macaroni and Cheese: The Topic


Florida Jim
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I recently came across a recipe from an Indian website for an Indian version of mac & cheese that contained a spiced tomato-and-onion masala -- but deleted it from my cooking files after reading through & realizing that it required three saucepans plus the oven! (One to cook the masala, one for the pasta, one for the cheese sauce, then assemble the components in a casserole and bake.) I generally make mac & cheese as one-pot meal!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Wow, lots of great ideas! The German version sounds so good, since I LOVE Spätzle! :wub:

Lobster Mac looks good as well. It's just pricey....and hubby doesn't like lobster - guess that saves me money! :raz:

SuzySushi - do you remember what type of cheese the Indian version used? The tomato and onion masala is enticing. I may even sneak in some okra! Maybe I can add some ground beef/lamb mixture.

I love the idea of using coconut milk. I wonder if I can use that to make the cheese sauce instead of milk/cream. Any suggestion of which cheese may work here?

OMG, cooking the pasta in milk infused with garlic? Brilliant! I sometimes cook pasta in stock and have seen it cooked in wine. But milk with garlic, that's one I got to try!

I guess it is just figuring out what combination of pasta, meat/seafood, vegetables, seasonings and cheese would work well together.

Keep those great ideas coming! :biggrin:

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SuzySushi - do you remember what type of cheese the Indian version used? The tomato and onion masala is enticing. I may even sneak in some okra! Maybe I can add some ground beef/lamb mixture.

Maybe you could use paneer for this application, in keeping with the Indian theme. Although I don't think it would melt like other cheeses.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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SuzySushi - do you remember what type of cheese the Indian version used? The tomato and onion masala is enticing. I may even sneak in some okra! Maybe I can add some ground beef/lamb mixture.

Maybe you could use paneer for this application, in keeping with the Indian theme. Although I don't think it would melt like other cheeses.

Yeah, that's what I worry about. In stew and things, it usually holds its shape pretty well. Any knows of a good melting Indian cheese?

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SuzySushi - do you remember what type of cheese the Indian version used? The tomato and onion masala is enticing. I may even sneak in some okra! Maybe I can add some ground beef/lamb mixture.

Maybe you could use paneer for this application, in keeping with the Indian theme. Although I don't think it would melt like other cheeses.

Yeah, that's what I worry about. In stew and things, it usually holds its shape pretty well. Any knows of a good melting Indian cheese?

Maybe yogurt cheese could be a substitute?

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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SuzySushi - do you remember what type of cheese the Indian version used? The tomato and onion masala is enticing. I may even sneak in some okra! Maybe I can add some ground beef/lamb mixture.

Maybe you could use paneer for this application, in keeping with the Indian theme. Although I don't think it would melt like other cheeses.

Yeah, that's what I worry about. In stew and things, it usually holds its shape pretty well. Any knows of a good melting Indian cheese?

I don't recall exactly. . . it's my impression it was some kind of cheddar.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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A good box of Mac with a can of Rotel (original) instead of milk is pretty tasty. I've been throwing an extra can of diced green chili's as well.

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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I preface the suggestion below by making the (perhaps annoying) proclamation that I am a particular kind of purist about Mac N' Cheese. I am a strong proponent of experimenting with different styles of M&C (white sauce based, custard based, evaporated milk, heavy cream, stove-top, baked, interesting/"fancy" cheeses, processed cheese, combinations of processed & more interesting cheeses). I also like to infuse (and then strain) the milk for the sauce with flavours that accent the flavour of the cheese (my favourite is pear, and I like the garlic idea suggested above). But, I think that at the end of the day, M&C is about pasta and cheese, and so I'm very wary of add-ins, etc. It's not that you can't make a delicious dish involving a M&C base, with extra flavours. But if you have a good M&C base, I see no need to distract from that.

HOWEVER, I used to work at a restaurant that served a dish called "tandoori chicken penne." Kids loved it, and there were certain adults who were die-hard fans (one guy came in almost every day and ordered take-out for dinner). Basically, it was a fairly neutral M&C --penne tossed with white sauce and mozarella cheese (not the fresh kind), baked with more mozarella on top. Dispersed throughout were chunks of tandoori chicken. I think one of the main reasons this dish worked was that the M&C part was fairly bland, and so mostly provided a rich, creamy contrast for the tandoori chicken. Kind of like butter chicken, I guess. Maybe some tomatoes would work here, too.

Edited by Khadija (log)
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I want to join the camp that is dubious of "Asian" style M&C. Many of my Chinese relatives can't stand dairy, and are literally disgusted by cheese. A friend recently went to China, and tried to eat some string cheese on the plane, but had to put it away, because the (Chinese) child sitting next to her would not stop gagging. I am told that many Chinese people think of cheese as "old rotten milk." I'm sure that not all Asian people feel this way about dairy, but I think most Asian cuisine just doesn't leave a lot of room to incorporate dairy.

The Mexican idea sounds more promising, because the dairly is easily incorporated. And the Indian idea might work as well.

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I want to join the camp that is dubious of "Asian" style M&C.  Many of my Chinese relatives can't stand dairy, and are literally disgusted by cheese.  A friend recently went to China, and tried to eat some string cheese on the plane, but had to put it away, because the (Chinese) child sitting next to her would not stop gagging.  I am told that many Chinese people think of cheese as "old rotten milk."  I'm sure that not all Asian people feel this way about dairy, but I think most Asian cuisine just doesn't leave a lot of room to incorporate dairy.

The Mexican idea sounds more promising, because the dairly is easily incorporated. And  the Indian idea might work as well.

I am Chinese and none of my family members (from my grandparents generation on both sides) are lactose intolerant. Growing up in Hong Kong, dairy was a big part of our lives. Cheese, milk, yogurt, we had it all. When I was in Hong Kong, I actually was not aware that so many Asians are lactose intolerant since I never saw that problem with my family and friends.

If you look at Western influenced Chinese and Japanese cuisines, cheese is being incorporated in many baked dishes. You also see cheese in baked goods in Chinese and Japanese bakeries. For them to be widely available, in the US and in Hong Kong, there must be Asian people other than my family who enjoy cheese.

Now, I'm not about to sprinkle cheese on top of shark fin soup. However, using ingredients like BBQ pork, Chinese sausage or five spice powder in a mac n cheese doesn't seem to be out of line. Don't be afraid of fusion!

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^^^I'm also fairly sure that dairy products are quite prevalent in Korea as well, and it wouldn't surprise me if the situation in Taiwan were similar to what you describe in Hong Kong.

Diary products and foods that contain dairy products are consumed on a daily basis in Japan. Let's debunk the myth that "Asia" and "dairy" are mutually exclusive--it's at best a gross generalization, and really doesn't do justice to the diversity of the region.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I want to join the camp that is dubious of "Asian" style M&C.  Many of my Chinese relatives can't stand dairy, and are literally disgusted by cheese.  A friend recently went to China, and tried to eat some string cheese on the plane, but had to put it away, because the (Chinese) child sitting next to her would not stop gagging.  I am told that many Chinese people think of cheese as "old rotten milk."  I'm sure that not all Asian people feel this way about dairy, but I think most Asian cuisine just doesn't leave a lot of room to incorporate dairy.

The Mexican idea sounds more promising, because the dairly is easily incorporated. And  the Indian idea might work as well.

I am Chinese and none of my family members (from my grandparents generation on both sides) are lactose intolerant. Growing up in Hong Kong, dairy was a big part of our lives. Cheese, milk, yogurt, we had it all. When I was in Hong Kong, I actually was not aware that so many Asians are lactose intolerant since I never saw that problem with my family and friends.

If you look at Western influenced Chinese and Japanese cuisines, cheese is being incorporated in many baked dishes. You also see cheese in baked goods in Chinese and Japanese bakeries. For them to be widely available, in the US and in Hong Kong, there must be Asian people other than my family who enjoy cheese.

Now, I'm not about to sprinkle cheese on top of shark fin soup. However, using ingredients like BBQ pork, Chinese sausage or five spice powder in a mac n cheese doesn't seem to be out of line. Don't be afraid of fusion!

Point well taken. I used to live in an international student house, and a number of them were from China (and they had never lived elsewhere). I was so surprised to discover that one of them drank milk in vast quantities. Dairy in Chinese food still seems pretty weird to me, but my assumptions are drawn from a limited sample group!

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I loved the comment about "Frankenmac." Keeping that in mind, maybe a couple of things you could do that wouldn't be TOO risky are:

- Infuse the milk used for the bechamel with ginger, Chinese five spice powder and lemon grass

- In place of hot sauce (in the South a lot of people like to hit ther mac' with hot sauce), use sambal

- Use panko bread crumbs for the topping

- Add some minced bird chilis

- Garnish with cilantro

- For an unexpected crunch, maybe mix some chopped macadamias to the panko

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I just made some the other day! Sometimes I start the bechamel with chorizo or andouille and onions, infusing it all with porky goodness. In a standard M&C I occasionally add horseradish to the breadcrumb topping. As a main dish, I would like a poached egg on top.

I've noticed this is the one dish that doesn't keep well. After cooling it's just not the same. Must be eaten right out of the oven!

I confess I am a recovering Kraft Deluxe addict, but I don't consider the 2 to be the same dish at all.

Lisa K

Lavender Sky

"No one wants black olives, sliced 2 years ago, on a sandwich, you savages!" - Jim Norton, referring to the Subway chain.

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I'm not sure if it's been mentioned but I add some diced sun dried tomatoes to add a slight sweet note.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I was wondering about that as well. I wonder if the coconut milk would set up well like milk. Anyone tried it before?

I've made fairly thick sauces from straight reduction of infused coconut milk poaching liquid before, but I'm having trouble imagining it in a mac and cheese. It's pretty rich.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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In the December 2006 issue of Food and Wine Grant Achatz is featured in an article about comfort food. One of the recipes is mac and cheese. There is of course, bacon in it, and it is surprisingly not that difficult. Damn is it good too. People who turned up their noses at the idea of eating mac and cheese soon realized how wrong they were. It is fantastic!

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  • 2 weeks later...

greetings all.

Ive read through the famous mac and cheese thread and would like to get some pointers if i can. i will be making mac and cheese for a party and since im busy as heck at work, i wont have time to experiment before hand. from reading through the thread, it seems that the alton brown one is the best bet. what brand do you all suggest?

here are the ingredients and questions:

1/2 pound elbow macaroni

* ive read brillo is best? cook slightly undercooked right?

3 tablespoons butter

* salted not salted?

1 tablespoon powdered mustard

* regular mustard ok? where is this powdered stuff found in the grocery store?

3 cups milk

* half and half or heavy creame? or stick to regular milk?

12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

* should i throw in montery jack somewhere in the mix? or stick to sharp?

the style of mac and cheese im shooting for is something a bbq joint or fried chicken place would serve.

thanks for any help!

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With no offense intended, you're overthinking this one a bit. I've made mac n cheese when I was a kid and we were not high up the income scale with storebrand pasta, margarine, whatever milk was in the fridge and whatever cheese we happened to have in the house and it was always good. If you're using butter and good cheese it will be even better. Salted or unsalted butter won't matter, just compensate for the salt when seasoning. If you have half and half or cream on hand and want to use it, go ahead. I wouldn't go buy it special for mac n cheese though, milk works fine... there's already plenty o' fat from the butter and cheese so you really won't miss the difference cream instead of milk will make. Dry mustard is with the spices. Personally, as much as I hate to admit it, I think a blend of cheddar and (blush) proceesed ("American" or velveeta) cheese makes good mac n cheese and comes closest to what you find in the type of places you mentioned.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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How many servings do you anticipate? Anything over 30 and those big ol cans of cheese sauce start to look mighty tempting from Sam's Club.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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